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And we're off. Camino de la Lana. May 2019.

Undermanager

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Stage 1. Alicante to Orito. 24kms

This year's Camino, de la Lana has started well. So far then, all trains to Birmingham airport were cancelled due to a broken down train on the line so I had to rush to catch my plane in an Uber taxi. Then, due to a family fight between drunks on the plane, we had to wait for 30 minutes in Alicante until the Spanish police came to arrest them. So far, I've realised that I have forgotten a towel, a spoon, hairgel and a spare pair of glasses - my only pair of distance glasses was left under a tree about 7.5 Kms from Orito. Fortunately, my eyesight is pretty good without them! One chap I walked with took my photo, and interestingly, it recorded the exact location! So, I know where they are to the inch! And Wikilocs won't work on my new P20 Pro phone!!

I stayed in the pension Milan in Alicante, a perfectly good private room with shower for €20, and 100m from the C6 bus stop in Alicante, behind an Irish Pub. I left here about 8.30am, walked to the Basicila dear Santa Maria, took a few photos then spent the next few hours walking out of Alicante. Then there are two hours of quarries, cement works and rubbish dumps. It smells bad at times. It seems a mostly gentle uphill trek and mostly road, until the last three hours before Orito, when it is uphill a lot but mostly through a kind of moon landscape. Fortunately, it was bone dry but I can't imagine it would be much fun if were raining - a lot of mud would cling to your shoes! My glasses as I said are about 7.5kms from Orito by the way, under a nice tree for stopping, by the side of the Camino path! Can't miss them.

The albergue in Orito is okay. It's €15, there's no WiFi either in the albergue or in Bar Nuevo, which is right next door. It took an hour to get let in, as the bar phoned someone, who took a while to arrive. The albergue doesn't have a kitchen, and the one working shower is unisex, but doesn't have a door!! There were only a few of us here so no problem, but you might want to think about going a bit further along the trail. I was tired so stopped and to be honest, it is fine for a night. The bar is nice with a good range of food.

On day one, there are no injuries to report in today's 24km hike. The body is a little tired but all okay. Who knows what day two will bring - perhaps my glasses will find there way back to me eventually!
 

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OzAnnie

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Great post @Undermanager
You did have a shaky start but you’re on your way.
I also hope you are re-United with your distance glasses.
Buen Camino
Annie
 

VNwalking

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Well, that sounds like a fun start. At least you weren't in the middle of that family fight.
My glasses as I said are about 7.5kms from Orito by the way, under a nice tree for stopping, by the side of the Camino path! Can't miss them.
May they find their way back to you!
And buen camino, peregrino!
 

Magwood

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I would say it’s definitely worth the extra 8? km to the lovely albergue at Novelda.
 

Kiwi-family

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I would say it’s definitely worth the extra 8? km to the lovely albergue at Novelda.
I have a habit of walking too far and getting lost whilst suffering from jet lag on my Caminos so I had planned to NOT head for Novelda when I get to do the Lana.....but I am so easily swayed by posts like this;-)
 

Undermanager

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After starting last year's Camino like a racehorse, then retiring after a week like a donkey with a very painful back problem that took months to recover from fully, I'm trying extra hard this year not to overdo it in the early stages; after 24 Kms and 6 hours walking in 28 Deg C, using muscles that aren't often used, it was enough. I was greatful for stopping, the downtime, relaxing, sitting in the bar after a shower and washing clothes, chatting, writing a bit. Very grateful. But I can understand why fitter people than me would press on. It would be a good call.
 

Undermanager

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Stage 2. Orito to Sax. 33.5km.

After a great night's sleep, myself and Klaus the Danish chap left around 7.00am. Today was much cooler than yesterday all day and perfect hiking weather. The nice walk to Montforte del Cid then Novelda took a couple of hours that passed quickly, through lots of vineyards. The local red wine by the way is excellent! We had breakfast in a cafe in Novelda, took a few snaps then moved on.

The next couple of hours followed a trail along a wide river bed with a small river in it, all the way to Elda. There's a lot of flowers at the moment and a load of birdsong. Elda is a sprawling town that took well over an hour to pass right through, and we also had a lunch break using a big supermarket we found on the outskirts of the town. At the far end of Elda, there is a steep climb out of the town on a road. I don't think this was the official route but we took the road between Elda and Sax anyway, mainly because we weren't sure if we would have a further three hours walking from Sax and wanted to save a bit of time - there are surprising very few options in this town and the hotel in the guide we already knew was was full from another person who tried to book a room.

As it happened, we fell on our feet. We met an Irish expat, who phoned his Irish expat mate, Dennis and his wife, who rent out luxury houses in the mountains. So for €50 between us, we were collected from outside the supermarket where stocked up on dinner and breakfast, driven to a great place 2kms in the hills, very quiet and pretty, have a wonderful bungalow with all mod cons, and a swimming pool, WiFi, bedding, towels, kitchen, welcome beer in the fridge and a basket of cakes on the table! And we'll be driven back in the morning to the castle in Sax. Result.

The whole day lasted about 9 hours and I'm knackered. However we have a big tele and Arsenal are playing a Spanish team, so no problems. At the moment, we are outside by the pool, looking down on the castle, red wine in hand. All jobs are done and now it's chill time. Happy days.
 

OzAnnie

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After starting last year's Camino like a racehorse, then retiring after a week like a donkey with a very painful back problem that took months to recover from fully, I'm trying extra hard this year not to overdo it in the early stages; after 24 Kms and 6 hours walking in 28 Deg C, using muscles that aren't often used, it was enough. I was greatful for stopping, the downtime, relaxing, sitting in the bar after a shower and washing clothes, chatting, writing a bit. Very grateful. But I can understand why fitter people than me would press on. It would be a good call.
I like you current approach. Enjoy it @Undermanager and You’ll probably end up as fit as a racehorse this time with only ‘pleasant ‘ memories to take with you
Buen Camino
Will be watching how you go.
Annie
 

Undermanager

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Stage 3. Sax to Caudete. 30 Kms
Yesterday was great, especially because we had a fabulous and totally unexpected place to stay in the hills just outside Sax. It's totally recommended. It's probably sensible to ring in advance as the Dutch couple (not Irish) said they are booked out a lot, especially over the Summer. You could arrange to be picked up outside the big supermarket called Consum, which is in town, or perhaps outside the castle entrance. Take everything you need as there are no shops close by, buy food for dinner and breakfast and a bottle of wine and have a great time. Our bungalow had two bedrooms, a double and a twin so if there are three or four of you, this would be a brilliant option. The contact details are on the card.

So, after a top breakfast, we were dropped off outside the castle at 7.00am and began the first part of today's walk, to Villena. It started off very cool but soon warmed up. It's a dry heat here with a breeze so not as humid and tiring as the first day near Alicante. It's all pretty much flat to Villena and on a road or track not so far from a motorway, so there's a fair bit of traffic noise. There has been very little cover for the first three days, as you walk through a lot of open farmland, and today is no exception. A hat, sunblock and coverings are in order!

One new discovery this trip has been the discovery of salad bowls from supermarkets! They are cheap, light to carry, there's lots of variety and filling. And they cut down on the ridiculous quantities of bread, cheese and ham usually consumed on these Camino's!

