Vía de la Plata – Day 12: Galisteo to Arcos de Cáparra (Jarillo for the Night)

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31 kilometers, 6 hours. Through Carcaboso on highway and then more ranch lands and double-track trails to Arcos Romano de Cáparra.

We left Galisteo well before light, hoping to make the thirty kilometers to Arcos de Cáparra, where we would spend some time exploring the Roman ruins before seeking an albergue (hostel) for the night.

I left the albergue in Galisteo about twenty minutes after Eric and made my way around the walled pueblo on a relatively new promenade under streetlights to the edge of the new town, outside the walls. From the edge of town, my way was lit by headlamp, mostly so cars could see me rather than my needing a lighted path.

Shortly after Carcaboso, the VDLP route left the blacktop (the “black road,” Eric called it) and took farm tracks through cattle country. As I followed the way, I noticed a marked difference from the past days: everything was green and looked refreshed. Much more rain had fallen in that area of Spain than further south. And I liked it!

At Arcos de Cáparra, I wandered around the old Roman ruins as I waited for Eric to catch up to me. We determined later that we had taken different paths that day and ended up separated by more time than we expected. Arcos de Cáparra was the largest Roman ruin I had seen. It was an outpost on the VDLP, but apparently an extraordinary one. It must have been magnificent in its day. I recommend taking a short walk off this portion of the trail and through the ruins to check out the visitors’ center. Well worth the time.

For slideshow, click on imagine.

I had passed through one-third of the distance from Seville to Santiago in about one-third of the time I had before my flight home. By then, those few pasta pounds put on during my time in Italy were gone. The next day, I would put on a belt to keep my pants up. Good thing I had brought one.

More about Eric, my Belgian buddy: He taught me more about current US involvement in Europe (by way of my tax dollars for NATO, tangential organizations, and contractors) than I could have ever learned on my own. He spoke six languages and could switch from one to another seamlessly. And he had been to thirty-five US states! I’d only been to eighteen. He admitted that some of those state trips were simply drive-throughs, from point A to point B, but still, thirty-five altogether!!!

Eric was walking the Camino for a purpose. In 1999, during a trip to China, he went to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, and had a unique and life-altering experience. While he toured the city, a street kid, an urchin, walked up beside him and took his hand, and walked with him for a period of time through the busy city streets. From that moment on, Eric had thought many times of the millions of children roaming the streets of cities all over the world.

He walked that Camino for them. Every step of his tour on Camino was for fifty of these children. There are an estimated one hundred million of these young people, and he walked with the hope of bringing awareness to their plight and to add a positive energy to a negative situation.

Check out his website at http://ericdelcamino.weebly.com. It is in French, so use Google Translate, if you need.

Costs: €16 for the room and €9 for dinner at the Hostal Asturias.