Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Month: April 2015 (page 1 of 3)

Day 24 Salamanca

Left Banos de Montemayor on the bus and must admit to serious misgivings as my last bus ride in Spin was from Cee to Santiago in a bus with failing brakes!!! No problems this time, a swish along the motorway and I was there for a whole 6.50 e cost 5.50 for a taxi to my expensive apartment 100 e a night sure it said less the that on booking .com
Gave the taxi driver a whole 50 p tip and he must have felt sorry for me as he leapt out of the taxi and facilitated my entry thru the formidable iron door and spoke to the owner oh so easy in Spanish
Apartment is nice but cold, owner assured me I would not need heating on, went down to 6 last night, tried to put the heating on, no way so socks to bed
There is a nice little cafe opposite here. Supermarket nearby nd just on the edge of the historical district so good place to be, no tourists or pilgrims here only me.
Had my wayward crown replaced, 15 e I was amazed. Mind you I was amazed when it fell out as had forgotten I had it! How dopey is that.
Like NZ spring weather , about 19 c I note with horror that santiago is about 14

Salamanca has a population of about 150,000 and it is nice to see lots of young people after al the oldies in the rural areas
The town seems more sprawled out than I remember.
Dog du jour in Spain seems to be those funny little Yorkshire terriers plus small schnauzers. Complete contrast to the great big pony sized brutes in the countryside.
Oh yes, still have not quite got to terms with Spanish meal times.
Seems like lunch in restaurants is between 1 pm nd 3.30 pm and dinner is between 8.30 and 10 .30 /11
The little cafes seem to have different hours but both restaurants and cafes serve the sme food whatever time you go. Cafes tend to be tapas bits and pieces sometimes good but more often dried out and to me looking like food poisoning territory.
Off walking again Friday am , landlady here hoping to organise accommodation for me

Must be about Day 22 Banos

Sniffling with rain this am and has just cleared mid pm so nada walking today
See , I have no trouble with this foreign language stuff….
Have decided that the last 40 ks from here to Salamanca are simply in the too hard basket, only Alberques available and I have no wish for death at the hands of angry peregrinos denied aCCeS to the one toilet because I am parked in there. Neither do I wish to have to find a nearby bush, might be ticks lurking.
So catching the big machine with wheels tomorrow for Salamanca where I will stay for a few days. Have booked an apartment. Anyone want a few days in Salammca? From memory it is a lovely city with Europes oldest university, UK has the oldest of course Oxford?
Shall rejoin the Camino there.
Glad I did my backwards stint yesterday as the track would have been awfully muddy today.
Think there will be a few peregrinos on the bus tomorrow according to my Irish ladies.

Sunday today so the bars are full mainly men!!!
Something I have noticed is 2pm on a Saturday when everything basically shuts down until Tuesday morning , is very similar to 5 pm on a Friday in NZ!!! The noise level is horrendous!!!

Day 22? Banos de Montemayor/Calazada de Bejar

I seem to have been pounding the back roads of rural Spain forever but it is only three weeks.
Sometimes feel like I am on an endless loop from just outside ChCh to Timaru via the Rakaia gorge
Would have been cheaper and the food no worse
Pounded down from lovely Hervas this am about 9 ks on the road . Had a booking at a local hotel thanks to the lovely English speaking woman at the tourist office in Hervas.
arrived before lunch and thought yes!! Got a taxi to Calzada de Bejar which is one of those tiny very quaint villages way way out in the boondocks. Cost 26 e for a taxi there. My plan was as there was supposedly no accommodation other than a dreaded Hostal and because I do not want to skip bits constantly , was to walk back to my comfy hotel in Banos.anout 11 ks lies if course unless I do 2 ks an hour.
What do I see immediately on arrival in ,Calzada but a house advertising private rooms with bath30 e %#^*##
I set off going the opposite way ,causing slight consternation to the few pilgrims I saw , three couples and a pair of grumpy men. My tourist lady said Spanish walk the Camino at the weekends
Nice, mm, then it started to rain and rain and rain. I only had my rain Cape rest of the gear at the hotel,great without my pack,so sheltered under trees, at one point was sheltering on my side of the fence with three big Bulls on the other side, they moved!!!!
Up hill and down dale, lots of claret ashes here must be lovely in autumn plus green
beeches. Entering a deciduous area plus loads of green leaved forest pansies still with lots of flowers. Even saw bluebells
Finally tottered back to the hotel , frozen , thought the tiles were heated my feet were so cold
So getting up there Round 350 ks I think
Gets a bit boring as I said at the start like walking walking endlessly in Canterbury

