May 11 – So, last night as we were planning our way forward, I noted that we had three more days of rain ahead of us, and two more days of highway walking (blech and double blech). The third day was looking like an 18 miler with no place to stop midway. The 18 mile day was off-road, which made getting a ride or taxi a challenge. What are the chances of finding another lady with a 4×4? All of which made me start looking at bus schedules. It turns out that the town we are in right now is the very last town with a bus station before we reach the city of Salamanca (4 or 5 walking days away). The bus station is two minutes from our hostal. The bus runs twice a day. We went to sleep on the possibility.
This morning we looked out the window at the gray skies and puddles, and dear sweet Jim said, “Let’s go to Salamanca!” He booked our bus tickets online and found us a hostal near the Old City. At 9:45 we were on the bus, looking at all the blue Camino signs rolling by along the highway. By 11:15 we were in Salamanca. 10 minutes later we were at Hostal Granada, run by a very personable young man with good English. Our room is lovely. There is a real supermarket down the block. My feet are happy, and so is the rest of me. Time for some R and R.
We did a brief walkabout of the old city. This is a University city, full of young people and bookstores. It is the most important university in Spain, attracting thousands of international students. Most of the buildings are brown.
The Plaza Mayor, the huge main square, was hosting a book sale, so there were bookstalls set up all around. For some reason, there is a huge statue of an upside down elephant here. Wait til I tell Emma – she loves elephants!
We didn’t stay out long in the rain.
May 12 – Jim has been struggling for a while with a boot that is coming apart. He superglued it as a temporary fix, but he needs new boots. We tried to get him a pair in Cáceres, but the big sporting goods store there only stocked up to size 46, and he is a 48 or 49 depending on the brand (US size 13, wide). There is a big store here in Salamanca called Decathalon. It’s about a 2.5 mile walk from our hostal. It’s not raining too hard, so we set out to find it. We crossed a river.
It was indeed a huge store, and they had exactly one pair of boots in size 48. Jim said they felt a little narrow, but felt he had no options at this point, so he bought them. On the way home we passed the University of Happiness.
It’s still cold and rainy, so after our menu del dia we went back to our hotel to chill. Sightseeing tomorrow!