Vía de la Plata, Zamora to Montamarta, Day Four, 19 Kilometers (11.8 Miles)

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Our day four on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta was short in distance but not so short on the mental energy required. The distances between towns, again. were long. While it is lovely walking out of the fantastic town of Zamora, the monotony of the gravel farmer's lanes was making my soul weary.

I was a bit numb on this day, because I was weary of the topography of the meseta of the high central plain of Spain. My friend, walking into our group, who grew up in Kansas said that her friends back home, after viewing some of her photos on social media, were all asking her why she would pay so much money to walk through Kansas - ha! We all chuckled at that one!

Quote for Day Four on the Vía de la Plata, Zamora to Montamarta

To reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing,
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
~ San Juan de la Cruz, St. John of the Cross, 16th Century Mystic

Well now, this is a difficult teaching to digest isn't it? I chose this quote for this day, because I believe it was my task for this day, even though I did not succeed much. To empty oneself completely of all desires and all expectations is a great spiritual lesson, one very, very difficult to achieve. Releasing the ego entirely - way too great an exercise for me, for sure!

Maps and Stats of Day Four on the Vía de la Plata, Zamora to Montamarta

Here is our GPS tracks, uploaded to Google maps. I placed the services available on the map. Along the route, not quite halfway in Roales de Pan, there is a café, a grocery store and a bakery.

The Café Bar Tranca y Barranca (open 9-MN) where we stopped was even open early on the Sunday that we walked. This café is a few meters off-Camino along the N-630, but they have a sign along the way, showing you where to turn. 

The grocery store, beside the café is also closed on Sunday, as well as the pastry shop, only a few steps off route to the west of the Camino. 

When viewing the elevation profile of the day, while it looks like a climb in the beginning, it is only a change of about 100 meters (330 feet), so it truly is nothing. One has to descend a short hill out of Zamora, then climb up from the river valley, back to the high plain. You will know you are walking uphill but it is not strenuous at all. 

Elevation Profile, Vía de la Plata, Zamora to MontamartaElevation Profile, Vía de la Plata, Zamora to Montamarta

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Four on the Vía de la Plata, Zamora to Montamarta

We were awoken by the albergue staff at 6:15 am, bright and early! We were told we would hear music at 6:30 to wake us up, but everyone was already moving about when the hospitalero stuck his head into our room to say "Buenos dias!" There seemed to be a big rush to leave going on!

The breakfast was more substantial than usual, with milk, juice, cereal, toast and brewed coffee. It was fabulous and we could not complain at not having to find an early opening café.

We were the absolute last to leave the albergue at 7:20, the earliest we had left yet! I did not mind walking out before sunrise, because I knew there would be plenty of light from the streets of Zamora to guide us. 

We left the albergue, walking around the San Cipriano church and onto the Plaza de Claudio Moyano. At the plaza, there is a left turn, following the lovely shell waymark on the street, shown below. This photo I took the day before in the light of the afternoon. I am always so happy to see a shell on the pavement. 

Shell Waymark Plaza de Claudio Moyano, ZamoraShell Waymark Plaza de Claudio Moyano

In only a few meters after this plaza, come to the next, the Plaza Viriato, with the statue of Viriato as described in my article on  Zamora. Turn right to pass the Parador, then an immediate left onto the Calle Barandales, following the waymarks. 

In just another 100 meters or so, you come to the next plaza that contains the Iglesia de Santa María la Nueva, shown below. It was lovely in the lights of the streets. The Semana Santa museum is right beside this church, shown on the right side of the photo. 

Iglesia de Santa María la NuevaIglesia de Santa María la Nueva

It was here at the church that the Camino signage was lacking. After admiring the church, you can choose either side to pass by it. Then take an immediate right behind the church onto the street called the Calle del Motín de la Trucha. I found no waymark, but the street name placard is visible behind the church. You will also see the town wall to your right, farther along at the end of the street.

