Oh god. I arrived to a blaring TV and news of bombs just exploded in the airport in Brussels and in its metro. So horrible. The implications are too hard to even think about at present. Those poor people.
So back to leaving Cebreros.
But first I must show you my special secret garden in El Castelejon Hotel in Cebreros.
Could you see I had eyes painted on MY stones? But the neighbour to my right had a gnome! The room was empty but the gnome didn’t move gardens to be with me!
Threw on some clothes, raced downstairs, and got the nice guy at the front desk (he’s pretty important here, serves at lunch, takes payment for room and lunch, does night shift). I think he was trying to explain to me what the problem was as i was explaining how I needed someone with strong hands. If you’ve figured it out line up for a prize.
After my embarrassment abated I had a nice shower😏. A very nice shower. And watched the news!
And then it was the next day, purportedly a very short day for me. A mere 14.9km! Well, so the book and my maps said. Looking back on Cebreros I decided easily it would be my last planned visit although it looked interesting from a distant height. No, I’m not sour because the gnome wouldn’t move beds. No. Not at all. 😌
Five minutes after I left Cebreros the rain started. For the next 2.5 hours it was continuous, soft, but my shorts were sopping wet, as was the front of my vest. Yes, I should have shut shop (my borrowed jacket) earlier! And I had that feeling some had leaked under my collar. As long as I kept going I could keep warm. My stop for breakfast since food wasn’t available early in town, was brief. Stale bread and sheeps cheese. Hmm. Washed down with Pepsi light. Hmmm.
The area at the top of the hill had little vegetation, but a very cold wind. Felt like snow and I later saw distant peaks covered in white. And all the while a muddy path was alternating with stone sections. And cows. Quite a few if them. I’m sure they all use the track as their prime latrine. Not the bushes to the side. No.
Clearly shepherds once spent time up here. I saw the remnants of a few stone huts with very low entrances.
And then I checked the gps again. I was in a bit of a black spot for a while. Seemingly no satellites or very few. This was compounded by very confusing signage – yellow arrows pointing in directions perpendicular to each other, mixed with red and white and also pale blue rectangles, stripes or arrows. Sometimes pointing along the same track, sometimes not.
The gps track I have diverged from actual, physically existing, paths and roads. I know, you think I was lost again but, no, no visible track physically existed a few times despite the GPS record. So I don’t know.
Fitbit and iPhone agreed my final distance was closer to 20km than the promised 14.9km!
And the town, my endpoint for the day, San Bartolome de Pinares. Renowned for its celebration of St Anthony by having horses jump through bonfires in February. I’ve seen some spectacular photos. Why? Who knows but it provides their selling point.
Coming into San B from the track is incredible. You can see a town in the distance, much more than the promised 1 or 2 km remaining. Heart sinks. Roman road isn’t enough to raise hopes. Even better drainage of it wouldn’t be enough!
Then, suddenly, it’s clear there is a closer town, in the lee of the rocky hillside you are about to walk down. Best hidden town I’ve seen.
Once down the hillside it’s one of the interesting towns. Old places, some built directly on huge rocky outcrops. Or sheltered under them.
Washing is dried here on the street side of many houses, unusually. Underwear as well. Makes for interesting viewing of some houses. No, I desisted.
and people leaving their house put a screen across the doorway. Not sure if its to block rain or to signal the people are out for a while or longer. The latter seems unlikely as too much suggests people here are aware of the possibility of being robbed.
As I walked into town I found a hostal, where I’d hoped. Better still, €25 for the night, good coffee and filling food. I would strongly recommend this hostal, El Patio, to anyone walking or passing through San Bartolome de Pinares.
The owners are nice. She is easier to understand and could interpret me better than he could but he was very attentive.
I was a bit worried they thought I wanted a full dinner as well as lunch! What was astounding: they asked when I wanted to eat. None of the ‘dinner is at 8.30pm like it or lump it’! No. I was ‘allowed’ to have soup at 6pm. True. First time in Spain I’ve encountered such positive flexibility.
And he asked what time I wanted to go in the morning!
So, a much longer and wetter day than I’d planned. I was a little worried in the middle section that if I had an accident or got lost it could be my permanent home. Very isolated and I’m not sure how often the cows, free grazing, are checked. Salutary reminder to me. Camino Levante is not like other caminos. Definitely not. And no, I’ve still never seen another peregrino on the Camino Levante.