Zamora to Montamarta to Granja de Moreruela 

May 21 – Eleven miles planned for today.  Once again, there aren’t a lot of arrows to get us out of Zamora, but we looked at the trail map, and it was a pretty straight shot north.  I now know which way is north, at least in the morning.  Put the sunrise at your right shoulder and start walking!  On the northern end of town as we exit, we can see more of the original city wall.

Saw a sign for the Camino Portugués, which we walked in 2014.  I guess if you hike due west from Zamora, you can catch the northern edge of Portugal and take that route north to Santiago.  Not for us this time.

Eight hikers passed us as we left Zamora, walking along the highway.

We had a short road walk, then got onto a farm track that paralleled the highway.

In a few miles, the track took us through the little town of Roales del Pan.  Nothing was open on a Sunday morning, but we got to see a yard filled with strange animal sculptures.

A giraffe for Lexi:

An elephant for Emma:

One of those dwarves must have done something that really pissed off Snow White…

Pretty soon we were back on a farm track.  Here are some amber waves of grain, with windmills just generating power:

Montamarta is not much of a town.  We stayed at what was advertised as a B and B, but the bed was hard, no soap or shampoo was provided, and we had to share a bathroom.  Luckily, there was only one other guest, so KF, stop whining.  The restaurant down the road fed us the typical pork and French fries.  We have been told that from here on out, the service will get worse and the prices will increase.  I believe it so far!  252 miles to go.

May 22 – Hit the road at 7am for a fourteen mile day.  Lovely sunrise:

There was a ruin of an old church visible as we left town.  Don’t the dark shrubs look like monks walking up toward the cemetery?

As we walked on farm track, we saw the ruins of an old fort or castle in the distance:


As we walked along shadeless farm track, a helicopter flew low overhead, obviously following our dirt path.  We joked that the Guardia Civil were probably looking for dead hikers in the heat of the day.  After a few moments, the helicopter reversed direction, and landed right in front of us!  

Two policemen jumped out and stopped three bicyclists who were just passing by us.  The young men had to produce their passports.  We were right behind them, and got out our passports as well, but the policemen waved us on – we were not who they were looking for.  After a few more minutes of discussion, the policemen let the cyclists go, returned to their helicopter and flew off!  It was definitely the most exciting thing that happened all day.  By 1pm, we walked into Granja de Moreruela.

Under our sunbrellas in the heat of the day:

Today is the northernmost point of our journey so far.  At Granja, a decision must be made:  one can continue north on the Via de la Plata to Astorga and join the Camino Francés (jam packed with its hundreds of hikers each day) or head west toward Ourense and continue on the Camino Sanabrés, which approaches Santiago on a diagonal.  The latter is the route we will follow.  

Tonight we are in a lovely Casa Rural, with our own bathroom, a comfy double bed, and access to a full kitchen.  The nice proprietress even let us use her washing machine for free!  Although we handwash our clothes every day, I must admit that there is a certain aroma that never seems to leave us.  A good machine wash is just what we needed today!

238 miles to go.

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