Walk the 50 meters to the wall and turn right, following the wall along the Ronda Santa María Nueva. As you descend from the heights, the wall becomes taller and it was gorgeous walking through here under the glow of the ample street lamps. You will follow the medieval wall through town for about 150 meters. 

Medieval Walls of ZamoraMedieval Wall of Zamora Along the Ronda Santa María Nueva

At the bottom of the hill, the street takes these s-turns, shown below, to exit by a gate on your right, shown farther below. In this photo, I took the shot back up the hill, from where we had walked. It is so well-preserved, lovely and quaint at night. 

Leaving Zamora Through Medieval WallsLeaving Zamora Through Medieval Walls

Here is the medieval Gate of Doña Urraca, the eventual victor of the siege of 1072. (See my article on Zamora). I brightened up all my nighttime photos so you can see around better. I wished I had added this part of town to my daytime excursion the prior day. This is a fantastically preserved section of wall and I would have loved to have seen it in the daylight. If you feel the same, perhaps wait until daylight to leave the albergue. 

Puerta de Doña Urraca, medieval walls of Zamora, on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaPuerta de Doña Urraca

Onward we went, turning left by the gate, following the signage for the pedestrian route, to walk farther downhill, until coming to a large roundabout just beyond the next intersection at the bottom of the hill. You are at about 600 meters thus far. 

Here again, I was a bit confused, as you can see the signage, below, that we encountered across the circle to the left. Now, I believe that the lower arrow was to attract your attention from the other side of the circle, to cross it towards the left, then the above arrow means walk straight-on from the sign. Not very clear!

The tree-lined street where the sign is located on the other side of the circle, and shown below, is the one to take, the Calle Puebla de Sanabria, or the N-122, in the direction of Tordesillas/Valladolid/Madrid. 

Confusing Double Arrow on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaConfusing Double Arrow on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta

You will follow the N-122 for about 1/3 kilometer as it takes a strong bend to the north, climbing up an incline as you continue to follow it.

After about 1.0 kilometers, into the day on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta, you come next to a big Y-intersection (no photo). Here, the arrow to me looked like it wanted you to go straight, when in actuality it was meant to be a left hand turn. Leave the N-122 and join the ZA-P-1405 here. Many, many pilgrims miss this turn so stay alert!

The signage is good on this street, as you continue to climb up and out of Zamora. You will follow the ZA-P-1405 for a full 2.5 kilometers. As you walk, you will pass by several open cafés and bakeries if you have not had breakfast. Oh, the advantage of leaving from a large city!

As we reached some open space, we were lucky enough to see some sunrise colors. 

Sunrise Over ZamoraSunrise Over Zamora

As with every city, as you leave it, the pilgrimage traveler must walk through industrial parks. Zamora is no exception. Here is our group, passing the busy industries. 

Walk Through Industrial Area on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaWalk Through Industrial Area

After about 2.4 kilometers into the journey, come to the city limits sign, just before this large roundabout. Good-bye Zamora!

Straight On at the Roundabout on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaStraight On at the Roundabout

There are two economical accommodations in this area, one just before the roundabout, called the Hostal El Poligono right along the Camino, and to the right of the roundabout, is the Hotel Vanity.

The Camino goes straight on through the roundabout and up the final crest of the long hill out of town. There is a nice information board ahead, as you can see in the photo above, the first of several soon to come. 

Immediately after the information board there is a nice, dirt frontage road to walk upon, so the pilgrimage traveler does not have to walk on the pavement. You can see the AZ-P-1405 on the left side. Bravo!

The day was clear, fresh and beautiful in the early dawn light!

Pilgrims Following the Dirt Frontage RoadPilgrims Following the Dirt Frontage Road

It is after 3.5 kilometers on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta when you leave the ZA-P-1405 for a right turn onto the Camino de los Cascajos, the "Gravel Road," leaving the pavement for good.

