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Reisverslag From Via de la Plata onto Camino Française
17 mei 2016
From Via de la Plata onto Camino Française
It's 5 days since I wrote, so a lot has happened. But I am not going to describe it day by day, this time, I will just try to catch the feeling of several days, as I remember them.
The day we left Béjar, 11 May, it was freezing cold, the coldest we had been so far. I was wearing stockings under my bike pants and gloves! We were high up in the mountains though and the whole feeling was that of a ski resort, which was very strange. We always think of Spain in different stages of "hot"..... not cold.... don't we? Well this trip had me rethink all that! Spain can be cold in spring, just like any other place.
We were surprised to see snow on the mountains in the east, the south, the middle and yesterday in the north of Spain.
Anyway, we had to do some climbing, which got us a little warmer. We were going really well, good energy, good strength, so up and up we went. The surroundings were beautiful, trees with fresh green spring foliage, views over highland meadows, some cattle here and there, very serene. We knew that the rest of the day would be mainly downhill, so we didn't mind this bit. We had a few kms of 8% decline, that was really fun, and then we settled onto a kind of highland area where the road just undulated in between meadows and plains. We rode pretty fast that day, it went so easy. There still was a cold wind blowing and we were looking out for a village square with some seats for our midday pick nick. But we were out of luck and at some point Joe said he needed to eat, because his breakfast had really run out! We found a field surrounded by a low wall, but high enough to sit behind and shelter from the wind, and we took our camping chairs out and had lunch. Fresh bread, cheese and peanut butter , Joe even had ham and chorizo. Yum!! Then we continued, peloton style, fast downhill to Salamanca.
Arriving in that city was amazing! We rode through a park, over a beautiful old Roman Bridge, up 2 steep streets and there we were, in front of the richly carved, cathedral porch with its 2 pink doors. What an amazing sight, how impressive, unbelievable how much work people have put into creating this entrance to their cathedral. It makes you just stand still and watch in awe.... And this was just the beginning of Salamanca....the whole old inner city is like this, monumental, huge, impressive. We found a Hostal, easy, and bought dinner, lettuce, fish, yogurt, wine, etc.
The next day we wandered around town, climbed the cathedral tower, walked over the Plaza Mayor, looked at the carved entrances of some convents etc. it was still freezing cold. Jan and I visited a museum, Art Deco, which we really enjoyed. The whole building was Art Deco and it had a great collection. No photos allowed though.
Early evening we went out for some shopping and were surprised by an enormous thunderstorm and hail!!! Incredible! Everyone was taking shelter under the vaults around the Plaza.
13 May, time to move on again. From Salamanca to Zamora. This biking day was not that great since the route followed the N630, which is a straight, biggish road. You don't come through nice villages and also the landscape was boring. Not much up and down either so none of us enjoyed this day much. We also went against the wind.... Anyway it wasn't a hard stretch and we arrived by 2.30. We found the Albergue, where there were already 8-10 people waiting! It would open at 3. And sure enough, at 3 a man came, looked at us all and said, you can all stay, just wait one second...he disappeared and returned with a dish full of cookies!!! And started handing them out. So nice, for all those tired travelers!!! Then first the walkers were given a bed, then the bikers ( this always happens, traditionally the Camino is a walking track ). After settling in, Jan, Joe and me went for a Pilgrims Menu in a local restaurant. Great value.
Our volunteer Albergue wardens were 2 older men. One played the guitar, the other one made jokes all the time and kept handing out sweets. They had mentioned that at 9pm there would be something happening in the downstairs room. We thought it might be a church service or something. But no, the guitar player started to sing and soon we were all singing along, one walker, an Italian got a big pot out of the kitchen and used it as a drum....the atmosphere was wonderful! So much fun, laughter, happiness, I really enjoyed it. Songs like La Bamba and Quantanamera and a whole lot of Spanish songs. Some people out of the audience sang with him too and one of them was !me!... I sang "Le Meteque". Very brave! And even got an applause :-))
Anyway that was a great evening. I love the whole social side of this trip as much as the sporty, physical side, and the eating and drinking...not to forget...
The sleeping in a full dorm is never the best. I kept waking and heard all sorts of snoring and coughing and what not. Had to get up at 6.30 breakfast at 7.00 and out by 8.00.
