9 May 2016
THE ROUGH WITH THE SMOOTH
Before we left Salamanca our human was able to reconnect with A+B as they had now also arrived in town. It is always nice when you meet fellow souls that have walked your way, even if you have not always walked in company. Sadly Bill had a damaged knee and it was now painful for him to walk. He was able to get himself a knee support and intended, with A's help to try to go on.
As we left at around 07:00 hrs the student revellers were just going home!
Our way out of Salamanca took us past this round church and we had a fairly nice walk and though the sun shone it was still quite cold.
It seemed an odd place for an old aircraft, but it was a junk yard.
The way was not that exciting as it generally followed the motorway out of the city. Around Aldeseaseca de Armuna, Alan missed the sign for turning off the road and walked on a fair way. Initially when he realised his mistake he turned round and saw he had been followed by an American woman and a Frenchman. He discussed with them the error and they too turned back until they saw a yellow arrow which pointed back down the road. Again after some discussion it was decided to take the road rather than walk further back and then some 8 kilometres on a parallel route. We stopped for a bite to eat and a short rest using a bus stop we found along the road.
Then on the outskirts of Calzada de Valdunciel Alan stopped at the first Cafe he saw. A Finnish woman followed him in and then the American French couple. They were all going on to El Cubo, but we were at our destination and needed now only to find the Albergue.
We were the first to arrive and so had the choice of beds.
A+B arrived later and B was in a poor way and did not feel he could go on. He sensibly decided to take the bus to Zamora and wait for A there. Nevertheless it was nice for us to have some friendly faces amongst the pilgrim's who now gathered in the Albergue. The remaining beds were taken with a French couple and an Italian pilgrim.
Our human went with A+B for a drink in one of the bars later that evening.
A=Alan and B=Bill talking to Canada. What would these humans do without wifi and mobile phones?
Terry one of our human's best friends had told us that there was an old Roman Fountain\Well in the village, so obviously we had to find it.
The Roman Well in Calzada de Valdunciel
Before we left the next morning A+B offered our human B's booking at the next Albergue in El Cubo de la Tierra. Then we were out the door and following the Camino once again generally following the motorway.
The effect of the rains on the Camino was again evident, especially here, for the route should have gone under the motorway bridge that you see here.
"A" being a fast walker overtook us later and confirmed for Alan where the Albergue they were staying was. A little way further on he caught up to "A" who had found a place to sit and so our human sat and took his boots off to massage his toes, which as usual after two hours walking were quite painful.
In the many pools of water along the way we found frog spawn.
To our delight we were now sharing a room with "A". The French Couple, an Australian couple, a Spaniard and an Italian couple made up the compliment of pilgrims in the Albergue. Late comers were turned away.
The Hospitalero served cans of beer and a little Tapas. He gave out two slices of bread per beer can, which one could use to eat the stewed mushrooms he also served. Now the Frenchman who was sitting down to eat his own lunch came over and quickly devoured four pieces of bread with mushrooms, before going back to his meal! The two Alan's were now speechless! We put it down to the English reticence and the Canadian politeness that they did nothing to stop the arrogant Frenchman eating their share as well.
The two Alan's had a walk round town and another isotonic drink in another bar. This town hall clock sounded more like a door chime, or a grandfather clock for it had a sort of Westminster Chime!
A communual meal was had in the Albergue where the Hospitalero served home made wine, both white and red were on offer and palatable we are informed. After the meal he also served his own home made coffee liquor.
A convivial end to the day we all thought.
The walk to Villanueva de Campean was a short one, so we slept in a little and set off at 07:30hrs. Our human though found the 14 odd kilometres hard today. It was as if he had walked 25 when he finally got there. Yet we were compensated by the views and the beautiful scenery.
We were the first into this Albergue and saved a bunk for "A" when we got there.
Sadly the wifi in the bar would not work for us. "A" found the answer whilst strolling round the village. If one sat outside the town hall one had free wifi. So that is what we did, to stay in touch with everyone.
The town hall in Villanueva de Campean.
The park opposite.
The storks take over every steeple.
The French couple had us up and out of bed early next morning and so we set off for Zamora some 18 kilometres away. It was another nice day if cold. However, Alan was getting really fed up with the painful toes and began to think that it was the orthopaedic insoles which caused it. Again there were few places to stop, but he made good use of what stones he could find to sit and rest and eat and drink along the way.
We came across this well which we think is a"wishing well" for the English and the German made no real sense!
When the next destination comes into view it is always a boost to moral.
The Albergue when we got there would not open until 14:30 the Hospitalero said, but we were able to leave our packs there and so walk around town.
Alan used this time to not only have coffee and something to eat, but to buy some ordinary insoles to see if that would make a difference to his toes.
The Albergue in Zamora.
We now found we were sharing with the French couple in a room for six. Later another Frenchwoman a bicycle pilgrim came and occupied the bunk above us.
We went in search of A+B and were able to share an evening with them. "B" was going to stay at least a week while "A" was going to stay one day with him and help if necessary as he speaks some Spanish.