Right Turn Onto the Camino de los CascajosRight Turn Onto the Camino de los Cascajos

As we looked back towards Zamora, we could definitely tell that we had climbed, as the city looked like it was in a hollow. Here are the final vestiges of the colors of the sunrise over the industrial park. 

Sunrise Over ZamoraSunrise Over Zamora

After walking on the gravel road for about one kilometer, you come to this large auto recycling center. Here is where we caught up to Ledi from Brazil, with the orange jacket below. We had met her at the Albergue in Zamora. Ledi was a mere 75 years old and this was her 9th pilgrimage! And, she was walking alone! Amazing. We slowed down to chat with her for a while, then carried onward. 

Pass Auto Recycle CenterPass Auto Recycle Center

Just after the auto center is another gravel road heading to the right, but the Camino stays straight on. 

Staying Left on the Open Gravel RoadStaying Left on the Open Gravel Road

After 5.0 kilometerson the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta you come to and  cross the A-11 on this bridge. 

Cross the A-11 on a BridgeCross the A-11 on a Bridge

The Camino turns right immediately after the bridge. I was happy for the turn, because we could see a long hill ahead that we could avoid! 

Turn Right Immediately After the BridgeTurn Right Immediately After the Bridge

This photo shows the highway to the right as you walk high on the bank beside it. 

Walk by the A-11Walk by the A-11

Fortunately, after only about 1/4 mile, the Way bends to the north and away from the highway. That is Roales de Pan in the distance, the next town.

Bend North Towards RoalesBend North Towards Roales

After 5.7 kilometers into the day, you take a turn right here at the bottom of the hill. There is a tienda, on your left, and seen in the photo above to the left, called the "Embutidos Ele, Artisanos Tienda," or artisan sausage store. I wish I had looked up the word "embutidos" because had I known, we may have stopped to pick up some artisan sausages for dinner! 

Right Turn at the Embutidos Ele Store on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaRight Turn at the Embutidos Ele Store

Not quite 1/3 kilometer after the turn, and after 6.0 kilometers into the day, come to the roundabout with the N-630, shown below. On your left at this intersection, there is a building that looks to be a granary, but it is the Campal animal feed warehouse.

Intersection with the N-630Intersection with the N-630

At the roundabout, find the road to the immediate left, not the N-630, but the one before it and take it. It is a quieter road called the Calle Gral. Franco. Here is Rich walking into Roales de Pan on this street. 

Walking into Roales de Pan on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaWalking into Roales de Pan

The first landmark you see is this town cross below, in about 200 meters. 

Roales de Pan Town CrossRoales de Pan Town Cross

There is an information board and just beyond is an interesting park filled with Camino symbols and animals. We smiled as we walked by. 

Roales de Pan Zoo Park!Roales de Pan Zoo Park!

300 meters farther along the street, we passed a sign at a park that said, "Área de Descanso de Peregrinos." It is a lovely pilgrim's rest stop just before we entered the center of Roales on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta. The murals painted on the wall attracted our eye immediately. 

Área de Descanso de PeregrinosÁrea de Descanso de Peregrinos

We did not stop at the park as we wanted to get a café con leche and walked onward to find the Café Bar Tranca y Barranca. The turn for the bar is only about 200 meters beyond the pilgrim’s rest area. You must take the Calle las Fuentes to the right, and the first right to join the N-630 to find the bar in about 1/4 kilometer.

If you look at the photo, the large black sign at the bar says "Open 9h a 24h." We arrived just before they opened, and were willing to wait for the precious expresso!

Café Bar Tranca y Barranca on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaCafé Bar Tranca y Barranca

When we finished at the bar we joined the Vía de la Plata along the same road where we had left it, near the town center, shown below. Here is the church, the town hall and the tiny Plaza Mayor

Roales de Pan Plaza MayorRoales de Pan Plaza Mayor

On the north end of Roales, after 7.25 kilometers into the day, there is another nice picnic area and par course. This is where the pavement ends, and you pick up yet another gravel road. 

