Dogged Persistence.

16.5 Wednesday. Oliva de Placencia to Aldeanueva de Camino.
The little village with its sole accomodation has served very well. Monica the hospitalero is very helpful with good english, though prices reflect the lack of comptition. She also collects and delivers punters from the arch on the Via de la Plata at Capara. This is the amazing isolated roman arch on the camino that is the template for all the granite cube waymarks in the Extremadura camino.
We alone of those staying overnight are walking back to the arch which we have not yet seen, so we start at 6am in the dark and as directed find the dirt track leading back to the camino. We have not been striding out by moon and torch light for long when we have a sensation of being followed!
Turning almost together we are confronted by two huge dogs, they are the typical sheepdogs of the drove paths. For a moment thoughts of spectral hounds or being eaten come to mind, then one advances cautiously tail wagging very slightly, a sniff at Betsy’s hand and they deign to allow the familiarity of ear scratching! They are a dog and a bitch and pad along with effortless ease escorting us to the arch and eventually with the other walkers 26km to our next town, with a few deviations, like 10secs to cover 200m in pursuit of a hare they set up. These mastiff like dogs covered huge distances in the past escorting herds of sheep acoss the drove roads of spain and although we left them 26km at least from home the route of the Via Pecuaria is probably embedded in their DNA. It is a little sad to see them head off into the countryside although at one point stirring up a herd of cattle they almost caught us in a stampede.
The route is once again through oak forest pasture land, looking like English stately home parkland and after the arch and its associated archeological site we are 10km before a bit of road with the ground rising slowly to about 500m small streams are common with good water flows as we approach our destination of Aldeanueva. Looking up we see why – there are mountains ahead and to the sides, amazingly with the afternoon heat there is still some snow around the tops at 2300m.
We find the little 8-9 bed municipal albergue on the left in the small town. It is only a couple of years old, and free. It is clean and has hot water when, after our showers, we find out how to work it. At 500m it is not quite so hot as lower down so the day, as promised by Mimi (the remarkable 76year old frenchwoman on her tenth camino and second Via de la Plata) who we have been meeting on and off for days, has been quite quick and pleasant.
A very good lunch at the Restaurant Sebas and a siesta round off the day.
26km 5.30hours.

Link to where we are on Google Maps