Monesterio de Moreruela to Tábara

May 23 – Our original plan was to walk west today, but we discovered that we are just two miles away from the ruins of an ancient Abbey that resembles what the original Santiago Cathedral looked like back in the 1100s, before they built the new one.  This deserves to be explored.  Jim called our proprietress and asked if we could stay in our lovely Casa Rural a second night.  Our comfy room was booked, but she managed to find us another, further down the street.

The brochure said the Monesterio opened at 10 (which we thought odd for a ruin) so we started walking a little after 9am.  A sunny and breezy morning, with our path half on dirt track and half on an unbusy paved road.We arrived just before 10, and waited outside the gate.  When no one came to open the gate at 10, Jim lifted the latch and we walked in.

We saw the ruins of the cloisters:

…and part of the inside of the actual church, looking through a locked gate.

I walked around back, thinking I could see the exterior of the church from that angle, but instead encountered some construction workers up on a scaffold, working on the reconstruction.  One of the men climbed down to tell us that the Monesterio was closed on Tuesdays, and we had to leave.  What?

Sure enough, when we returned to the gate, we read the fine print:  Cerrado Lunes y Martes.  Drat.  The man followed us out to be sure we did not linger.

Here is the picture I couldn’t get of the front of the church, borrowed courtesy of the Internet:

We’ll have to come back and explore some other year!

May 24 – We are heading into a stretch where accomodations are few and far between.  16 miles today to get to Tábara, and it will be hot and sunny all the way.  This will be our longest day so far.  

We got up at 6am to get a jump on the day, stopping for coffee at our Casa Rural.  On the road by 6:30.  Lovely sunrise.

We walked four miles at “Google speed” (the rate Google thinks everybody walks, regardless of terrain) – three miles per hour, on flat farm track.  No one was passing us, and we actually passed a Frenchwoman!  I was feeling very full of myself, when all of a sudden the path took a steep decline.  Something new!

At the bottom of the hill, we could see the Rio Esla and the bridge that crosses it.  Very pretty in the early morning.

After crossing the bridge, the yellow arrows pointed straight down (!) to a narrow rock-studded path.  

Jim made a movie.

We scrabbled up and down  the cliff on the other side of the river for the next hour (mostly up), until the path spit us back onto a dirt road.  Dirty trick!  And I was doing so well up to that point!  Now I was drenched with sweat and exhausted, and we still had 11 miles to walk.

The path was flat and featureless, until we spied a flock of sheep coming toward us.

It took one shepherd and eight dogs to keep the herd together.

After that distraction, there was absolutely nothing but absolutely straight dirt path.  The road behind:
The road ahead:

And now we are in Tábara, and I am resting my feet.  222 miles to go.

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