A short while after Villena, you turn inland into more endless farmland but it's much quieter now. I passed loads of fields with different types of salad leaves, vines, potatoes, wheat and things I didn't recognise. The wild flowers are amazing everywhere at the moment, really colourful. After about 30kms from Sax, you'll enter Caudete, past a painted church and through some shady avenues. Then after a km or so with some uphill, you'll get to the albergue. It only has seven beds (me and Klaus got the last two) and only Spanish is spoken. You might want to have a Plan B. It may be a bit basic for some but I like it and it's fine for a night, with a sitting area, small kitchen and one shower / toilet.

I need to read up about the next few days and accommodation, as there are now six pilgrims on this route and some of the albergues on the route may be on the smaller side.
 
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Undermanager

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Mmmm. I can't seem to find where the Convent of the Esclaves albergue in Almansa is on either maps.me or Google maps for tomorrow. Any help, please?
 
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KinkyOne

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I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Mmmm. I can't seem to find where the Convent of the Esclaves albergue in Almansa is on either maps.me or Google maps for tomorrow. Any help, please?
I guess you won't have any major problems finding the castle and the church. So, if you exit the church turn right and walk straight to Plaza de la Constitucion. Turn right again and at the end of the first side street to your right you'll see Tatoo Studio. Go for it and turn left because it's the only possible directon. The entrance to the Convent will be on your left almost opposite the restaurant.
And the google maps link: https://www.google.si/maps/search/Convento+de+las+religiosas+esclavas+de+maria,+almansa/@38.8693757,-1.0961327,19z?hl=sl
 

Magwood

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I guess you won't have any major problems finding the castle and the church. So, if you exit the church turn right and walk straight to Plaza de la Constitucion. Turn right again and at the end of the first side street to your right you'll see Tatoo Studio. Go for it and turn left because it's the only possible directon. The entrance to the Convent will be on your left almost opposite the restaurant.
And the google maps link: https://www.google.si/maps/search/Convento+de+las+religiosas+esclavas+de+maria,+almansa/@38.8693757,-1.0961327,19z?hl=sl
The door is marked Number 7.
 

Undermanager

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Stage 4. Caudete to Almansa. 27kms.

I slept like a baby last night. I guess either the cake the very nice Albergue man brought to the albergue, or the three large beers, had an effect. Apparently I snored, too, so it was probably the cake.

Today was fantastic. I left at 7.00am and was in the next albergue at 1.00pm. it was already quite warm when I set off. I think I will have missed the worst by getting to Almansa at 1.00pm though as it will probably get hottest around 3.00pm. I wonder how hot it gets mid August! There weren't any clouds all morning, just a big blue sky. The first three quarters of this stage was gently uphill and mostly alongside a motorway, then it goes rapidly downhill to the final destination and swings away from the traffic noise. As on previous days, it's mostly open farmland, with no shade and there are no facilities or water available. You are on dirt track mostly, with the odd road thrown in. As you exit Caudete following the Camino arrows, you'll see a bullring, and there was an open bar opposite it. I didn't see anything else open. I found a Dia supermarket the evening before so had bananas and yogurt for breakfast, a tortilla with onion (€1 - very tasty) for a mid walk snack and a salad for lunch, and a big bottle of agua con gas!

It's a really pretty walk if you ignore the motorway. I can't believe the fantastic wild flowers everywhere at the moment. So many different kinds and even the poppies are a deep blood red. I said goodbye to Klaus the Dane in Almansa, as this is where the Camino splits and he was doing a further 10kms along his route. A finer companion there never was. I had to force myself to stop here; it's only another 23kms to the next place, it was early and I felt really good, but in the spirit of being more sensible than last year, I decided to call it a day, relax, have a look around the interesting town and generally chill.

Finding the albergue could have been a problem but I got rescued by someone as I walked off in the wrong direction! Thanks for the help getting me in the right area though. I'll add it to maps.me later, but if you can't see it, head for the Teatro Principal, which is on the map. You are then 90m away in a straight line. It's around the back of a main road, by a tattoo place. You are looking for an anonymous unmarked white door with no sign of any kind, although it does have a number 7 above it, and is opposite house number 12. Ring the bell next to it. It's a spotless comfortable place with a welcoming smile and a rapid 30 second checking in procedure. There doesn't seem anywhere to hang out wet clothes or cook, just 6 comfy beds in 3 rooms. The panic is off with space. One couple went back to Alicante, the Dane has left and another couple probably booked into a hotel after the snoring last night😁.

This evening is very lively around the parks. There are lots of places selling ice cream and hundreds of families are eating away. I had a general wander round the old parts and am just taking in the evening sun with the masses, contemplating whether to have another I scream.

If you come out the albergue and turn left, walk 30 meters, and there is a lovely little courtyard, a great place to have a wine outside next to the fountain at the Casa del Pueblo. This is a really nice town to pass away an evening!
 
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Undermanager

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Does anyone know of an established walking route between Burgos and Santander, please? I'm pondering options for the end of this Camino. Ta!
 

KinkyOne

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I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Does anyone know of an established walking route between Burgos and Santander, please? I'm pondering options for the end of this Camino. Ta!
The closest to your inquiry would be Ruta del Besaya that goes from Santander to Carrion de los Condes. Check the map: https://www.rayyrosa.com/caminos
I have collected some links in last years and could send them to you if you'd be interested. But it's definitely less walked route and question is how to find markers walking in opposite direction. I guess GPS would do the trick.
 

KinkyOne

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I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...
Finding the albergue could have been a problem but I got rescued by someone as I walked off in the wrong direction! Thanks for the help getting me in the right area though. I'll add it to maps.me later, but if you can't see it, head for the Teatro Principal, which is on the map. You are then 90m away in a straight line. It's around the back of a main road, by a tattoo place.
...
Obviously you weren't paying attention to my instructions and you actually made unnecessary loop. To emphasize for future pilgrims: when you approach the old quarter of Almansa (on Camino) the castle and the stairs to it would be on your righthand side (Camino goes straight on here) and to your left there's short pedestrian zone. If you take it first there will be a bar/restaurante on your right, then Ayuntamiento, after it the Palacio and the church. Here I wrote if you exit the church turn right which means that if you don't enter the church then just proceed straight on to Plaza de la Constitucion - and then see my first post for further directions. Easy peasy! ;)
 

Tess@rest

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I stayed at Finca El Capricho last year when I walked the Lana. The place was amazingly beautiful & peaceful, and the hospitality provided by Dennis and his wife was beyond wonderful. After a great breakfast I simply walked out of their front door and back to the Camino even though they had offered to drive me. I'd definitely stay there again. It's a hidden gem of the Lana!
 

Undermanager

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Stage 5. Almansa to Alpera. 23kms
A fantastic day! Really great. I liked Almansa very much. I think it was because I finished walking by 1.00pm so had plenty of time to relax, take a siesta, eat I Scream, go shopping, do the jobs and generally mooch about. The park area was really nice, a mixture of people of all ages, with many bars, I Scream cafes and playgrounds for small children. It seemed a day when lots of pensioners were out, too, either looking after grandchildren or being looked after themselves.

The hostel was fine for a night, with nice ensuite twin rooms in a good location. Apart from being hard to find though, it's a bit souless. There's no real relaxing area, kitchen or area to dry clothes, and you have to be buzzed in each time you go out.

I left at 7.00am after the usual banana and yogurt breakfast and within 15 minutes, was completely outside the town. Almost the last building is a petrol garage so you can get a morning drink here. Today was going to be short so I only took a litre of water, a banana and a vegetable pastry, and it was enough. I arrived in Alpera around 12:30pm.

