Via de la Plata – Day 18: El Cubo de Tierra del Vino to Zamora

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32 kilometers, 6 hours and 30 minutes. Mostly farm track through tilled fields and the puebla (village) of Villanueva de Campeán.

The previous night was one of those experiences I savor. After resting a bit and talking with Eric, my Belgian friend, on WhatsApp, then visiting with Juan and Mercedí (from Seville) and a young German woman named Cristina, I was summoned to dinner by Carmen’s daughter, Mercedes.

Juan, Mercedí, and Cristina were staying at another albergue (hostel) and came by on their tour of town, just to say hi. Very nice people.

At Carmen’s, I was ushered into a family room with a large table, set for one, beside a warm fire. Carmen was cooking in the main house and handed the portions of my dinner to Mercedes through a portal in the wall opposite the entry door. Another woman, I assumed to be a daughter-in-law, and that woman’s daughter, sat watching TV and talking with Mercedes.

Dinner consisted of a splendid seafood soup in a creamy vegetable base, an excellent and typically fresh mixed salad, plus a main plate of pork lomo (thin chops) with a few potato fries. Wine was offered, but I had already had plenty at the albergue, and then yogurt for dessert. Yogurt is good for everything, in my opinion. Oh, and to finish off, a digestif (digestive). Some sort of liquor in a tiny glass. Can’t really say I liked it, but I couldn’t be rude.

During my meal, Mercedes told me what to expect the next day on the Camino path and where to have a coffee and to get some lunch. She spoke fairly good English. Better than my Spanish, for sure.

For slideshow, click on imagine.

In the morning, I ate the breakfast that Mercedes had set out for me the night before, including plenty of coffee, and then I set out for Zamora. I stopped where she had suggested in Campeán, and I ran into Juan, Mercedí, and Cristina. There, we chatted some, and I had more coffee and ordered a sandwich to go, soon heading back on the trail and later stopping trailside to eat.

In Zamora, I checked into the albergue others had recommended—the municipal—got cleaned up, did some laundry, and toured the city. Though the city is not large, there was quite the collection of historical sights in Zamora, including a well-preserved castle ruin at the west end of town on the outer edge of the old walled city and, of course, a cathedral.

Costs: €12 for a donation to the albergue, €3 for breakfast, €3.20 for lunch and coffee, and €10 for dinner on the main plaza. Oh, and €7 for a haircut.