I have to say the cava went down very well yesterday afternoon. The hostel filled up with three spanish cyclists, the group of three French – two women and one man, French Olivier, Spanish Santos (that is now two very charming Spanish men I have met called Santos), Spanish Antonio and English Paul with whom I shared my room (and neither of them snored, although I woke myself up with a snort during the night!). I was already sitting up in bed prior to settling down for the night when our hostess the elderly Señora Elena came in to say goodnight – she sat on the edge of my bed and asked where I would be walking today. I thought she was going to ‘tuck me in’, but that didn’t quite happen.
I walked with Paul today. He walks fast, but in a different way from Super George. SG looks as if he is taking a leisurely stroll, although he is making a great pace because of his very long stride. Whereas Paul looks as if he is walking very fast – he has ‘busy legs’. But nevertheless, Paul walks faster than I do.
It was always going to be a very long day. 39+ km. And just under half way through we were to pass by the Cáparra – http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cáparra – an ancient pre-Roman site where a huge arch still stands and is the symbol of the Via de la Plata.
I read that there was an ‘interactive’ visitor centre and had visions of being able to refill my water bottles, make use of the facilities, and treat myself to an icecream. How very foolish I was (am). ‘Interactive’ translated as a few information boards amongst the archeological dig. But it was our first chance to sit down and take a break at 18.5 km. We met an Italian couple who were walking the VDPL in reverse from Salamanca to Sevilla. Very difficult to follow arrows in a backward direction because you can’t tell where they are coming from. And were passed by three cyclists (one of whom made me jump right out of my skin when he wished me ‘Buen camino’ from inches behind me when I had no idea he was there).
After this initial break we still had over twenty km’s to complete. It had been raining most of the morning, never hard, and for most of the time it could be ignored. But I did put on the ‘wet gear’ – rain jacket and shoulder cape – a couple of times.
Most of the track was delightful – narrow paths through meadowland of holm and cork oak. There were some ‘interesting’ water features to cross – and yes, I did walk the (concrete) plank, and wade the knee deep fast flowing stream. Wading is now something I am very experienced at and just get on with it. Fastening the crocs onto my feet with the knee braces and plodding through the water. It was very refreshing today after so many km’s in my boots and was very welcome.
However, something went wrong at this point. The directions were not very specific and we ended walking in the wrong direction and possibly adding a couple of km’s and a lot of Tarmac to our walk. I didn’t realise that the 18.5 km break would be our only one – we walked a full 40+ km with only a 20 minute break – my poor feet were screaming – but just aching, no problems.
We arrived, foot sore, at around 15:30. I am staying in the albergue ‘La Casa de mi Abuela’ 13€ for a bunk with bedding provided, or 15€ including breakfast. It is a very nice establishment, well organised with pleasant sitting room. In my room is a guy I haven’t come across before (unknown nationality) and the two German guys I have met over the last few days, Paul and me. I have just come across the Dutch couple who are staying in a casa rural. And there is another albergue in the town where I expect Olivier and Santos are residing.
Update – poor Olivier has just limped in at gone 18:00 – he set off at least half an hour before us and has been wandering the countryside for almost twelve hours. Ouch! Santos stopped short after around 20 km.
Aldeanueva del Camino is a pretty town with many old buildings. If I can find the energy I might take a stroll around, although it is raining harder now, so I might not!
Distance according to my notes – Wikiloc stopped working when my phone ran out of battery and I didn’t notice! – 40 km
Total distance walked 716 km, average 27.5 km per day
I have now exceeded the distance I walked on the camino portuguese at 670 km in 27 days.