Love this photo of the four of us waving from the ancient bridge at Puente Duero last evening…
This morning we were invited to breakfast with Arturo for 2 euros. I declined as I don’t drink tea or coffee and don’t really want anything to eat that early. We peregrinas posed for a photo with the hospitalero before setting off – note Eli looking particularly proud of the new staff that Arturo gifted her.
We walked through our last section of pine forest early this morning – alongside the road until reaching the very pretty town of Simancas where we stopped for a hot drink.
All along the following stretch of the camino are metal sculptures denoting (mostly) pilgrims making their way towards Santiago de Compostela. We couldn’t resist posing in front of the first such sculpture, but thought it best not to try and replicate the second (second compilation, top right)!!
Leaving the pine trees behind us, we were now on the high plains of the meseta. A boring slog to some, but a joy to me – seeing such vast stretches of bright green crops with barely a tree to interrupt the vista. I do prefer an undulating track as the ankles get very stiff when constantly in one position, but the views topped by a brilliant blue sky and fluffy white clouds was more than enough to make me a happy hiker.
There was another tiny village a few kms further and then we reached Wamba at around 20 km. It is incredible that all these small villages have at least one huge, ancient church at their centre. Wamba conforms to this pattern, boasting the church of Santa Maria de la Osario. A Camino Forum friend who had passed by this village on several occasions without being able to gain access to the church, asked that if the church was open I could take some photos for her. I came prepared, having asked Arturo the previous evening about opening hours, he had written down a couple of telephone numbers for me. As expected, the church was closed when I arrived, so I duly made a phone call and was instructed to visit the Farmácia opposite where they would tell me where the town hall was. In the event the lovely ladies in the farmácia took charge of the situation and summoned the señora who is responsible for opening up. She arrived within fifteen minutes and Marilyn, Eli and I entered the stone built church for a tour.
It was very impressive, with a font dating from the sixth century, a column from the tenth century, and most other parts ranging from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, including some beautiful wall paintings and stone carvings. We were then led to an internal courtyard and the señora hefted open a sturdy door and ushered us in to a small room, whereupon we were shocked into silence. We were told by the guide that the room is lined on three sides with the skulls and bones of 2,000 villagers from a period ranging from the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries. However Wikipedia tells me the number is more than 3,000 and the remains of monks. Eli read that the remains were the result of wars, plagues and pestilence. But however many, and whoever they were, it was a rather shocking experience to be suddenly exposed to so much death.
After the church tour we found a particularly nice bar for lunch. After much discussion Eli and I ordered bean and meat soup. We were slightly puzzled when a large tureen of noodle soup arrived, but as it was quite tasty, we just got on with the job in hand and ate the lot. Then we were unexpectedly served with a bowl of chickpeas and cous-cous croquettes, and then there appeared a huge plate of mixed meat – beef, pork, chorizo and morcilla. We were actually quite full after the noodle soup, so we invited Paul in to help demolish some of the leftovers and we packed up the meat for supper.
All that food, and still around 7 km to walk. My stomach was not happy and kept sending signals to remind me!
We arrived at Peñaflor de la Hornijo at around 16:00. It has a nice albergue which my notes tell me has 12 beds, but there are only eight in evidence, split between two rooms. There is a good kitchen, a large open-plan bathroom, and a scruffy garden that catches the afternoon sun. A charge of 3 euros is made for this little gem. What excellent value!
Today’s distance 28.8 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 234 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 79 m
Total distance 255.1 km
Average per day 25.5 km