We set out at 7:55. A record for our final day. The little town was eerily quiet and so white with thick frost and dense fog. Luckily we were on a wide, rural track with only the occasional farmer on a tractor or in a truck going to take hay to the waiting animals. It was incredibly beautiful and felt very much like winter. Nedjo remembered that we’d also had fog on our last day of the Rota Vicentina. The cold had us going at a very good clip and we were at the next town at 8:50. But the bar was closed and wouldn’t open until 10:00. So we had a snack on the very cold park bench and headed out once more. There was another town in ten kilometres so we tried to keep positive and keep on keeping going.
One rogue cow scared us when after moving forward as we walked, and not daring to pass us by when we tried to move away, she finally got to a gate, turned around and then leaped over the fence not too far from where we were standing. Nedjo had a minor round of heart palpitations, but he sat down right away and they passed quickly. I had been worried about that, especially on these cold days when stopping moving is hard. Eventually we came to the little town of Miranda de Azán, which is just off the camino, and finally got our coffee and toast and even eggs for Nedjo. It was wonderful and well worth the short detour.
We headed back to the camino—by now a little after noon—much refreshed. Before too long we came to a cross, and there was Salamanca in the distance. Many stones had been left at the cross by pilgrims. I added an acorn and Nedjo decided this is where he should part with his wooden walking sticks. The entry into Salamanca, while long, was quite lovely, taking us through a park area and then to the Roman bridge. The view of the city from the bridge is sublime. The warm, golden stone of the buildings glows in the sunlight and the fall foliage added to the beauty.
We made our way to the Plaza Mayor, took a few photos, and then found our hotel in the adjacent plaza. We were rather dazed, I think, to realize that our time as peregrinos was ending and also amazed we had exceeded our expectations of how far we’d go. We had very hot showers, then wandered a bit enjoying hot chestnuts before settling in for wine and great food at a tapas place on the main plaza. We were glad to be inside and cozy yet with great people watching through the window. It was a delightful celebratory feast (definitely blowing our usual €20 dinner) and I had about the best night’s sleep once we got the room warm and I finally got rid of that chilled core. We’re still not sure where we’ll go from here and the thought of buses and trains seems foreign and not all that pleasant, but I guess we’ll manage.