Via de la Plata

Approaching Castilla Y León

When leaving Baños the next morning, I passed some fruit and vegetable stands. They also offered local cheeses. Originally, I intended to take some local cheese back to Austria but it turned out that I needed it for lunch the next couple of days of hiking.







Delicious and expensive cheese of the Extremadura region 




An original Roman road with Roman pavement was leading out of town. Shortly after a water fountain to the right started the border of Castilla y León.




Resting place




Roman Milestones often lined the ancient path I was walking on.





The landscape I was walking in felt like Austria – lots of trees, green meadows, mountains and valleys and mosses everywhere. After I reached the pass Puerte de Bejár and walked toward the river Rio Guerapo de Hombre in the valley, I saw a peculiar sign: Cafe, 300m! I was puzzled. For hours, I did not meet anybody! Who would go to a Cafe in this lonely place? After walking the 300 m, another sign showed up beside the forest path: Albergue!

An open gate led to a courtyard with tables and chairs and a charming old, rustic stone house. Since nobody was there, I continued on my way down. Suddenly, I heard a voice, “quiere un café?” It came from a man with a brown basque hat and a white, braided beard sitting behind his house. Joyfully, I agreed.






Very soon we realised that we both spoke the same mother language – he was German with the name Will.  He told me that five years ago on a pilgrimage, he and his wife saw this place, fell in love with it and decided to buy the place. At this time, the building was a  sheep stable. After putting a lot of work into it, they transformed it into a charming albergue with 7 beds. We had tee and I shared my last cooky and dates and chatted for one hour. However, I had to go on and again, was sad to leave this place.



Roofed terrace with tables and chairs and the house with kitchen and sleeping areas




I get a tour of the house. For some reason, the kitchen table looks very slanted in this photo. This was not the case.



Home built pizza oven


Not far away from his house,  I crossed Puente de la Malena, another Roman bridge. 








I reached the albergue Calzada de Bejár in the evening and was very surprised that it was heated! At 700 meter elevation, the nights were chilli and I was so grateful for that luxury! The village seemed to be a journey back in time.










The statue of a pilgrim outside of the village with a typical yellow arrow showing the way




Grasses were covered with dew in the early morning




Beautiful, green meadows








Walking along the country road in between old stone walls, I saw two black bulls waiting and staring at me in the far distance. How did they get over the wall? Why do they stare at me, motionless? Are they dangerous? Thoughts like this were racing through my mind when I spotted them (you can see them beside the wall in the distance). I waited, but they did not move away. There was nothing else for me to do than to walk forward. With my gaze down to the ground and very alert, I approached them by looking at their strong feet, ready to wave my two sticks and defend myself.




Several meters before I reached them, they suddenly turned and jumped over the wall. I never saw such huge masses jumping as high and with such a force as the two bulls did. Peacefully, they walked away. I was so relieved!









This day, I had only about 20 km to walk and arrived early evening in the village Fuenterroble de Salvatierra. I planned to stay in a recommended albergue and followed the navigator. When a small family just stepped out of the house, I asked them about the direction, just to be sure. “Camina recta y luego a la derecha” they said, together with a hand movement. It was different than my navigator showed, but I followed their advice. To my surprise, I arrived at a big house and was welcomed with a very warm smile and a cup of hot tea by the hospitalero Tino.

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Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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