Stork or Swallow?

Granja de Moreruela Travel Blog

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The old Roman bridge entering Zamora

My second day (a rest day) in Zamora was quite relaxing and I wandered around the shops.  Throughout Spain the museums and most buildings of interest (such as the Cathedral and Castle) are always closed on Mondays. It is never a good idea to land in a city on a Sunday as you do not get to see anything!

It was a very hot afternoon, around 37C I believe so I relaxed in the cool confines of the Albergue - all of the wooden shutters tightly closed until about 6.30pm. From then on all over Spain you can hear the clatter of shutters being raised as people come out of hibernation (siesta) from the heat of the day and start part 2 of their working day. It is a strange way to live but the only way to function when it is so hot every day.

Deserted streets during siesta
When I am walking, I need to try and arrive at a pueblo before 1.00pm as everything is completely closed from 2.00-6.00pm and it is like entering ghost towns. Occasionally there will be a cat or a dog wandering but mostly it is silent and empty.

In the evening I had planned on treating myself by seeing the movie ´Sex in the City´which has been renamed in Spain (and dubbed terribly) to ´Sexto in Nueva York´. It was very funny seeing Carrie and the girls but hearing strange voices come out of their mouths. The movie is not very popular here as the TV show was not aired in Spain. On leaving the theatre (only 5 people were watching), I dropped my precious sunglasses which were on my lap (necessary for a pilgrim!). When I returned 10 minutes later the young man who had swept the floor denied vehemently that he had seen them.

Ciguena (stork)
I think the universe will decide.

So now, I am squinting and will not be able to find a shop until Santiago. But today while walking I reminded myself that since the 11th century, pilgrims have been walking this path and I think only a very small percentage would have been wearing $250 Maui Jims! Time to get real with myself.

At sunset I sat on the patio of the Albergue and watched the beautiful Cigüenas (storks) bring food to their young and just fly gracefully across the golden horizon. They are like arrows in flight and so huge as they swoosh past overhead to take up their home on anything from telegraph poles to church roofs. There is not one church  in the whole of Spain without at least 1 family of Stork in residence. They build giant nests from 1 to 2 metres in diameter and just set up a home there.

Golondrinas at sunset (swallows)
I love them.

I also love to watch the Golondrinas (swallows) flitting. They can be solo or in large flocks and swoop every direction as if they are looking for something. They are swift and agile and always moving at warp speed. I never see them stop very long in one place but I love the way they are always on the move so fast but never crash into anything - totally in control.

So where am I going with the bird theme? I got lost again on my way out of Zamora. This time I followed the arrows and ignored the guide book, ending up way off track in el campo (countryside). I was on a small country road and cars were zooming past on their way to work in Zamora. A kind man slowed down long enough to tell me I was heading in the wrong direction and I needed to be back on the Carreterra (highway).

My lovely Pedro and Chema
He was pointing further up the road and I thought he said that there was a way back to the highway in 1km. I kept going looking for a suitable exit and becoming a little distressed. After 15 minutes I decided to flag down another car to ask. No luck as everyone wanted to get to work!

In the end I just did what I have dome all along and trusted my intuition. I walked up a country track in the appropriate direction and straight away a farm truck came past, stopped and the lovely farmer (with a huge Camino smile) assured me I was going in the right direction and all was well. I walked another 500m and suddenly there were yellow arrows (Camino waymarkers) - totally in the middle of nowhere and directing me back to the Carreterra. Magic? Maybe!

SO out of this and the previous few days of ´getting lost´ I have decided that I will no longer call it ´getting lost´ but a ´scenic detour´.

The good life
I am more of a Swallow than a Stork and I live my life by flitting here and there always looking for something interesting. I am never really lost, just having my next adventure. Some people are content to build nests, create families and watch the swallows from vantage points.

So now I know I am a swallow, I will enjoy this crazy world I create, always in a rush but making my own choices. I can always ´choose again´

I spent last night in Montamarta with the lovely Danish couple Berde and Alan. On arrival I met up with the two Spanish students. One of them was in a lot of pain with very bad weeping blisters and had called his parents to take them back to Salamanca. So their pilgrimage lasted only a few days but I am sure they will be back for more next year. They promised me!

Today was a lovely walk (26km) to Granja de Moreruela and along the way I passed the ruins of a castle from Roman times. It was the seat of power for the Knights Templar who protected pilgrims on their way. From the 18th century it has not been occupied but was listed as a national monument in 1931. Now it is home to roaming cattle and the occasional nosey pilgrim!

Another gem from today was passing an elderly sheppard on his equally aging mule, shaggy and meandering alongside a small flock of sheep. He was interested in where I was from and smiled broadly a 4-tooth grin when I said ´Australia´. He was accompanied by 2 friendly and shaggy dogs. It was a tranquil sight and one I will treasure - simple country folk carrying out simple country tasks.

So tomorrow I know what my flight will look like. Are you a Stork flying in a straight line or do you lean a little more to the wild side like the Swallow? (perhaps some of both)

Besos, Grace


MermaidLilli says:
I was so sad for those 2 guys. I left in the morning and they stayed in bed waiting to be picked up that day or the next day I cannot remember which, but the soles of his feet were frightening!
Posted on: Nov 17, 2008
spinner_venturi says:
Posted on: Jul 03, 2008
margotnz says:
Hi Grace,

Finally caught up on all your writings - don't know where you are finding the energy. Trip sounds blissful, eventful and full of blisters and vino - bonus all the wonderful people you are meeting. Missing you and thinking about you on your travels. your blog makes me realise it might be time for me to take time out soon and go traveling,, it certainly wets the appetite for travels. Keep healthy and have lots of fun - all my love Margot
Posted on: Jul 02, 2008
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The old Roman bridge entering Zamo…
The old Roman bridge entering Zam…
Deserted streets during siesta
Deserted streets during siesta
Ciguena (stork)
Ciguena (stork)
Golondrinas at sunset (swallows)
Golondrinas at sunset (swallows)
My lovely Pedro and Chema
My lovely Pedro and Chema
The good life
The good life
Granja de Moreruela
photo by: Gracethepilgrim