Via Romana

image image imageMoratinos to Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos (Population: 200)
April 18, 2015
6 hrs 5 min for 23.83 km
8:15 AM to 2:20 PM

The sun shone all day with pillowy clouds gracing blue sky. We continued to pass through flat fields most of the day but half way along we once again saw snow capped mountains on the northern horizon. It was a cooler day with a southwest breeze in our face or blowing us sideways at times. A pleasant walking day.

I walked the early part with Michael, a Baptist minister from Nottingham. He has begun a three month sabbatical with this walk. Brian and Margaret walked at a more leisurely pace and noticed the eight large metal sculptures along the road that I completely missed.

We arrived at a stone bridge and small stone church that was not open. Here there were also two large stone statues which watched us pass through this geographical centre of the Camino. A special moment and space.

Approaching Sahagun was a surprise. The town of 800 looked like a city. Its outskirts are industrial, not very pretty. The core contains many historical buildings and a grand arch.

We stopped at a bar for coffee and shared three delightfully different parties made by the barkeep’s sister in the pastry shop below. Marie, Jim, James, Danielle, Seppo and Ritva all caught up to us at this point. The last two are Finns who have been living in Belgium the past 14 years. They dined with us last night.

That was a unique dining experience. At the edge of Moratinos across from our albergue was a large hill that ressembled an Irish burial mound but looked as if it might contain hobbit homes. These were wine cellars. I think most of the twenty inhabitants of Moratinos had a cellar here. Some were well tended, others falling into disrepair. One was enlarged and turned into Bar del Castillo. We went in for a drink…all of us but James and Danielle who had stayed the night further back. We were about to leave when the bartender asked if we wanted to eat there. The bar was light and modern looking but none too exciting. He motioned us to follow him down stone steps into what was the original wine cellar. The whole vaulted ceiling and walls were in stone. We thought it might be cold but he turned on the heat on the tile floors. Perfecto. We had the place to ourselves and great service. It looked like two brothers ran the place, cooking and serving. They provided a delicious pilgrim meal for ten euros each. I had leeks in oil and vinegar with chopped red peppers, pork ribs, fries, lemon cake, decaf coffee. Also included was all the red wine and water we wanted. One couple also had soda water at no extra cost.

Our albergue host was disappointed we did not dine at his place but we ate scrambled eggs for breakfast there. We spread the wealth. There was only one other albergue, Bruno’s was flying an Italian flag and had an Italian menu but was not open.

We left Marie and Jim exploring Sahagun. James and Danielle walked the old Roman road with us to Calzada de los Hermanillos where the four of us are staying at Via Trajana. I washed our laundry at the outdoor sink and everything is blowing in wind and sunshine with snow capped mountains watching.

Aromatic kitchen smells are making our stomachs growl. A bowl of olives and wine have not filled the gap even though we enjoyed our empanadas picnic sitting against straw bales in a sunny field a few hours ago.

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