Sunday, September 18, 2016

Salazar - Návagos

GR1 Sendero Historico day 10.
Distance: 28.0km (293.2km), time spent: 07:36.
Waymarking: Good.
Weather: Alternating, some light drizzle, mix of overcast and blue sky.

A day where I experienced both outstanding hospitality and walking in wet cow dung. And from where did it begun in all this? Well, obviously from where I left off yesterday, in the small village Salazar. Wait, that is not entirely correct. For my day started in the town of Villarcayo. And from there I had to get myself back to Salazar, where the taxi driver was not quite satisfied with my first proposal of a return time.

Rainbow over Salazar in the beginning of the walk. There was a clear hint of rain in the beginning and after there were more and more dark clouds.

By studying the map in the guidebook, I had located a possible place to go to for the day, a small hill outside Paresotas named Alto de Frontera. It is just that that the maps in the book are not very detailed (they are good as overview maps). Meaning that I could get there and find out that it is not what I had expected it to be. Now it is not getting to that particular location that is the most important, but I do like to have a somewhat clear goal for the day. And then take things as they come and change it along the way.

Climbing on top of Peña Horrero.

Getting to Alto de Frontera was never realized. When I arrived at the small hamlet of Návagos, I met Raquel and Maria who wondered who I was and what I was doing there. After I had explained that I hiked the GR1 Sendero Historico and that the route was passing through the hamlet, they surprisingly asked me 'Well, if you like, you can stop here, get a shower, get something to eat. If you like'. I could not possibly turn this offer down, although I had not walked as far as I had wanted, but you cannot say no to such outstanding hospitality. They let me pitch my tent in their backyard, I got myself a shower and later they cooked dinner. Fabulous.

View from the pass above Peña Horrero, Canales de Dulla visible further behind.

After Salazar, the landscape that I walked through was not so exciting. You could easily put the moniker transport stage on this day, there are always some of these days on a long walk like this. Around the paths I walked, it was more of a green hilly landscape with straight and flat ridges, few rock formations nearby. Sun was shining above me at the start, but then dark clouds gently drifted in, small drops of rain in the air. I was walking all the time with a feeling that it would begin to rain.

Lagunas de Gayangos.

Even so, the first interesting place I got to on the walk was some jagged cliffs, Peña Horrero. I had the passed through two of the many small villages that the route goes through today, Villanueva de Blanca and Torme, and felt a little bit indifferent about the walk. Up to the cliffs, the walk was going through a pleasant valley. I could leave my backpack behind and climb up. From the top of the cliffs, I could discern the Canales de Dulla further back. Small holes was formed at the top of the cliffs by grinding rocks.

At the local bar, El Lavadero, in Quintanilla de Pienza. Another great and surprising meeting with local people, met with great hospitality.

The second was Lagunas de Gayangos, which I could see from a distance, walking on a small ridge with sunflowers at both sides. These lakes are important and unique wetland habitats for birds. There and then, I felt that the day was about to improve. Until I came to Bárcena de Pienza, which looked like yet another worn village with a lot of cow dung.

An icon alongside the road in the small hamlet of La Riba. If the barbed wire is meant to symbolize the crown of thorns that was put on the head of Jesus, I do not know.

Once again I found myself in the middle of the time where villagers gathered at the local bar. In Quintanilla de Pienza, a bar suddenly appeared (El Lavadero), quite unexpected, when it stood nothing about it in the guidebook. As in Ahedo de las Pueblas, I was also here treated with free food and drinks. Almost too much hospitality, but it really warmed my heart. These bars appear to me as a kind of local community bars, which are not always open, but opens at the times when the villagers tend to meet. I possibly arrived at the right time.

Walking towards Salinas de Rosío, behind the village is the limestone ridge the trail passes over.

If there was anything I clearly noticed earlier on the trail, it was all the cow dung. There were not a few times were I had to walk on tiptoe to get around all the shit. After Quintanilla de Pienza that was not possible, here I just had to deal with it. Out of the village, the route went straight through a quite deep and narrow cattle trail. There was no escaping, where I could be walking safe from the shit, barbed wire blocked the way. Fortunately, afterwards I came to a fountain, where I could wash my shoes in the water spilling out of the tray.

The trail across the gorse-laden limestone ridge after Salinas de Rosío.

I was looking set for a long day, for a while, I walked and wondered whether I really would find a place to camp at Alto de Frontera or not. This was momentarily forgotten when I walked over the limestone ridge after Salinas de Rosío, both the approach to the ridge and across it was one of the nicer sections of today's walk. It became more desolate afterwards. And then I arrived at Návagos, where my uncertainty about finding a place to camp was put to shame.

Raquel, Maria and me in Návagos in the evening, here drinking a rusty nail.

Raquel and Maria were both retired and had bought this large house in the small hamlet, which they were refurbishing. Unlike the usual Spanish houses, with many small rooms, they had chosen to create large open rooms. It was cosy inside, as was my evening. For dinner I was served spaghetti with meatballs, and red wine. I was wondering whether there was anything that I could do to return their hospitality, it was all too much generosity. I was also given the option of sleeping in their caravan, but at the time this offer came up, but I had already put up my tent. Raquel and Maria was a great company and formidable hosts. I crawled into my tent very pleased with the evening, less so with the day.

Návagos, a small hamlet dominated by a medieval defence tower.

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