Day 19 Hervas …still

Old joints are starting to calm down thank heavens
I have been thinking about travel and do sometimes wonder if it is worth the biscuit.
Someone once said the pleasure is a third in the planning a third in the doing and. Third in the reflection. Guess we all expect it to be 90% in the doing..
Things that rattle me are:
Getting keys to operate ,every door and key has a mind of its own ,no two are similar
Operating showers,no two are similar
No bath plugs
Skinny towels
No soap for the shower just some damn scented wash
No bath
Insufficient loo paper, half a roll for three days for ME,using kitchen towel surprising it was available
POLYESTER SHEETS a huge hate ,have used my sheet sleep bag numerous times already,currently being washed in an unfathomable life of its own washing machine
No soap powder for washing machine,cheap shampoo works a treat
Rock harde beds
Rock hard pillows though that has not been such a problem this time

T V remotes all are different
Getting lost time and time again probably because I apply Southern Hemisphere logic to a northern map ,is that possible. Ended up the other day diametrically opposite where I wanted to be
Arriving in a town with no clue where to go and finding accommodation is on the other side of town
Not being able to find said accommodation

Snotty receptionists , just cause I smell a little…so would they after a day pounding along
Trying to get email connections even though I have a Spanish SIM card
Food,well this is humdinger, never quite know what I am ordering ,check my phrase book but does not have everything in it…
Counterfood,imagine a Temuka cafe that does not have much walk in trade ,that is whT a lot of it looks like. Because this part of the Camino is so remote just getting food is a mission.
I am sure there are more,actually predictive text is a hate don’t seem to be able to turn it off
Getting obviously ripped off even if only for a few euros. Paid three times I think the other day for brekkie. Cost was I itially 20 then 23 with brekkie when I got there,was 25 then brekkie with stale bread was 4 e
Not getting emails from family and friends it is the only English language contact I sometimes have
Learning to use said phone for everything!!!..
Some boring scenery
Walking the Camino at times is a hate but more often is on the plus side

Finding a nice and not ott in cost hotel,happens now and again…
Having a nice meal,yesterday ,lambs ear lettuce salad with raspberry dressing followed by pork of course but a nice fillet with red current jus ,the usual chips of course followed daringly by a pineapple Charlotte plus two glasses of nice wine, all for 20 e
Seeing storks and Hawkes and all sorts of other birds as I trudge along
Seeing lovely butterflies in all colours..seeing the tortoise.
Having some nice interactions with fellow walkers….even if they are
Male white and middle class….
Not seeing walkers for days on end….
Getting emails from family and friends and amazing FaceTime calls from Joan that scare the hell out of me when my phone rings!..
My new phone even if it does funny things. Have read four books on it,that saved at least 2 kgs in weight.
Coping without any Spanish, guide book said not to go without basic Spanish ha
I survived China for three months without basic mandarin, my mime skills are quite good
And just opening your purse for the cafe to get the right change sometimes gets me a better price!!!!
The fear of it all will I make it!!!!
The thought of actually making it.
Some lovely scenery.
Some lovely towns,Merida,Caceres and here,Hervas though only tiny 4000 people

Day 18 Hervas

Internet is dodgy here so shall make a start but who knows…Hervas is famous for being a town of converted Jews,well there are lots of posters about with Los Convertos on .

