Our day four on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas was a short and sweet day, designed to take advantage of several shorter days in order to spend additional time in the charming town of Puebla de Sanabria the following day.
“Our lives are full of thresholds: moving through the rise and fall of each day, the rhythm of the week, the seasons, the veil between this world and the other, between the status quo and our own deepening and unfolding journey. Thresholds require that we be vulnerable, that we acknowledge that we simply do not know what is to come, that we surrender to something much bigger and more meaningful, even as it calls us away from familiar patterns and habits that have become much loved.” ~ Christine Valters Paintner, Benedictine Oblate and Online Abbess
I love this quote, because every step along a Camino can be a threshold to our own "deepening and unfolding journey." That is if we commit to being open to see our inner selves in a new way. In my opinion, thresholds are opportunities for self-discovery, as each step prepares us for a better understanding of ourselves and our surroundings.
Our group decided that it was best to end our day in Entrepeñas, when all the other pilgrims setting out from Rionegro carried on until the next albergue in Asturianos, another 3.3 kilometers farther on. By staying in Entrepeñas, the only choice of accommodation is a wonderful casa rural, which I describe below.
Since we were planning a rest day in Puebla de Sanabria, the end of day five's stage, it made no sense to shorten farther an already short day five of about 18 kilometers, to only 15. We had been on the road for 10 days since Salamanca, and all of us thought a break in the tourist, medieval town of Puebla de Sanabria was a fabulous idea.
Our budgets allowed us to stay in a casa rural, a nice break from the albergues. But our main reason to shorten the day was because Nadine still had her limp off her right leg that was not improving. Two short days combined with a day off, we hoped would set things right.
The day's journey is broken up, by not quite half, in the large town of Mombuey, with lots of services, grocery stores, restaurants, an albergue and several other accommodations. Some pilgrims choose to take the very long stage of about 36 kilometers from Santa Marta de Tera to Mombuey. Such a length was not for us!
The remainder of the day after Mombuey is an easy upsy downsy jaunt from one small village to another with no services and lots of countryside.
Here is my GPS-created Google map of our day, along with the services available.
There is not much elevation gain, only 142 meters (465 feet), then a drop near the end of the day, with a hot but short climb up to Entrepeñas to end the day.
We left from the north side of the Albergue de Peregrinos Virgen de la Carballeda (left turn as you exit the front door) on a street that parallels the main road. Below is the street where we walked, heading towards the tower-like building, as we left town at daybreak. Just beyond the tower you can see a small building on the right, where you turn to the right after about 180 meters from the albergue. The right turn is onto a nice dirt lane.
The dirt lane takes you on a climb up a little hill. At 0.58 kilometers, come to this intersection, below and take a right hand turn.
In about another hundred fifty meters later, you come to an overpass across the A-52 that you walk across. You can just see the white bridge if you look closely in the photo above.
Immediately after the bridge, the Camino turns left, to the west, and walks you down the hill and parallel to the highway.
At approximately 1.5 kilometers into the day on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas, the lane takes a bend away from the highway, but then proceeds to bend right back towards it to follow it again. Oh well.
You have to parallel the A-52 for about a kilometer, when you see the overpass of the N-525 ahead and the lane bends again to the right to climb up a small hill. Again, we thought that we were leaving the highway, but instead, at kilometer 2.2 at the top of the hill, and by a large run-down red building, we could see that we were now joining the parallel path of the N-525!
Not far later, the lane diverges again, this time away from any highway for good. All-in-all it was only about one and a half kilometers of paralleling highway lanes. In actuality, the lanes continue to follow the path of the N-525 all the way to Mombuey, but it is far enough away to not hear or see it much.
The lane ahead is now open and sunny, and we were glad that it was a cool autumn day. The temps had changed dramatically from our earlier days and it was most certainly October now.
As we continued on the open lanes, it was flatter now. At kilometer 3.57, approximately, the Camino crosses a minor paved road. If you were to turn to the left, this is the ZA-P-2657, and after 1/3 kilometer, a left onto the N-525, you would encounter a restaurant, El Empalme, across from the industrial buildings you just passed by on the lanes.
