We took our time leaving Benavente. There was no rush since the laundry we had asked he hotelier to wash would not be ready before 8:00 a.m. and - guess what - it was raining. It was difficult to figure out the correct route out of town but after asking a few folks and eventually after asking the local Guardia Civilia (who recommended a bus!) we found the right road and crossed the city limits on our way out of town at 10:30 a.m. The skies were clearing a bit by that time so all was good. The walk was pretty uneventful, and as the fields of crops turned into fields of pasture we found ourselves walking through some pretty countryside and a few small villages.
One thing happened which was pretty funny. We were going through a small town and thought we would try try to find a coffee shop so we asked this old woman who had poked her head out her door and was looking at us. She just muttered something unintelligible but her husband came out and chatted to us and pointed out the right direction for us. The old lady, his wife kept calling to him and it seemed she wanted him to go back inside and stop talking to us, which he did.
Then Ian cracked a joke about a wall repair on the house which was right behind us. There was a hole in the wall repaired with a couple of sticks and some rags. Barb went to inspect the hole a bit closer and as she parted the rags and looked into the hole she saw two eyes a few inches from her face and some grey hair! The old lady was watching and listening to us from the hole in the wall! We had a good laugh over that!
You notice we are still in rain gear - yes we had more rain. We decided to skip the bar by the little Roman bridge.
We reached the Albergue at about 3:00. It was very basic two rooms with two bunkbeds each and one bathroom for 8€. It adjoined a bar and we were able to get a beer before the barman closed for siesta.
When we woke up from Siesta the bar was closed and locked and the owners gone. Worse, the door out of the Albergue had no handle and required a key to either leave or enter and we had not been given a key. Fortunately the two Perigrinos, who had been out when we went to sleep had come back and they had a key, so we were able to get out. We arranged for them to wait up and let us in while we went into town to find some food.
It was a very peculiar town. There were 3 bars but no restaurants. There were signs pointing to attractions no longer open. We met a Dutch lady who was living in the town and she explained that the town had fallen on hard times and had gone from a population of 4,000 with mills and other employment to only 1,000 now since there were no jobs. We did find a small store and bought some bread, cheese, meat and wine and went back to the Albergue to have a picnic at the Albergue. It was an early night.
We voted the Albergue the least hospitable and our least favourite so far, since the owner just collected our money and without anything more than instructions that we could find food in the village, he disappeared. It was the most we had paid for an Albergue on the route so far and it had the least facilities (no kitchen or common room) and the most challenges given the locked door. The bar looked like it hadn't seen a broom in a long while. I understood from the Dutch lady that they were trying to improve the facilities.