The walk is the best stage so far. Fantastic views, very quiet, very pretty, big views of rolling fields, vineyards, very easy trail to follow, some shade for breaks and Alpera is a really nice, small, open town with at least six bars that I've seen. There is also a general shop for supplies on Paseo Constitucion, on the right as you walk into town that's open late (closes at 10:00pm on Sundays) and wasn't closed for a siesta. It's not a brilliant range of food and drink but you can get enough for breakfast and tomorrow if you're not fussy. They never had bananas though. The bread by the way is hidden in shelves behind the counter - you have to ask for it. I'll add it to maps.me along with the albergue and town hall positions. When I was in the shop asking about the town hall, the major came in! So, we arranged to meet at the town hall in five minutes, and I quickly got booked in and stamped then driven down the road to the albergue. Don't you just love the albergue system and the lovely Spanish everywhere?

The albergue at 46 Calla Garcia Trejo is brilliant and bright and light. It has five beds, all mod cons and a place to wash and hang clothes in the sun. My bed faces the French doors on the first floor and faces the park. It's wonderful. The mayor recommended Las Koplo opposite the town hall for tapas, and El Rincon and La Parrilla for cheap and good meals! I tried the meal of the day at El Rincon and it was fantastic. €12 for tuna salad, followed by lamb chops with roasted veg and some kind of custardy tart for pudding, washed down with a bottle of some tasty red wine. Will try the tapas bar later and report back!

So now, I'm showered, the clothes are rinsed out and hung up and all I need to do now is get some supplies for tomorrow, eat and explore a bit. I could get used to stopping before one o clock, as you still have plenty of time but more importantly the energy to enjoy it.

So far, no major injuries. The sole of my left foot is a bit tender in one place and complains when I step on a sharp stone. But I am starting to feel my lower back complaining after about 15kms, so trying to carry no more supplies than absolutely necessary, and to not be tempted to press on too quickly. The root of the problem is my poor posture, slightly hunched walk and rounded shoulders. I'm going to have to visit a professional on my return to see what if anything can be done.

So now, it's siesta time as it's 3.30pm and very hot outside. Later, it's tapas, researching tomorrow's walk and chilling.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Far too many...
Stage 1. Alicante to Orito. 24kms

This year's Camino, de la Lana has started well. So far then, all trains to Birmingham airport were cancelled due to a broken down train on the line so I had to rush to catch my plane in an Uber taxi. Then, due to a family fight between drunks on the plane, we had to wait for 30 minutes in Alicante until the Spanish police came to arrest them. So far, I've realised that I have forgotten a towel, a spoon, hairgel and a spare pair of glasses - my only pair of distance glasses was left under a tree about 7.5 Kms from Orito. Fortunately, my eyesight is pretty good without them! One chap I walked with took my photo, and interestingly, it recorded the exact location! So, I know where they are to the inch! And Wikilocs won't work on my new P20 Pro phone!!

I stayed in the pension Milan in Alicante, a perfectly good private room with shower for €20, and 100m from the C6 bus stop in Alicante, behind an Irish Pub. I left here about 8.30am, walked to the Basicila dear Santa Maria, took a few photos then spent the next few hours walking out of Alicante. Then there are two hours of quarries, cement works and rubbish dumps. It smells bad at times. It seems a mostly gentle uphill trek and mostly road, until the last three hours before Orito, when it is uphill a lot but mostly through a kind of moon landscape. Fortunately, it was bone dry but I can't imagine it would be much fun if were raining - a lot of mud would cling to your shoes! My glasses as I said are about 7.5kms from Orito by the way, under a nice tree for stopping, by the side of the Camino path! Can't miss them.

The albergue in Orito is okay. It's €15, there's no WiFi either in the albergue or in Bar Nuevo, which is right next door. It took an hour to get let in, as the bar phoned someone, who took a while to arrive. The albergue doesn't have a kitchen, and the one working shower is unisex, but doesn't have a door!! There were only a few of us here so no problem, but you might want to think about going a bit further along the trail. I was tired so stopped and to be honest, it is fine for a night. The bar is nice with a good range of food.

On day one, there are no injuries to report in today's 24km hike. The body is a little tired but all okay. Who knows what day two will bring - perhaps my glasses will find there way back to me eventually!
Hellooo

I will follow in your footsteps in just about one month! I have read all your posts but didn't have time to comment until now. Work work work.

I have done this stretch twice before. I think I know EXACTLY what tree you are talking about, where you left your glasses…!! I will look for them when I get there…!

I love the albergue in Orito and will stay there again. Although I have never paid those 15 euros that you talk about: the priest always refuses, and won't even take a donativo…!

/BP
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Far too many...
Stage 2. Orito to Sax. 33.5km.

After a great night's sleep, myself and Klaus the Danish chap left around 7.00am. Today was much cooler than yesterday all day and perfect hiking weather. The nice walk to Montforte del Cid then Novelda took a couple of hours that passed quickly, through lots of vineyards. The local red wine by the way is excellent! We had breakfast in a cafe in Novelda, took a few snaps then moved on.

The next couple of hours followed a trail along a wide river bed with a small river in it, all the way to Elda. There's a lot of flowers at the moment and a load of birdsong. Elda is a sprawling town that took well over an hour to pass right through, and we also had a lunch break using a big supermarket we found on the outskirts of the town. At the far end of Elda, there is a steep climb out of the town on a road. I don't think this was the official route but we took the road between Elda and Sax anyway, mainly because we weren't sure if we would have a further three hours walking from Sax and wanted to save a bit of time - there are surprising very few options in this town and the hotel in the guide we already knew was was full from another person who tried to book a room.

As it happened, we fell on our feet. We met an Irish expat, who phoned his Irish expat mate, Dennis and his wife, who rent out luxury houses in the mountains. So for €50 between us, we were collected from outside the supermarket where stocked up on dinner and breakfast, driven to a great place 2kms in the hills, very quiet and pretty, have a wonderful bungalow with all mod cons, and a swimming pool, WiFi, bedding, towels, kitchen, welcome beer in the fridge and a basket of cakes on the table! And we'll be driven back in the morning to the castle in Sax. Result.

The whole day lasted about 9 hours and I'm knackered. However we have a big tele and Arsenal are playing a Spanish team, so no problems. At the moment, we are outside by the pool, looking down on the castle, red wine in hand. All jobs are done and now it's chill time. Happy days.
Excellent to learn about the house in the mountains. But I always phone ahead for the next day, so I will be prepared if the hotel Fuente el Cura is full. It is a great place to stay though: a hotel room for a reduced pilgrim price!

Did you see any indication of an alternative camino between Monforte del Cid and Elda (Petrer)? My plan is to explore this way next month. Apparently it is only 1 km shorter than the usual walk between Monforte and Elda, but anyway...

/BP
 

Magwood

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Dave, do you use walking pokes? I find if I don’t use them my back starts to ache after 10 or so kms. Almost instantly I use my poles the ache disappears.
 

Undermanager

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Stage 6. Alpera to Alatoz. 26 Kms
I can confirm the tapas bar opposite the town hall in Alpera was exceptional. I had some kind of prawn and mushroom dish in a buttery garlic dish washed down with a 2012 Rioja red. It was wonderful in the warm evening sun.

Today was another fabulous day. It was forecast to be hot later so I made the effort to be gone by 6.45am, after a breakfast of back stretches and yogurt. The back is increasingly starting to be a concern now. I'm adding back stretches to the daily routine as well as trying hard to change my walking posture but there's no instant solution to this age old problem. My rucksack is only 8kg without water and I'm using walking poles which do help. I guess it's just one day at a time now and then see how it goes.

