Day 48 (14/Nov/2017): Cubo del Tierra del Vino to Zamora (33km)

A quick update as I’m at the restaurant and I must be back at the Zamora albergue by 10pm to comply with the rules. It’s run by the same association as the one in Salamanca but the hospitaleras are two delightful Canadian women, who are happy to chat and make the place feel welcoming. The rules state that I can’t stay more than one night, though, so I’ll check into another place tomorrow.
After a breakfast at the albergue in Cubo, I set off in the direction of Zamora. I noticed a Santiago cross at the village church but I was saddened to see that the path seemed to lead back towards a busy road ahead. Then I realised that I hadnt seen any yellow arrows. Sure enough, when I turned around, I found a sign (facing the wrong way) that pointed me onto a track, which went off at a diagonal, taking me far from traffic for most of the day. The path went through some pleasant rolling countryside. Winds were fairly stiff but I was warm enough with two layers.
I met Janis, from Munich, coming in the opposite direction. We shared our tips and said Buen Camino.
From Villanueva onwards, the Camino signage became very extravagant- huge milestones with iron pilgrim staffs. And at one point a very strange “Camino Henge” with three inscribed stones around a “curb” of promises. It seems to be some kind of message about harmony between religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, at least. And I guess the Arabic script on some of the Camino milestones has something to do with that too.
I had no expectations regarding Zamora – I really knew nothing about this city. It was thrilling, then, to arrive at dusk and find the sun setting over the Douro river, which flows to Portugal. The city seemed to be towering over it on a cliff edge. Very dramatic. I saw the spire of the cathedral which is a brother to the old cathedral in Salamanca (okay, I did come across just a few facts about Zamora in a few places).
The city reminds me just a little of dinan in Brittany – but much grander. There are medieval bits and the town rises steeply above a river. I guess that’s as far as the similarity goes.
I had dinner near the plaza mayor – There are some good looking public spaces and museums that I look forward to exploring tomorrow. I can’t make my mind up about the commercial centre – The walk into town after the bridge seems run down, and there are a couple of closed / dead shops near the main square. But there are also some very chic looking shops – I particularly liked the look of one that sells all kinds of pulses and dried foods from large sacks with fancy looking scoops and beautiful signs. It would do well in any quinoa- and muesli- eating enclave of London, I’m sure.
There are three other pilgrims at the albergue. A Frenchman who has walked many Caminos and is not called Michel! A Spaniard who is cycling home to Oviedo after 10 years of cycling around the world. And his Brazilian friend.
The Canadian ladies have given me updates about the pilgrims that I met earlier on this Camino, most of whom are far ahead of me because of the breaks I’ve taken in various cities.

Categories: 2017 Camino Mozarabe (Almeria to Finisterre)

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