I left “Granja del Moreruela” at 8 am. The Italian pilgrim “Simone”, kindly asked, if I would I join him, at the “Bar Tele-Club” for breakfast. I politely declined, as I was not happy with how, I had been treated yesterday. I just wanted to leave this town !!!
It was very cold this morning. For the first time on this trip, I had to wear a “long sleeve top”, and did not take it off until 11 am. There was a cold wind, it must be coming from mountains up ahead.
The “Camino” splits into 2, as you leave the village. The left was “Camino Sanabres”, the right continues on to “Astorga”. I took a “photo” of the metal sign.
The scenery was nice, but not spectacular. It was initially flat, then the pathway for a while, passed next to a mixed “Holm” oak / Pine forest.
I came to a small village called “Santovenia”. I decided to have breakfast at a small “Cafe/Bar”, and recognised the owner of “Bar Pepe”, from “Riego del Camino”. He was “chatting” to the “locals” at the counter. I said “Hola”, but I am not sure that he recognised me !!!
I felt I had stepped back in time, to the 1970`s. The men were openly reading “girly mags” at the bar. There was a “nude” calendar on the wall, automotive magazines were everywhere, and to top it all, a huge display case of knives for sale. There was even an axe !!! I decided that, I would not be starting any arguments here !!!
I get the impression that the “locals” don`t have much interest in the “Camino” here. The signs leaving the village were terrible, and then just “disappeared” completely. Fortunately a “local” lady came to my rescue, and pointed me in the right direction.
The scenery became more “agricultural”, with lots of wheat and Sunflower fields. It became incredibly “windy”, with large “clouds of dust”, blowing off the “dirt” pathway and the fields.
For a “contact lens” wearer this your worst nightmare !!! My eyes were “streaming”, my nose was “dribbling”, and “Barcial del Barco” could not come quick enough for me !!!.
I came to a small “dusty” village. I could see no name anywhere but there was a “Bar/Cafe”, near the exit. I had a beer and talked to a local, who told me that “Barcial del Barco”, was very close, only 1 km away.
He kindly gave me a map, of the next big town coming up, “Benavente”. This was useful, as I had planned “stop” there tomorrow. I could see that it was quite large, and had all the major services, like an “Estacion de Autobus”, that I needed.
My money situation was also “chronic”, there had been no “bank machines” for the last 3 days. These were very small towns. I did not fancy the idea, of being an “old style” pilgrim, having to rely on charity !!!
I was able to use the “WiFi” in the Bar, to quickly check the possibilities of getting back to “Santiago”. A “rough” plan, started to take shape.
It would mean walking from “Barcial del Barco” to “Benavente” at 4 am, taking a bus from “Benavente” to “Zamora” at 10 am, then a train to “Santiago” at 4 pm. If all went well, I would be having end of “Camino” pints, outside the Cathedral at 8.30 pm !!!
I quickly finished my beer, and was soon in “Barcial del Barco”. I checked into the local “Albergue” called “Las Eras”. It is run by the family running “Bar Borox”, and is the model for how “Albergues”, should be fitted out !!!.
The building is new , and all the floors are tiled. It is also “bright and airy”.
The mattresses have a protective rubber cover, and each pilgrim is given a fitted sheet, a sheet to cover you, then a pillow case. The showers were hot and excellent, and the kitchen was modern. Entry was by electronic key pad.
They also do very nice food at the Bar. I needed to prepare myself for the “vampire walking” tomorrow. Fortified of course by a few “medicinal” pints !!!
Buenos noches, hombres !!!!