Today's walk is through very pretty countryside with no facilities anywhere again, and very quiet. It's not too taxing although there's a long stretch of gentle uphill for a few hours, and a downhill stretch of 5kms into Alatoz. Some of the walk is along tracks lined with trees so some shade was around, but by 11.00am, it was getting really hot and there was hardly any cooling wind either. I'm glad I had a 1.5 litre bottle of water because I needed most of it.

I got to Alatoz around 1.00pm. The key to the albergue is available from Bar Ovi, but isn't available usually until 3.00pm, as the Albergue guy who has it works - perhaps phoning a day ahead might mean the key can be left at the bar, if your Spanish is up to it. As it happened, someone did turn up after half an hour, just as we were finishing our drinks, so all good.

The albergue was welcome and is okay for a night. There are only four beds, no cooking facilities and freezing cold showers. The shower was hell to start with, but really invigorating once you took the plunge and stood under it, but oh boy was it ice cold. Food at the Bar Ovi was excellent, but there are a couple of other places close by you could try for variety.

Apart from the back issues, it was a great day again and should be the same tomorrow. I'll be heading for Hotel Aro's rather than the albergue like many before so a bit of extra comfort will be the reward for getting to Casas Ibanez in one piece.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Far too many...
Stage 6. Alpera to Alatoz. 26 Kms
I can confirm the tapas bar opposite the town hall in Alpera was exceptional. I had some kind of prawn and mushroom dish in a buttery garlic dish washed down with a 2012 Rioja red. It was wonderful in the warm evening sun.

Today was another fabulous day. It was forecast to be hot later so I made the effort to be gone by 6.45am, after a breakfast of back stretches and yogurt. The back is increasingly starting to be a concern now. I'm adding back stretches to the daily routine as well as trying hard to change my walking posture but there's no instant solution to this age old problem. My rucksack is only 8kg without water and I'm using walking poles which do help. I guess it's just one day at a time now and then see how it goes.

Today's walk is through very pretty countryside with no facilities anywhere again, and very quiet. It's not too taxing although there's a long stretch of gentle uphill for a few hours, and a downhill stretch of 5kms into Alatoz. Some of the walk is along tracks lined with trees so some shade was around, but by 11.00am, it was getting really hot and there was hardly any cooling wind either. I'm glad I had a 1.5 litre bottle of water because I needed most of it.

I got to Alatoz around 1.00pm. The key to the albergue is available from Bar Ovi, but isn't available usually until 3.00pm, as the Albergue guy who has it works - perhaps phoning a day ahead might mean the key can be left at the bar, if your Spanish is up to it. As it happened, someone did turn up after half an hour, just as we were finishing our drinks, so all good.

The albergue was welcome and is okay for a night. There are only four beds, no cooking facilities and freezing cold showers. The shower was hell to start with, but really invigorating once you took the plunge and stood under it, but oh boy was it ice cold. Food at the Bar Ovi was excellent, but there are a couple of other places close by you could try for variety.

Apart from the back issues, it was a great day again and should be the same tomorrow. I'll be heading for Hotel Aro's rather than the albergue like many before so a bit of extra comfort will be the reward for getting to Casas Ibanez in one piece.
Ice cold shower: a crime against humanity!! I was determined to stay in Alatoz next time since I heard the albergue was good. Now I am not so sure anymore. Please tell me there is private accomodation in Alatoz. Not standing under a cold shower if my life depended on it. I'm going to the European Court of Human Rights with this one!!

Hope your back issue gets better. Tomorrow is a short-ish stage to Alcalá del Júcar, right?

/BP
 

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Aiming for Casas Ibanez tomorrow, back willing. Was looking at staying in the albergue but I think a quiet night in a hotel would just be simpler to organise. There's a lot of 'phone ahead' advice but not such a good idea unless you speak Spanish. I haven't seen any other obvious accommodation here in Alatoz, but that doesn't mean there isn't any. There's five staying here tonight so it's full, with one couple are sharing a big bed. Some good news - there is a hot shower after all. I just double checked! It was in the Ladies. The blokes have a cold shower! I suffered needlessly!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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(I tried to insert quote… this is about Caudete)

I kind of like the albergue in Caudete (and I usually don't like the albergues, I always go for private accomodation) so I am planning to stay there. But did you notice if the power was cut in the evening?? as another pilgrim said it was. I hadn't noticed last time I was there and I wasn't sure what she was talking about...!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Aiming for Casas Ibanez tomorrow, back willing. Was looking at staying in the albergue but I think a quiet night in a hotel would just be simpler to organise. There's a lot of 'phone ahead' advice but not such a good idea unless you speak Spanish. I haven't seen any other obvious accommodation here in Alatoz, but that doesn't mean there isn't any. There's five staying here tonight so it's full, with one couple are sharing a big bed. Some good news - there is a hot shower after all. I just double checked! It was in the Ladies. The blokes have a cold shower! I suffered needlessly!
OK, I will withdraw my case from the International Court of Justice - for now… Actually, every pilgrim who has made comments about the albergue in Alatoz has said it is top notch, that is why I wanted to investigate... Then again, I think all pilgrims who raved about it were women… ! XOD
 

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LOL. You could be right. The gents only have cold showers, and the gent's toilet door is jammed wide open, and there is no kitchen. But I can see why people call it cosy. I'm looking forward to a private quiet hotel room tomorrow though!
 

alansykes

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Aiming for Casas Ibanez tomorrow, back willing. Was looking at staying in the albergue but I think a quiet night in a hotel would just be simpler to organise. There's a lot of 'phone ahead' advice but not such a good idea unless you speak Spanish. I haven't seen any other obvious accommodation here in Alatoz, but that doesn't mean there isn't any. There's five staying here tonight so it's full, with one couple are sharing a big bed. Some good news - there is a hot shower after all. I just double checked! It was in the Ladies. The blokes have a cold shower! I suffered needlessly!
I stayed in the bullring albergue at Casas Ibañez and it was fine if you're alone, but might not be if you have to share. And it did smell rather of cigarettes from the neighbouring transeúntes albergue. So next time I would probably stay in the Hotel Aros a few 100m up the main road. Hope you enjoy the amazing view of Alcalá del Júcar tomorrow.
 

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Stage 7. Alatoz to Casas Ibanez. 32kms
Another cracking day, the best so far. That Camino adrenalin started to kick in yesterday, and it was pretty much full on euphoria for all of today. Last night was spent doing a quick shop and then drinking in Bar Ovi, a really nice place to soak up the sun's rays over beer, before heading back to the albergue.

This morning, everyone was up and on their way by 6:30am. It was quite nippy so started off with the light fleece, and I only carried about three quarters of a litre of water, a banana and some nutty biscuit pastry thingies sold under the counter by weight - delicious from the shop next to Bar Ovi. It was more than enough as Alcala del Jucar was only just over three hours away. Breakfast was 15 minutes of back stretches, a banana, yogurt and water. Very tasty.

Not that I'm anti-social, I decided a road hike was in order this morning so I could walk alone to Alcala del Jucar so after the first five kilometers or so, when the Camino hit the road, I stayed on it rather than transfering back to the dirt track. This is a great road to the next town for two hours, beautiful, glorious tarmac, hardly any traffic and zero others! I can be fairly social, honest, but I just don't get how some people can talk for hours on end about, well what exactly as they walk?

I rejoined the Camino at Casas del Cerro, just before the drop into the steep valley. There's a drinking water fountain here and Bar Jose for a coffee on the right side, a few roads past the fountain. Seek and ye shall find. I've added it to maps.me.