I was not sad to leave Jarilla, even if I did have an interesting meal with two Dutch truckers. The young one,23, offered me a lift to Gibralter on his truck,sort of tempted but had just made the Hervas booking…
I am slowly fading away with lack of food…can get all the dried out snack food you want from the bar counters but to get food that is fresh and sustaining almost ,you need to wait until about 9 pm then if it’s like Jarilla ,chips and pork snitzel.
All that food on the hoof and I am starving..bought brekkie supplies yeaterday as I am here 3 nights. All I was offered at Jarilla was two bits of cake,the day before stale bread toasted,saw the fresh bread arrive after my toast which was totally inedible by lunch time,ants got it….
Hopefully I will get a nice lunch here today. Am spending three nights here as I am stuffed.
On the walk to here yesterday,18 ks,saw loads of storks after food in the paddocks but golly they have acute hearing, soon as they hear my bag being unzipped from at least fifty metres they are off!!!!
Have seen quite a few Hawkes recently as well.
Yesterday it rained on and off, my cape is great for showers. Walk was all road ,the N630 which shows about 430 ks to Santiago the Camino takes the Long way home up hill and down damn dale.
Although faster walking on the road it is harder on the joints.

Plea for charity ,don’t forget to look up givealittle and find walking for life.
It is not the easiest web site in the world…donations for Cancer Society,maybe should be for serving pilgrims….

Day 17 Jarilla

…and if you have never heard of it fear not …my life is not being enriched by staying in what is in reality a truckies way stop. Hope the food is good and by what I saw being poured into coffee in the bar am glad I am not out there driving.

Quite a nice day today. Lots of broom in flower and put that with the lavender and it looks great.
Walked from Caracaboso to above 22 ks third day of stamping along at that rate and I need a breather…
Had a Catherine and Bernard fly past me this am ,how do they keep the pace. Only other people were Cyclists who scare the wits out of me as they roar past.

Saw the blonde again,looking like a model perched on a marker….
Have cracked the French secret,their luggage is sent on…I could move the old bones faster without the carapace on my back….They also have a guide who carries water.
Supposed to rain tomorrow so will make any decisions re the trail then.
Have just completed over 300 ks….
Saw a tortoise today basking in a rock in a frog pond. I was too stuffed to cross the ditch to get his pikkie but think he was making a noise like a bass profundo cicada.
Lots of frogs about making frog noises and how do the cows and sheep selected for the bell around thier neck put up with it clanging all the time.
Briefly met an Alaskan woman at the roman ruins in Casparra. Oddly neither of us were much interested preferring to chat….

Day 16 Gallisteo

Which is a walled town …I am outside the wall in an Arab hotel!!!!!
Long hard hike today and talking to my bicycling Basque , just as hard on a bike
Talking to another group of walkers, yes, last two days have been nasty and more to come
Glad it is not just me…got lost this am for a change. Was most put out and if a big white bird other than a stork had appeared I would have jumped on it or rather into it

I realise that the via de la plata is a middle aged middle class male domain. The younger ones like my cycling basque ride bikes
It seems to be something of a pissing contest …excuse the crudity nah don’t …it’s true
Forgot , the French are still around encountered them on my way to dinner they were outside the Hostal… Dinner was fine , a Spanish cyclist , very suave decided he would sit with me let him choose the meal , fine but most of the meal was spent with him baiting the French over their choice if wine. The French had a suckling pig looked good.
Scenery is still spectacular but I do miss the little bars of the Portuguese Camino never thought I would miss anything from that but regular coffee shots were great
This part of Spain is very sparsely populated but i enjoy the cows , huge!!!and the sheep with bells on. Plus the lavender and the mad insect life. Enormous ants, I am always careful where I put my pack at lunch and piddle stops ….
Just started seeing skinks some are large and the storks continue to entertain me

Day 15 Grimaldo

Well 2/3 of it were great but the last third!!!!

I got lost in the midst of a large motorway reconstruction and after climbing over two motorway barriers, well, falling over really, I got the pip and decided to walk on the road to my destination embalsevde Alcantara by this time I had been walking for over five hours.

