Sat 21st Oct., Tabara to Santa Marta de Tera
After yesterday's grumble we awoke to a message from home that we should "always look on the bright side of life". So ...
There is much to say today and a bit of catching up from yesterday. I'll start with some commentary from Granja, that which I didn't make yesterday.
I'll start with the notice in front of the church, directly opposite Donde Victor Luna, the grand casa we stayed in.
The inscription out the front reads as follows - the message is clear even if the actual wording is a bit wonky (with apologies from Google translate):
Here the Jacobeo road forks and here the history of the Via de la Plata is great, with the Camino Sanabrés, which is born here. The people’s way, adding to his glories with the cister, the generosity with the pilgrim and life. Walker that on the journey you choose, generosity is your mark and your company Lord Santiago.
That seemed a fitting start to this second stage of our journey. The Via de la Plata, the original Roman road, continues on another 100 kilometres or so to Astorga, where it joins the Camino Frances. The Sanabrés is often regarded as an extension of the Via, but in fact is a separate walk, although for my own purposes I've leant towards the former, i.e. the extension, whenever I've talked about it.
The above map shows where we are; just turned left onto the blue route. We've come some 650 klms with around 350 to go.
I had some interesting chats with host Victor; I have no expectation that any of our hosts will speak English – we are in Spain after all, not the other way around – but it's a bonus when that happens as it provides a greater opportunity to learn.
The day we arrived Victor was off to see his abuela, who was in hospital in Zamora. Even though ella tiene ochenta y un años, she was not at any risk, and he expected her home in a day or so. He spoke about her in a very respectful grandson way (it was after all one of the reasons he returned to the village), noting that he was only going to visit her because she would like it. He spoke about how grandparents are important in his culture, something which I think we've lost to a large degree in the Australian (and other “advanced” western cultures).
We then got onto the make-up of the village. There are very few young people. The school recently closed because the student population fell below the required minimum of 3 students. He says that once a school closes it’s very difficult for it to open again.
There were other discussions too, but this will give a bit of a sense of life in this village.
Victor's casa is quite the oasis - here's a couple of pics:
So now let's skip to today. Tábara will remain a bit of a blur – we arrived, we slept, we left. Saturday market was being set up as we left the Plaza Mayor at around 9:30 am; it would have been nice to wait to explore, but the road was calling. A photo of El Roble:
Praise the weather gods ...
Yesterday’s weather forecast came true. It was chilly when we stepped outside, but the breeze was gentle. It was almost as if yesterday was a bit of a time warp which didn’t happen. We even had some early morning sunshine.
The kilometres seemed to slip by easily, starkly different to 24 hours earlier; we were both light on our feet. As I sit and write this it’s surprising that 23klms should seem so easy. Our conversation was easier too; yesterday’s shared adversity had strengthened our already good bond. (This reminded me of another very difficult walk in Tibet. I wrote about it here - and some of you reading this blog shared this experience, and as with yesterday, I think that this shared experience strengthened those bonds too.)
Below are some annotated photos of the day:
Wind sentries watching over the plains (in Spain)
The little things one notices. Tracks. Yes deer ...
At Villanueva de las Peras, some 15klms into today's walk. The coffee and tortilla gods also smiled. The caption on the cup reads "today is a good day to have a great day"
Colourful houses at Villanueva de las Peras
The next few are of bodegas we saw along the way. All shapes and sizes and in various states of repair/disrepair. I love these cultural icons.
This last one a whole bodega village ...
One of the things I couldn't help but notice was the extensive fire damage to the oak forests we walked through today. I estimate that we probably saw 15klms of severely burnt trees, most probably from the summer before last (i.e. 2022). Some were starting to re-shoot from the base, but most looked as if they have been damaged beyond any recovery. The fires must have been incredibly intense. Because of my community work I'm interested in these things, and I recall reading about it at the time, but it hadn't registered until today that this was the place which I was reading about.
The pictures don't really show the extent of the devastation.
And yet only a few metres from the burnt out area we see:
There's a lot of pride in some of these villages. Entering Santa Croya de Tera there's some brand new benches to complement the freshly refurbished entrance road to town:
The main park in the village of Santa Croya de Tera. I posted a similar photo a few days back, but since these grafted trees had just been pruned you can clearly see their artistry
Which brings us to Santa Marta de Tera, tonight’s end point. We're at the albergue (very modern) with two Spaniards, a Columbian and a Brazilian. The little town contains a church, a bar, some houses, and that's it. Nothing will be open tomorrow (Sunday), so we'll need to go for a walk for breakfast. The Romanesque church boasts the oldest known stone carving of Santiago. Not long after we arrived the whole village turned out for the funeral of a 103 year old woman. Some photos of the church:
The normally deserted Plaza Mayor full of funeral goers
To finish this evening. We are sitting at
Bar Stop in Santa Marta, enjoying a tempranillo from www.bodegasvegadetera.com. The tag line on the back of the bottle is "the wolf is not as bad as they paint it". Lovely wine, great service. Our mobile phone service is lousy, but here in the bar the Wi-Fi delivers 300mbps. Go figure.
So that's a wrap. Biggish day tomorrow; 27 klms ...
If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle that's the thing
always look on the bright side of life