Pig's Ear Park and Other Adventures

Month: May 2018 (page 1 of 2)

Lounging about

Would be great but golly it is chilly. Forgot to mention the clothing I had on  whilst walking on Friday in the rain, merino top, long merino socks to knees, down jacket then light rainproof jacket and over the top my red hobbit cape which covers everything and yes trousers and boots! Peeing  in the rain was a mission!!!Also kept my red hat on under the hobbit cape hood. The men who gave me a lift for the five ks to Medina said they had seen me earlier in the day, hard to miss I guess but definitely not Morgan territory!!!

Followed another pilgrim around Medina looking for something to eat, only menu de dia place was shut and all the rest of the bars were selling tired tapas. Ended up having  a frozen  chicken burger. The lettuce was OK. The guys below suddenly appeared playing their little hearts out .

Walked down a little lane after being directed to a restaurant, past kids playing fot bul!! When suddenly heard wailing behind me and there was a big bloke belting hell out of a kid , about 12, boy, I muttered bully and it never occurred to me to intervene but I stared after man and boy , man came back thought he was going to belt me  but told me the restaurant I was standing outside of was closed!!! Saw him again after the burger, he  acknowleged me and lo and behold trailing along behind was boy eating a bag of chippies… will never know what it was about and if it would have been worse if I had not been there.

Next morning I went wandering again, knee a lot better but innards in turmoil, oh well more drugs!!!

Very interesting little town with its verandahed streets and pedestrian walks, old as… Found the second best church, very impressive, lotsa gilt and carvings. The best church is apparently outstanding with an altarpiece similar to Santiagos.

No way around it had to get a taxi to Villalon de Campos so missed the canal. Public transport simply does not exist in rural Spain. Weird taxi driver, yattered in Spanish all the way, tried to drop me off at the Alberque and charged me another 5e when he had to double back to the address I had already given him. I swear half the population cannot read….probably similar to NZ. So 30e bit the dust.

Went for a walk, bars/cafes all full of men of course, found one that looked promising, a few women about!!  Had some tapas, mussels and fried sardines, good!!! Must have been a fotbul match coming up as a number of monogrammed t shirts appeared and soon the bar was full of them, Valladoid supporters, very loud…

zzzd the afternoon away….


Still cold and damp, plotting how to get to Sahaguan  tomorrow about 38 k away, may walk some may taxi some if I can find a taxi.

Not sure what this ku klux clan type sculpture is about, creepy…



Which means poos, bums and whatever.. my right knee has done/doing the dirty on me. It rained for much of today so until Castromonte about 12 ks , I kept to the road. Very little traffic but initially a steep 2k climb out of San Pelayo. Dear Ascuncion gave me a box of homemade bikkies to nibble along the way, she also gave me breakfast at 8 am so I was on the road by 8.20.

Made Castromonte in good time  and saw at least six big piggeries, very whiffy.

I had a coffee at the only bar in Spain that does not do food. Bought three nmandarins from a travelling vegie market, most expensive mandarins in the world 2.80e Then  a real surprise, from behind me came a beautiful Morgan car, and another and another. Weird thing was the male drivers were all late fifties plus and All of the women passengers were blonde and quite a bit younger!!! They were pissed off as they all had to back and fiddle about as three big trucks were trying to get thru the other way. I noticed one had Zamora Morgan Club  so maybe all 11 of them were Spanish. The cars were beautiful 

As it was starting/looking like clearing up I decided to go back on the yellow arrowed path. Walking on tar seal hurts the feet after a time. Mistake!!! Ended up with my boots having a 15 cm layer of clayey gunk underneath  them. Kicked it off by scraping vigorously  and kicking vigorously on every stone I saw worthy of the name. As far as I can tll that is where my knee said ‘enough you silly old thing, kicking and jumping is going too far’.

Eventually got onto one of the shingle roads that criss cross these plains and about 10 minutes later knee starting hurting. Tried to ignore it but it got worse  and descending into the villag of Valverde de Campos I was whimpering and knew I was done for at least temporarily.

Tried to contact the hotel for them to organise a taxi, only 5 k to my destination of Medina de Riosco, hopeless…. Spied some men outside a bar and asked them to call a taxi, one had a little Spanglish, they insisted it was only 5 k I snivelled and they realised I was not malingering  and immediately put me in their car, well one of them owned the car and drove straight to my rather manky hotel, 23e a night opposed to Acunscion’s 105e ( included dinner!!!) certainly a difference. Reeks of ciggies….