What can you say about Alcala del Jucar? It's a spectacular sight, a steep zig zag down to the valley floor way below then a steep zig zag back up again to the castle on the other side, trying to work out whether to go left or right in the lanes of the town. Great photo opportunities, not as many shops as you might think on the way but a great and sweaty hour or two. Loads of fun.

On the other side, near the castle, you then hug a canyon wall for half an hour until you get to Las Eras. There is a drinking water fountain in the little park there and a bar for a coffee and snack - there may be a shop but I didn't see one although I did see a van-shop.

From there, you can choose road hike or Camino path. This time I chose Camino path. It was fabulous. Fantastic countryside bursting with greenery and flowers, vineyards, wheat, not a single cloud in a deep mint blue sky, warm but not roasting and the odd place to stop in the shade, relax, enjoy a snack and take in the scenery. And quiet, except for the perigrenos, who all mysteriously reappeared and shot by me to the next town, while I just relaxed, taking in the rays! But when I got going again, it was a fabulous walk to Casas Ibanez.

On entering the town, I went straight to Hotel Aro's as planned, checked in, washed the clothes out etc etc etc. Then while eating, I saw the others walking about, looking for a place to stay. The albergue was shut; the French couple said (I think) that the Town Hall said it was too dirty to open? I may have misunderstood this. Anyway, the French couple checked in and the others went off to find a cheaper place!

This hotel is great and totally recommended. €25 for pilgrims gets you a big room with double bed, ensuite, all mod cons, TV etc plus balcony for drying clothes. The big bar downstairs does great food including a tapas and meal of the day. The staff were really great, fun and helpful to this poor non-Spanish speaking Brit.

The feet are now in fine form and today, the back was performing without pain. Apart from stretches, I'm really working hard on getting the walking posture a bit better, looking ahead instead of down, making sure all the rucksack weight is on the hips by pulling the hip straps extra tight, making sure the shoulder straps have zero weight on them. Early days, but some good signs.

I think I mentioned before buying a new phone the day I few out. I didn't want to carry my camera anymore or an iPad, just this phone and my old one as a backup. I bought the dual SIM Huawei P20 Pro, last year's flagship model, because I wanted a phone with a much better camera but not spending silly money in the process. It cost £429 with a couple of months unlimited data thrown in from the 3 shop in Leamington Spa, but the quality of the photos is superb. The prices are really dropping because their latest model is out, but the 3 shop was way cheaper than everywhere else. This is a real bargain. If you think it is time to get a new phone with a better camera, I can recommended the P20 Pro.

So now, it's nearly five. I need to work out the next stage tomorrow, and if there is an easy to arrange albergue or hotel, and the minimum supplies to carry so I am not overdoing it. The problem with cheap hotels is you can really get used to the luxury of them, not having to listen to others talking loudly or snoring 😁. A really wonderful day. One to look forward to if you are doing this walk sometime. More tomorrow ....
 

samba

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Hola doug and I dragging.behind you but took yr advice and have discarded some stuff . Lovely walk today to Alacoz, and yes albergue on top of hill space
Still struggling with more than 20 ( age ? )but we started at 6am this morning . Probably annoying the couple next door . But hey . Enjoying reading yr blogg
 

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Hey Susette. Glad you and Doug are having fun. I always have to keep reminding myself it's a holiday not an SAS course when I get carried away! You could easily split the next stage into two and stay in Alcala del Jucar, about a leisurely 4 hours away, longer with photo breaks and a picnic, make love in the Spanish wheat fields etc 😁. There was a room in Booking.com for around €35, and would make a fantastic stop. Post here as well. Let us know how it goes.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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make love in the Spanish wheat fields etc 😁.
Ah ha haa XOD

… Yes Alcalá del Júcar has a lot of tourism and lodging. I would still say that it is important to phone ahead depending on the season. I almost couldn't find a place to stay there, two years ago. Every place was full. But that was second half of June. Finally I found a hotel/hostal and it was actually 35 euros: "Hostal Alcalá del Júcar" (not listed in the official guide).

/BP
 
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Stage 8. Casas Ibanez to Villarta. 28kms
I had a great sleep in yesterday's hotel, although for some reason I felt tired most of the day and had a few aches. I could have had breakfast there in the bar but stuck to my usual banana and yogurt on the balcony of my room instead. I was on my way by 6.45am and it seemed the coldest morning since starting. I was really in the mood for a long distance!

Today mirrored yesterday. I had a few kms on dirt track, then decided to road hike it to Villamalea, have an early lunch and coffee there, then take the track to Villarta through the village of El Herrumblar. One advantage of taking the road rather than dirt track, as I found out half a dozen times today, is that when a dirt track is bone dry and a vehicle goes past you, you don't get covered in a cloud of dirt! And a couple of ***** sped up rather than slowed down, producing a bigger cloud of dirt. How they must have laughed.

Today is an easy walk, pretty much flat or gently rolling all the way with no cover at all, but there are a few places after Villamalea where I didn't see any yellow arrows. Indeed, I just managed to call the Spanish guy back as he disappeared over a hump in the road, going in completely the wrong direction. As always, my GPS track on maps.me kept me going in the right direction. Every kilometer brought either another field of almonds or another field of vineyards. Also more noticeable than any other Camino I've done is the number of rabbits! There are millions everywhere! They must like the weather. Today felt very hot at times, but when the cooling wind blew, it was nice.

I had half planned to walk on to Graja de Iniesta and stay in Hostel Pepe but was strangely knackered by the time I got to the Los Tubos hostel so didn't carry on. This could prove an option for someone in a future walk. Getting in proved difficult though, as all the doors were locked! After a phonecall, where I had practised 'I'm a pilgrim and I'm outside', and eventually passing my phone to someone in the garage next door, they came and let me in! €25 gets you an excellent room with all mod cons. The supermarket is 100m away, but closed between 2.00pm and 5.00pm. The French couple turned up 30 minutes later, saying the albergue was no good as there were no beds. I bumped into the Spanish chap, who also said they are sleeping on the floor.

With all these vineyards, I've been on the lookout for somewhere to visit that processes the grapes and makes the wine, with a little wine tasting of course. Alas, it hadn't happened, and I think my Spanish is a barrier to organising something. I guess I am damned to spending time drinking red wines in different bars in different evenings, after my siesta.

So, after a sleep, I went down to the supermarket to get stuff for breakfast and lunch. It was strangely closed. Then I walked down into the village. Everything was closed and they had just finished off a fiesta! Who has a fiesta on a Wednesday, and they might have mentioned it at my pension when I arrived! Where I'm staying is also closed for food. Bleedin' Nora! The bars in the village are open, but no food except crisps - except one!! I have a sandwich for tomorrow! I also have, luckily, I guess, I have potato salad for breakfast which I bought earlier washed down with lemonade, and a banana for lunch, unless the cafe 10kms away is open! I'm not gonna starve tomorrow but it was close!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Stage 8. Casas Ibanez to Villarta. 28kms
I had a great sleep in yesterday's hotel, although for some reason I felt tired most of the day and had a few aches. I could have had breakfast there in the bar but stuck to my usual banana and yogurt on the balcony of my room instead. I was on my way by 6.45am and it seemed the coldest morning since starting. I was really in the mood for a long distance!

Today mirrored yesterday. I had a few kms on dirt track, then decided to road hike it to Villamalea, have an early lunch and coffee there, then take the track to Villarta through the village of El Herrumblar. One advantage of taking the road rather than dirt track, as I found out half a dozen times today, is that when a dirt track is bone dry and a vehicle goes past you, you don't get covered in a cloud of dirt! And a couple of ***** sped up rather than slowed down, producing a bigger cloud of dirt. How they must have laughed.