Picnic Area and Par CoursePicnic Area and Par Course

The coffee with milk certainly did revive me, and I even slipped in a little sugar for the road ahead. I was going to need it for the next 11 kilometers, as you can see. The road was hot, dry and long. Feeling numb, but trying to keep the familiar nagging questions at bay, was a challenge through here. Why was I walking anyway? What was I accomplishing? etc, etc. 

Open Road to MontamartaOpen Road to Montamarta

After about 7.7 kilometers, on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta, it looks like there is a hill ahead, and just before it, the Camino goes to the right, at this intersection. I was grateful for a small miracle.  

Right Turn Before HillRight Turn Before Hill

After about 7.9 kilometers, you take a left hand turn, 180 meters later, to head towards the row of trees in the distance. Trees are a landmark out here, indeed!

Left Turn 180 Meters Later on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaLeft Turn 180 Meters Later

After approximately 8.5 kilometers into the day on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta, you crest the hill by the trees. We ran into Ledi here, who had taken a lunch break and a nap in the trees. It was a good spot for that. She had chosen the halfway point for her stop. We passed her for the second time, after greeting her with a smile and a wave. She was in no hurry.  

Through this next lonely stretch, a few windmills are in sight in the distance, and you can see the highway, the N-630 to your right. Otherwise, there is a whole lot of nothingness out here.

In this next photo the only landmark in sight is this Camino waymark, telling you to stay straight on at this intersection. You can see my friends on the road ahead.

Only Landmark Here is the Waymark on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaOnly Landmark Here is the Waymark

Walking along on this stretch to Montamarta, I hung back from the others. I was not feeling the walk. Many things were running through my head.

The rush to get up in the morning on this day had been crazy. I was hoping that everyone was rushing to the new donativo, past Montamarta in Fontanillas de Castro.

It felt to me like the other pilgrims were very aloof. Ledi, from Brazil, was the only one that was friendly. There were two Asians from New Zealand that pretended they didn't speak English. We were to find out later that they spoke perfect English. There were two Frenchies that were distant as well. 

I'm not feeling the Camino. I had a hot spot on the tip of my 3rd toe on the right foot. My left knee was also hurting a bit again today, but nothing like before during the Camino Teresiano, a several days earlier.

While I walked the Camino with groups before, the strength of all the personalities I was meeting was different this time. Everyone was on a mission! My reaction was to hang back and remain in my own little world, while the others marched on ahead of me. It felt like it was everyone else's Camino and not my own. 

In my irritation, I even got into a tiff with Rich, my husband. I do not remember what it was about, that's how significant it was. However, I had my voice journal and I spilled my emotions into my phone. Journaling was a good way to get it all out. 

Tractor World on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaTractor World on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta

The gravel lane onward passed under a power line, and beyond we could see an overpass. 

Overpass AheadOverpass Ahead

It was not until approximately 12.5 kilometers, that the overpass loomed ahead of us. About 100 meters later you must take a right hand turn. What? The GPS tracks I was following said to go straight and across the railroad tracks, but the high chain link fence prevented this. So to the right we went. 

Begin Detour Before OverpassBegin Detour Before Overpass

It seemed like a long detour as we walked about another 200 meters before reaching this road that runs up and over the railroad tracks on this bridge. 

Walk up and Over BridgeWalk up and Over Bridge

As we walked on the overpass, we could see the way ahead, and the pilgrims below the bridge as the Camino loops back around. I calculated the difference between the two distances on the map, and it is about 1/2 kilometer out of the way, vs. being able to go straight onward over the tracks.

We discovered that it is physically impossible to go straight across the tracks with the fences there to thwart any such plans. Alas, as is often the case, the GPS tracks I was following were wrong. The Camino is such a fluid thing, necessitating flexibility and openness. 

Descend Around to the Other SideDescend Around to the Other Side

It was after approximately 13.4 kilometers into day four on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta when the detour finally ended and you turn left and back northward.