The French had us up early and we were out the door at 07:00 hrs. The new insoles felt odd to Alan and after an hour of walking proved that it is not the insoles causing the pain. Alan does have a nerve trapped between his lower vertebrae which causes a numb feeling in his toes most of the time. One orthopaedic surgeon said he would have to live with it!! He now believes that it is this nerve which after two hours walking with the rucksack, weighing as much as 15 kilos, squeezing the nerve even more, which is the cause.
We were able to stop in Roales de Pan for coffe and a muffin before walking on to Montamarta.
The Albergue in Montamarta was a cold and very basic place, but it does have a washing machine which one could use for free and as we were first in, we did. It was overcast and rain was forecast. The village had little to recommend it. A shop and a bar with wifi was it.
However, we encountered now a young Englishman who was on a bike called Daniel from Haywards Heath in Sussex. We sat and chatted for most of the evening before going to bed. He too was finding this Camino, his third and first on a bike, a little hard and lonely, just like us.
The French had us up early as usual! Alan had bought a poncho in Salamanca in an effort to keep us and himself dry, well now he had to put it on and found it an effort. An American pilgrim helped him and along the way he had a good think about how to put it on alone.
It rained more or less all day and after discussion with "A" a day or two before, Alan chose to walk along the road directly to Tabara and not follow the Camino across country. About 8 kilometres into our walk, Daniel came past on his bike. Stopped briefly to chat and then was on his way.
Alan found a cafe, which sadly was shut but used the awning at the entrance to have a short stop out of the rain.
Alan has mixed feelings about the poncho. It does keep us and the pack dry and to a certain extent his legs and feet. But it does create considerable condensation on the inside, and then there is the sweating under the jacket as well. So all in all our poor human was throughly wet after some 15 kilometres.
The road was a very busy one and the traffic made few concessions to us poor walkers. The spray particularly from buses and lorries was also a factor in our wetness overall we think. Once again there were few if no places to stop, but Alan had to, just to massage his feet or else we were going nowhere.
Just about 6 kilometres from Tabara was the village of Puzoulo de Tabara where we stopped in a bar for a shandy and a Bocodillo. Alan took his arms out of the poncho and leaving the poncho on the rucksack took it off. His jacket was soaked from the outside from condensation and on the inside with sweat. He must have looked a sorry sight in the bar, more like a drowned rat.
It was a struggle now getting the last of the 28.18 kilometres into Tabara. He admits he was close to exhaustion when we got to the El Roble Hostel. They took him one kilometre back down the road to an older building where we were given a cold but clean room.
Alan quickly showered, washed his things and walked back down the road to get his meal. Then back again to have a much needed siesta.
Now disaster struck. In the early evening Alan had chronic diarrhoea. He had the stuff to deal with this, "Immodium akut lingual" a pill you just let dissolve under the tongue. After three bowl movements and pills we had effectively delt with the problem. But he now found that in addition to chronic tummy ache he excreted a little watery pinkish red fluid. Not much but enough times to cause us to worry about him!!
He now decided that discretion is the better part of valour and would seek medical advice, but not in this cold one horse town. He was able in the small hours of the night to book himself into a hostel in Zamora, and would seek help there.
After tossing and turning all night we returned to the centre of the village and by this church Alan spoke to two Guarda Civil, asking them when and where was the bus to Zamora. They took him to the local Emergency Medical Centre where he was examined by a doctor. He was given an antibiotic injection and a prescription for Lopedium and a sachet of rehydrate to mix with water. Told not to eat anything for 24 hours and then the day after to only eat white rice!
We now had to make our own way back from the medical centre to the centre of the village. What was very nice now was that, Terry his best friend in Hameln, phoned to see how he was. Suddenly we did not feel so down and alone. Terry rang again later in the evening to see how we were. Other friends in Moenchengladbach have expressed their concern and good wishes via WhatsApp too, so our human's moral is quite good considering.
Sadly there are no buses from Tabara on the weekends, it being Saturday, and so Alan was forced to take a taxi back to Zamora.
Here we had a larger warm room in which to convalesce. Alan slept and later made contact with Bill who is a couple of streets away. He is not a happy teddy either as his knee is not healing as quickly as he'd like.
Alan is now in recovery, but is still not too happy. He has a cold which he hopes aspirin will deal with, but must confess to having a little red blood on the toilet paper still, though his bowel movements are normal. Yesterday he ate in a Chinese, so having his white rice with a little chicken and also a small wan tan soup.
Because of the adverse weather he has now sent home his two pairs of three quarter length trousers and a couple of other items, saving some 800 grams weight in all, but has bought another pair of long hiking trousers, saying they don't weigh 800 grams! It's all in the mind we say.
We have had another walk around this nice town and seen things we missed the first time.
We have also found that a bus goes to Tabara twice a day during the week, at 13:30 hrs and at 17:30 hrs and we shall be on the first bus tomorrow Tuseday 10 May.