Estamos en España!

I’m here in Spain to update my app guidebook on the Vía de la Plata (VDLP), one of Spain’s five main Caminos to Santiago de Compostela. I’ve always dreamed of taking each of my three kids with me, separately, on the VDLP. Since they’re all young adults and only getting older, I figured I’d better get on this, stat. So I’m accompanied by my youngest, Maura, who is on her spring break from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

The last time I was on the VDLP (November 2012), I ended in Fuenterroble de Salvatierra. Fuenterroble is a small town about 30-40 miles south of Salamanca, the halfway point. It has some renown as the place where Fr. Blas has an albergue/hostel. Fr. Blas is a bit of a legend: a priest who helps any and everyone; an enthusiastic pilgrim supporter who created a spacious albergue; the man who created a VDLP interpretive center in town; and on and on.

Maura and I arrived in Madrid this morning after a wonderful flight on one of Iberia’s new planes. They have individual TV screens now, you can use your electronics in-flight, and of course everything is nice and new. Thanks to all of this, the 8-hour flight went by quickly. I watched “August: Osage County” during the flight while Maura watched Camino flick “The Way.”

At Barajas we got through immigration quickly, yet still missed the first Avanza bus to Salamanca. It left at 9 from Terminal 1. While we were ready to board a bus at 9, we were in Terminal 4, which is a 15-minute bus ride from Terminal 1. Unfortunately, the next bus didn’t leave until 1 p.m. A travel agent said we could take a 1-hour train ride to a Madrid bus station where Avanza buses left for Salamanca every hour, but after doing the math we figured it was easiest to stay put. So we had our first bocadillos and café con leches and waited several hours.

In Salamanca, we were met at the bus station by Manuel Nieto, a wonderful taxista I met a few years back. He efficiently got us to town, and helpfully pointed out the local tienda and bar-restaurants. Then he dropped us off at a new-to-me casa rural, run by the Familia Garcia. Maura and I have the whole place to ourselves, and it’s quite nice: several bedrooms, two baths, a living room, dining room and kitchen.

After picking up the fixings for a pasta-and-salad dinner at the local pilgrim-themed tienda, I showed Maura around town. I was able to get a lot of nice shots of Fuenterroble bathed in warm sunshine. The other two times I’ve been here it’s been gray and dreary, so I’ll be able to replace my guidebook photos with the ones I took today.

Next up was a hot shower, then dinner. Of course we also picked up a nice red Spanish wine at the tienda, a reserva that was a bargain at less than 5€, so our meal was wonderful.

Our hiking/running clothes are laid out and we’re ready to tackle the Camino tomorrow morning. I’m going to let Maura do all of the navigating so I can see how confusing it is or isn’t to a novice, ensuring my guidebook will be helpful. I just love Spain, and the Camino, and am so excited to be back here!

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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