Found a farmacia and explained what had happened and showed her the anti inflammatories from the other day. Fine she said, two every six hours  and no walking  for a few days, shall see how I feel in the morning. A bugger as tomorrow is my last 24 k day as the next day is a grab a bus day and then that is the initial part of the Madrid Camino done. The rest is bits and pieces of other Caminos.

So started off a good day and until mid afternon despite patchy weather it was good. Would have been quite tough in fine weather as no shade at all!!

Medina de Rioseco is the capital of the Gothic Plains and looks very intetesting. Nice to be in a bigger place for a change!!! The pillars in the picture are wood!! There is also a famous canal here which I will hobble to in the am.


Is the name of yesterday’s guardian angel. Eventually got myself on the right path out of Simancas. Straight up a hill, thought they were behind me on this section. Certainly not, before reaching Cignuela there were several more , about 300 m worth, enough to force a couple of cycling peregrinos off their bikes, to be fair they did have a trailer. Gravel roads with smallish (chip20 size stones) so not bad to walk on.  Scenery was very pretty even a few birds. Often hear and occasionally see , skylarks. 

Stopped in Cignuela, tiny village but had a main square, for coffee and and a piece of tortilla which did the already dodgy innards no good at all. Got over it and set off again. 

And wow, just out of C the Gothic fields started, just walked on and on, surrounded by green crops, lots of peas being grown. Some great cast iron sculptures along the way, they certainly stood out against the lack of background but sky. Weather was kind , but the road got harder with bigger stones, detected some Roman Road underneath at times. Huge tractors around and enormous paddocks, no small holdings here. 

Eventually came down a hill to the town of Wamba , named after a 5 A D Visigoth king, there is a statue (modern) of him at the town’s entrance.

There is also a church with a lintel stone engraved 1030 in Roman numerals. I sat and ate my lunch (stolen from brekkie) on the steps while waiting on Ascunsion who had been coerced by the receptionist in Simancas to collect me from the church.

What an energetic angel, we drove about 18 ks to San Pelayo where her Rural Hacienda is. Sooo glad I was collected had walked 17 ks and that was enough.

My room is lovely, four poster etc ( and a BATH) and last night she cooked vegetables!!!! Out of her own garden!!!!!

One couple from Argentina  also staying .Luckily the wife spoke English so Ascunsion and I managed to communicate thru her. Pleasant evening with good food. Breakfast was good too but the weather has gone gray bother it.

Yet another day off, this was my next planned one after Segovia…somehow Coca sneaked in. Have walked almost 200 ks but the test will be tomorrow with 24 ks to Medina de Roseco.

Last of the forests

Apparently from here on ,from Simancas it becomes Tierra  de Campos, which is Gothic Fields which is meseta !!!

Translated all it means is a gigantic plain, wonder if there will be poppies.

Changed my mind re the train to Vallaodoid  as it was a lovely morning so set off for Simancas 17 ks away.

Contrary to what the guidebook said the section to Puente Duero was very pretty, long views, nice trees and lovely wildflowers. Even saw a tiny toad, tried to get a picture but have a blurred brown thing.

Arrived at Puente Duoro on lunchtime, workers one of 12 noon and stopped at the only bar. It is always the same, full of men who size me up, first they check out the red hat, then the boobs, then the face and you can see the let down, ugh, old face and the resumption of what they had been doing prior to my arrival. There is very little English spoken here, less than down south, so it is always a bit of a struggle to get coffee, food is ok , point language, paying is a bit of a drama if I cannot see the cash register….Guess where the bar is in this wild west town…

So after coffee and a roll set off on the last part to Simanca, eeek my hotel is 6 ks out!!!Not sure how that happened, blame the travel agent- me again.

Apparently a few of these sculptures over the next few days….

On arrival at Simanca stopped at a nice garden bar and asked if I could get a taxi, long and short of it, no!!! Asked nice man if he knew another hotel, yes, and it was close, he phoned the initial hotel and asked if they would collect me , no, they did not run a taxi service, sods, 35e down the tubes but would cost that for a taxi from the next town to collect me.

Set off for 45 e hotel, asked a girl with dog for directions , easy, next thing she is back with Dad, they asked if I wanted them to walk with me to the hotel, assured them I would be fine. Trotted up a long steep road , without swearing and realised I was not sure where to go, next thing a car pulls up, girl, Dad and baby brother, they insisted I get in!! I did and dammit lost one of my flash Scott gloves I was using as a pad on my fiery left shoulder!!! Anyway was nice of them to drop me off! Dad had cycled the Camino Frances a few years ago.

