Today’s distance 31 km
Elevation gain 233 m
Elevation loss 195 m
Total distance from Almería 871 km
The rain that was forecast for our day off on Friday hardly materialised – just a few drops in the evening. We spent the day meandering around this beautiful city.
This morning (Saturday) we left our lodgings in time to wander slowly through the city streets to our rendezvous point with pilgrim number four.
En route we met a charming man who engaged me in conversation in order to inform us that we were walking in the wrong direction, which we weren’t as we were heading for a different camino starting point. He strolled along with us and shared that he had walked 22 caminos, but had now hung up his boots. He challenged us to guess his age, I was least flattering guessing 70 whilst the others opted for mid sixties. In my experience people only challenge you to guess their age if they hope you will underestimate, but I was still surprised when he told us he was 82 and he even produced his identity card to prove it.
As we walked back across the Roman Bridge, by which we had entered the city a day and a half ago, I spotted Aurelio waving at the far end. It was lovely for Eli and me to meet him again and introduce him to Marilyn. The others took advantage of the churreria van for coffee and churros whilst I ate my muesli (and sneaked a couple of delicious churros) before we set off on our new adventure.
The Camino Torres is not well known and not much walked. It heads west from Salamanca and crosses the border into Portugal where it meets with the Camino Portuguese at Ponte de Lima. The first stage was a long one for the two newbies, and also for Marilyn and me – our fifth stage of 30+ km.
The walk out of Salamanca through the suburbs was only about one km from the Roman bridge and was fairly well signed with yellow arrows, and then we were on a fairly quiet road for a further km before reaching a track for a couple of km and then back on the road and then back on track again, running between a quiet road and railway line with a motorway beyond. It was quite pleasant countryside with crop fields on either side. Eventually we crossed over the motorway and found ourselves on the wide track of the Cañada Real at 10.5 km (I forgot to start recording on Wikiloc until we reached the edge of the city so all distances should be increased by approx 1 km).
Initially the track is bordered by holm oaks but there were some peculiar trees in the fields beyond. I think they are also holm oaks which are growing amongst the crops. They have been pruned in a fashion to remove all lower branches so that the harvesting machinery can pass underneath and make the best use of the land. This theory supports my guess that these oak trees are protected by the government, otherwise surely they would be felled.
Once we are in the countryside there are not many choices of direction to be made, although a few forks presented themselves at which point I checked the track in maps.me
The chirping of crickets has accompanied us for the last few days.
We remained on the Cañada Real for the rest of the stage. And it was all very lovely scenery with the trees and the very green fields. Not many animals. It became very hot and I made use of my umbrella as a sun shade – it was so still that I didn’t have an issue with the drag factor. Part way through I remembered about the royal wedding and as I had good signal on my iPad I thought I would take a look. Now, I know I am a multitasking woman, but even I couldn’t manage a hands free umbrella, two walking poles and an iPad, so I stashed the poles and walked the camino in the shade of my umbrella whilst watching Harry and Meghan tie the knot. I’m not a royalist by any means but I do have a soft spot for these young royals. I shared the nuptials with Marilyn when we stopped for a break.
The stage was flat with varying degrees of (dis)comfort underfoot…mostly reasonably smooth, but a lot of stony and rutted ground. I met a couple of pigs near the end of the stage which gave amusement.
We found a bar as soon as we entered the village. The information given there as to obtaining keys for the albergue were extremely vague and we had to ask several other people before finding the correct door to knock on and then be accompanied to the albergue which is situated in an old school. There were two beds set up in one room and two further beds in an outside storeroom. We moved the furniture around so that Aurelio was alone and we three peregrinas occupied the larger room. No pillows or bedding. No shower or hot water. Three toilets with basins. That’s it. Not too dirty. Donativo. Bar did nice food but really took advantage with the price. Check the cost before ordering! I ate salad and chips (again) and took away a chunk of bread for tomorrow.
Edit: update from Lorna who walked in November 2019…
Update on the Albergue for future readers:
Key is now at 1 Calle de Calzada. They have been doing renovations, it’s been painted and now there is a lovely hot shower, they offered to put the hearing on for me too 🙂 There were only 2 beds but they’ve recently been using the big room for election voting.