18 apr

Walked from Granja de Moreruela to Santa Croya de Tera, 49 kilometres. Arrived around 6pm at Casa Anita, one of the nicest albergues on the cAmino, according to my guide. Was welcomed by Anna, who’s a lively spirit and mixes an incredible fast Spanish with english, french, german and even some dutch. A good place to come to rest after a long day.
Sleeping in these albergues is an experience. Normally I do not have problems falling asleep, but last night was different. At one point early in the morning I wondered if I had slept at all. But then I didn’t notice my neighbour crawling out of bed and finding a different room to sleep. I also didn’t notice French Pierre getting up. He had told me he always got out of bed at 6am, which seemed a good idea to me with the long-planned journey ahead of me.
This Via de la Plata is a different experience. Fewer people on the road, for sure. Different people too. This is a more robust kind of walkers. Looking for solitude instead of the glitzy taste of the real Camino. That’s what they indicate. To me there was nothing glitzy about that whole way.
But the most important difference, to me, is the fact that there are fewer albergues around. Sometimes the next one is 25 kilometres ahead. With a car or a bike, that’s no problem, but it takes five hours walking. Not something you want to do at 7 in the evening.
I had my own experience of Semana Santa last night. After dinner in a bar Ruud and I wondered if there would be a procession in this small village. We went to have a look in the church. It was packed. At the end the women followed a sculpture of Maria around the village, the men a Jesus carrying his cross and a Jesus on the cross. There was singing by a small group of women, including the neighbour of the albergue who had been yelling at us for hanging clothes to dry in front of the house. I was pretty impressed by her voice while yelling, but the only Spanish speaking guy in the albergue just neglected her. After the procession she greeted us ever so friendly.
It was lovely, a real show of community values. I was even more impressed by the few people left behind in the church after the mass. They were crying in a clear but dignified way. I imagined all the horrible things that could have happened to them and also started to cry myself.
A beautiful woman in her end thirties, beginning forties came to us and started telling enthusiastically about her own Camino experience, I think. It didn’t matter to her that I told her I didn’t speak spanish. She just interrupted her waterfall of words, looked a little concerned at me like I was sick and continued where she had finished.
Today’s walk was through the same lovely landscape of the past few days, but they added some hills for variation. Including the 30 degrees sun, it made it pretty hard, definitely towards the end of the day. But it’s good to be taken care off. There will be green beans and trout for supper. Sounds lovely.