Thought I would give it another hour then put out my thumb. Hour passed so pack off and waited along came a car, will I, won’t I… I did, they whizzed past.

Shit. Pack back on, stumbled on, after 5 by this stage spot an Auberges might even share by this stage….nada, full. Bugger my guide book often does not have phone numbers….but obviously Spanish ones and Dutch one do

Anyway I am now in Grimaldo nice little place and 25e taxi to get here…accommodation also nice 20e.

Have got the B and B man here to book me places for the next two nights.

The Frenchmen are here they definitely cheat…
Saw the blonde this am hair trailing behind her but no sign of the argy.

I really did enjoy today until 3 pm met one other person a basque bicyclist from Bilbao – true

Day 13 and 14, Caceres

Day 13 was spent getting here and day 14 seems to have been spent trying to get money on my phone interspersed with little food stops and the odd wine.

So getting here wS the usual ups and downs. First part was nice lotsa lavender growing wild but all a bit chilly. A few creeks to hop across some with large stepping stones a challenge for short legs and the usual cattle stops designed for feet bigger than
Met up with five spaniards who were actually a Pom ,a Uruguayan and three Spaniards. Had lunch with them in valdesor where they were staying in an alberque.
I headed on out and on and on …. Eventually spotted Caceres in the distance but it was two hours before Imade it to my hotel. It takes forever to get into places on foot then to get lost a zillion times due to language complications ,why do they speak louder and faster….

Eventually got to the hotels a bit manky I thought for 100 e a night. Shown,no given the key to my room ,floor 4 no window only a skylight. Down I go and pounce, not staying there not what I was shown on got another room potential for noise asked for ear plugs!!!! Room was ok but why only one piece if soap and a totally useless comb…
Happily did some laundry and hopped into the shower
Long black hair in shower!!!!
I gingerly scooped them to one side. Once clean I tucked them into a piece of paper and gave them to the snotty receptionist..oh my. Good result….not so snotty.
However they Cannot manage their switchboqrd as I never got a call I was expecting. My fault somehow…

Breakfast is managed by a commandant so not sure how I will manage to filch some tomorrow.
Cold as hell today. Catherine ,the shawl a jumper and a Merino t shirt did not do it so now have a thermal fleece as well,may well wear it to bed. The sandled feet cause raised eyebrows.I WILL NOT WEAR SOCKS WITH SANDLES IN DAYTIME! Temp according to the farmacia signs is 16 with a windchill of about 8 ….
Old town Caceres is fabulous and again nobody around. All 14 c stuff. A Jewish quarter and Arab one and of course a huge church etc etc all very late Middle ages. No church’s open anywhere…
Octopus for lunch today forgotten how rich it was…
Off to Embalse de Alcantara tomorrow about 21 k…
Ages now till a decent size town,Salamanca. I am over 1950 and Bach style accommodation….
Done about 230 ks

Day 12 Alcuescar

Only another 42 days to go….
I have just been neatly ripped off, first wine 1.30 e second wine 3.30 most expensive wine I have had in Spain
The bar Owner also owns the mad apartment I am staying in on this rather remote and odd little town. Far cry from the Parador. Last nights dinner consisted of wild asparagus, with wit loof , bitter here as well , plus half a calf still bleeding and a dessert that purported to be rose petals I can spot rose essence,nice though even if it did keep Me awake.
This am I marched out of the breakfast room with a filled roll and an orange and a rather nice napkin enjoyed it at noon,not often one has linen at lunch time. It was only a small napkin….
Parts of today were lovely, wild lavender and avnues of cistus that went on for kilometres.
However realise what exhausts Me is the hunt for either any accommodation or booked accommodation
Because I have zero Spanish and most down here have zero kiwi it is a bit difficult
They do the standard thing of talking louder…..
Eventually I got a bed, well the little apartment has six beds and only one chair in the sitting area.about 23/4 ks today but quite nice far better scenery than the vineyards

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