Doubled the distance for Mothers Day!
After a good sleep with the spirit of St. Peter Claver, we again got out the door this morning at 6:30am, in time for sunrise. It was a gorgeous, chilly and short walk to Tárrega where we found the only cafe in town that is open for breakfast before 7:30am on a Sunday. It was not only the only place open it town, it had the best pastries on the Camino. Tárrega is a fair bit bigger than Verdu but still proud of its own ancient past. I love walled cities with castles. Entering a city by way of a bridge over a moat is always cool – even if the moat is mostly now dry.
The rest of the walk to Cervera was along the base of a ridge that rose up high on our left. To our right was the valley, mostly farmland but some grassland and countryside too. Beyond the valley was another high ridge, parallel with the one on our left, with the occasional walled village on top. We were about 6km away from Cervera when we could see its towers and steeples. There was also a little bit of shade from trees on that road which made even the later morning nicer. There also were no highways to be seen or heard and the views of the valley were fantastic the whole way.
Cervera is a large antique city that wears its age well. It sits on a steep hilltop with the walls of the old city still vigilant against an invasion from at least the east. Yes, you need to climb to get to it but it is very worth the effort. It’s easy to image this place in medieval times because a walk down Carrer Major (Calle Mayor / Main Street) from the front of the church to the north of town probably has not changed much at all in hundreds of years.
With today’s stage scheduled to end in Cervera after a little more than 16km, we decided to check into the Hostal Bonavista Cervera, have a light lunch, take a taxi to Pallerols (a town on tomorrow’s route) then walk back to Cervera. Tomorrow’s stage is advertised as a simple 37km day and I don’t do those. We figured a longer day today, with a very light backpack for the last portion, was a livable alternative.
The backwards walk from Palleros was in the heat of the day, starting at 1:30pm. As a result, it wasn’t quite as much fun as it should have been. Other than walking near the highway for a bit, it was in a nice area – just further up the same valley that we walked in the morning.
For those following us, the cafe in Tárrega is only 100m off the Camino. After you admire the church facade and turn right down a narrow lane, you will see a spot where you are supposed to go straight across a big street. Unless you jump down a small wall, you will need to detour a bit. A newsstand is on your left and J. Jordan Cafe is 100m to your right down that big street. They have awesome pastries but also make full breakfasts. Don’t expect anything open for food or drink in El Talladell.
Also, for future Ignacianistas (I just made up that word), if you do choose to taxi out to Pallerols and walk back to accommodations in Cervera, note that it is a little tricky following the path backwards. As noted in the path description on the Day 25 (Cervera to Igualada) page, there are two options between Vergós and Sant Pere. Both routes are marked with orange arrows as well as the yellow Santiago arrows. The GPS tracks show the “valley” option and it is actually 12km back to the Cervera church from the entrance to Pallerols, rather than 11km according to the written description. As you leave Sant Pere’s in the reverse route, it is easy to just go straight out of town following the arrows. Beware though that this is the “mountain” route. It may be only 11km but it also may be steep up and down which isn’t fun in the sun at that hour. As you reach a dry fuente & Sant Pere statue, at the end of town, turn right to go under the highway for the valley route. Go straight to go to the mountain route. Both ways meet just past Vergós.
One final note before bedtime, it was nearly impossible to find a restaurant in town that serves dinner. It WAS impossible to find one which served dinner before 9:00pm. Considering that the family who runs our hostal is rather lax about making themselves available, I expect a late departure tomorrow. We’ll see.