Tormenta y Cerezas

Fuenterroble de Salvatierra Travel Blog

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Leaving Banos, entering the region of Castilla y Leon

I left Baños late in the day after saying goodbye to Marketa but not before meeting two curious French ladies (of age!). Instead of carrying packs on their backs, thay had little trolley contraptions which they wore with a harness. It looked strange but seemed to work and was not hard on their backs. They could only travel on the roads though, which must be really hard on their feet as the tarmac gets extremely hot in the afternoons.

I have been walking without blisters for a few days now (I can hear the cheering from here) but a new issue is now emerging. My knee and calf muscle have been giving me some pain as I have traversed several small ranges and today passed the highest point between Seville and Astorga (1400m). I have plenty of anti-inflamatories and take one on waking and one in the middle of the day.

Pretty as a picture
I plan to rest in Salamanca for 2 or 3 days so this should alleviate the problem.

Because of the mountainous terrain there is much more rain in this part of the country and therefore it is very green. The walk from Baños to Calzada de Béjar (a tiny pueblo boasting only a few houses and 4 children!) was reminiscent of Scotland. There were walled walkways and many abandoned stone farms. The fields were full of cows and horses and I have never seen such a rainbow of wildflowers. There were magenta foxgloves, cream and purple lupin, pink wild flowers, dainty blue cornflower, daiseys in every hue of yellow and wild orchids. I also managed to reach a few more overhanging cherry branches for a snack.

Bejar - the village with only 4 children
One of the bridges I crossed was the Puente de la Magdalena, built 2000 years ago by Roman engineers. It certainly makes Sydney harbour bridge look very new in comparison!

The tiny Albergue in Calzada de Béjar was run by a lovely lady who spoke Spanish so quickly I had difficulty making out even 1 word. I was joined by 2 new Peregrinos. Ingo from Germany and Juan from Madrid (not a real pilgrim, just walking for a week - but I will let him off as he is now my new Professora).

That evening was the celebration of San Juan throughout Spain and both Juan and I were hoping to travel to a nearby village for the festivities but a tormenta (storm) put paid to that idea. Instead we leant out the large open window watching the lightning break over the high hills and eating cerezas (cherries) that Juan had collected in the afternoon.

Early morning walking after the storm
It was warm and kind of humid so we felt comforted in the hands of nature. It was a very special way to make a friend out of a stranger and a memory etched in my mind now.

I spent a very similar evening on the Camino Frances, watching a storm and eating cherries - another moment that changed my life by a few degrees but made miles of difference.

I was up and out the door early as I had more mountains to climb and my favourite time of the day is watching the sun rise and reflect on the animals. I get to be alone and alive!

The first km was spookily foggy through knee high grass, wet from the night before and soon both my boots and socks were soaking and very uncomfortable. So I stopped at the next village at 8.30 and asked in the local Hogar del Pensioistas if they were open for a coffee.

Writing my diary in Fuenterroble outside the albergue
The lady was just cleaning up but kindly offered to take me to her house for a coffee instead. It was great. She showed me all her family photos and we had a lovely (one-way) conversation with lots of ´si´and ´bale´from me at the appropriate times (meaning yes and OK). I think I got the gist of what she was telling me and she was just happy to have a guest.

She also served me some delicious dulces (pastries) which are made in several Convents throughout Spain to traditional methods and with only fresh ingredients. Oh oh ho - melt in my mouth. I must have been a bit too keen with my compliments as she sent me on my way with a goody bag for later!

I was heading for a place called Fuenterroble de Salvatierra. The Albergue there is run by the priest Don Blas Rodriguez in his own (very rambling) home.

The donkey saddles and harnesses at the albergue of Don Blass
He has added on extra dormitories out the back to allow for 30 Pilgrims to stay and works tirelessly to ensure we are taken care of. He also does a lot of work with children in the area and has a stock of 20 or so donkeys. For each one there is a wonderful painted carriage over which they place garlands of flowers and take groups of children to the nearby forest to plant trees. I would have loved to have taken part in one of these trips!

Unfortunately he was away in Santiago when I was there but one of his volunteer hospitalarios (Anna from Germany) was a wonderful hostess and I really did not want to leave. I shared the dorm with my new friend Juan and a Bici pilgrim from Seville. Anna and I sat on the patio all afternoon talking about travel and adventures while the local boys had siesta. The Spanish really can´t understand why we do not take siesta every day and they say that whenever they see anyone out after 4.00pm, it has to be a tourist! Humph. Juan is always laughing at me because I will not siesta.

That evening we pilgrims had a marvellous dinner together with Anna, her boyfriend and his parents visiting from Italy. It was a strange conversation in Spanish, French, Italian and a little English. The topic was mainly about food and wine - I was in my element and it was special evening I will remember (although no cerezas and no tormenta!).

Happy birthday mum - I am off to have a wine in your honour. I love you


scheney says:
Hello Pilgrim Grace,
Absolutely enjoying and looking forward to reading your entries. The half way mark now and the rest should now be easy (hehehe yeah right!!. As I said one foot in front of the other and one step at a time. The experience is everything!!
Inspired Sue C
Posted on: Jun 26, 2008
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Leaving Banos, entering the region…
Leaving Banos, entering the regio…
Pretty as a picture
Pretty as a picture
Bejar - the village with only 4 ch…
Bejar - the village with only 4 c…
Early morning walking after the st…
Early morning walking after the s…
Writing my diary in Fuenterroble o…
Writing my diary in Fuenterroble …
The donkey saddles and harnesses a…
The donkey saddles and harnesses …
Fuenterroble de Salvatierra
photo by: Gracethepilgrim