Monday Nov. 24th 2018 over Benavente and Villabrázaro to Alija del Infantado > 31 km

Veel voorkomend type doeves (duivenhuis)

Typical dove cote

Tosca's binnenplaats. Iets voor Animal Cops

Leon’s shelter. Something for Animal Cops

Dit is natuurlijkmTosca, de andere foto Leon, samen in hun nachtverblijf

Tosca and Leon together in their shelter

De befaamde reclame voor Osborn, langs de Spaanse weg

The famous advertising for Osborn, along the Spanish road

Weer zo'n oude middeleeuwse brug

Again such an old bridge from the middle ages

Lemen huis met oude karren

House of mud blocks with old charts. Back to basics!


Oudere jongeren met ooievaarsnest op kerktoren

Elderly youngsters. Stork nests on the church towers

31 km according to the book, but the route was kilometers detour and equally much longer, the rascals.
There you walk. Stress? The walking itself not really at all. As long as the animals go smoothly, it is nice. I hardly meet anyone. The villages look inhabited in the winter: often shutters closed. Does someone live here? Me lonely? Yes, but that does not bother me, also because of the company and the care for the animals. What is the purpose of this trip? Back to basics? Doing something original? I am too old for a peak performance . Endurance is still possible. Mama Alice? I also know that once this trip is finished, some people might show interest, but you should not tell them  than 5 minutes about my experiences . Then you become boring. So why doing this? I am Who am (Descartes) is for me: I am, who is walking. A thinker, who else ?, once said: je pense, donc je suis (I think, so I am). For me: I walk, so I am. I certainly think that’s just as strong as a statement!  An old lady, from Rijksweg in Wahlwiller, once said to me: we walked once a week with the (dog) cart to the market in Aachen (beginning 20th century). 15 km? Just like a river flowing is a metaphor for the course of life, thus is the same for my trek.
Eldridge Clever, a black activist and writer in the 1960s in the US, described the people in the train in his book Soul on Ice, on their way home in the evening: The important businessman, the smart official, the workman in his working clothes, the coquette teacher and the insecure adolescent. They were all pretending to be something, and she, the tired, obese, black cleaning lady, she simply SAT. It is also like walking: people work on a leak along the road, they shop, bring children somewhere, and I, I walk. C’est ca! Delicious, addictive. Leon’s pass sounds like one-and-two-tig, two-and-two-tig, just the pace of the heartbeat, and I notice that we often keep the same step, Leon whisking to a poll of good grass, ready to go to dash to it and I ditto, ready to warn: you watch it, eh. We never arrive at the albergue in time like that. Maybe pathetic, but he is better off continuing walking now with his burden, to be able to graze unloaded at the end of the day. I walk, so I am.
But now the story of today.
Nice weather, this afternoon even with sleeves rolled up in the sun.
Changing landscape, often something like our South-Limburg, only of course less beautiful ?! But first the morning. At exactly 8 o’clock the owner of the courtyard where the animals were / were tied, was present, to open the gate. She was a little younger than me, I guess, with 3 still visible teeth and not a word to exchange. I liberated my sweethearts very early. See pictures. Tosca had been tied up for 16 hours. How did he handle pis pis and cas cas? Leon got bread and concentrates. To my surprise Tosca was not hungry. During the day Tosca was active like always and Leon pulled and dashed aside less than usual. Are those animals made of iron? The dog is like the boss. I allowed Leon some more grazing during the day and he seemed to  enjoy that. leon’s hair is disappearing under the straps of the pack saddle, so I removed the chest strap and the pelvic belts. After all, a 70 kg horserider also only uses one belly belt. That went well too. The pack saddle stayed in place.
I had already arranged the inn for tonight. The inn keeper would look for a farrier. The future is smiling again. The town of Benevente was crossed without major problems. In the middle of the busy shopping street I pinned in an open niche, with Leon in the other hand. And Tosca next to me. The branch manager ran out laughing, to photograph the pinning horse from all sides. I lost at least one hour searching the right direction. Fortunately no police to bother me.
The problem is that the historic Via de la Plata still goes on 60 km to the north and then ends in the city of Astorga. But nowadays the Santiago pilgrims have already turned to the west 20 km earlier. In Astorga I encounter the east-west route that runs from France to Santiago, the so-called Camino Frances. But this piece of Via de la Plata that I now walk is not or hardly walked by pilgrims. So no arrows, no signs, bad infrastructure. Find it out yourself.
In Villabrázaro I photographed the church tower, with of course again a stork’s nest. Because I did not see any children, no people at all, except for these 2 elderly youngsters from the photo, I wanted to ask them to work together with the stork and literally breathe new life into this village . One of the old bosses immediately saw that Leon missed an iron, and he thought Leon was very loaded. I had to admit he was right there. Do you speak French, one of them asked me. Yes. He says, barely intelligible, ua revior (au revoir in the Villabrázarian). Here, too, the remains of a disappearing ages-old agricultural culture: mud houses, old carts, collapsing medieval bridges, next to the modern ones. Old, black-cloaked females, with under the slab (headscarf) long, never (?) washed, greasy hair. In addition, many people with piercings and further all fashionable whims, which I am used to at home in the Nl. It also strikes me that fitness equipment is available in every park, but also often on the central village square.

Fitnessapparaten midden in dorpFitness in the center of the village

Het lijkt wel een hond op de fitnessA dog on fitness

When I arrive at the inn I call the phone number that is on the door. Soon after, a lady arrives to open the door. There is indeed hot water, loundry powder and a centrifuge and an electric heating. O.k. Then quickly doing the laundry. Leon and Tosca waited outside until I had finished setling. A passer-by beckoned me: walk with me. I have a fenced pasture for your horse, with a fence that can be locked. Someone else had already offered the local soccer field for Leon, with nice and tall grass, but that was not closed by the manager of the albergue. Tomorrow morning 9 am. he said. Too late, I said. Good, 8.30. Bale (o.k.). And the farrier? There is no one in the entire environment. Today I did not notice that Leon suffered from the lack of iron at his forehand. In case he suffers, I still have the hoof shoes with me. Nice is that I now know what raduro? is. Which Spanish teacher knows that? I do, namely farrier. Reminds me of that toddler

De een houdt van oude auto 's, de ander oude gebouwen, oude werktuigen, oude bruggen, oude veerassen, oude mensen

imageone person may love old cars, the other one loves old buildings, old tools, old bridges, old ferry axes, old people

of one year old, living opposite of earthmoving company Mertens in Mechelen (Nl), whose first word in addition to the words mum and dad, was “maishakselaar” ( corn cutter). And one of our children, when one year old had learnt from his mother Sonja the word berenklauw (Bear’s claw, plant). But hope that raduro does not mean horse butcher.
By the way I’m sorry that always the same unlucky head is on the selfie, but Tosca and Leon have not yet been able to learn to take a picture. After all, there must be proof that I am walking this tour myself, instead of spending a year in a hotel at the Spanish South coast and inventing a blog with all kinds of pictures stolen from internet .
It is now 9.45 pm. I sit here at the bar to eat my supper, 3 raciones tapas with a lager, with the new money I pinned with Leon. Mmmmm. I just booked the albergue for tomorrow. Mi problema esta mi caballo. At the telephone: “?Caballo si … ..? And further: ….”No problema? So, I repeat, caballo no problema? Well, then it will be fine. I even äm in a better mood. Oladeladio!  When calling an albergue I do not talk about Tosca anymore. Then they are going to make objections. Well she is also satisfied on the mat in the front porch of the inn, with a nice full tommy, asleep.


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