Hotel quite swish and the receptionist helped me sort out my next days walk to Wamba , walk 19 ks and get collected by next hotel! Expensive one so they will collect me!!!

Had dinner with two Brits in the hotel, good to speak English freely, first time in awhile. They were from Grimsby!!!

So a good day and perfect walking conditions.

More pines and peas and carrotts

After a sumptious breakfast prepared by moi, punnet of creamed rice , a mandarin and coffee made in one of those George Clooney machines(at the outer edge of my technical capability), I set off – downstairs to get my prearranged taxi for 20 ks. Left another 20 to do.

Plus I was carrying two finely prepared bread rolls, same chef, but either the bread or the cheese was off as they had an odd smell and taste. Above ingredients apart from the coffee came from supermarket sortie on Saturday evening. I have given up on trying to get gluten and dairy free stuff, I would starve, feel a bit nasty at times so throw various pills down,  gastrosoothe is a favourite plus have losec as well. In fact I could probably just eat all the pills I am carrying and not bother with food….

Taxi man was good and helped me top up my phone, if no tabac go to a petrol station not sure what you do if no petrol station either…used up a heap of data watching the royal wedding from my forest perch.

Collected at 8.30 am and nobody around anywhere….Walk was pleasant, weather was good, lucky no rain and no real heat. Still cool in the mornings and pm and up to about 22 which is plenty when there is no shade.  Stopped to to rearrange my pack, creams/lotions and potions to bottom and socks/undies to the top. Seemed better but after 15 k shoulders were on fire again. Had one of the not so delectable rolls for lunch stopped by a river and was actually passed by another walker. Man about 60, he scurried past as though I may bite him!

Nobody in front of me and nobody behind me.

Usual wheat/cereal crops and pine forests  but nearer Valdestillas, my destination, large paddocks of peas and carrotts  appeared. Plus a cycling pilgrim. Under foot was either sandy tracks or proper unsealed roadway.

Best camino yet for not having loads of busy road walking. Drank more water today and that helped, well lightened the load when I drank it.

Poor dead baby hawk.

Valdestillas will remain in my memory for the seven storks all busily nesting right on the edge and around the church roof.

Accommodation is Ok, pretty good for 25e, complete with incontinent blanket. Rooms above a bar but the only accommodation I saw in this long spread out township.

The wildflowers are wonderful and not finishing as I am going north where it is all a bit later so should have them for a few weeks yet.

Tomorrow like the obedient person I am , am following the guide books suggestion and catching a train to historic Vallalodid then after playing tourist, will not be long with a pack on my back, bus to Simancas for the night then back on the trail again the next day to goodness knows where as when I booked the accommodation in San Pelayo had no clue where it was!!!

Two different types if way markers, change from a yellow arrow on a tree or a fence.

Flat, plus slow Sunday

Quite an easy flattish walk from Nava whatsit to Coca, about 16 ks which is what I do best. Confess to stopping for over an hour to watch the Royal Wedding. great dress, weird sermon by the black revivalist, choir was odd plus felt desperately sorry for her mother. Did I notice Camillas head had the shakes or was it the big hat!

Seat for the wedding, flowers on my pack to celebrate

Got pine gum all over the seat of my pants dammit!

Greeted at the entrance to Coca (pop 2000, founded about 800AD) by the local ‘different ‘boy aged about 30. He wanted me to go to the Alberque to get a stamp, followed me for a time telling me that. A car came roaring down a street right at him, he jumped onto a doorstep  and so did I, must be a game to terrorise him, sods.Very narrow streets so a bit nasty.

Finally found my wee apartment and phoned the owner, we conversed in Spanglish. Asked about ideas for the next night when I am bedless, I was correct there is nothing but a scruffy alberque  in Aslcazan . i took little persuading to have a second night in Coca.

Body is nearly mended thank heavens. Had a snooze then went to find dinner, found two English women, one nice one nasty. Followed them like a puppy to the supermarket, nasty one shut up after nice one asked me what Caminos I had done….meow. They stayed in Segovia and are very worried about the 16 ks the next day, meow meow

Bought supplies for a couple of days lunches, as there is no breakfast to steal from here.

Good nights sleep, good bed after incontinent sheet removed.