After the intersection, the two-track lane peters out to one track and the strong path becomes nice and sandy through sections here. Some more mountains are now in our view ~ preview of what was to come!
We enjoyed the flat area over the next several kilometers, but it is very open, high and dry, and on a hot day could be quite brutal.
At around 5.29 kilometers, we came to a Y-intersection, and turned right, where we soon caught up with Patrick, one of the French pilgrims we had met. The terrain was getting a little rougher and we were climbing a bit again.
We continued walking through another open and flat area, with lots of attractive "standing" stones. More mountains appear in our view as well.
Just after about kilometer seven, we could see and hear the A-52 Motorway and the N-525, on our left! At this point, take heart, because you are almost in Mombuey.
At about 7.35 into the day, we rounded a bend, and buildings were in sight.
At kilometer 7.59, merge with another dirt track to head for the prominent building, the truck stop at the Hotel Restaurante La Ruta (+34 980 64 27 30). It was a welcome sight. The Hotel has reasonably priced rooms, if you are planning to end your day here. The hotel has no website, so stop in to check on current rates if you are interested.
We arrived at La Ruta by around 8.0 kilometers into the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas. We had a fabulous coffee break here with hearty snacks as well. The food was great and it was a bustling place along the highway.
After the hotel, there is a dirt track that parallels the N-525 for a bit longer as you head towards the center of town, shown below.
Eventually you must join the roadway of the N-525, but there is a sidewalk where you can walk safely.
Immediately upon entering the center of Mombuey, you come to the first grocery store, the Día, the red roofed building, above, just after the stop sign. You can stock up here. Shortly thereafter, pass the Corviran grocery store on the left!
Next, on the frontage road, to the right, you pass the Bar El Porvenir, which advertises a pilgrim's menu and shown below.
Next we passed the Bar San Martino on the left side of the street and at 9.2 kilometers into the day, the Bar Central and a tienda selling cheese and meat on the opposite corner! Plenty of services in Mombuey! At the Bar Central is where you turn left onto the Calle Iglesia.
Only a few meters after the turn, you encounter the Albergue de Peregrinos de Mombuey. This location would end a very long day from Santa Marta de Tera, if you were to do the often noted traditional stage of over 36 kilometers! It is a full 9.25 kilometers from the end of our stage in Rionegro del Puente, until the albergue in Mombuey.
I would have liked to stay in this town, as it has a lot of services and is very quaint, but there is no way I am willing to do 36 kilometers anymore, if I ever did!
A few steps beyond the albergue which has only eight beds is the 4-bed rural home, El Pajar de Trampas.
Both accommodations are just before the town church, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción and its square, shown below. In a few more steps the church looms above you and you see the church cross.
Walk around the square and continue onward to the west.
A few meters past the church square, at about kilometer 9.42, find this turn to the right, shown below, marked a bit obscurely by a yellow arrow painted on a small sign. If for some reason this arrow is missing, after walking past the church, stay high and to the right at the first Y-intersection.
The paved and narrow road soon becomes a dirt lane. You will now be following this lane out of town, to the south side of the N-525. Come to a T-intersection with a paved road from town, and turn left. The pavement ends immediately and the road becomes dirt. You will see the highway signs ahead, one showing that you are leaving Mombuey. Follow this lane parallel to the N-525.
At 10 kilometers, you come to an intersection with a major paved road. Follow the yellow arrow to walk to the other side, where you join an exit lane from the N-525. There is a well-worn path to the south of the exit lane, and a mojón indicating that indeed this is the way to go.
It is only a short distance before you pick up a nice frontage lane again, to the south of the highway, shown below.
All-in-all you will be on this frontage lane for not quite two kilometers. You will be climbing all along this way.
At about 11.2 kilometers, pass a large cattle ranch with green farm buildings on your left. It is just after the ranch where the lane now leaves the open area and heads for the lovely trees.
You are still following the path of the N-525, it is just not visible. You can still hear it however, on your right, as well as the motorway, the A-52 on your left as it's path also gets nearer! Not as serene a walk as I had hoped.
