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Notes from the Trail: Hiking the Camino de la Plata – Week 3

This is the third installment of six on my daughter’s hike on Spain’s 1000 km Camino de la Plata. She is now expecting to be a few days ahead of her six week goal. This segment covers 185 kms (111 miles) over the week – in some tough conditions. If you want more information you can read notes from the trail for Week 1 and Week 2. 

This weeks walk covered 185 kms (111 miles) and the total walked since Seville is 518.50 kms (311.3 miles).

"Walking into Salamanca"
Walking into Salamanca

Day 15  Embalse de Alcantara to Grimaldo 17 km

I had originally planned to go to Canaveral but it was only 10 km away so I went ahead to Grimaldo which is 1 km off course. I choose to walk along the road again today as I hear the Camino had a lot of up and downs and my legs needed an easier day after the previous one.

Lots of climbing to get up to Canaveral which is a pretty town on the side of the hill/mountain. After Canaveral the camino winds up through a pine tree forest which is very pretty.

Grimaldo is a bit of a climb off the main track and the path spits you out right on the road. Grimaldo is very small. The albergue is by donation only and is run by the lovely people that run the bar next door. Those are the only two things of note in Grimaldo.

Day 16 Grimaldo to Carcaboso  31 km

The walk today is pretty interesting. It was a misty morning through the tall grasses and sporadic trees to start. Then the camino winds through woods before turning towards a main road on the left. After a short climb you get a view of Gallisteo.

It’s still another hour or so before you reach the city though. Gallisteo is a walled town which is a pretty interesting sight. The camino then heads out onto a quiet local road through a small town and into Carcaboso. I stayed at a hostel here for 18 Euros. Again so worth the price!

The room was incredibly clean with my own bathroom and fresh towels! Ah luxury! The hostel is attached to a restaurant/bar where you can eat.

Day 17  Carcaboso to Aldeanueva del Camino 40 km (should have been 38)

This is a day I would just assume forget. The day was long enough anyways but to make things worse there were no towns to stop at and get a cold drink. The day passes through a grassy track, then woods, then a rocky/sandy path, then road forever.

I got lost twice (thus the 40 km day vs 38 km), had to walk through a river (felt great until I looked down and noticed by feet were covered with leeches), fought a fence, it won (I have some serious bruises to prove it), and sheared off my knuckle with a rusty stubborn gate.

Like I said – a day I would like to forget. Only silver lining was that the albergue was free. Not donation – FREE!

"The roads in Aldeanueva del Camino"
The roads in Aldeanueva del Camino

Day 18  Aldeanueva del Camino to Calzada de Bejar 23 km

I was so excited to have short day after my horrible experience the day before. The day starts off on the road and heads into a spa town called Banos de Montemayor where apparently there are thermal baths of Roman origin.

The Camino then goes straight up so be prepared. It then levels out, passes through a small town, and then goes down for what feels like forever. I didn´t see anyone at all along this stretch until a sketchy white car passed with two guys in it. They stopped about 100 feet in front of me, opened the trunk, pulled out two ropes and a baguette.

I thought I was finished. (Not because of the baguette). I quickly said hello and noticed they had bloodshot eyes – someone´s been drinking! As soon as I turned a bend I started running, literally. They freaked me out. I ran until I saw someone else ahead.

The camino levels out for a bit then has one final steep climb up to Calzada de Bejar. There is nothing in this town – no shops or restaurants. There is one bar and the albergue, that´s it. The albergue is 10 Euros (there are no other options where you can sleep). You can have a meal at the Albergue for 8 Euros.

"Calzada de Bejar"
Flowers in Calzada de Bejar

Day 19 Calzada de Bejar to Fuenterroble de Salvatierra  20 km

Again I was happy for another short day. The route start out on a grassy track wet with dew from the night before. Then turns to a dirt road until you hit the first town where you can grab some breakfast. You are then on a road for a gradual climb up to the next town.

Then it’s off onto the road and then a dirt track for the rest of the day all the way into Fuenterroble de Salvatierra. I was there on a Sunday which meant only bars were open. I had a good lunch at the bar closest to the Albergue (donation only) but the bar owner gave me the wrong change. I had to fight him to get my money back. He finally realized his mistake and relented but I didn’t return there for dinner!

Day 20  Fuenterroble de Salvatierra to San Pedro de Rozados  29 km

This was my favourite day of the Camino so far. The first half of the day is on a dirt road that switches from flat to climbing regularly. The road then starts to climb more steeply as you near the highest point on the camino (between Seville and Astorga) at the Pico de la Duena.

There is a cross that marks the top. The hill is also lined with wind towers. The views from up there are stunning. I probably hung around enjoying the sun and the views for nearly an hour before heading down to the road below. Another 10 or so km on the road before the turn off to San Pedro de Rozados.

There are two albergues here which are about 100 feet apart. The private one is excellent. For 10 Euros you get fresh sheets and there are two beds that are not bunk beds which is always a treat.

I was the only person in this albergue. There were 2 ladies in the other albergue and 3 people in the hostel. We all had dinner together and the conversation somehow managed between 4 languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and English. Just part of the eccentricities of the Camino!

Day 21  San Pedro de Rozados to Salamanca 25 km

The day into Salamanca passes mostly along a dirt road through miles and miles of farmland and tall grasses. When you get close to Salamanca it´s easy to get lost as I did. Just head for the main road and you will soon find those fabulous yellow arrows guiding the way.

Salamanca is beautiful. The cathedral stands out. You can see it from miles away. The streets are busy with cafes, shops, and people socializing.  There are a lot of tourists so you will hear an array of languages. I chose to stay in a hostel because the next day I planned to walk only 16 km.

I know most people are walking 36 km so they will be getting up early and I could use a sleep in. So for 18 Euros I have my own room at Hostel Tormes which is smack dab in the middle of everything. Lots of choices for food here which is a nice change. I can’t handle the Spanish cuisine for much longer!

And that’s it for week 3! Buen Camino!

Photo credit: Salamanca, Flowers, Aldeanueva del Camino

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