|Arriving in Montamarta on the first leg of our Zamora to the Galician border|
camino trip - the Robertson Mala is in my right hand and fits well with this
fantastic Camino marker
Zamora to Montamarta (17km) May 7th 2014I hope that my latest wanderings along the Camino will help others who are setting out on any of the routes that head through and out of Zamora - these include the Via de la Plata, The Levante, The Sanabres and Mozarabe. My Camino Levante route has now crossed or joined these routes since leaving Zamora and it was amazing to find so many Peregrinos walking them! Having completed my first 800km and met no one - and I mean "no one" on route (although I did see that others had signed into various hostels and albergues ahead of me) - I now met dozens! On my first day there were 9 of us including me, but on others I counted upwards of 16 or 20 on route with yet more ahead or behind me. I don't know if this is because these routes are more popular from the area around Zamora onwards (making it easier for most pilgrims to reach Santiago in one go) or because we are in the main walking season - May to June seems very popular on most Caminos.
During this trip I met one German lady who had started in Seville on the Via de la Plata and was planning to walk the whole route in around 7 weeks. None were walking the Levante and at one albergue they confirmed that those coming from Valencia were very few and far between and they too said they rarely met another peregrino until past Zamora. At the end of our trip and on the drive home we followed the Via de la Plata route and crossed the Camino in a few places. There were yet more pilgrims heading north and even at this time of the year, the sun was beating down on them relentlessly and with little shade to be found in some places. I had great admiration for them walking this route at this time, as I had chosen to do most of my Levante route during the months of September to November and even in December and January, in order to avoid the heat on the stretches through open La Mancha countryside. Many of the blogs and info sites suggest that these routes can be very dry and some stretches are many kilometres without the opportunity for water - they rightly advise that walking them should not be done later than June. As we hit Seville the temperatures were 36C - and yet we are only in May.
|Sunrise out of Roales as we set off toward Montamarta|
|The railway comes from our left and eventually meets|
and crosses the camino - this bridge is to my left and
behind me as I stand on the camino
|This is the bridge we need to cross|
it is on my left and is the position
from which I took the other
|House on arrival in Montamarta with many Camion signs|
|Tile as found on the house|
behind me in the photograph
|The arrow we built to help|
direct pilgrims over the
bridge (we put one the
other side also)
|The statue of "Zangarrón" in Montamarta|
I got my sello in the ayuntamiento and there is a great little bar next to it with a good cold beer to celebrate arrival. For the dogs, there is a stunning lake (the reservoir Ricobayo) with the Ermita de la Virgen del Castro perched on a rocky outcrop over it. It has the most stunning view. The dogs ran and ran and played - loving the chance to swim in the cool waters after the day had turned hot.
The tradition of Zangarrón (from Wikipedia and with odd translation!)
According to tradition, this typical character goes out on New Year and Epiphany, in the early hours of the day walking the streets of the town asking for a bonus, which he can then give as donations from his peculiar shirt. During the morning, he runs to catch the unmarried young men and gives them these donations. He also participates in a point of the liturgy of the Mass, bursting at the altar and spiking with his trident, two loaves of bread.
The anthropologist Francisco Zamora Rodríguez Pascual acknowledges that Montamarta is one of the municipalities that has best preserved this ancient tradition in the province of Zamora and so testified Julio Caro Baroja when Zangarrones commented that "still alive".
- Outfit: the popular character appears as a "devil" wearing a unique dress made of two towels, a brown or red on one leg (depending on the day of event), and yellow on the other leg, which are sewn to each one simulating a trouser and covered with paper flowers. Carrying a quilt and like a knotted blouse the quilt is sewn with an opening to make it like a bag where the bonus and chorizo is collected and offered to the runners once caught.
- Accessories: on the shoulder are hung three bells, while the face is covered with a flamboyant mask of quirky cork in black or red, crowned by two hare's ears and colorful paper flowers. In addition, the Zangarrón carries a trident with which he incites and traps single waiters with great cunning.
|Ermita de la Virgen del Castro - Montamarta|
|The loop that takes you over the railway|
bridge and was not marked when I
crossed. Many pilgrims stayed to the right
of the railway instead of crossing over to keep
it on their left. I added arrows at these points
|The arrow we built to direct pilgrims over|
the bridge.... although we saw some
Japanese miss even this (although we rescued