Sunday, October 4, 2015

Camino Levante - Last post (for real)

Guess who pop up late in the evening in the albergue? Jon and his Maguy, the French couple from day 19 in Escalona. They finish walking today in Toro and decided to take the bus to Zamora. The other couple is still in Toro. Always nice to reunite with pilgrims

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Camino Levante - Zamora - Final Post

Cloudy and cold morning perfect for a walk around the old city revisiting all the old pre-romanesque churches, including the statue of Virialtus, the great heroic leader of Lusitania (current day Portugal and western Spain) who causes hell for the Romans.

The hospitalero was kind enough to let me stay for more than a night. The albergue is donativo. After a visit to the train station, discovered that the trains does not go south to Andalucia but only via Madrid (will be too long and expensive). The buses however does go to Sevilla. Booked the red eye 0:30 bus down to Servilla first arriving in the early morning. No need to stay another night here at the albergue. Maybe just another shower and dinner. Already offers for a cooked dinner at the albergue from pilgrims arriving today. Probably will be going out to buy more Toro wine to contribute to tonight's dinner.

This would be the last entry in blog until the next Camino. Signing off. Back to Facebook for the remaining of the trip.

Camino Levante - Day 28 Zamora

Zamora was my personal favorite place when I walked the Camino via de la Plata in 2008. So happy to be back and it is still so beautiful for me. Surprised I still remember where the albergue was and walked straight there. The stone pillar sign is the same, the rooms still cramp, the elevator (yes, the only albergue with elevator) is broken.

Not tired at all after 34 km. With 8 people last night it feels like a crowd here. Found a depressed Italian from Rome in my room of four. His phone stop having a signal and he couldn't call his wife. Tried to help him but to no avail. Later he manage to go a phone shop and surprisingly they did manage to help (turn airplane mode on and off). Anyway he thank me for trying and together both he and another German pilgrim plus me were spending the evening like we were the closest of friends. And I have not even walked with them! Most of the pilgrims here walked the Camino de la Plata coming up from Sevilla. Today I am the only one coming in via the Camino Levante.

The hospitaleros Paul and Hetty in this albergue comes from Holland. They are part of the association and spends a few weeks a year volunteering as the hospitalero in the different albergues across the primary caminos. This year they got Zamora. They had been doing it for the past 5 years.

Anyway. My Camino Levante is done. I could still walk another 412 km to Santiago de Compstela but I have already done the route from here. So this is my end point.

My Camino Levante. 801 km (28 days)
327 km last year (12 days)
474 km this year (16 days)

As I sleep tonight .....
Pilgim mode off... tourist mode on!

Tomorrow I will be spending an extra day relaxing and revisiting the numerous pre-romanesque churches all around Zamora. Love those small churches.

Camino Levante - Day 28 Leaving Toro

It's nice to be able to have coffee right downstairs of the pension with a bar. Having a glass of the local dark Toro wine the night before was also great. Guess the mother of the establishment was already there at the bar when I came down. She even ask which size coffee and of course the grande! Feels a bit bad as I know they open early because of me. Then again they know about pilgrims as the day before when I asked for a room he shouted upstairs to his mom and said 'Mom, a pilgrim!' instead of saying a guest.
Slow start down the city at 7:30. Passed the Dominican church where I could stayed. Looks very imposing, gated with a big lawn. Glad about my choice of lodging. More corn fields along the Duero river.
A felled sign that says Zamora is still 35 km. Can't be right since it is already 3 km out of 34 km to Zamora. Maybe a pilgrim has done this in anger? Pure speculation of course.
Wasn't very long before the trail ends and it's onto the road for the last 20 km! Crap! Not a nice way with the cars quite close. Then just before the first stop 18 km at Villalazán witness a traffic stopping goats on the road on the way to pasture. Guy as usual ask me where I started walking. One of the dogs has a bandana. I guess even for sheep dog (goat dog in this case) there is pecking order.
Some beef at the pit stop. There is albergue here but pretty much nothing else other than this bar and restaurant.
Another 8.5 km to the last stop at Villaralbo passing an archaeological dig. Had a rest and food in front of the ayuntamiento in Villaralbo before making the final push to Zamora.
After this it is just 6 km to Zamora. The city is big and long looking from the east. The old city is from the south so it is back to a nice trail towards the south of Zamora.
Finally back to the Duero river and before the old city entrance an old man in a beret fishing besides the river.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Camino Levante - Day 27 Toro

Lovely town. It's even got a Roman millario (milestone). Stop for a Cafe Cortardo (Macchiato) and decide where to stay. Dominican church? Pass. A couple of hostal but looks quite far after checking with Google. Hmmm. A pension right across from my coffee place. Perfect! That's a great location. Pension are the first rind when it comes to lodging here in Spain. Usually family run, simple rooms and mostly shared toilets. Hostals are more like motels. No problem for me considering the location. Even got a room with the balcony. The pension also has a bar below. Tomorrow coffee at 7 am? No problem they say. Cool. It's another under 34 km to Zamora so this is good news if I am to start early.