Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Camino Day 0: Traveling from Santa Marta de Tormes to Sarria

Today's schedule:
 9:20am-Depart Santa Marta de Tormes on bus #29 to the Salamanca bus station
10:15am-Depart Salamanca
11:15am-Arrive at Zamora bus station
11:15am to 2:15pm-Explore Zamora 
2:41pm-Depart on Renfe train (delayed to 3:11pm)
7:18pm-Arrive in Sarria 
7:35pm Check into Albergue Monasterio de la Magdalena
8:30pm Dinner at Matias Locanda Italian 
10:30pm Lights out

 I think we've experienced just a little of everything except mud today. The morning plans went off without a hitch and we were able to catch both busses to arrive in Zamora right on schedule. Even though our train wasn't scheduled to leave until 2:41pm, we wanted to get here early so we could do a little exploring beforehand. The kids were bouncing out of their seats on the bus, thankfully it was half empty. 

There was a city park beside the Zamora bus station so we walked over there to let the kids play and have a snack while I figured out our next move. I hadn't done any research ahead of time so it's research as we go. After they played, we headed towards the cathedral. It was a half hour walk (2.4km) that took about twice that long. We happened upon a stand selling filled muffins or "barquillos" so the kids came to a screeching halt. Some of them were dipped or "bañado" in chocolate but they are all filled with something! Mom picked out an apple one,  Mia got a dipped strawberry, Erika a dipped banana, Justin a chocolate chip covered cookie, and José a coconut one. I planned to help anyone finish theirs. We sat down in the Plaza Mayor to eat them and take another break. I sense a running theme here with the kids and we haven't even started the Camino yet! 
We continued our explorations and happened upon an unexpected surprise! A pressed coin machine. The clerk inside the store even gave me bright shiny 5 céntimos coins when I went inside for change. Each kid picked out their design and got in an upper body workout at no additional cost. We finally made it to the cathedral and castle. There was an actual moat around the castle which was pretty neat. It was closed so we aren't able to go in and see the inside. You could see the wheel that was used for the old drawbridge. 
Mom sat down on a bench and started feeding the kids again, this time a packet of tuna with mayo mixed in, blech! Mia had set her trekking pole down on the other side of the castle grounds and a Spanish mother walked over and brought it back to us. The sun was shining and Mia had taken off her sweatshirt as she's the first one to get hot. We packed everything back up just after 1:30pm so we could make it to the train station on time. Exactly at that moment it started to sprinkle... and then pour. We ran and sought cover in the opening to the cathedral. The pack covers went on the backpacks and rain coats on us. Meanwhile Erika is bitching about me not letting her pack an umbrella! We set off down the streets in the pouring rain and I'm still zipping back and forth taking pictures. When the hail started coming down, I was howling with laughter and I'm sure everyone thought I was an idiot but it was hilarious! Thirty minutes earlier we were relaxing in the sunshine and now this. Are we in Spain or Central Oregon? 

The Zamora train station is literally meters away from the bus station so that was an easy find. We knocked all the rain off ourselves and our gear and packed away the covers and coats. We used the bathroom or "aseos" and sat down to await our train in 25 minutes. They announced our  train and we headed out to platform 4. It involved going down stairs, walking in a tunnel under the tracks, having an agent scan our tickets, and then coming up on the other side. The wind was blowing and it was slightly chilly out on that platform. The best part was realizing that our train was running late but we had to stay on the platform and wait without knowing when. We all huddled against a barrier and used it as a wind break. We gave  up after about 30 minutes of waiting and shivering. Murphy's Law: That damn train pulled up as soon as we dug everything out of our packs. 
The train was okay. No power outlets anywhere near our seats, cafeteria car serving juice and croissants and the sort for 4€ and up. The kids were bouncing off the walls again but nothing in comparison to the "adorable" preschool sitting ahead of me. Our children always look like angels in comparison with others. The view was quite beautiful. Mom wasn't too happy when the train started operating in reverse half way through the trip. The train arrived about 20 minutes behind schedule and it was a short hike to the albergue. Google Maps took us on a back way but we found it. We didn't see another soul there beside the front desk guy. A friend I met in Salamanca recommended a restaurant in town so we locked our backpacks in the lockers and walked down the hill again. It happened to be the first restaurant that we came to so that was nice, and convenient. The food was good. Justin and Erika shared a pizza Bianca aka cheese pizza. I had spinach tortellini and the portion was half the size of my appetite. Jose ordered shrimp pasta and Mia got spaghetti ala carbonara so I helped her eat it as the dish was huge. Mom got vegetable lasagna for her vegetarian find. No dessert for us. The kids added their signature to the wall and we walked back to the albergue to turn in for the night. 
Local transit bus: 1,05 each with abono card
Normal bus from Salamanca to Zamora: 5,30 each
Barquillos 7,70€
Pressed coins 3,15€
Renfe train (ALVIA 04325) - Turista from Zamora to Sarria: Adult 33,90 child 20,35
Albergue: Monasterio de la Magdalena 10€ each (private 6 bed room)
Dinner at Matias Locanda 55€
Total daily expenses: 326,70€





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