Read and mooched about , need to find someone who speaks English to load more dosh onto my phone…

Went to the mine host recommended restaurant for a very mediocre lunch, 20e thanks. Salad with bits, meat stew with six soggy chips and a badly cooked chocolate crepe. Maybe I just order the wrong thing.

Surprisingly the tapas on display look great, will give up on proper food and go tapas.

The dominat feature, ornamental plaster walls and lotsa bricks is known as Mudejar style and predates Gothic architecture. Moorish influenced, guess the Alhambra  in Granada is Mudejar in style , Charles V great blob of an addition is gothic. 

The castle here dates back to 12c , Napeleon had a go at it but it defeated him. Huge moat.

There is also a church and a former hospital and pilgrims tesidence in the same style. Town looks very bare currently as all the plane trees get severly pollarded and only have a few leaves so far this early in the season.

Got my pilgrims stamp done by the local priest, asked at a bar and the woman owner marched me to the presbytery!!! He was quite young but never spike to me only her!!!!


Flat, flat flat…..and sandy

The aqueduct is huge!!!! Whoops, sideways, the Romans would be pleased.

Found the bus station (Estacion de Autobus thank you) and managed to get a ticket for 20 k out from Nava de la Asuncion. I was first in the queue but the cashier or whatever he was called was on the phone FOR TWENTY MINUTES. The queue grew to 15 people, out the door but still he fiddled with his bits of paper and rushed backwards and forwards. Suspect head office was on the phone.


Well, the countryside has certainly changed, now similar to the area between Burgos and Leon, flat cropping land. The small towns are like Rakaia in the 1950’s with ag machinery businesses and grain stores. Nava whats it where I am staying has a lot of pine forest outside it, some just timber but half being tapped for resin. The resin looks milky and unappealing. It also had a large sand mining facility which took about half an hour to walk around.

Walked on sandy paths thru the pines for over an hour. Taken me a time but realise that the pine trees I saw the other day and todays lot have not bern pruned all the fallen branches and fallen trees  are from April’s bad snowstorms. Bet the forestry moguls  are spitting.

Some strawberry plantings near Nava de .. but mainly it is wheat etc(the finger is an extra)

The hotel I am staying at is the only one in town(Ashburton of the 1950’s) and when I staggered in at 4.30 pm the bar was chocka and nobody on reception. After being ignored for sometime I waved my arms about, she had (little dinky)  no clue what I wanted, I said  Reservasione for Habitacion very politely, nada, she disappeared, another dinky, no joy, then a man came out from wherever they kept disappearing to saying,’Margaret Parker’? Finally, room  is OK but dinner not till 9!!!!!

Went out and viewed the town, bought water and chocolate at the  supernercado, yes Ashburton!!!

Have made it to the dining room, bar is chocka again and a bull fight on tv, Spanish  i can be rude about Ashburton, I grew up there.

Dinner, a burger seemed the best of a mediocre lot.

Tomorrow another flat day, maybe in more ways than one..

Relaxing in Segovia

Well , sort of , a few things to find out first, like accommodation in two nights time and how to get a bus for some of the 36 ks tomorrow.

Had an OK breakfast at the hotel and managed to filch a roll and boiled egg for lunch. There was a small market on in the square so bought some fruit , had to have a NZ gala apple. The vegies look great but never see them on menus only the ubiquitous iceberg salad….

Visited the Tourist Information Centre and  discovered there is a fab wee guide book called’Route to Santiago, The Madrid Route, a practical guide for pilgrims’ put out by turistico  Castillo Y Leon in 2010. David, your friends should try and get it. Would have made my life easier .

This guide gave the distance from Valsain to Segovia as 17 which is about what I thought, not 13!!!Those extra ks are killers…..

There may be a bus.  but nobody is really sure so shall go down the hill and around the aqueduct to the bus station  BUT tomorrow. About to be a serious thunderstorm  so staying put in my wee room.

Ate my lunch then had a siesta.

Visited the Cathedral to get my stamp, do not think the woman does many as she made a real mess of it.

Out of here tomorrow, quite a haphazard city all over the place but charming of course , a world heritage site and heaving with tourists, lotsa Chinese and school groups.

Selling and buying vegie seedlings  is a serious thing. My room is the balcony on the left.

