Camino Day 15: Aldea de Canto to Casar de Cáceres

Maybe we mentioned this before, but Mikey is one of the youngest pilgrims by far on this particular Camino. Now, to be fair, 1) it is prior to Summer break, so most students are still finishing coursework; 2) the Via de la Plata is the longest Camino in Spain, so most young employed persons would find it hard to take such a long break. Ergo, it’s just Mikey and the retirees against the world!

But sometimes this gets (no pun intended) tiresome. For instance, we stayed in the hilariously small village of Aldea del Cano last night with 5 older German pilgrims. None spoke Spanish or English, so communications were difficult, but what isn’t for the pilgrim?

The weird part?…They all went to bed by 8 pm. Like, lights out and snoring. Mikey stayed up writing this blasted blog and got up before 7 am when all were still asleep. Dude, that’s 11 hours! Like, they’re into the druggie teenager realm of excessive sleep at this point. (Again, this was a hiking day – not a rest day.)

The early birds like us got to enjoy the sunrise on the trail. These blocks are massive stepping stones for crossing this creek. Still, Mikey saw them more as Olympic medal podiums and serenaded us with an abbreviated Star Spangled Banner from the highest one.

VP stands for the “Via de la Plata” which, although very similar and oftentimes concurrent with our Camino, is not the same path. Rather, the Via de la Plata as a hiking route heads due north and ends in Gijón – a town Mikey stayed in for a couple of nights last year. Although the two routes differ somewhat, they stay pretty true to the ancient Roman roads.

The Romans must have been elated with this part of Spain given how flat it is. Seriously, this is some of the flattest terrains we have witnessed in all of Iberia.

It is also extremely picturesque. The constant wildflowers and blue skies are quite dazzling.

Speaking of photogenic, check out the lady who’s hiding in the shade. She was quite a gentle spirit and smart to stay away from the noonday sun.

We also found another Roman bridge that has been kept in use. It was a nice segue from the trail into town.

Cáceres is a wonderfully ancient city that has a plethora of sights. Above is the Plaza Mayor which serves as the center of the old town.

This is one of the university buildings. Yes, it’s kind of pretty, but we were more into all the storks nesting in and around its belfries.

This is the Church of San Francisco Javier.

This is the Cathedral of Saint Mary. As you may notice – it’s pretty busy for a Saturday afternoon. That’s because the town was having its spring festival this weekend and there was absolutely no room in the inns. Like, we checked online, called around, and even walked the streets to no avail.

The next town was a little over two hours away, so we grabbed a quick kebab lunch and made our exit, shaking the proverbial dust from our sandals.

Oh, but there was this one kind of odd section we walked through on our way out. It was a neighborhood that paid respects to the washerwomen of the town.

And then we were out on the open road!

No, like it was the side of a somewhat highway. For over an hour, we had to walk on the shoulder of a highway on top of hard and hot asphalt. It just wasn’t the ideal unexpected leg of today’s hike.

Then, about 4km before the town, a gravel path mercifully presented itself and we hobbled along it into the town.

This was the main church – clearly shuttered. (Oh, and there was a Bar Jesus just around the corner, but it was also unfortunately closed.)

As it was already late, we showered and went to dinner. This was the first course, but Mikey is pretty sure that anything would have tasted wonderful by this point. So, it’s off to bed on a top bunk where we luckily snagged the second to last spot at the hostel. Goodnight, dear reader.

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