22. Welcome to the Serengeti

Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove,
The linner and thrush say, “I love and I love!”
In the winter they’re silent — the wind is so strong;
What it says, I don’t know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving — all come back together.
But the lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and for ever sings he
“I love my Love, and my Love loves me!”

Last night’s hostel Austerius was a bit ‘meh’… it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great… and it wasn’t cheap.  The lift back to the arch never transpired so we walked back to the path in the early morning dark. Our Danish friend ordered a taxi but it was arriving too late for us. As it happened, we walked pretty fast in the cold morning air and we made good time.

We passed fields of cows and bulls and calves… all safety kept behind a wire  fence… so I was happy to stay a while and chat with them … but there weren’t that interested so I walked on.

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The road was slightly downhill and on tarmac so rather foolishly we jogged for a while… how fit are we now that we can even consider jogging with full pack and a whole days water on board?

We reached the Via and stepped off the tarmac.  The sky was grey but the horizon was tinged with pink.  We looked out across the long meadows of dry grass and Cork Oaks and we both agreed that we would not have blinked if a lion or a giraffe had ambled past … are we in Extremadura or The Serengeti?  (To be fair I would have blinked if a Lion appeared… I’m assuming  I’d be more afraid of them than cows).

We walked on, smelling the sweet sweet smell of Via mornings… like fresh hay on a dewy morning… it’s unmistakable and I love it.   We waited for the sunrise but this morning she slept late and kept us waiting. Instead of the glorious display of oranges and yellows and pinks, she stayed hidden behind the mountains and when she did appear all the colour had gone.  No matter… we were so cold, she was welcome with or without the display.

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The markers sent us off our soft path and onto the road.  There was little room to walk off road so we were on full alert for cars… and arrows, which were in short supply this morning.  We stopped and checked our notes… yes we should be on the road. Just as we were getting nervous we spotted a marker.  Off we set on a quieter road.  We came to a large granite information marker… it was kind of suggesting that we turn off our road and go right.  It felt wrong but in the absence of any other markers we did this.  Half a kilometre up that road we hit a dead end… so we turned and went back… we should have trusted those instincts.

There really were very few arrows this morning.  We followed our road along and then veered to the right under the motorway.  Then a cubiod marker sent us across a trickle of a stream that I guess in spring is huge and in full flood.  Then under another kind of bridge, then climbing up to a service road directly under the motorway, then along beside this road but having to hold on to the barriers as the road slipped away beside us.  It felt very wrong but the notes suggested it could be right.  About 1km from the first bridge we saw an arrow… huge relief!

From here it was plain sailing.  I’m sure you’re all hoping for another grand adventure but to be honest it was just a lovely day, walking through lovely countryside. Lots of cows, the odd pig and a few sheep.  We’re walking along tracks littered with the remnants of the original roman tracks… which are no longer very comfortable underfoot but nonetheless incredible that they remain. We crossed dried river beds and I wonder how different this landscape would be in Spring… with water gushing from the mountains… that remained on our right all day as we walked.  A few days ago they were just a purple haze in the distance and now we can see them in their glory.   It was hot in the sun but we are much higher now and the air is cooler and the shade is wonderful.

We arrived in good time at our destination of Aldeanueva del Camino. A lovely little town and a peach of an albergue… La Casa de mi Abuela. 15 euro for bed and breakfast. Señora has put the chaps in one room and the Chicas (just us) in another… and she washed and dried all our clothes for 2 euro.

Its been a quiet but lovely camino day. This afternoon I heard some terribly sad news and so I value this day (and everyday) just a little more.  Buen Camino everyone… wherever your path leads you.

Ps thank you for your comments and messages. Gerry is keeping me up to date as I’m trying to avoid any other communication bar this and messenger with Gerry (and Matt of course)… but I love your comments and feedback… and I’m grateful for the kind words… they spur me on when my feet hurt 🙂

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8 thoughts on “22. Welcome to the Serengeti

  1. Great blog and those PHOTOS and memories …….. ; even though it is a different route it’s just THE CAMINO.

    Apart from the peace, it’s just thinking and walking, one foot in front of the other and the knowledge that after 6 hours you can rest and think about the last days and the next days.

    Keeeeeeeeeep waaaaaalking! good luck, peace and happiness on the greatest experience in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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