After 3 nights at the Zaragoza Albergue I was ready to move on. This hostel is really big. It has 120 beds and summer is a busy time here. The kitchen was small for the 15 of us staying and it would be comical to watch in high season. They served us corn flakes, white bread for toast and coffee for the included breakfast. Not exactly nutritious but better than nothing. The guys working the front desk were very nice and took good care of me and Myrtle. Myrtle was secure in a room reserved for disabled guests that was empty. Chloe, my Aussie dorm-mate, and I had a lot of fun with Alvero from the front desk talking about Spanish culture and drinking red wine over dinner.
Last night, a Chilean architecture student told us about an interesting site on the Ebro river that was built for an Expo held in 2008. There are 2 really nice bridges over the river with an arts park. In the morning on my way out of town, I rode down there and took the bike path to the end where it turned to dirt. It's really a lovely area with a nice bike and running path. I also saw a flamenco dancer practising in an 'art box'. The accoustics were very clear and he looked very cool. The tourist information center had told me the bike path is the Camino de Ebro to Santiago that I could take into Gallur but there weren't any signs or markings. I thought about taking it further out of Zaragoza without signs I was unsure and turned around instead.
The morning started nippy with bright sunshine. By 11 the temps got up into the 70's and I stripped off my socks and jacket riding in shirtsleeves and shorts. It was a beautiful day with little wind! Googlemaps doesn't have bike routing for Spain so I've been using the walking option. The suggested route started me out on N232 which is a busy national road. There is good shoulder but it is noisy. I stopped at a large hardware store to see if I could find foam for a neck rest. The bubbewrap is working but I think I can make a smaller one out of foam. My Spanish wasn't good enough to explain what I needed and I'll have to try again. At Utebo, Googlemaps put me on an unpaved farm road along the Autopista. It wasn't very long but had some flooded areas. This was an adventure, for sure.
Then I took a lovely quiet road along farms into Sobradiel where I met a group of woman out walking together. I asked them about the road ahead and many more people came by. Using the translator on my tablet, they all suggested I get back on the national road into Alagon. They invited me for lunch as well but I had already eaten and was eager to push on. It was fun and they all loved Myrtle.
I rode on the national rode for about 1/2 hour and then turned off into Alagon where I took a local road through small towns into Gallur. I met my first pilgrim here. The woman was my age, traveling alone in the opposite direction and could have been Italian. She gesticulated, as only the Italians can, about the Camino not being marked. She was having a very hard time finding her way. It wasn't until I saw her that I knew I was on the camino. I hadn't seen any markings all day.
The green farmland with the stark desert mountains in the distance were a wonderful contrast. Just before Gallur I passed a chicken farm where the chicken were roaming freely. I stopped to take a look and the chickens came running toward me. Hundeds of chickens! This just cracked me up and I took some video. Funny chickens!
In Gallur, I found the albergue which is next to the train station. I got checked into a room with 20 beds for 10e. I was the only person staying and wondered how anyone could get to sleep if the place was full. I also wondered about privacy. There wasn't anywhere to change in the room or around the shower stalls. I guess traveling with pilgrims is like traveling with family? The place was spotlessly clean and the owners were warm and inviting. Myrtle was kept safe in the restaurant over night. The shower was super hot and they had good wifi. I may have been the only person staying but the restuarant was busy. Saturday night at the Albergue. I ordered the menu del dia for 9e. It came with a huge plate of grilled veggies, chicken, bread and a bottle of red wine. Fantastic!
It would have been nice to meet some other travelers or pilgrims but I think the quiet will insure I get a good nights sleep.