On the road again...our last day on the Via de la Plata. And our last, half day with Joe. We were going to keep going north and join the French Camino, while he was bending westwards towards Santiago. We had another 45 km of shared road ahead of us.
This was the day that the weather changed too. The rain had finally left us and the cold was less grim and there even was some blue sky visible from time to time.
The road still was the N630 and just as uneventful as the day before. We just biked. At the last village before 45km, we had a last coffee together. It was an awful place, run by an old man and woman who had an argument while we were there....well that is travel too eh, you have to take it as it comes...
We stopped at the intersection and said goodbye to Joe, wished him well, it was sad. He had copied our booklet a few days ago and found a translator on his phone, and Jan had given him lots of tips, so he would be okay and find his way. That was good.
We went our separate ways.
Jan and I continued biking, a little quiet. It felt strange. We made it to Benavente. A bit of a poor town, with not much appeal. Halfway between two Caminos. Tomorrow we would reach Léon.
Jan has bought a map of this area, and we found our way easily all the way to Léon. It was 85 km of flat farming land, poor villages and some rivers and streams. By now we are even taking our jumpers off in the afternoon... It is great biking weather really, with fresh air, little wind, some sun and beautiful skies. We really enjoy this after all the bad weather of the last 2 weeks.
We rode into the city, the same way we had done 2 years ago, along the river on the bike path, up the ramp, onto the central roundabout near the bridge....and Jan was recognizing and remembering lots of it. We found back our old Hostal, but unfortunately it had closed. We did find the owners though in a different place, and stayed there. I still recognized her :-). That evening we walked around the town. It felt very lively and good, we admired the plaza and cathedral and sat there for an ice cream, we had wine and snacks and just soaked it in. How nice to be somewhere, where we had been before!
16 May, we rode from Leon to Sahagun. Meeting many pilgrims coming towards us. Funny going against the flow, but that is how we do it this time! :-)
Till the next update, xxx Marleen
Foto's bij verslag (7)
17 mei 2016 08:56 | Door: Connie
Nou weer een hoop nieuwe ervaringen gelezen. Sterkte en veel plezier verder, en goed weer gewenst xx
17 mei 2016 09:44 | Door: mark
Met dit tempo zit je eind juni boven de poolcirkel. Rustig aan doen, hoor !!
17 mei 2016 10:39 | Door: Paul & Betty
firstname.lastname@example.orgHola bikers. Really enjoying your excellent diary....love all the personal bits too Marleen, not just a travelogue. Has added appeal too as Craig & Bron & kids are heading to Wales over christmas to visit Bernie whose health is declining. So to get some sun and different culture (Craig is our only one who hasn't visited europe), they've decided to spend 2 weeks in Spain on the way home. At this stage they just have flights in and out of Madrid, and we're all working on devising a bit of an itinerary down south for them, but avoiding all the poms along the coast!. Should get some recommendations from you, Pam/Derek, Kerry/Karin etc. Maybe visit your rellies down south!
All good here....Indian summer as today is the first time we've lit the fire...temps in the low 20s. All temp records broken for April, and prob this month too!
17 mei 2016 10:42 | Door: Paul & Betty
Dunno how the cocotots address got there!!! Just on their site to check out toddler gear for Raro!
17 mei 2016 10:54 | Door: Els
Weer echt genoten van je lange verhaal. En ondanks de voor jullie boring parts is je relaas absoluut heel leuk te lezen. Ik hoor je niet meer over je knie, dus neem aan dat die is genezen. Kijk uit naar het vervolg. Succes! ;)<3
Els en Eduard
17 mei 2016 11:01 | Door: Janneke
This was a very different post to read Mum. That evening with the music and singing and laughing, it sounds just wonderful! And your impressions of Salamanca, wow, it makes me want to go there!!
I still bike to work everyday, and often on my 31 minute bike ride I think of the two of you in Spain, think how I would rather be whizzing along a place more beautiful than my back and forth to work commute, but this is the stage where we are now. Biking is developing in exciting ways in NZ. The NZTA has an agreement where every time they build a major road, they will build a new bike path near it. Watercare is thinking that when they pull up paving for water lines, that they will redevelop the concrete with biking infrastructure, and the government just announced that they will spend $25m on bike trails in Otago to link up an almost 600km route. Not the 5000km you are doing, but still, hopefully a nice scenic 10 day cycle trail for tourists here in NZ. Might be fun to do with the boys in a few years.
