Friday November 7th 2014 From Casas de Caceres to Lago De Tago 22 km


 Dangerous walking

Bridge across the river Tago: 600 m.

How can I reach the sidewalk?

I do not fit in the sidewalk


imageRoman mile stones of Via de la Plata 

Nog eens de Romeinse mijlaanduiding Another Roman mile stone on the Via de la Plata

 background Snowy mountain in Sierra de Gredos, 2600 m high Snowy mountain in the background Sierra Gredos, 2600 m high   Imminent whopper Imminent whopper

 I am Tosca, your friend

I got Leon from his pasture in Casas de Caceres. The hostess, or rather her husband, had given horse Leon a bag of grains which I didn’t have to pay for. Fortunately, because for sure it’s a tough trip for Leon too. In the meadow of Leon also jumped a few greyhounds up and down tied with a rope of about two meters to a wooden shed, of course barking. No shelter, cold, clear night. That’s how it is to be a guard dog here.
Today I hiked to an inn at Lake Tajo, the reservoir of the Tagus, about 22 km.
After a good night of sleep I’m on the road again. Feeling in good shape. Pleasant cool temperature in the morning and nice and sunny in the afternoon. A t-shirt and a flanell shirt was all I needed. Pretty landscape with far views, big boulders scattered around, stone walls fencing the fields and flocks of sheep, goats, herds of cows and always those enormous guard dogs. They impress by their shape and their low voice barking, but in fact they are just chicken. A little growling but immediately drawing back if you approach them, even if they are more of them together. Tosca tried to play with them but their reaction is avoiding, bashfull, or do they feel superior? An early farmer and his son stop their car on the dust road. Santiago? They ask. No, Cape North I point them out in my best Spanish. And I felt quite a boy that they seemed to understand.
All kinds of field birds, like lapwingss, fieldlarks, a completely white cows spine, rare again, wagtails, of whom we know that they perform their marriadge dance on the poop of cattle. I bet you didn’t know that. The in the Netherlands rare gray shrike on an electric wire, or is it some kind of magpie? In the years 50 when I was a young boy we heard them singing daily while they were flying in the air, but I haven’t heard them in many years. Often I see the hop, that doesn’t live in the Netherlands. Few birds of prey.
I made a few pictures of Roman mile stones. After all I am walking the old Roman via de la plata. A picture of the landscape, showing far away at the skyline tomorrows goal: the white town of Canaveral. The mile stones make me think that in the old times people used to travel the way I do. However in those days there were paths for horses, places to rest for horses , no dangerous fast traffic. Now I have to follow stretches of life threatening highways, crossing bridges on sidewalks so narrow that the bags on my horseback get torn by the rails, the three of us walking in line: Tosca in front, I second, and pony Leon behind. Leon is cool. Heavy trucks encountering us in front are completely neglected. However if heavy trucks pass him from behind he gets scared, which is scaring for me too, because Leon happens to be much stronger than I am. At the beginning of the bridge Tosca had spotted an overrun fox and kept pulling me off the track. As my hands were not free I had to use my foot to correct Tosca’s behaviour delicately but clearly. That helps better than continuous yelling and pulling. Education of animals is not that much different from children’s. At that moment crossing the 600 m. wide bridge savely was more important than a delicate sweet horse-man relation.
Suddenly the path stopped in front of a 50 m. deep ditch and kilometers long,  in which a new high way was being constructed. The didge was fenced off by a fence of km’s length. How and where to cross the road in construction? After a long detour I managed to cross. No, I hoped to experience how life was in the  “good” old times, back to basics , of which I had a romantic idea. But the old times don’t exist any more. And for sure those were much less romantic than they seem. Without a car, modern communication like cell phone and computer, central heating, running water etc. life is almost impossible in the western world. The old times don’t exist any more. Passing those Roman mile stones I feel somehow related to the Romans 2000 years ago and the many traders, the herds of sheep following their shepherd. And the hero from African Cartago, Hannibal, now renamed Harrybal, who crossed the Alps with his elephants to besiege Rome. Makes me think of the joke about bull Hannibal, who loved to jump over the barbed wire to the cows in the next meadow. One moonnight he dared to jump. The cow said I am Lisa. The bull answered I am Hannibal, but you better call me Hanny, the rest is in the barbed wired.
Now quickly looking after the animals before total dark. For Leon I could find some oats. The rest of the night he’ll have to spend in an empty field with only some picky distels, attached with a rope. Tosca is waiting, lying in the grass. Tonight she may join me inside, after we skipped the last albergue a couple hours ago, because no dogs allowed there. The guardian will take care of my loundry and I’m happy that we completed another succesfull day.
After a pizza, a glass of wine from a Frenchman at the bar, a good night wish to a friendly strabysmus and awfully broken Englishman, I updated my administration, tied Tosca to the bed (otherwise she jumps on the bed) and then I slipped into Morpheus’ arms .
N.B. Via reactions I get messages from people I have not seen in a long time. Very nice. I greatly appreciate that. Is stimulating.

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