Camino Day 19: Oliva de Plasencia to Aldeanueva de Camino

What a wonderful night of sleep we had! The beds were so comfortable and Mikey barely noticed anyone else in the room. As a very diplomatic pilgrim put it, “Oh, Mikey, you’re a very light snorer.” Hmmm…

On our exit, we encountered still more crocheted decorations about the town. Let’s just say A for effort for these craft ladies. (Mikey is convinced that it’s just the one cat-lady doing “gorilla crocheting” to mess with the rest of the village. If so, keep it up and always keep them guessing!)

We were guessing as we saw more and more of these signs posted on our initial morning walk. Translated literally, the signs read, “Danger, brave cattle.” Oh, and Mikey says you have to read it with a Lost in Space voice. But, they mean bulls – like the bullfighting kind of bulls.

So it was odd when we crossed paths with this gentle and gigantic cow. Sure, the lady had horns, but she was really docile and pretty even tempered from what we saw during our brief encounter.

Now, these strapping young lads were a lot of fun. Although fond of roughhousing, they are probably still too small to cause much damage. Still, we caught the lighter colored one mid-bellow in what could best be described as a pubescent moo-crack that started low in the bass range before suddenly morphing into a soprano scream. Terrifying, but Mikey doubled over laughing as the poor thing stomped away from us.

Finally, we came across some rather well-enforced metal fences. Compared with the simple barbed wire that we’re used to, it was a bit like walking into the T-Rex zone in Jurassic Park – happy 25th anniversary, by the way. Equally frightening was hearing the “brave cattle” yet not being able to see them.

We finally arrived at the main entrance to the bull farm we had been walking through. (Not going to lie: this looks a bit overdone. Seriously, though, each of the four bull busts is different and depict individual champions from this farm. Who does that?!)

We eventually arrived at the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Cáparra. While predating the empire, it was a small provincial town located north of Mérida along the ancient Via de la Plata route.

Yes, the town had theatre-like remains, but Mikey was pretty unimpressed after having visited so many first-class ruins over the last few weeks. Yep, he’s spoiled.

Speaking of being spoiled – we came across this beautiful mountain scene towards the end of our hike and were quite amazed by the remaining presence of snow on its peaks.

While lacking in snowcaps, the town of Aldeanueva de Camino has a very vibrant creek/river which rushes through the center of it. We sat nearby for a long while listening to its calming cadence.

And then we went to inspect various medieval tax evasion schemes like building extra rooms that jut out and hang over the ground floor of a house.

In case you, dear reader, are not well versed on medieval European tax laws, the basic formula for devising property taxes within a village was to calculate a building’s ground floor footprint and tax the owner based on this figure. As such, some enterprising builders began expanding the second and sometimes third floors to where they would overhang the walkway below. (Personally, Mikey thinks it’s a great way of gaming the system.)

This was just a regal looking horse that we came upon while exploring the village.

And this was dinner. Once again, a mixed salad and pork loin with fried potato wedges. Not quite as good as the inn near Galisteo, but still very tasty and the portions were very substantial.

Well, that’s about it for the day. Other than doing our laundry in a washer/dryer at the albergue, (Yes, you read that right. They had a machine that washed and then dried your clothes without ever opening the door until it was all done.) and doing some reading, we had a purposely uneventful and early evening. Tomorrow is a marathon day, so we’re getting some rest. Buenas noches.

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