Mar 26 2017

Stage 16: Novés to Caldalso de los Vidrios – 38.4km in book. In reality, about 45km

Yesterday. Breakfasted with Father Filipe and his wife, unusually in his home in Novés (never before been invited into someone’s family kitchen), and walked with the lycra’ed Padre to Quismondo – inspecting his yellow arrows en route. On reaching the town he sped us past all the cafes, the shop, and sent us on our way, enthusiastically waving us off with a jolly ‘Buen Camino’ along the next 10km stretch to Escalona – a beautiful walled city and a gateway to the mountains. First sighting of storks on the church roof.

Hot, hot, hot. Lunched till 3pm in a cloistered square thankful for the shade – then off on the next stage through surprising Dartmoor scenery with granite stone walls and rock rose, climbing to the pretty and welcoming village of Paredes. Lucky, as our water supply had run dry. Met a group of old boys playing cards in the bar – keen for us to drink and use the ‘servicios’!

Then the guide book messed up. What was supposed to be 13km didn’t match with the arrows on the road and we ended up in Cenicientos, a mountain town approached through caravans and wooden huts hidden amongst the trees and the sound of sheep bells, through a sector completely made up of mad dogs trapped in ramshackle yards, then a plaza for apparently for out of control kids, and finally the grown up, more recognisable, part of town with shops and stuff. Apartheid in action. Would have usually tried to stay .. it was getting dark .. but the place was too odd. Bought the sweetest macaroon thing in the world and fled. Finally glimpsed Caldalso de los Vidrios on the horizon, way across the valley, and rejoined the Camino through the wild wood. About 45km+ today, up a mountain in the heat. Booked into a hostal and couldn’t write a thing.

NB. Today found out there exists a ‘Peregrino Alert’ app, that warns locals of our approach. Ha!