I believe we crossed the 100km mark from Zamora today, but who’s counting?
Following breakfast at 7:00AM, the pilgrims took lot of group photos in front of the albergue and left one by one. Michael, Ewa, Michaela, and I were the last to leave, but we bumped into Innes, the German cyclist, again a couple of times as she managed to cycle down several dead ends before finding the route out of town. It’s easier to spot arrows when you’re moving at walking pace.
Today’s walk was a relatively short 22km or so but the going was tough on stony paths with little shade. On the climb out of Tábara, with fields of holm oaks on either side of the path, we ran the gauntlet of an intimidating pack of dogs that I remembered from the last time I walked this way. They’re a mix of fierce mastiffs and other breeds. The shepherd was with his flock this time and he called out to calm the dogs down, so they didn’t come onto the path itself to see us off. I suppose he needs this many dogs because there are wolves in the woods around here. Or perhaps he just likes fierce dogs.
We took our usual break for a snack by the path and as an added bonus we stopped for sandwiches with home grown tomatoes in Bar Moña in the small village of Villanueva. Tuesday is their day off but they opened the door and welcomed us in as we’re pilgrims. We also received a free dessert – a piece of French toast. The owner’s wife referred to it as “cocina de pobre,” since it’s yesterday’s bread, fried with milk and honey, and sprinkled with sugar. I’m sure that the albergue that they run is also charming. This is the bar where Uwe, Michael and I met two years ago – We sent him a photo and got our credentials stamped.
After another 7km on stony tracks, we made it to the twin villages of Santa Croya de Tera and Santa Marta de Tera – separated by the river Tera. The albergue in Santa Marta is a modern and comfortable, donativo hostel – located immediately next to the church of Santa Marta, which has a 12th Century statue of Santiago in its churchyard – Spain’s oldest statue of Santiago as a pilgrim. We will go to see it as soon as the washing machine finishes its cycle and we can put our clothes on the line.