Heading North By the RailroadHeading North By the Railroad

Rich was bored with this day too, but he showed it in a different way. I laughed and photographed him as he said he was working his lower body too much and wanted to work on his upper body. Here he is doing push-ups on a waymark. He had way too much energy!

Rich Getting Bored, Does Pushups on MojónRich Getting Bored, Does Pushups on Mojón
Barren LandBarren Land
Power LineCross Another Power Line
More Open Road on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaMore Open Road on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta

After about 15.8 kilometers into the day, the very straight road makes a bend westward towards these trees below. But before you get to enjoy the trees, after 16.1 kilometers make a right hand turn. I always chuckle to myself when I use trees as landmarks! I had to do it several times on this leg!

Road Bends Westward Toward TreesRoad Bends Westward Toward Trees
Where is Montamarta?Where is Montamarta?

After approximately 17.6 kilometers cross the unnamed paved road shown here, where you can finally see some buildings up ahead. From this intersection, the Camino heads in a northwesterly direction, a bit away from town.

One could easily go to the right on the pavement from here and in a few meters come to the N-630 and take it northward all the way to the albergue, only one kilometer down the road. This would cut off some distance for your day. The Casa Rural Vivienda Turística El Asturiano is also on this route, only 400 meters away if you prefer staying in a rural home. 

Cross Paved Road, Montamarta Visible AheadCross Paved Road, Montamarta Visible Ahead

Instead, we took the longer route to the left hand onto the gravel road and continued on the official Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta. 

The diversion on this lane is brief and in about 1/2 kilometer, you cross under another power line, or was this the same one? Who knows? There is certainly an abundance of them! Check out the stork's nest on each pole!

Storks Next on Every Power PoleStorks Next on Every Power Pole

Next cross an arroyo, and immediately turn right at the next intersection after 18.2 kilometers into the day. There is a large, washed out Camino billboard, a waymark and a sign for the albergue painted on a wall to guide you. This lane takes you back toward town. 

In just another 300 meters, after 18.5 kilometers total, this small yellow sign tells you to take a right turn on another lane, off Camino and towards the Albergue de Peregrinos de Montamarta.  If you are walking straight through town, continue onward and do not take the right hand turn here.

Small Yellow Sign for the Albergue on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaSmall Yellow Sign for the Albergue

A block later, a left and again a bit later a right, to see this tunnel ahead, where the lane travels under the N-630. The waymarking to the albergue is good. 

Walk Under the N-630Walk Under the N-630
Through Tunnel Towards the AlbergueThrough Tunnel Towards the Albergue

After the tunnel, the albergue is ahead to the right. 

Donativo Albergue de Peregrinos de MontamartaAlbergue de Peregrinos de Montamarta

The albergue is a converted schoolhouse. It is clean with 20 beds all in one dormitory. It has a washer and the kitchen here is well-equipped. There is no hospitalero here on Sundays, but there are instructions to just leave your donation in the box if you arrive on a Sunday. 

The aloof Asian couple had arrived before us and the woman had commandeered the washer for the remainder of the afternoon, washing everything she and her husband had, including the backpacks themselves! She was mumbling something about bed bugs. Sure. We had seen none thus far in the albergues. Such is communal living.

Walking Onward Through Montamarta

If you are walking through Montamarta, and not staying the night, the Camino continues on straight, past the small yellow albergue sign, for not quite another kilometer, through town and to its center, here at the town church. There is a lovely Camino pillar waymark, with the staff and gourd to let you know you are on the right route. The church was not open when we arrived here on a Sunday afternoon. 

Iglesia de San Miguel, MontamartaIglesia de San Miguel, Montamarta

Right along the Camino and immediately across from the church is the quaint-looking Café Bar Marce's. I took all these photos in the bright daylight on this day, to show you, the pilgrimage traveler what it looks like if you are walking through. I give a full description as well on the next day from Montamarta to Granja de Moreruela.

