Day 55 (21/Nov/2017): Puebla de Sanabres to Requejo (13km)

A very short walk today. I spent the morning looking around the charming, historic town of Puebla de Sanabria with Uwe and Michael. At one time, Puebla was at crucial point, defensively – commanding views over the valley of the river Tera. (The river Castro meets the Tera here but I couldn’t see where). The population today is around 1,500 – surprisingly few for the scale of the place. I imagine it was much “fuller” in the past. These days it must attract a lot of tourists during the high season. But we were out of season and the town was quiet. At the top of the town are the defensive walls of the castle and two churches. Leading up are pretty, winding streets – typical of castle towns that were designed to give defenders many points to ambush an invading army. As we looked around, I referred to Wikipedia to get some dates and historical context for what we were looking at.
I said goodbye to Uwe and Michael after a coffee in a quaint cafe. Back at the hotel, I changed into my walking boots and exchanged information with a French walker who is doing the Camino sanabres and via de la Plata as far as Merida in reverse with her friend.
I found the short walk to Requejo to be less well signposted than I had hoped. The road out of Puebla was marked with arrows on three wheely bins, and after that I was able to ask local residents, who directed me past the Guardia Civil and onto the road toward Requejo. From there, I had read that the Camino follows the river for some distance past quarries that are supplying the railway construction project. Here, I met a man who seemed to be training his horse to do dressage type moves – and lots of cows who seemed to be able to find grass to eat between the piles of quarried gravel. At times when I didn’t see any arrows, I referred to my app and continued to follow the path along the river until the point where I had to cross the road.
The entire valley is turning yellow and orange – not as much variety in the palette as you might find in a New England fall, but very pretty nonetheless. Since I had such a short distance to cover, I tried to capture the colours of the trees – birch, oak, horse chestnut, and poplar (?). The Camino Sanabres follows a diagonal from Granja to Santiago, so I find myself facing the sun more often these days. The sight of light filtering through the trees and creating dappled effects on the motley coat of fallen foliage is very pretty. But it’s nigh on impossible to capture in a picture what I was seeing with my eyes. Between Puebla and Requejo, I came across only one small hamlet – Terroso, which has a parish church of Santiago with shells on the door and in the stonework. The infrequent schedule of masses suggests that it has a very small congregation.
On arrival in Requejo, I was hoping to get a room at a hotel so that I could be in a quiet space with Wifi for the inaugural conference call of the Amis du Camino Mozárabe. To my surprise, the modern looking Mar Roja hostal was completely full – but, of course, there are lots of quarry workers, truck drivers, and other day-glow jacketed staff for the construction project who need accommodation. Next door to Mar Roja are the hotel Maite, and a private albergue (which looks fine. But I’ve read better reviews of the municipal one which must be somewhere nearby). I got a room at the hotel, which turned out to be less than wonderful. Wifi in the room is terribly weak, so i joined the teleconference from the bar at first and then moved to the staircase by the reception desk. It was great to see and hear the voices of so many people who have advised and helped me on this journey, including Michel Cerdan, Michel D’Auzon, Veronica Gomez Eriko, Mercedes Murillo Pravia, and many others. There is tremendous enthusiasm about this Camino and some exciting artistic projects are planned.
I had a decent dinner at the Mar Roja, which accepts credit cards, unlike my hotel which left me somewhat short of cash – I must top up when I reach Lubian. When I returned to my room, I found that some water had backed up into the bath, leaving a mess of black sand around the plug hole. Perhaps the grime from the quarry workers’ bodies is playing havoc with the plumbing in this old place. I don’t think the hotel can cope with the demands for hot water either – my shower had been tepid. Never mind, it’s warm and I slept well, and I don’t feel a great loss. My room cost 20 Euro.
For the next three days, the forecast is for rain. I might reach Lubian before it hits today. I think I’ll probably walk short distances on these rainy days. I suspect that my old, wet weather gear is a bit iffy and my boots don’t have much grip. I expect Uwe will catch up with me on the way to Lubian today and will get ahead of me tomorrow, since he is trying to complete the journey to Santiago in a limited time.

Categories: 2017 Camino Mozarabe (Almeria to Finisterre)

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