Thursday, July 31, 2014

Peaceful scenery

Hello, everyone.

We left Santo Domingo de Calzada, the town named for the road-building engineer saint, and walked through some pretty country as we passed out of La Rioja and into Castilla y Leon.

Around 11:30 in the morning we reached the village of Belorado. It has more than one albergue, and a lot of in-your-face wall murals, and it was really too early to stop for the day. We had a sandwich and studied the map booklet and decided that we could go another 7 km to Villambistia. This did involve passing Tosantos with its "troglodyte church."

Villambistia was a pretty little thing, with maybe a dozen houses and a church (didn't go in, not even sure we found it!) and one albergue. The Albergue San Roque is run by a lovely couple and their adorable small baby. As there is no grocery store and no bar or restaurant--no pharmacy, either!--in the very tiny town, we elected to eat the communal meal prepared by the hospitaleros. I remember pasta, and perhaps a dessert of yogurt, but the rest of the meal fades into the mist. At the end of dinner the hospitalero introduced us to his baby, Luca, who looked about two months old.

The next morning we headed on down the road, passing Espinosa which had nothing open yet anyway, and eating a bocadillo and coffee in Villafranca Montes de Oca. We saw a couple of gentlemen who were hunting for something along the trail. Perhaps, we thought, they were seeking snails. Certainly there had been a lot of snails underfoot the whole way, large and juicy snails at that!

We entered the formerly-untamed wilderness of the Montes de Oca by following a dirt road. There were crossroads from time to time, and there are windmills in the area. We saw a waymarker made of pine cones outlined by rocks at the side of the road.
There is a monument to the Civil War dead of 1936 there.

We also went down a really steep gully and crossed the arroyo and came back up the other really steep and rocky side.

We stopped briefly at St. Juan de Ortega, a monastery built by another engineer saint ( a follower of Santo Domingo de Calzada,) which is being restored, and continued on to Ages for the night. We had walked about 19 miles for the day.