On to Segovia

After a spartan breakfast and lousy coffee set off on the 13 k trot (ha!) to Segovia. Segovia has long been in my headlights  so today was the day. Nice walk alongside a quiet road to San Ildefonso which has a Royal Palace and beautiful gardens. It is an immaculate and historical town  full of lovely peripd buildings almost like French Chateaus. Mine host had said that the palace was very understated, it made Buckingham Palace look like a bach! Understated my foot. However after reading that at my age I got in free got the pip when told because I was “foreign” I had to pay 9e sod em .. So went around to the garden entrance, nowhere to leave my pack and viewing a garden of the size of this one, all mazes etc with a pack on my back was not for me(even though the garden was free- should be reversed-pay for garden!) so hrrumphed my way down the impressive avenue of horse chestnuts to a coffee shop.i

Started my walk again, theoretically only 10 ks to go. Walking alongside a main road but on a good track.

After 10 ks just entering outer outer suburbs  so called at a new supermarket, admitted defeat and got them to call a taxi. I had tried to get on a bus but was given the hand flick when asked if it went to Segovia, heaven knows where  it went…

Taxi duly arrived, 9e , bargain!!! However even the taxi driver was muttering when we found the hotel, I was aghast at how much further it was, another 4 k most of it uphill!!! paid him 11 e

Saw the very famous Roman  aquaduct, it is at the bottom of a hill, I am at the top so may buy a postcard. It is very impressive though, about 6 floors high and used no cement, run if there is an earthquake. Segovias high day was middle ages to 17c and is regarded as a backwater today(not by Segovians of course). Has a dramatic cathedral  built by same architect as the one in Salamanca and quite similar but totally at odds with other buildings in the 17c Plaza Mayor ( main square)

My hotel is very old, even has a central courtyard where last night I ate roast piggy, left the crackling, even got a salad!!! Have put the incontinent sheet under the bed, done that a few times, wonder if they ever find them!!! So, good but pricier accommodation , even have a wee balcony.

Day off and my body is battered so needs a break, all flat from here on. Must get the next few days accommodation sorted, this is the under the fence bit in my itinerary.

Still cool am and pm but gets to about 20c , found a new thermal, 20e, different texture to the Khatmandu one but a good sludge gray colour.

Actually got a stork standing up plus a yummy pastry!

Still hate hills but 13 ks downhill not the best either!!

  1. I am constantly surprised by the lack of people in the 2 and 3 star lodgings and I do not mean guests, often I  just go in the am without seeing anybody, mind you nothing worth nicking.

Breakfast at the train station as nothing on offer at the hotel. Good coffee, good pastry(this walk is being carried out on pastries) plus a plastic looking roll of the kind that lasts forever to take away.

Went and looked for the brolley cover, no sign so set off on route march. First 4 k on a footpath by a road, passed by the american woman, short chat, she is from Boston but no idea where she is headed…

Next 4 k was mainly on broken up Roman Roads, back in the  National Park by this time and loads of day walkers, all faster than me but with teeny teeny packs. Finally made the top of the pass at 1900 m, Puno de la Fuenfia is 500 m further up and my rock sitting lunch companion Alexander was planning on doing it. I wished him luck. The climb to the top of the pass had stuffed me  and was particularly alarming when for twenty minutes or so there were no markings and no people!!!!

Next mission to get back down to the flat… I had decided to stop 10 ks short of Segovia, so the book said, it fibbed, the distances did not add up, would have been better to have tottered on to Segovia, 31 k than sidetrack to Valsain at 27 k…Apart from the last five ks all of the downhill walk was thru a huge pineforest. Still some snow about but overall the day though brisk in the am was lovely and sunny about 16c.

Hardly saw anyone on the way down and sadly no views as the trees obscured them.

Wobbled into Valsain at 4.30 pm been walking since 8 am. Quite a few wee breaks for sips of water, no food or water a available. Guest house is new  and modern but still has polyester sheets and the usual incontinent sheet thing. No big towels so shall pull  off the  incontinent sheet,combination makes for a sticky night. Mine host dropped me at the worst bar I have ever been in, Mrs bar was enormous and son was hunchbacked. Mine host  at lodging read me wrong!!! Food was disgusting, managed some of the soup which had meat in it that was nearly green  and ate some chips and one of the fried(!!  ) eggs. There was some jerky like meat strips which I left. Some of the dried meat is yum but not this lot…

Ugh ugh ugh. Mine host lives in Madrid and has a very good job…Wonder what he had for dinner.

The umbrella which cost a small fortune has gone, gave it to a waitress at the cafe before the second section of the climb up, where the road ended. She was delighted and my load is better.

Hard day actually two hard days but supposedly the worst ones on this camino…

Sorry, lost the pictures connection here is very slow😳 managed the pikkies in Segovia🚀

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