May 15 – Today marks the halfway point of our stay in Spain, and we are roughly halfway through our Camino, so we are on track to reach Santiago on time. Our guidebook warned us that there were no yellow arrows or Camino markers to guide us out of Salamanca, so this morning we just walked north. Nine miles planned for today.
We left the city and walked along the good old N630 with traffic whizzing by until the path took us off onto a farm road that paralleled the highway. Much nicer walking on dirt, especially with wild flowers growing on either side. We saw three other hikers in the morning, plus several bikers.
Jim has been watching big black ants scurry across our path, doing whatever it is that ants do. Today seemed like a good day to stop and take a video of their activity. I’m sure the video will show up on his blog at beinghersite.wordpress.com
The little village of Calzada looks dusty and worn. The town square is just that – an empty square. We are staying in a tiny room above the bar. They did a surprisingly good menu del dia, with paella and a nice thick hake steak. 298 miles to go.
May 16 – We went down to the bar this morning looking for coffee, but it was locked up tight. We know there are no other towns between here and tonight’s destination. I guess we’re going to learn what a hike without coffee feels like!
13 miles today to get to El Cubo de Tierra del Vino. Wonder how a town gets a name like Cube of Wine? We had some farm walking in the early morning, til the sign indicated we should go back to the highway.
Luckily, there was only a little road walking – most of the way was a dirt track next to the highway. By 11am, I was sure missing my morning coffee. The sun was beating down and there was not a tree in sight, so wet put up our sun umbrellas. So glad we have them!
The tiny town of El Cubo is supposed to have two alburgues. We walked past the first one, as the reviews said the second was better. When we got to the F and M alburgue, the lady said she did not have our email requesting a reservation, but she could give us two bunk beds in a dorm. That was the first bad news. We said we’d walk back to the other alburgue and try there, but she said it was closed for non-payment of taxes (or something to that effect). Not really sure if this was true. Then she informed us that one of the two bathrooms was out of order. That was the second bad news. This was supposed to be an 8 bed alburgue: we counted 16 beds. Person to bathroom ratio – not good.
We went to the bar down the street and got a pretty good menu del dia. A German woman was trying to order something vegetarian. No meat, she told the waiter. Okay, fish, he replied. No fish either, said the lady. He went down his list of entrees: meat, meat, meat, fish fish, fish. No other options. Jim suggested she ask for fried eggs, if that would be acceptable. She agreed that it was probably the best she could do. Jim saves the day!
After our meal, we walked down the street and sat on a park bench. It was full of sticky, tarry stuff that got all over our pants and our hands. That was the third bad news. We went back to the alburgue to do laundry and try and wash the tar out. You know that didn’t work. I’m going to stop writing now, before anything else happens.
285 miles to go.