At approximately kilometer 11.8 the lane now takes a big bend to the left, or south. Right around kilometer 12, you cross the A-52 motorway. Here is Nadine, Norm and Rich crossing the highway, as I looked back at them.
At this point you are also more than halfway into the day on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas!
At about kilometer 12.3 you come to an intersection, where you turn right. There was poor waymarking here when we walked through ~ only a faint painted arrow on a sign. It is a major lane that you turn right onto, shown below, heading toward a more southwesterly direction. It is less than 400 meters after the bridge. (Do not turn right onto a faint lane immediately after the bridge).
By the time you arrive at this intersection, you are at the high point of the day at 942 meters (3090 feet). You have gained 142 meters (465 feet) since Rionegro. Not bad! It also is essentially downhill for the next two kilometers.
By 12.6 kilometers into the day come to a Y-intersection and turn left to cross a bridge over a railroad track.
The lane ahead from here is open and you can see some buildings ahead of the next town of Valdemerilla. Here is a photo of Rich, on this lane, who had turned back toward me to pose for the photo.
At approx 13.1 kilometers, turn to the right at this intersection by the farm building and this equipment that looked like it was a permanent structure! There were two dogs lying sedately by the building that were no threat at all. They didn't even move when we walked by.
At about 1/2 kilometer later, come to a T-intersection, where there is a stone wall and turn left and onto the pavement. You are now walking into the town proper of Valdemerilla and the town church is ahead. In 150 meters later, you walk by a fountain and the town placard, shown below, letting you know where you are. There is a nice bench in the shade here as well, if you want to take a rest break.
The Camino does not actually take you to the church, a few meters away, but by the placard at 13.8 kilometers into the day, take a right hand turn, to continue on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas.
Two "blocks" later, after another 140 meters or so, take a left turn southward at the western edge of town. This is how big the town is! Leave town on yet another lane.
At kilometer 14.3 (280 meters after town) where the road makes a big bend more westward again, come to what looks like a Y-intersection. The Camino stays on the prominent gravel lane towards the right. There is no waymark here.
Thus, at this big bend, begins the long almost three kilometer open walk to the next town of Cernadillo. In the photo below, you can see our Danish friend, Vim, ahead, with whom we were catching up. The lane to Cernadillo is an improved gray, gravel lane the whole way. There are small hills, as you can see on this section, but no significant elevation gain.
At kilometer 17.1 you arrive in the outskirts of Cernadillo. The Ermita del Cristo is the first building that comes into view, shown below. Turn left here to enter town. The waymarking is good through Cernadillo.
A few meters later, take another left hand turn by a white tower and onto the Calle Ermita.
This street leads you through the center of town, by quaint stone buildings, and to the church plaza. The town placard to the pilgrim is just in front of the church, as you can see in the photo below.
Continue on straight at the plaza, and below the church terrace wall to the right.
At the first intersection after the church, a short distance later, you come to this fountain, to the right of the building shown below. You can maybe see a yellow arrow on the curb in front of the building in the shadow. Take the left hand turn before the building.
The street you are now on is called the Calle San Salvador, and it is lined with more quaint old stone buildings and houses. We caught Katarina, from France having a break at one of them. It was too good a photo opportunity to pass up!
And then suddenly, at kilometer 17.7, you are leaving town at this site, where the paved road narrows on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas.
This is a lovely little narrow paved road through the trees initially, then it becomes a wider, more open highway, as you see below, on the way to the next town of San Salvador de Palazuelo. The way to town is a bit of an uphill grade until kilometer 18.4, from the low point shown above.
It is about one-and-a-quarter kilometers to town on this open paved road. Again, the first thing that you see as you enter town, is this lovely, little hermitage, the Ermita de San Salvador de Palazuelo. Arrive here at the Ermita at kilometer 18.9. There is an interesting wooden cross on the back wall, and a fountain at the corner of the building.
At the Ermita, turn left to continue to town on the Avenida de San Salvador. In another 1/4 kilometer, come to the backside of the town church, the Iglesia Parroquial de San Salvador at kilometer 19.1. You can see the town placard to the pilgrim on the wall of the church.