Today is an easy walk, pretty much flat or gently rolling all the way with no cover at all, but there are a few places after Villamalea where I didn't see any yellow arrows. Indeed, I just managed to call the Spanish guy back as he disappeared over a hump in the road, going in completely the wrong direction. As always, my GPS track on maps.me kept me going in the right direction. Every kilometer brought either another field of almonds or another field of vineyards. Also more noticeable than any other Camino I've done is the number of rabbits! There are millions everywhere! They must like the weather. Today felt very hot at times, but when the cooling wind blew, it was nice.

I had half planned to walk on to Graja de Iniesta and stay in Hostel Pepe but was strangely knackered by the time I got to the Los Tubos hostel so didn't carry on. This could prove an option for someone in a future walk. Getting in proved difficult though, as all the doors were locked! After a phonecall, where I had practised 'I'm a pilgrim and I'm outside', and eventually passing my phone to someone in the garage next door, they came and let me in! €25 gets you an excellent room with all mod cons. The supermarket is 100m away, but closed between 2.00pm and 5.00pm. The French couple turned up 30 minutes later, saying the albergue was no good as there were no beds. I bumped into the Spanish chap, who also said they are sleeping on the floor.

With all these vineyards, I've been on the lookout for somewhere to visit that processes the grapes and makes the wine, with a little wine tasting of course. Alas, it hadn't happened, and I think my Spanish is a barrier to organising something. I guess I am damned to spending time drinking red wines in different bars in different evenings, after my siesta.

So, after a sleep, I went down to the supermarket to get stuff for breakfast and lunch. It was strangely closed. Then I walked down into the village. Everything was closed and they had just finished off a fiesta! Who has a fiesta on a Wednesday, and they might have mentioned it at my pension when I arrived! Where I'm staying is also closed for food. Bleedin' Nora! The bars in the village are open, but no food except crisps - except one!! I have a sandwich for tomorrow! I also have, luckily, I guess, I have potato salad for breakfast which I bought earlier washed down with lemonade, and a banana for lunch, unless the cafe 10kms away is open! I'm not gonna starve tomorrow but it was close!
Did you meet Mónica in Los Tubos? She is cool. I would rather stay at her hostal than in a municipal albergue in Villarta...! I didn't even know there was one.

Are you going to Campillo de Altobuey tomorrow? Polideportivo? If you stay in a private accomodation in Campillo I would love to hear a review, so I know if I can stay there when I arrive… The polideportivo is OK, but kind of spooky…

/BP
 

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Nope, someone close to 'Mercedes'. I'm not planning on staying in the sports hall because it will involve staying on floor mats - not good for my back. I will almost certainly stay in one of the casas or hostels if I can track one down. I'm getting really used to private accommodation now. So comfy!

I did catch the back end of the fiesta tonight. Lots of (free) wine and food. I just wished I'd known about it earlier. My body seems to recover completely after four or five hours rest. I have to accept the body is what it is, but I do love Spain and the people you meet here, so the pain and silly opening hours are worth the inconvenience!
 

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Stage 9. Villarta to Campillo de Altobuey. 34kms (including a bonus one kilometer for a wrong turn).
And another fabulous 24 hours! I woke up at 6.00am, had a breakfast of potato salad and lemonade (the only way is up from a start like that), a quick shower and was off. I had to stop five minutes later though to rearrange the rucksack and get ready for a lot of rain. It was colder than on any previous day, overcast with dark clouds and didn't look good. My rucksack cover, jacket and trousers were now at the top of the rucksack, and anything important was in a dry bag. It threatened to rain until midday, but never did. It stayed wonderfully cool all that time, I guess around 15 or 16 degrees C, and only rose a few more degrees after midday. As there was a lot of ground to cover, it was all good news. I also spent time looking at the way the rucksack was set up and making some adjustments. It does appear less straining on my back now. I think the shoulder straps were slightly too tight but now they are looser with all the weight on the hips, I am hoping to feel a gradual improvement. I also stopped to try and photo an escaped budgie (in case anyone didn't know what they looked like), but it flew off. It was very tame and let me get within a couple of feet of it. Was this somehow a sign, and if so, of what?

It was also good that the landscape changed. Much as I liked the last few days, it was mostly flat, with the odd exception! Today, it became very pretty rolling countryside, with a steady 4km climb with great views towards the end and a steep 2km descent into Campillo to finish off with. There were still loads of vines but also a lot of other things growing, and lots of trees today breaking up the walk. No more lots of nothing as far as the eye can see.

The first 11kms were quickly covered, to the village of Graja de Iniesta. As you approach the village, you'll see a kind of large motorway service area on the right, with two cafe bars for breakfast or coffee, a petrol station and the Hostel Pepe and restaurent, with rooms on Booking.com going for about €25. As you enter the village, you'll see a fancy new looking large drinking fountain and a bakery a bit further on, which was closed when I passed through. I didn't see any food shops or bars in the village.

There were no facilities after this until you get to Campillo, but lots of great countryside, the odd interesting shelter, an occasional country mansion and huge numbers of wild flowers going crazy. I guess May must be the month to see them at the best, perhaps June too? It must be a wonderful sight to see when all the grapes are hanging from vines, billions and billions of them. I assume they get picked by machine as you'd need three armies to do it by hand.

A lot of vines are trained and hung along wires. There seems to be another type which aren't, which are unsupported and grow like stunted trees. Anyone know what the difference is?

When I got into Campillo, which is a very pretty, small town, I first got to the town hall, so decided to stay in the sports hall after all rather than track down any hotels. I popped in for a stamp and directions and five minutes later, I was in the sports hall. There's very little here, except a hall and some changing rooms. There are five of us staying here so we shall see if we can all get comfortable with the limited facilities. The hall is locked at 9.30pm apparently so we need to be in by then. But it is free! The nice lady with the key to the sports hall popped in about 4.00pm to tell us about locking times, how to get out in the morning etc. The showers here are excellent. The town has a few shops and bars near the town hall so the signs are good.

I haven't decided what to do tomorrow. 35kms may be too far with my back being suspect, so might opt for a day's road hike instead - shorter but harder on the feet. Looking on maps.me, there seems to be a route. I'll sleep on it.

So, it's about five o clock. All the jobs are done except a bit of shopping for tomorrow and maybe a bite to eat later. Relaxing in the sun now, letting the body recover. A good day.
 

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Stage 10. Campillo de Altobuey to Monteagudo de las Salinas - an alternative route. 29kms
So, a night in a big spooky sports hall anyone? Last night was fun! About 10:00pm, the lady came and locked us securely in, so the only exit was the emergency exit now. The temperature dropped dramatically overnight, the winds picked up and the place rattled, rocked and rolled all night. You could hear things all night, bumps, voices, spirits of five a side footballers long departed perhaps? 😁 I had three mats piled on each other and my warm sleeping bag and was very snug. The other four had the big thick gym mats. It was a lot of fun and recommended, as long as you have a warm sleeping bag. It would be great to be there on your own, to get the full spooky experience!

Sadly, the Belgium chap had to go home urgently this morning as his wife was ill. He was a fine companion and I will miss our criss crossing during the day and sharing vino at night. He understood why we walk alone during the day but meet up at night to chat.

