May 25 – Up early again today, for a fourteen mile hike to Santa Croya. Daybreak by the Torre (tower) with storks, of course, and sunrise from the road.
Tábara looks like a very nice town in the early morning light. Too bad I was too tired yesterday to see any of it!
Lots of company on the trail this morning, mostly French, with one skinny Irish boy toting a ukulele.
A nice mix of farm track and green trail today. For some reason, we were plagued by black flies. Bugs usually aren’t an issue, and we have no bug spray. I kept my mouth closed, but they flew up my nose and in my ears. I thought for sure you would be able to see the flies in the photos!
At a fork with no clear sign to indicate the right direction, pilgrims made their own arrows to guide us:
Tonight we are staying at Casa Anita, a huge alburgue that is the only place to stay in Santa Croya. In addition to the dormitories, they rent private rooms upstairs, and we booked one. Signs let us know we are getting close.
Our hostess made us feel welcome, and let us know that Casa Anita is not only the only place in town to sleep, but also the only place to eat! They serve a communal supper at 7:30, with two choices of entree. What fun! Back in 2011 when we walked the Camino Franćes, we enjoyed many communal suppers, but this one is the first opportunity we’ve had on this trail.
We arrived downstairs about 5 minutes early, to check out the tables. One long table was buzzing in French, but at the other, we heard English! Yay! We sat down and introduced ourselves to three Australians and the Irish lad, and had a long, rambling conversation over wine, vegetable soup, pasta, pork loin, salad and fresh fruit for dessert. Nicest evening. 208 miles to go.
May 26 – Back when we were in Zamora, we heard about a statue of St James that dated from the late eleventh or early twelfth century – the earliest representation of him as a pilgrim. We looked in the churches and the museum at the cathedral, but couldn’t find it. Finally, a tour guide who spoke some English let us know that the statue we were looking for was not in the city of Zamora at all, but a hundred kilometers away in a small church in Santa Marta de Tera, which is part of the province of Zamora. Well, guess where we are right now? Visiting a string of little towns on the Rio Tera, and Santa Marta is just a short walk away!
We woke to thunderstorms, making us glad we weren’t planning to walk far today. We hung around the alburgue until almost 10, then set out for Santa Marta. The Romanesque church was small, and was identified as a Monesterio, so I guess there used to be more to it.
The very nice lady inside turned on the lights for us and let us explore.
On the wall was a reproduction of the statue we were looking for – St James with his trademark staff and shell. We asked where the original statue could be found? Oh, she said, (in Spanish of course) it’s around back by the cemetery. Whoopee!
We went around to the back of the church, and there it was!
On the other side of the door was an equally ancient statue of St Peter.
The cemetery had some fresh mounds, reminding us that actual people were under there:
Upstairs there was a little museum with old books, pilgrim artifacts and bits of saints:
So glad we found this place!
Then it was back into the thunder and lightning for a wet walk to Camarzana de Tera.
And now we are in a little hotel with a very nice restaurant, drying out. 203 miles to go.