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2019 Camino Guides

Almería to Granada: some rambling thoughts

Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#1
Yesterday I finished the Almería to Granada section of the camino Mozárabe. I enjoyed it very much. Before it all starts to receed from my mind, here are some disjointed reflections on the experience.

Numbers:

I didn't see any other pilgrims between Almería and Granada. This is becoming increasingly uncommon as this camino gains popularity almost exponentially. There were pilgrims ahead of me, 2 Navarrans one day behind, and 4 Lithuanians a day behind them. Two delightful committee members of the Asociación Jacobea de Almería Granada, Mercedes Murillo Pravia and Paco Fuentes, visited me in the albergue in La Peza. They (and other energetic enthusiasts) are responsible for the signage and the recent explosion in accommodation on this route. Last year around 200 people completed it. This year it will be 500-odd. Next year they are expecting 1000. They also run a WhatsApp group for all the hospitaleros on the way, so everyone knows who is en route and roughly when to expect people (which is why I know about the Lithuanians on my heels).

Accommodation:

I stayed in 3 municipal albergues (Rioja, Huéneja and La Peza), 4 private ones (Alboloduy, Alquife, Guadix and Quéntar), 1 pensión (Abla) and 1 nunnery (in Granada). It would have been 4 municipal albergues and no pensións, but unfortunately the albergue in Abla was shut on the Sunday I was there. All the albergues were excellent, with well equipped kitchens in most (only a microwave in Rioja). There is possibly a private albergue opening soon in La Calahorra, which would be great, as it is a charming town with interesting architecture, an amazing castle and lively bars and restaurants, whereas Alquife, 3-5km further on, is fine but.

Food:

I only had a full menú in Guadix, the largest town on the camino. Otherwise I arrived too late for lunch, or the bars in the pueblos were too small to support a restaurant. It didn't matter, as the tapas, I thought, were the most generous (in size) and amongst the tastiest I've encountered. Three, I found, made a perfectly adequate meal, if topped up with a bite later on. For example, in Huéneja, where the bar did not, at first, look inviting, I had a tasty bit of pork stew, a bowl of ratatouille and a plate of jamón and cured cheese. And chatty staff and locals. Yum.

Terrain:

It was mostly fine. There is a vicious climb out of the riverbed shortly after Alboloduy - think of the Cerro del Calvario just before Almadén de la Plata, multiply its length by three and steepness by two, and narrow it to one metre wide of scree with occasional sheer cliffs on one side. At some point someone will fall off and get killed. Best not attempted when it's wet.

The only other challenging bit was from La Peza to Quéntar. It's not especially hard, but just 28km, much above 1400m up, with no houses, no people, no fuentes, nada. Astonishingly beautiful, but it was quite gruelling on a cool October day, and would be worse in heat. I had 2.5 litres of water and it wasn't quite enough.

The bit I slightly didn't like was the riverbed when it was overgrown with bamboo or trees so you couldn't see any views, but that was a very small proportion of the whole.

Conclusion:

A very very pleasant way to spend 200km. Interesting towns, fabulous scenery, charming people, decent food, fascinating history, impeccable signage, unbeatable accommodation. Now wondering why I don't just go back and start again.
 

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amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
#2
It does not sound bad at all! I live just South of Granada, and walking near Granada, two weeks ago, I was surprised to find yellow arrows and signs by the Camino Mozarable people. How many days did you take to cover the distance? Are you moving on towards Cordoba next?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Ruta Fray Leopoldo (2018)
Vía Serrano (partial, 2018)
#3
Alan, thank you so much for taking the time to post all the useful information you have shared over the past few days. It is a great help to future walkers who will be following the Camino Mozárabe.
 

Carel5

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, Camino Mozarabe - Almeria - Merida
2018, Via Francigena - Gran San Bernardo - Lucca
#4
Hi Alan. This rambling thoughts are for the most part the same as my experiences. Apart from the bamboo part (only a few kilometers) and the outskirts of Almeria it is a really beautiful camino. Good to mention the great work done by Mercedes and other members of the amigos from Almeria. I found the one steep climb out of the river bed not so grueling as you describe it. Maybe because this was my first camino and I use to walk on French GR trails through more mountainous terrains. I agree completely with your conclusion:

"A very very pleasant way to spend 200km. Interesting towns, fabulous scenery, charming people, decent food, fascinating history, impeccable signage, unbeatable accommodation. Now wondering why I don't just go back and start again."

I am sure that more people will discover this camino so future pilgrims will not walk alone.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#6
I hope you are right, Carel. I'm ready to sign on the dotted line, anyone else? Camino Mozarabe from Almeria, starting sometime in April, 2018. Buen camino, Laurie
Count me in Laurie.
 

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