Café Bar Marce's on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaCafé Bar Marce's on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta

Next, you walk on by the church and Marce's. One block later, you are directed to go to the right, and head for the reservoir that you can now see ahead. Except the reservoir may be dry, like when I was here. Look for the waymark to your left, shown below. It will direct you across the reservoir to the Ermita de la Virgen del Castillo, in the distance. 

The Shortcut Across Dry ReservoirThe Shortcut Across Dry Reservoir

You can easily see the way across the dry reservoir, in this photo, and when you are actually standing at the first waymark before it. 

Ermita de la Virgen del Castillo, MontamartaErmita de la Virgen del Castillo

If indeed the water in the reservoir prevents your crossing, simply turn right on the road at the north edge of town, and walk 1/3 kilometer to the bridge you can see on your right. I did not picture it here, but it is not a far away detour at all. 

Here is a lovely photo of an oleander bush on the south bank of the reservoir, a wonderful frame for the Ermita. I took this photo as we explored town, and the Way onward. 

Oleander and the Ermita de la Virgen del CastilloOleander and the Ermita de la Virgen del Castillo

There are a surprising amount of services in this small town. After cleaning up at the albergue, our first goal was to get some refreshments, and we just walked directly from the albergue along the N-630 to the nearest bar, the Restaurante Rosamari.

It was no surprise that all the bars were lively on a Sunday afternoon. We arrived during siesta time to find the Rosamari open! Their hours are from 7:00 am until 10:00 pm A pilgrim's dream! The snacks and beer revived me even more than the shower I think. A nice reprieve from the long, hot and dusty road.

Restaurante Rosamari on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaRestaurante Rosamari

However, any plan to cook dinner on a Sunday was thwarted, as the small grocery store in town was closed. The Rosamari served dinner at 8:00, with a pilgrim's menu, so our decision was made.

If you arrive in town on a day when the grocery store is open, do stock up if you need, because the next day to Granja de Moreruela has no services for the first 16 kilometers.  

Also in town, right beside the Rosamari, is the Café El Pescador. If it is windy, the outdoors area is sheltered. 

Café El Pescador on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to MontamartaCafé El Pescador

Right across from the Rosamari is the casa rural, El Molino de Castillo. It is in an old historic mill, and comes highly recommended by the pilgrims who have stayed here.  

El Molino de CastilloEl Molino de Castillo

There are several more choices for accommodation in town. The Casa Rural El Tío Bartolo (+34 650 405 236), that you have seen advertised along your way and the Alojamiento Rural "El Bruñedo" (+34 636 48 46 66). You can check the interactive map above for their exact locations.

And finally, here is a group of pilgrims, with Rosamari, the proprietress on the far right, gathering for a photo before dinner. Rosamari is very friendly, the food is very good and several new, more friendly faces showed up. We were fast developing into a "Camino family." The aloof ones from the night before were not present. I do not know what happened to them, but there was no love lost. 

Pilgrims at the RosamariPilgrims at the Rosamari, German, American, Spanish and Brazilian!

Reflections from Day Four on the Vía de la Plata, Zamora to Montamarta

All-in-all, I could not complain about this day. Montamarta is a delightful town in which to spend the evening, and especially so on a Sunday. However, I had continued to yearn for cooler weather and different terrain. 

I am an ego-driven person, with lots of needs and demands. When these needs are not met, I am not happy. When these needs are met, I am a happy pilgrim. Go figure. This is the human condition. It will not stop me from continually striving to empty myself. "Seeing" the condition is after all the first step isn't it? 

Fluidity and flexibility. Keywords here. In the metaphysical world, this was what my knee represented. It only hurt just a bit today, not enough to stop me, nor slow me down. But the lesson was slow. However, I was listening. 


May your own day four on the Vía de la Plata from Zamora to Montamarta be filled with self-understanding, openness, fluidity and flexibility. May your own Camino de Santiago assist you in your journey through life! Ultreia! 

And the Journey Continues:

~ From Salamanca

~ On the Camino Sanabrés

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