Walk around to the left (south) side of the church, continuing onward on the Avenida de San Salvador. This church is incredibly quaint with its stone stairway up to the bell tower. I wanted to climb it and ring the bell, but alas, I refrained.
By about 19.5 kilometers into the day on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas, you have reached the western edge of town, and you turn back onto the open dirt lanes as you can see, below. Initially the Camino is downhill.
In the distance, I saw the road climbing up a grade, and I wondered if this was the Way or not. It turned out that it was not.
Instead, in about 600 meters you drop down to a Y-intersection with a strong turn to the right. If you were to go to the right, this is the incline I could see in the photo above. I was grateful that we did not have to climb it in the hot afternoon. Instead, you keep going straight.
Next, the road drops down to a drainage at kilometer 20.2 (this may be dry), before climbing up and out of the drainage again, shown in the photo below. It was quite hot now on this October afternoon, and we caught up to an Italian woman walking alone. We recalled passing her once before and couldn't figure out how she managed to get in front of us again.
She soon ducked into the trees at the side of the road to rest in the shade, as she told us it was "too hot to be walking," as we smiled and walked on. We were too close to Entrepeñas to rest now.
Whenever the going gets tough, Rich and I tend to kick it up a notch, just to get the tough part over with. This was the case in the afternoon of this day. I usually follow his lead. Sometimes I can keep up to his lengthy stride, and sometimes I cannot. After years of walking with him, I have learned to discern when I can push harder, and when I cannot. But this was not always so. My competitive nature needed a lesson.
On a prior Camino, the San Salvador, with Rich as my walking buddy, I necessarily had reached a threshold, when I came to the personal understanding that I was unable to match his speed and endurance.
On our third, very long day on the San Salvador, with dramatic elevation changes, I actually hurt myself trying to keep up with him. At the end of the five-day Camino, I actually had to bail on our plans to continue onward via the Camino Primitivo because my knee tendonitis was too severe to go on. I greatly feared a permanent injury to my knees, so I had the prudence to stop.
Thank God I stopped because my knees were not normal for about six months afterward! After only five days walking! I'm too old, yet too active to be ruining my knees in my early 60's.
As a result of the research I did to understand my injury, which I self-diagnosed as Pes Anserine tendonitis and bursa inflammation (on the inside of my knees), I serendipitously discovered teaching from another caminante on "Chi" walking. After reading more on the subject, I learned that I was striding too far and pulling through with my leg too hard in an attempt to keep up with Rich.
As a result of this deeper understanding of my tendency to pull too hard through my knees, I learned to shorten my stride and take shorter, quicker steps instead. This reduced the torque on my knees and worked like a charm! I haven't hurt myself since. Indeed, it was a wonderful threshold for me to cross!
Just beyond the hill climb, at about kilometer 20.9, you think you are at the top of the hill but you are not. The climbing does ease off as you can see at this next intersection below.
Here is the remaining grade to go, much less steep now.
At approximately kilometer 21.2 cross the ZA-P-2639, a paved road, shown below. The lane ahead has more cover of the trees,
There are lovely shaded sections through these remaining kilometers of the day on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas. It was such a welcome relief.
And finally, in the distance, in a windy open area, you can see the paved road ahead, the Calle de Asturianos. This is a wonderful landmark, where you will know that Entrepeñas is only about one kilometer away.
At about kilometer 21.7, the Camino reaches the paved, secondary road. Here is Rich posing for me at this intersection. Take a left turn here and head towards town.
In only about 1/3 kilometer on the pavement, you see these three crosses, the Ermita de Entrepeñas and the sign for the town.
It is at kilometer 22.3 when you come to the Ermita de Entrepeñas. This is a great place for a break. There are benches to sit and contemplate your journey and/or have a bite to eat.
We could see our two Spanish peregrinos taking a break there as we approached. As soon as we got near, they jumped up, grabbed there packs and hurried along to stay ahead of us. Ha ha. Such a common thing - the bed race ~ even on the Camino Sanabrés! They obviously didn't know we were staying here in Entrepeñas and were not in competition for the small Albergue de Peregrinos in Asturianos!
