Thursday, May 28, 2015

Camino recollections

Camino Recollections:

Hotels: As ever, we eschewed pilgrim albergues and stayed in 2 or 3 star hotels, except when we were compelled to use the Parador in Zamora. This place has hardly changed since I was there 18 years ago. The agricultural hair-drier certainly hasn't. But staff attitudes were better than I recalled and the place itself is magnificent. Essentially, though, it was over-staffed at Reception and under-staffed in the Bar. But at least I didn't have to try to squeeze soap from a tube on the wall.

Other 'pilgrims': We didn't meet any at all on our 5 walks. As the Via de la Plata is not as popular as other Caminos, we'd expected these to be few and far between but not quite this few. Though we did see 5 when were bussing back for Montamarta to our Zamora base.

The best walk: The stage between Fuenterroble and San Pedro de los Rozados - the day I was laid up in bed, fasting and contemplating death. And not losing any weight, apparently

Food: Almost universally good but we had a poor experience at Serafín in Zamora. See my review here, complete with typo - routing instead of routine.

Wine: Universally good. White verdejos and red Toro tempranillos. The boxes I ordered on our last day - from a bodega in Tordesillas - were delivered to my house a few hours before I got back yesterday evening. 

Weather: Also excellent. Never too hot but, to our surprise, there were bitingly colds winds in and around Salamanca before the sun got up and took the temperature from 5 to 20 plus. For the 4th camino a row, my bright red cape proved unnecessary, as of rain there was none.

The sights: Estupendos, to put it mildly. Not just in Salamanca and Zamora but also in Tordesillas, where the Mudéjar artwork in the Convento de Santa Clara is a must-see. Plus the restored Arab baths.  

Company: All old friends, so what can I say . . .?

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