El Camino Fonseca

Northwest via Ourense

Tierra de Pan, Through the Wheatfields

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Zamora to Tábara

From Zamora to Montamarta: 05/06 June 2006
Zamora Cathedral

I took a cheap flight from London, Stansted to Valladolid then on by coach to Zamora. The city was in fiesta and therefore very few places were open. The tourist office sent me to a students' hostal, Albergue Dnna. Urraca, where I had to share a room with a Spanish lad who spent most of the night texting his girlfriend and dashing into the toilet to receive more personal calls. The students in the courtyard were also noisy until very late. The new pilgrims' hostal should be open by now.

Next day I went looking for a credencial to allow me into the refuges (called albergues on this route) but nothing was open until 10am. The cathedral seemed a good starting point but it was closed for repairs. The museum next door directed me to a convent on the street leading back to the Plaza Mayor which issued credenciales to pilgrims.Zamora Bridge The nuns in this convent are in a closed order so the negotiations were conducted with a voice from behind a revolving hatch. A bread delivery arrived as I was waiting for my credencial and this went in through the same hatch. I have read recently that a local organisation now produces its own version of the credencial and this is available from the tourist office. On the same street there is a bookshop and I was able to buy a decent guidebook.

Zamora is a beautiful old city, known as the City of Romanesque because of the many examples of this style of architecture preserved in the churches and monasteries of the city centre. It is also known as the “Well Protected City” because of the extent and quality of its defensive walls. I saw many examples of these monuments during my quest for a credencial but was frustrated by building works and the aftermath of the previous day’s festivities from exploring in greater detail. This city deserves a whole day to itself and would make a good rest day on a longer walk.

It was just before 11am and getting hot when I was at last able to set off. At a roundabout at the top of the hill out of town the arrows point along the road towards La Hiniesta but you must soon turn right near a rubbish dump to get closer to the N630 road. If you miss this turn and continue to follow the arrows and Camino signs you are heading towards Portugal which is probably not your intention!

I must have averted my eyes from the rubbish dump so I wound up with some nice photos of La Hiniesta and very sore feet as I made my way back onto the correct route.

There is now a long boring stretch of Camino in front of you. The way never strays far from the N630 along straight farm roads made of sharp pebbles. Once you have admired several dozen wheat fields you may as well switch your brain off until you reach the next village. Roales del Pan has a bar and a shop and also a basic albergue if you want to have a short day. Montamarta ChurchMany more farm tracks and wheat fields lead you to Montamarta where there is a new albergue on the main road heading back towards Zamora.

A Spanish pilgrim was sitting in the shade near the albergue and I joined him waiting for his companion to return with the key. The nearby Fonda Asturiano serves meals and has some accommodation. There are also bars and restaurants near the centre of town.

The village church has storks nesting on the belfry and, outside the door, a statue of the Zangarron. During the village fiesta in January villagers dressed as this mystical creature chase people through the streets hitting them with sticks.


This mythical creature also occurs in other villages along the route and, in Tábara, is known as El Tafarron.