This morning is freezing, with a strong wind and a blue sky to start with but with a band of dark cloud in the north, and coming in my direction with the strong headwind. I decided to have an adventure today just for fun and make my own way to the destination using maps.me or more accurately on this occasion Google Maps and hopefully, shortening the journey a little bit in the process. My body is feeling great today but am still wary of being too enthusiastic with distances. I thought yesterday was crazy crazy, needing a base layer and fleece. Today, I'm starting with a base layer, fleece, wind proof jacket and long trousers. LONG TROUSERS!!

So, I started at Bar Zona Cero by the Ayuntamiento on Plaza Nueva and had a couple of slow coffees, and checked where I would go first. You come out the bar, turn left for a few hundred meters down to the junction, and instead of following the yellow arrow and road sign to Paracuellos straight ahead, you turn left and follow the quiet road uphill signposted 'Cuenca 65km'.

The first 3.5 kilometers were a steady uphill with a strong headwind, to the wind turbines near the main road. There was then a one kilometer hike along the busy main road towards Cuenca, and when you get to a house on the left and a track on the left, you cross the road (assuming you are walking against the traffic) and take the track off to the right. This is clearly marked on Google Maps, but not on maps.me for some reason.

After a few hundred meters, there is a crossroads of dirt tracks. You go left here not straight on, so the main road is always on your left and often within earshot as you walk. This really was the only place you could have gone wrong on this route for the next 8kms! The well-defined dirt track is now easy to follow, clearly used by some vehicles and clearly with some forestry maintenance going on. It is very straight and easy to see for kilometers stretching into the distance. I didn't see any 'private land' or 'No entry' signs anywhere. You are walking through unkempt scrubland for the next hour or so, with lots of bushes, small stunted trees and heather.

After 3.5kms from the main road, you cross a track labelled Camino de Paracuellos on Google Maps. From here, the scrubland turns into classic pine forest. Resin is being collected from many trees and there are lots of deer tracks. There are also plenty of beautiful open areas and areas which are being farmed in amongst the trees.

About a kilometer on from the Camino de Paracuellos junction, you come across the fabulous four trunked pine tree, 'Los Cuatro Hermandos Arbol Singular', clearly some kind of tourist attraction as there is an information board next to it. It's very impressive and worth a look and a few photos. I stopped here for a long rest, a snack and to soak up this lovely large open sunny area, using the four trunked tree to keep out of what is now a biting wind.

After about 7.5kms from when you first left the big main road, you emerge from the forest and follow the track next to it again to the road. You then have a 4km road hike to the pretty large village of Almodovar del Pinar, against a vicious headwind. I arrived there 17.5kms after starting today's walk, which took 4.5 hours, including probably half an hour or more of rest breaks. After a salad, wine and coffee break lasting an hour, and asking some locals about a possible cross country rout to my destination 11kms away, I set off again. However, it is quite possible to stay here as I saw a couple of places.

There are all kinds of options now. I decided to road hike it 5km on the Cuenca main road against the fun headwind, then turn right down the CM 2123 another 5kms to the destination. After 3kms on this route, you get to a plateau with fabulous views for miles and miles, and to distant mountains. Although the main road out of Almodovar del Pinar was busy, most vehicles moved out to be as far from you as possible so no great problem. Obviously, you should generally walk on the left, against the traffic wherever possible. The CM 2123 was very quiet and no problem walking along. I was mighty tempted to set off along one of the tracks from Almodovar. One of them swings round to near the CM 2123 junction. Another cuts right across the country to near to Monteagudo. If the weather had been better and I was sure of a possible route, across country, that would be the one to go for. As it was, I took the easy but unexciting route.

As you pass through a gorge and see the castle in Monteagudo de las Salinas for the first time along with the valley below, there is a road to the left. It takes you into the village. On the way, I met Sandra out walking, who took me to Casa Rural Rincon de Sandra and my super room with brilliant views from the terrace was just €20. She also pointed out the mysteriously hidden shop, currently shut, and the bars, currently shut! This is a great place and highly recommended. However, make sure you eat big at lunchtime, if possible bring enough food for the evening, breakfast and lunch or be prepared to starve. Currently, I am sooooooo hungry with no prospect of food for the next 24 hours!!!!!

So now, it's nearly 5 o clock. I still need to do the usual jobs, the shop may open at 7.00ish but no-one can be sure apparently and I ought to check out the route tomorrow, especially with regards to supplies.

I am amazed I didn't get rained on today, as for most the time, I was walking under thick low black cloud. Lucky me, and what an amazing day!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Far too many...
I take it all back! I have food. It is an Alladin's Cave once you are in, but you would never know it from the outside. I have wine, eggs, beans, bread, cheese, chocolate and olives. I will eat!!!
Lucky you: I never got in. People said they would open if I rang the bell: nope. So I would say that you can't count upon it being open and some pilgrims will indeed starve if they don't come prepared to Monteagudo. Take note, future pilgrims.

/BP
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Where are you today? Fuentes or Cuenca? :OP

Do you still have company in the albergues/towns?? I wonder if there will still be pilgrims on the road in June, or if the beginning of summer will be a deterrent. :O/
 

mlhhome

Really new member
Camino(s) past & future
Various (‘12, ‘13, ‘15, ‘16, ‘18)
Undermanager,
You have a wonderful gift of sharing the magic, mystery and reality of walking the Camino. Your post remind me of the days before my first Camino when I followed real-time updates of pilgrims on the Frances. You have returned your readers to the days of adventure and the search of solitude. You remind us not to focus on the gear and micromanaging our experience, but rather to live in the moment.

🙏
 

Undermanager

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Madrid (x2)
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Lana
Stage 11. Monteagudo de las Salinas to Cuenta. 46 kms

Despite feeling really good, and being really pleased with how my back and feet have been performing in the last few days, it's probably just a bit too far to Cuenca today, but we will see. In the last four or five days, I've been spending 20 minutes in the morning and the same in the evening stretching muscles and especially doing stretching exercises for my back. These, and a newly readjusted rucksack, appear to be doing the trick. Today was completely pain free. My feet regime is holding up and has been ever since I switched from leather walking boots to Karrimor Mount Low Weatherlite shoes three years ago, and made other changes. Gewohl foot cream is always applied morning and evening, and if possible starting a few weeks before starting the hike. I replaced the inserts that came with my lightweight breathable shoes with new Pro 2 Wellbeing inserts before leaving the UK. There are ankle tights under my socks, and the socks are changed two or three times a day. If there is any hint of soreness between my toes, I apply an iodine-based anti-fungal gel called LeoProvidone Gel between my toes three times a day for a few days, which so far, has always cleared it up quickly. I found it in a Spanish pharmacy and is totally recommended. I haven't had to use the magical Compeed plasters this trip (yet) but there is an assortment of sizes in my medical bag if necessary.

I set off just before 8.00am, after being kept awake for a couple of hours by 8 Spanish people who arrived about midnight and decided to cook and drink and talk at great volume! It's another good day for walking, cool but not bitter, overcast and zero wind. Most of the first 20kms is through forest, with a few kilometers of open scrubland here and there. The first few kilometers of today is a steady uphill climb, then it's either flat or gently rolling land. It stayed cool all day but got a bit brighter. I'm beginning to wonder about pressing on further than Fuentes and have lunch after 18kms at the top of a long slow incline, where you can see for miles around.

