Our taxi driver this morning was showing off his brand new Honda with a very nice navigation display. Only one month old he said with a proud smile. We were off to the Roman archeological excavations at Cáparra where we would rejoin the Via de la Plata. He didn’t need his new nav system to find our destination as it is quite popular. Nonetheless, I sat marveling at his crystal clear map screen. I think it was about 24 kms from Plasencia to the dig site. We piled out, gathered up our Camino gear, paid the fare and set off up a dirt road that would take us to the magnificent Roman arch that straddles the Camino.
It is a very moving site to behold. One cannot help but reflect back on the movement of cargo, soldiers, and support legions that moved along this very road bringing gold and other critical metals from the mines of northern Spain to Seville. Now a continuum of pilgrims move along this same road (the very same in many sections) in hopes of reaching the tomb of the apostle St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It is a wild wonderful journey that drew over 350,000 pilgrims from all over the world in 2019. But, I digress.
Robin and I planned today’s walk to take us 20 kms through some very beautiful grazing lands to the village of Aldeanueva del Camino. We set out enjoying the view of lush fields that rose up against the distant mountains. As the day wore on and the kilometers slipped by those mountains drew ever closer. There is a definite terrain change afoot as move northward. Once we set out from Cáparra we just carried on until 4.5 hours later we entered Aldeanueva. This is a quiet town with one bar/restaurant that serves lunch. We clocked in at 2:00 pm and found a table right away. We had a reservation at a nice Casa Rural just up the street, so we lingered over lunch. The penalty one pays for doing this after a hard day’s walk is that all your muscles sort of tighten up resulting in an odd sort of gait once you try to get underway again. Some refer to this as the pilgrim shuffle and it is quite a common sight on the road to Santiago. Robin and I gave our version a go as we shuffled up the road to the Casa Rural El Caminente where we are now comfortably ensconced. Tomorrow we are walking a short day ( 10 kms) to Baños de Montemayor. Another day on the pilgrim road has come to an end. All is well.