A short entry since I’ve spent some time in conversation with Umberto, the Italian who was at the albergue in Montamarta yesterday. We caught up with him at the donativo albergue in Tábara this afternoon – along with two other Spanish pilgrims (who also stayed at Granja yesterday) and a Buddhist monk who is helping Jose Almeida to run this special albergue. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of each other over the coming weeks.
Our departure from Granja was a little later than usual – since we decided to wait for the bar to open so that we could have some breakfast – a coffee and yesterday’s tortilla and bar snacks warmed up with a frown. I think the barman is in the wrong job.
In Granja, the Camino Sanabres branches off from the Via de la Plata taking a north westerly route toward Ourense and on to Santiago. It’s a beautiful stage – taking pilgrims across the river Elsa and past finca farmlands with holm oak trees. Quite a contrast from the flat, open country of the preceding days.
The last third of the stage took us downhill, past the weekend houses with gardens full of fruit trees and vines, heavy with grapes that looked ripe and delicious. We walked a few kilometres on straight, stony, farm tracks to Faramontanos de Tábara with its hobbit-house wine cellars built into the hills and then five more dead straight kilometres to the town of Tábara.
At the entrance of Tábara is the impressive Iglesia de Santa Marta – a Mozarabic church. In the main square, immediately ahead, the three of us were able to fulfil all our needs – suncream, insoles, and blister plasters from the pharmacy; snacks for tomorrow from the supermarket, and beer and drinks on the terrace of the bar. From there, we had a short walk to the albergue where we sat down with a glass of cold water as Jose stamped our credentials and explained the albergue to us; Dormitory straight ahead, shower and toilets to the right, laundry to be left in the basket, communal dinner at eight, and breakfast at a time to be agreed among all of the pilgrims.
I’ve been relaxing on the peaceful, shaded, patio at the front of the albergue. It all feels familiar from my last stay here, although the weather today is much hotter than it was in November two years ago.