I updated yeaterday’s entry, so if you want to know how the day went please go back and take a look.
Today started very fresh but a lot less cold than yesterday and I had soon warmed up with a spot of rapid walking. The paths were easy all the way with almost no road walking. The scenery changed from time to time with open pasture, shady oak trees and great swathes of cereal crop.
At one time I spied a peaceful bull (to be honest it could have been a cow, but a bull suited my sentimentality). He was lying under a cork tree and I was instantly reminded of the children’s storybook ‘Ferdinand’ about a bull that was bred to fight in the bullring, but he only wanted to sit under the cork tree and smell the flowers, I tiptoed over the field to get a closer photo, but he saw me coming and stood up before I could get my shot. What a shame. Ferdinand was one of my girls’ (and my) favourite bedtime stories.
The historic city of Salamanca came into view from about ten km away and the spires of the cathedral stood out on the skyline for a couple of hours. By the end of the walk I was in the company of English Paul, French Olivier and German Toby and we walked straight to the Albergue alongside the cathedral, knowing that they wouldn’t allow anyone in until 16:00 but, as luck would have it, the hospitalera was at the door when we arrived at 13:30 and she allowed us to leave our packs inside so that we could take a look around the city unencumbered.
Having seen the city from such a distance it seemed t take forever to reach the centre and it was worth every step. A beautiful place, but unfortunately absolutely full of tourists, with large groups traipsing around after guides. I don’t mind tourists when I am being one, but I don’t like to compete for space when I am walking. I may try to do the roof tour of the cathedral in a while to get a better feel for the layout of the city – update have just done the rooftop and bell tower tour. Fabulous. I scared myself silly having to walk back down an uneven stone spiral stairway – but hey – it was just another step outside my comfort zone.
Unfortunately the massive Plaza Mayor is being set up for some event and the whole of the centre of the square was taken up with hoardings, which rather spoiled the effect. We found a restaurant and I ordered a bacon bocadillo which was absolutely what the doctor ordered and then I purchased some healthy food for a light salad supper in a Carrefour express supermarket, before heading back to check into the Albergue. I grabbed the last bottom bunk. There are only sixteen places here and there are three women amongst thirteen men. But the bonus here is that there are female showers and, low and behold, the floors were not covered in water and I had a lovely hot shower.
I am sad that we are losing one of our ‘family’ tomorrow. French-Canadian Daniel is finishing this leg of his Via de la Plata in Salamanca before returning home. I have enjoyed so much listening to his lovely voice (you know ladies…perfect English spoken with a strong French accent!). But of course that is the way of the camino – pilgrims come and go and hopefully leave a lasting impression.
An update about the Czech guys with the dogs. We saw them in San Pedro last night and they said they were walking on into Salamanca because they had no money for themselves or dogs. I gave them some money for the dogs and they set off to complete a 50 km stretch into the city. We saw them again when we arrived. They were begging on the street and seemed to have collected a few euros on top of their credencials that they had spread out on the pavement. One of the dogs had an injury though, she had hurt her foot during the walk and they were planning a visit to the vet which hopefully would be given for free. It is impossible not to like these guys and admire their determination to compete the camino without any funds.
Distance according to Wikiloc – 24.5 km
Accumulated elevation uphill 103 metres
Accumulated elevation downhill 291 metres
Total distance walked 814.3 km, average 27.1 km per day