I planned today to cycle to to the campground 5 km south of Zamora before the day’s heat kicked in. With camp set up, I could take a siesta through the heat. In the early evening, I could cycle unloaded into Zamora, visit the city (and associated castle), and then head back to the campground before dark. From the campground I would start the ride to Tordesillas without having to cycle out of town, with the campgound on the right side of town.
Spain clearly observes the siesta. Many business close from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and then re-open until 8:00 pm. During the heat of the day the streets appear abandoned. The narrow winding streets, surrounded by tall buildings, provide shade in the late afternoon. Restaurants spill out onto the streets with tables and chairs set up for the late Spanish dinners after 7:00 pm.
Leaving Salamanca, I realized that I stumbled again onto another Camino. At one point all roads led to Rome, but in this part of Europe, all roads lead to Santiago de Compstela. In finding my own way, I also find everyone else’s.
Along the way today I encountered a sign for Castillo del Buen Amor, a short distance off the highway. An Internet search revealed pictures of a lovely castle … converted to a hotel. I decided I couldn’t take the heartbreak of visiting the Castle of Good Love, and moved on.
Stopped for lunch at 40 km, reviewing my future path from the campground to Zamora, the website for the campground indicated “cerrado”. I don’t speak Spanish, but I was born and lived in a Spanish-speaking country until the age of four, had several years of high school Spanish (with a Southern accent), and two semesters of Spanish in college. I’ve lost most of that Spanish with time, but I certainly pick up Spanish faster than any other language. Spanish words also occasionally just translate for me. Cerrado means “closed”.
Continuing onwards, I noticed three cyclists ahead, and quickly realized I moved much faster than they. Catching up to them, I met three Italian cyclists following the Camino. I talked with them briefly (language-limited) and road with them until our GPSs separated us outside of Zamora.
While I couldn’t find a hostel in Zamora on either booking.com or hostelworld.com, seeral hostels showed on the GPS. Setting one in my sights, I arrived to find my first auberge de peregrino – a hostel atmosphere catering to pilgrims on the Camino. While I confused Kent with the description of my unusual path to Santiago de Compostela, he welcomed me, and issued me the Credencial del Peregrino, the offical document for those traveling the Camino, a passport-like document that gets stamped for each night of your journey. I’m official now.
I spent the afternoon wandering the city. The castle closed at 2:00 pm, but re-opened later at 5:00 pm. Futher wandering through the city looking for a market led me to yet another sporting goods store – with fuel for the stove. Returning to the hostel I laundered things before returning to the castle. Interesting in construction, they build the castle much like a Roman home, with a courtyard in the center and the buildings around the walls.
I met a German gentleman tonight following the Camino. He’s walked the Camino Frances four times, including once starting from his home in Germany.
My knee still aches a bit from the exertion on the way to Salamanca, so the short day hopefully serves some additional benefit. Tomorrow should also be short, to the campground on the river outside of Tordesillas, with a castle at the midpoint. Hopefully in Tordesillas early enough to skip the afternoon heat. Simple enough, roughly the same plan as today.