It´s a grey old Sunday here in Spain, but there hasn´t been more than a sprinkling of rain - just enough to justify stopping and putting on my mac. Last night´s stay in Tabara was one of the best so far: a very pretty large village, with lots of people about - unusually.
I traipsed up to the municipal albergue, which is a km. from the centre of the village; but it was filthy, so I took instead one of the rooms at the restaurant by the main square, a wise decision (and an extremely good €18 worth).
Though there was a Mass at Granje de Moreuela the previous evening, Tabara had none save at 1pm today, by which time I was well on my way here to Santa Croya de Tera; but what it lacked in Mass it had in football - available on every screen possible.
The walking has been easy today, 22kms, quite a bit shorter than yesterday. Only the last few hundred metres have been along the road: the rest on sandy tracks, now well dried out after the great rains. There are wild flowers beginning to come through, but the cistus bushes are nowhere near in flower. All around are encenas, but no animals of any sort to be seen amongst them. (I did hear a donkey braying in Tabara last night though.)
Just over the river from here is a village with a wonderful Romanesque church, its particular interest being the 11th Century statue of St James as a pilgrim, the earliest known one. Others and I were given a tour of both the church and its lovingly-created museum - all, a local effort - by a villager (named Celestina, but decidedly unelephantine).
Casa Anita is a private albergue, and a different kettle of fish altogether to the previous one of that sort I stayed in last week. I have just been shown where the beer glasses are kept - in their own cold fridge! What luxury! The eponymous Anita started up 13 years ago, and now one of her three beautiful daughters runs it - a tight ship. Generously, we were all invited to join in their family birthday celebrations.
En route here, there were attractive signs recommending Casa Anita to us, one of them by a delightful shelter with table and stools inside, beside the track a couple of kms. back under a large oak tree - the work of Anita´s husband. This is the sort of thing that makes being on the Camino worthwhile: a spirit of hospitality is so often evident, even if not universally forthcoming: there are some po faces as well as the smiley ones.
Amongst my fellow walkers today have been a French couple, an Austrian-American couple, a Spaniard and an Australian. All very friendly, but nobody so pressing that you want to get away from them.