My competitive husband decided that he would mess with their brains and run fast to catch up to them to see what happened! Too funny. I decided to sit at the Ermita and wait for Norm and Nadine to catch up. They had fallen back a ways, and I was happy to sit in stillness for a while.
By the Ermita is the town's pilgrim placard. These tributes are so very wonderful. Take the time to plug the words into a translator to absorb their meaning. The Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Zamora went to a lot of effort to place these in every town!
I had instructed Rich to wait for all of us at the town church, just a few meters onward, when he was finished with his "joke." I had made arrangements to meet the proprietress of the Casa Rural Las Peñas del Corredor (247/+34 676 653 466), at the church.
Dominga, "Domi," the owner of the Casa Rural Las Peñas del Corredor was very friendly and very kind. She is personable, likes to talk and will try all the words in any language she knows to try to communicate! Her demeanor definitely broke any barriers to our communication, for me with my Tarzan Spanish!
There are absolutely no services in Entrepeñas, no café and no tienda in town. Instead, Domi will drive you to a café for dinner, or bring dinner to you for only eight euros each. We opted for her to bring our dinner which was huge and delicious. We even had enough bread, tortilla and ham leftover for the next day's breakfast!
She has a well-stocked kitchen, where you can purchase wine or beer, for one euro/glass. In addition, you can buy a non-alcoholic beverage for 0.80. A continental breakfast can be purchased for only two Euros.
You can use her washing machine for one Euro and hang your clothes on the line upstairs off the balcony.
Aside from the room rate of 20 Euros per person and the dinner, all the money for extras and breakfast is collected via the honor system in the box in the kitchen.
Domi has one double room with two single beds, one room with a double (matrimonio) bed and two rooms with a single bed in each. There is only one shower to share, but this was no problem for the five of us who stayed here. Our Danish friend Vim came along shortly after the four of us arrived. There is an additional powder room on the stairway that is also helpful.
There is a nice living/dining room where we could relax and where she brought our dinner. Surprisingly, there was no Wi-Fi in the home, but we had purchased cellular data and had plenty left that we could use.
And Domi even took us on a tour of the town. Her family owns quite a bit of it and she knew the family history. Unfortunately, the village woman who had the key to the very old church was not available to let us in. However, Domi showed us many things, including the old corredores. A corredor (direct translation is "corridor.") is the quaint overhanging second story balconies that you see everywhere. Peñas are the little mountains, from where they got the rocks for the slates for the rooves all over town.
And finally a symbol for the spiritual threshold, is the door. Entrepeñas is full of old buildings and old doors. Here is one of them, to represent the theme of this day four on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas.
For me, on this day, I reached an important threshold. I knew that Rich and I were stronger walkers than our friend Nadine. The deeper understanding carried with it the knowledge that our Camino going forward would not be of our own design, but of a necessary design for the injured walker in the group.
This is the necessary component of walking with anyone other than yourself on a long-distance walk. The group can walk each day as individuals and each find his/her own pace, however, the group can only walk as far as the weakest member can walk.
I was growing increasingly worried about Nadine's limp, which was not improving after three days. As the group walk planner, going forward, I could not create an itinerary that would further complicate the problem. I found myself re-creating our planned stages to attempt no more than 20-25 kilometer days. Fortunately, we had planned extra days to accommodate the unexpected.
All we could do was wait and see what happened, because despite our best attempt to encourage Nadine to use a transport service for her pack, or sit out a day or two and take the bus to see if her right shin improved, she politely declined. She wanted to do a pilgrimage entirely on her own power. Her status quo of what was a "true pilgrim" was to predominate.
I had to admit that I simply did not know what was to come.
May your own day four on the Camino Sanabrés from Rionegro del Puente to Entrepeñas be filled with thresholds, calling you to be vulnerable, that you may acknowledge that you simply do not know what is to come, that you surrender to something much bigger and more meaningful, even as it calls you away from familiar patterns and habits that have become much loved. Ultreia!
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