I hope the rest of your travel isn't too lonely without Joe. You need to find some other bikers heading to Holland.
Lots of love from NZ xx Janneke
17 mei 2016 12:02 | Door: Willemijn
Hi broer en zusje,
Genoten van je verslag Marleen! Herkenbaar die steden, ben er ook geweest. Altijd geweldig om ze terug te zien. Geweldig die spontane muziekavonden, das genieten en jammer dat je afscheid moest nemen van Joe.
Eindelijk zon!! Zal een stuk lekkerder fietsen. Hoe kregen jullie die natte kleren telkens weer droog? Jullie hebben echt veel pech met het weer, normaal is mei een heerlijk zonnige maand. Hopelijk zullen jullie je Spanje niet altijd herinneren als een regenland met veel kou!
Hier lekker rustig en zonnig. Hans is het zwembad aan het schoonmaken, ik ga dadelijk weer tuinieren, dat is altijd nodig. Vanmiddag bridgen, is gezellig. Lulu en logeerhond Bruni zijn ideale maatjes, wat zullen ze elkaar missen, als Bruni naar Nederland vertrekt.
Voor ons een stuk rustiger, want Bruni is een jonge hond met speelse streken. Gisteren had ze een complete bloempot van 60 cm doorsnee helemaal leeggehaald. Alle plantjes vernield, alles onder de modder...enfin, dat hoort er bij. Gelukkig waren het maar kleine stekjes en geen dure planten.
Enfin, hopelijk kun je nog genieten van een zonniger Spanje.
Goeie reis verder!! Liefs Xxx Willemijn en Hans
17 mei 2016 12:19 | Door: Anja
Hey sportievelingen, ik ben blij om te lezen dat het goed met jullie gaat. Ze kunnen jou ook niet blijer maken dan met een liedje te zingen hè, leuk dat je in elk geval die kans hebt gekregen! Floortje gaat morgen op vakantie, dus ben ik weer gezegend met 2 extra katten sinds gisteren. Een hele zorg.... Tot nu toe grommen ze alleen nog maar. De een hoeft de ander maar te passeren en er wordt weer gegromd. Zolang ze ook naar boven kunnen, gaat het wel. Ze moeten zich af en toe af kunnen zonderen. Over 3 weken zijn ze de beste maatjes, let maar op!!!! Af en toe gaat hier de verwarming weer even aan, het huis is weer afgekoeld. Maar het wordt de komende dagen weer warmer, dus zal het van korte duur zijn. Tot de volgende update wens ik jullie ook weer veel plezier met fietsen. Groetjes en xxxx-jes
17 mei 2016 13:17 | Door: Rene
Grutjes allemaal! Nou, keep it up.
17 mei 2016 13:17 | Door: Rene
Grutjes allemaal! Nou, keep it up.
17 mei 2016 13:36 | Door: hans reversma
Hallo lieve mensen,
Jullie verslag met veel aandacht (en verbazing) gelezen.Prachtig, al die belevenissen onderweg. Wat zien jullie veel. Heel wat keren als een TGV langs Salamanca gereden op weg naar NL of ES, maar nooit de tijd genomen om al het moois daar te bekijken. Stom he? Gaat er nog wel van komen. Willemijn heeft al gereageerd zag ik maar ik wil ook mijn duit in het zakje doen. Dit weekend heb ik genoten van de winst van jonge autocoureur Max Verstappen in de Formule 1 grote prijs van Spanje. Reed als jongste rijder ooit zich in de geschiedenis boeken. Zo'n sensatie.
Tja...ik blijf verslingerd aan de autosport en dit maakt het leuker dan ooit. Volgende week ga ik vliegen naar NL met bench en al om de hond Bruni naar z'n nieuwe baasje brengen. Kleinzoon Leeuwis die dan 10 jaar wordt. Verder weet je dat zoon Stijn zijn nieuwe café geopend heeft. De 20e mei doet hij het nog eens dunnetjes over met een zg. Grand Opening. Gaat wel goed geloof ik.
Nou lieverds....het ga jullie goed op de bikes. Goed rechts blijven houden en stay on the track! 'good luck' en tot schrijfster