Benevente to Alija del Infantado
After a slightly later start, at 8:30, we have boring exit from the city. Passing by the gas station named Camino de Santiago. A bit kitschy. We wanted to collect a stamp from Saint Jacob’s local church but it was closed.
After a stratch on the asphalt, a walk over the hill, railway left on the left, todays’ first stop for coffee in a small, “Spaghetti Western” type of Bar Real in Villabrazaro. First coffee and a small snack after sunraise, for 2.55 Euros.
Another walk through long fields of corn. Suddenly we spot something we named “the Hobbitt village”. A number traditional and natural “pantries”, dug in the ground and each with a chimney to provide ventilation.
Village of the old farts guarding pueblo. At the entrance, one old guy was kind of alerting others (hidden somewhere within the village) by some kind of morse code siglanling by hitinh two small stones in his hands?!
Here we bought a non-acoholic beer and a croissant for 2.35 Euros.
Crossing over the old Roman bridge Puente de la Vizana.
Entering today’s endpoint Alija del Infantifo. A building like from the movie From dusk to down (a 1996 American action horror).
In the afternoon we went to the closest open grocery store in the village, at the local gas station. Free Wi-Fi was available so we spent some time there. Had a Cola and tonic for 3 Euros.
The magic atmosphere of medieval cellars is unleashing immagination!!! Very good late lunch with red wine Baneiza Tinto (prieto picudo) from Bodegas Ribera del Orina La Baneza. Accomodation with lunch and a modest breakfast included was 22 Euros. This restaurant was offering rooms and here is where we stayed for the night. The place was owned and managed by a kind couple. Late afternoon they informed us that they now are closing the restaurant and they are going home. We were left completely alone in this building! Whole bar left just for us? Awesome! Unfortunately access to liquors stayed closed so we went to retire early. I couldn’t get asleep and the most mystical dream came to me. This is what a wrote down that day:
Their home now stayed somewhere, so far away. They came a long way now, so far that the beginning is already in the fog of memories, and the destination was still not in sight. They sailed out on that open sea, which they themselves invoked. The traveler, somewhere in his subconscious, is already looking for some support. A seemingly small inn, at the end of the village, in the land of hobbits, is a place where their tired feet will find rest today, and everything experienced in today's section of this adventure will calm down in their memories and become a part of them. They entered that little inn to immediately get to know his ancient and vast womb. A thousand-year-old Benedictine monastery has been donated to a restaurant with a huge staircase leading to the wine cellar below the ground level. The young married couple who run this place have just greeted the last guests and welcomed two peregrines. "We're going home now, leaving you a small room and locked you in this. We left you a modest breakfast in your room." Closing the front door and clicking the key echoed strongly to the last corner of this building. All that scary empty space. Then, the silence and the occasional barking of the guard dogs, tied in front of the front door. Darkness descended outside. They looked at each other in disbelief and, without the need for an agreement, headed for the bar to seek solace and encouragement of courage in a glass of wine. And that hope was soon dashed by the realization that everything was locked. He had no choice but to return to the little room, in fact an asthetic convent cell. Two metal bunk beds and a small window in the very corner under the overhanging ceiling. Reach to the outside world seemed to be made possible only by this small, almost inaccessible window. Indeed, monasteries (and prisons) are ideal for contemplation and prayer, but the need for rest today precluded this. Without a word, they each retreated to their "slave" beds, hoping for a quick sleep ... which, of course, was not coming right now. It was as if he was getting closer, then diving into sleep, but he was floating again, in between... So, he hovered in that dream for a while. Then he suddenly flew away ... With unnatural speed he ascended through the ceiling into the dark sky, where only a fraction of the moonlight illuminated the clouds through which he flew. As if in an instant, he flew to his home on Veruda and made a short circle hovering around it. He was reassured by the belief that everything was fine with HIS home. At the same speed, and the same path he returned almost instantly and landed in that awkward convent bed. He moved closer to wakefulness again. Honestly, for a moment he wasn't sure if it was a dream or ...? "God, why are you doing this to me?" he thought with a smile. "You're playing with me again, so what are? Show me your face when I already dared to fight you". "What does God look like?" he thought convinced that there was no answer to that question. That limbo between dream and reality has started again. Floating in some unknown and perhaps non-existent space and time. Total, black darkness, nothingness and silence. Suddenly, a circle of strong white spotlight illuminated the appearance on the small stage and one opportunity presented itself to him! A tall white dog sits upright in a bar stool, staunch but calm, joyful, and confident. On his head is a cheerfully decorated cardboard cap, like the ones from birthday parties, with big black sunglasses on his eyes. Both paws are slightly raised and bent at the elbows upwards, as when inviting someone into a hug. In one paw a glass of whiskey in another cigar. "How do you like this look?" The spotlight went out and he moved closer to wakefulness. This time emerging joyful. He laughed for a long time in bed. He blissfully fell asleep.