Today was the walk from Montamarta to Granja, which had an interesting outcome. The walk was really nice. There was a great view over the embalse, fantastic scenery, and great walking surfaces. What was really interesting was the ruins of the Castrotorafe castle as we passed. It was huge and covered an enormous area. So do have a look at the gallery for that day to see it.
And then finally we got into Granja where we expected to stay in the albergue. That’s where things got interesting because the whole town was closed for a fiesta. Literally, the whole town was going to a bridge, some kilometres up the road, to have a fiesta. Everything was closed. The albergue was open and some people said that we could sleep there, but there was nowhere to get food. There was no bars open or anything. And so, we decided that the best thing was probably gonna be getting a taxi to Benavente. And this is also where the Camino splits. So, from Granja, most people were heading west on the Camino Sanabrés, we, on the other hand, were to head north towards Astorga. With the lack of food and everything proving to be a little bit difficult, we decided that we would order a taxi to take us to Benavente and that we would start the next stage of our camino there.
Whilst we were waiting for the taxi, some amazing Camino angels appeared out of the houses. We were sitting on a bench next to the church and two ladies and a guy came out of the house. They called us over and they basically apologised for the whole town being closed and they gave us a bottle of wine, two homemade chorizo, and a loaf of bread. Had we known about that 10 minutes earlier, we probably could have survived quite well on that, staying in the albergue, but we had a taxi on the way, unfortunately. So, we resolved to take all of that with us and we would use it for picnic the next day.
The decision to walk Via Verde to Alija was one of the best decisions of your trip, Rob! On my first time on VdlP I walked the “original” Camino to Alija and it was almost all on asphalt. Really tiring. Actually, this “Via Verde” starts way before Benavente – several km before – certaintly you have seen it from the window of your tourigrino bus from Granja (sorry for teasing you again 🙂 )
I wonder if you knew that you were soaking your feet in the same river that made Romans build that spectacular bridge in Hospital de Orbigo. If I’m not wrong Orbigo river marks the border between the province of Zamora and Leon.
Thank you for sharing your experiences as you walk!
Walking across rural Spain has shown up some issues regarding places being open or closed. Many small bars & shops went bust during the Covid lockdown years and those that survived now face a common European problem – lack of staff. Its also not uncommon for a small community to ‘take the day off’ for a communal event, saint’s day or other public holiday. So as you’ve said Rob, always have water and a snack packed into your bag for these days.
We have come to expect in the smaller villages…to find nothing open. Today we found a bar open after 8 kms and had a coffee. Can’t remember the last time that happended…
I think it’s also a lack of customers and continued depopulation in rural areas. Today we had coffee for 1.20 euros and it came with free tapas of tortilla and cake!! How do they make any money ?