Monster hiking through fine weather and effing foul weather. I have crossed Camino de Santiago and continue to follow Ruta Mozarabe/Via de la Plata northwards. I will be walking a huge loop around the north western corner of Spain and returning to the point at which I crossed camino de Santiago to follow that route eastwards.
I'm in Benavente. The free albergue is a rather cool, hard to find (very unexpected) dereilct railway station.
A small town with a castle that is now a Parador hotel, a huge flour mill, a couple of nice churches, an outdoor municipal swimming pool with water chute (for summer use only) and an exercise park that some bloke with no legs is currently using as I write from the library.
On a convergence of Two rivers, Benavente is pretty much surrounded by plains filled with poplar plantations used for producing match sticks and fencing stakes. At this time of year the are totally naked but for the gold tops of late falling leaves. Almost surrounded by plains, but not quite. Between the 'V' of the rivers are fertile valleys renowned for the harvest of varied crops they produce. There is a harvest fair here at the end of September each year.
I have invested in a quality body warmer and a pair of light weight combats. I now have 38 pockets. Pockets for cash. Pockets for cigarettes. Pockets for lucky stones. Pockets for rubbish. Pockets for pretty much everything. Took me almost an hour to find my pocket torch last night. Cash is low. Very little going to local charities ATM. I also have a schedule to stick to over the next few weeks. Hopefully here, Astorga and Ponferrada will provide a bit to see me through a few days (or, possibly weeks) in the wilderness. I may go off radar for a while. People have been goo enough to give their time for me to interview/film/photograph them, so if I have to take a bus ride off route for a while I will.
The rains have stopped. I'm all togged up in new, warm, dry clothes... I'm off to sketch in the streets of Benavente :)