Our guidebook mentioned a dolmen, and we managed to find it,
despite it being sunken into the ground
and hidden behind a stand of trees.
|Watch for this "hill" and trees|
We continued on through the countryside, and came across several farms in ruins. Occasionally we'd find a horse trough and use the water to wash and cool down.
Finally, we reached what the guidebook described as a creek.
What we found was a dry creekbed full of rocks, with one or two small pools of hot water.
As I put my hankerchief in the water to wash the sweat from my face, I heard a voice in the distance.
I looked up, and saw a man waving at us.
"Quieres agua frio?"
Another Camino Angel?
"Sí! SÍ!" we exclaimed in unison.
This lovely man who reminded me of Anthony Quinn walked down the road to meet us and escort us up a small hill to his home, where he invited us in.
He lived in this tiny one-room house at the top of a hill.
He kept his motorbike inside the house,
and all along the windowsills were bottles of something red.
|Jars of Gazpacho!|
So we would not be continuing the VDLP this trip. Tomorrow we would take a bus to Leon and begin walking on the Camino Frances. We found a Hostal Extremadura (with air conditioning) for 38 euro for a doble, had a great night's sleep, and met the bus the next morning.
It would be nice to pick up stages we had missed in 2006 due to shin splints. Once we finished walking those stages, Joe wanted to spend time in the Netherlands and I wanted to walk the Aragones Route. Our return home wasn't until November, so we had plenty of time.
What I learned for myself from this experience was that unless you are an absolute glutton for punishment, the Via de la Plata should NOT be attempted in summer. It is dangerously hot and the water sources are unreliable. I know some experienced walkers have done it successfully. But for the average person, I'd say either choose a different route or walk in spring or fall.
I plan on returning to the VDLP either right before my June 2012 trek or after the Sept/Oct trek to finish the route. I will continue notes on this section once I've walked it.
Until next time,
See my AnnieWalkersCamino website at
for more information about
Guided Walks on the Camino Santiago
and on other Pilgrimage Trails of Europe