Saturday, May 5, 2012

Montamarta - Day 21

As we left Zamora we saw the marker announcing that we had 377 km before arriving at Santiago. Our journey is half way done for sure.

We set off today with  our (surprise) rain gear on. It was a fairly straight forward walk out of town and soon we were walking on muddy trails through rolling hills of cultivated fields and then flat table land -  Meseta Central ("Inner Plateau") .This area is known as the bread basket of Spain.

 One very interesting back garden we passed contained what looked like paper mâché figures of everything you could think of.

Wet muddy roads to walk on, but the sun was shining at last!

It didn't take long to get to the Albergue at Montamorta, a stone building on the outskirts of the village. It was only an 18 km walk and we arrived just before noon. This Albergue is quite a basic place, consisting of one large room with 20 beds, a kitchen, a common room and 2 bathrooms and no heat! I discovered as I lay down for a short siesta that the pillow and blanket were not just cold but also slightly damp. I guessed it would be a long night. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the temperatures have been unseasonably cold and there has been a lot of rain and wind.
There were 10 bunk beds lined up against each side of the room but the room was large - unlike some other Albergues we stayed in.

The saving grace was that the common room had a great big fireplace at one end and after some effort with wet firewood, the boy scout Peregrinos in the crowd coaxed life into it. There was an unlimited supply of firewood so as long as we stayed in the common room we would be warm.
It was so cold in the Albergue that Ian thought he saw Santa Clause coming down the chimney!

We fetched in several bottles of wine and prepared for happy hour - which for Perigrinos is about 3pm. The fire was wonderful, except that every once in a while it would pour smoke into the room. I still smell like a camp fire.
The schedules with regard to food is a bit tricky to manage. Mostly, stores and restaurants open sometime late in the morning and then close from 2 to 5:30 for siesta. Dinnertime in Spain is late, and excepting when they take pity on us Peregrinos and feed us early, usually the earliest you can ever get into a restaurant is 7:30 or 8:00. So we munch whatever we have all afternoon, if we get to our Albergue before the shops shut then we can have a good nosh at lunch and if not then we might not have anything much until the stores open, which is too late for lunch and too early for dinner. Since we got to this Albergue in plenty of time we both ate and drank well all afternoon. Did I mention how cheap the wine is? Restaurants serve unlimited wine with the pilgrim's meal and even by the glass it is only 2 €. A bottle of cheap local wine from the store is only 2-6 €!
For a while the sun came out and we moved the party outside. Barb and I took the opportunity to dry the bedding, which made the night's sleep a whole lot better.
We had a great time and met more wonderful people. We went out to dinner at the local bar and had a pilgrims meal with some of our new friends, Jim, who is from Austrailia and Ed who lives in Nevada.

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