Monasterio to Fuente de Cantos
This time, for the first time on this Camino, we decided not to depart before dawn. The decision taken yesterday in El Real de la Jara to proceed all the way to Monasterio left bad consequences. In fact, we were, also for the first time really tired. Even worse, capillares on Andrej’s legs were dangerously cracked and my right Achilles tendon was giving me more troubles. Therefore, a bit prolonged sleep as a recovery was well welcomed. Today we bought extra botles of water as arid trek was waiting us ahead.
Soon after Monasterio we entered this long valley which came a bit as a surprise to us. We didn’t research too much what was ahead of us as we wanted to experience, as much as possible, pristine Via de la Plata Camino route. This “long valley” will prove to be hundreds of kilometers long plateu, stretching almost all the way to Astorga. Long arid dusty paths through fields of cereals under the hot sun. No villages for dozens of miles, no shade, no water sources. As a “welcome” to this valley we found a skull of an animal on our way. Huge stone balls scattered on the outfields were only emphasising that primordial landscape. Towns will appear in distance, on the horizon. They would look so close and tempting to be easily reachable but in fact would deceive us like a mirage.
First section had, at least a tree here and there to provide us some shade and cover from the sun but after we were left just on “endless” fields of dry cereals. After one light uplift we stopped for a short break. Fuente de Cantos was there in distance, we could clearly see it some ten kilometers away. This distance didin’t seem to be a problem to finish today’s journey. Reality was totally opposite. Again, one of Andrej’s veteran wise suggestion was „look just few feets in front of you, not the finish line on the horizon“.
Waste „fields of gold“ seemed never to end and the extreme heat was eased only by a big white cloud that was following us on our journey. I was never before in my life grateful to – a cloud!
In the middle of all this just a tiny creek that we had to cross. Not a problem.
There we met pilgrim strangely dressed, like a character from the movie Planet of monkeys. The town seemed never to come, never to be reached.
Finally, some few hundred meters in front of Fuente de los Cantos, we stopped nearby a strange and scary estate.
Fortunatelly, just few hundred meters before the village we were hooked by an apartment owner. We accepted the accommodation and let him drive our backpackers and walked with easy this last stretch. Entering lovely apartements (15 Euros) Apartamentos Rurales El Zaguan de la Plata, in the middle of this typical Iberian small town and seeing a green courtyard with a water pool… looked like seeing heaven!
After a well needed rest and shower we went to visit the local pharmacy. I bought heel cushins for my boots which was a very smart decision as those helped me decisively. Pressure on my Achilles tendon was now significantly reduced.
Going back to our rooms. Those were strange and a bit claustrophobic as without windows, and had just one ventilator. Again this was not helping my sleep at all and I finished sleeping for just two or three hours of sleep. Will I finally come to a place in which I
Fuente de Cantos to Zafra
Today we departed early again because yesterdays’ experience just had to be avoided (walking on that noons’ ardent sun in those shadowless areas). First hour or two went pretty well, it was dark and fresh and the path really nice to walk on. When we stopped in the first village for short refreshment it was still dark outside.
The number of calluses increased and my Achilles tendon started now to provide me serious troubles. For the first time I felt trully worried and even fear that this health problem might put an end to my Camino. The emotional pain suddenly emerged and flooded all my feelings. I was waiting for my Camino for a decade, planned it, dreamed of it and now…just after a week was I already on the edge?
„The purpose of Camino is not to become an invalid“ Andrej repeated me more than once. I know and I was ready to save my health and in the same time I knew I’m not betraying myself. This must be one of the wisdoms I was given already on this Camino. Still, dum spiro – spero (in Latin: “as long as I’m breathing – I live“) and all resources were put out in order to continue („the great goal“).
We now entered a valley full of large vineyards. Walking through them and tasting both white and red grapes. As pilgrims, by taking them, we are actually blessing those vineyards.
Anyhow, fresh fruits were the best possible food at that time. This will follow us all the way to Merida. Just before reaching Zafra a short stop in the village of Puebla de Sancho while locals were in the middle of preparations for some festivity or fiesta.
Still not a single bar is opened?! This lack of coffee is getting us more annoyed than all the present health troubles! One must learn to be calm and patient. Last few hundred meters toward Zafra were more falling then walking.
It’s time to seriously slow down. Don Quijote is the appropriate name of the hotel: Pepe at the reception, long siesta sleep, coffee in the small street in centre. Frist, light rain is about to…
*”Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces“ and “a prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home” and „Turn the other cheek“. Someone was a bit anxious.