I got to Fuentes about 1:30pm. The Town Hall was closed, and the Bar / pension Cazadores, where you might be able to get the key was shut up with barriers around the door. None of the phone numbers were being answered and the hostel and bar next door on the main road seemed to be having a party. Everything else was shuttered up. With no accommodation possible, and to be honest, not getting a warm fuzzy feeling about the place anyway, it was either get a bus into town, road hike or just carry on. It was still early, still cool and dry so I decided to carry on the Camino and set off. I still had a few bits left over from lunch and enough water to get by and was in good spirits.

So, a nice long walk up, then a nice long walk down and about 9km later I'm in a village called Mohorte. There's no facilities except a water fountain towards the end of the village. 4kms later is La Melgosa and I really should have got my act together and booked in advance at the brilliant Casa Rural hotel. There is also a superb restaurent there as well. Alas. The Casa Rural was full. Now nothing for it but one last push and a road hike rather than the Camino to save a kilometer or two. 7kms straight into the centre took under one and a half hours. I was going to stay in the albergue but by now I was really knackered, had been walking for nearly 12 hours and needed a nice hotel. Hotel Pedro Torres is brilliant, bang in the centre, €28. That will do for tonight, and maybe tomorrow.

So, it's 8 o clock, I'm showered, and need to go get something to eat and head into the old town. Apparently, it's nice at night. It's been a great day but exhausting. I absolutely love the variety of things since I left Sandra's 12 hours ago. Loads of fun. Must get breakfast stuff too.
 

Undermanager

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Rest day in Cuenca

After showering and getting ready to go out at in my really nice, friendly, helpful hotel at the end of stage 11 yesterday evening, I just put my head down for five minutes. The next thing I knew it was 7.00am! I must have been tired or perhaps the adrenalin of the last few hours was keeping me awake so have decided to take a day off, book another day at the hotel, relax, see the sights during the day and this evening, read a bit about the coming stages and let my body recover from the constant poundings it's been getting for the last 11 days. I've also decided that a month's walking will be enough for this trip so have to work out how to get from Burgos to Birmingham on the 4th or 5th June and book it up. There are lots of permutations. I think if all goes well I will finish on the 3rd, so have a bit of wiggle room or a day's sight seeing somewhere.

Thinking back over the last few weeks, it's been great. Early to mid May seemed a great time in past years as well as for this one: nicely warming up but not too hot, much of the rain has passed, a few more people walking but on this route anyway, not too many. Wild flowers bursting with colour everywhere. On many days even now in May, by around two o clock the heat starts to sap the energy very quickly and it's hard to keep going, although the last few days have been just perfect all day long. I guess June will be hotter but early starts and finishing by early afternoon may make it fine. So far, I've not seen rain, and long may this last!

So, the washed out underpants are drying, hanging from the window handle and I stepped out for breakfast at a wonderful leisurely 9:30am to a very bright, very chilly day - perfect for hiking! But no weight on my back for me today! Oh no! It's just a couple of coffees, some toast then a whole day to mooch, maybe check out some of the features of my P20 Pro's camera yet, which I've not had time to do so far. It's always been on automatic! So what is Cuenca famous for again? I ought to read a bit about that over coffee and toast as well. Is it like Norfolk?

I downloaded and explored the Google Translate app during the day. Amazing! You just open it up, select the camera icon, take a photo of an info sign, menu etc, and it's translated. I compared it to info boards and menus that were in both Spanish and English and was very impressed.

I also played around with the monochrome lens on the P20 Pro camera phone today. I think I'm going to end up sounding evangelical about this phone but you can get some great photos on it. I have been lowering the EV setting, then reducing the brightness and contrast to play around with sillouettes. All good fun but I think I need nightime for this and some scenes with a bit of backlight. Still, you get some good outcomes, and great tips on YouTube!

I've never been great with heights but the Puente San Anton bridge is positively evil. That bridge doesn't seem at all substantial. Great views but really hard for me to look over the edge!

Old Cuenca is wonderful. It was a top move having a one day break here. I feel revitalised. Very impressive old buildings mixed in with great views and tourists eating and snapping. After about three hours of general wandering, I headed down to a bar near the Parque De San Julian, where I had a beer con limon and a bowl of their delicious seafood pasta concoction from their meter wide hotplate. There are many such bars open this Sunday lunchtime.

Time for a late afternoon siesta. Not planning much later. Just the plan to go home and reading up on the next few stages ....
 
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Undermanager

Active Member
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Madrid (x2)
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I use the monkey and typewriter approach - if you take enough photos, one might be okay😀.

Stage 12. Cuenca to Villar De Domingo Garcia. 31.5 kms

Well staying a full day in Cuenca was a top move, one of my better decisions. It's definitely got a day in it for sight seeing and relaxing. My hotel is recommended and 2 minutes from a wonderful string in a row of about 10 bars with big outside areas, all serving amazing tapas. It came alive whilst I was there around 8.00pm. When you come out of the hotel, turn right then right again and it's somewhere up there on the left, about 4 or 5 minutes walk maximum from the hotel. You'll find it. All my aches have gone for the moment. I'm ready for anything. Bring it on!

Today was freezing cold when I stepped out at 7.00am but bright and sunny, with blue sky and wispy white cloud in places. It's supposed to be getting warmer later today, and it did but not by much. And in the next few days, the temperature is set to rise into the high twenties so I'd better enjoy these perfect walking temperatures while I can. As you follow the arrows out of Cuenca, the first place you come to is Nohales, after 4kms. There was a Hostel / restaurant but it was closed.

Chillaron was a further 5kms on and is a large village with a main road running through it. There was a friendly bar called Bar Los Angeles on the left as you entered the village. It was a busy bar, great for breakfast and picking up snacks for later. I didn't see any other open facilities in Chillaron although there were signs for another bar, bakery and tobacconist. 3kms on is Arcos, a tiny village. There are no facilities here except a water fountain and 'no chlorine' sign as you exit the village, just past the playground on the left. Next up along a slow uphill road 4 kms away is Tondos. This is another tiny village with no facilities and although there was some concrete containers with grim water in near the park, I didn't see a working water fountain.

From the outskirts of Cuenca all the way to Tondos, is quiet tarmac road. The next hour from Tondos to the road through Noheda is on a dirt track through open forestry scrubland. There is a drinking water fountain and bench in the shade by the church in Noheda but nothing else. From Noheda, you then spend a couple of kms on tarmac before turning off onto a dirt road all the way to Villar De Domingo Garcia. This stretch is really fabulous, with great vistas of glorious countryside but punctuated with little hillocks and gorges, trees and bushes. The countryside rolls in deep browns and vivid greens, with bone dry dirt tracks criss crossing the land. The track must have been pretty muddy once. You can see the deep footprints of past shoes in the track, but now dry. Someone must have struggled through this once when it was soggy!

Part way through this route is a deserted village. It looked largish once, and possibly like it was destroyed to my untrained eye rather than just fell into ruin over time. There is a something about six foot tall made out of wicker and surrounded by freshly planted flowers, maybe like a shrine or memorial. Does this ex-village have a name? Does it have a history?

After 31.5kms from Cuenta and at 3.30pm, I rolled into the final destination, past a petrol station which also serves as a basic shop by the way, looking forward to that albergue key and a shower. Alas, it wasn't to be. Bar Goyo is closed. No phone number to ring. So I walk down to the Ayuntamiento opposite Bar Plaza. Alas, that's shut, too. Bar Plaza is open though. Hurrah. Sadly, it is hosted by a miserably unhelpful woman, who is currently practising for the world championships of said demenour. Booooo. Then a man says that he thinks the Ayuntamiento might open at 5.00pm. Hurrah. But isn't sure. Boooooo.

What to do? I decide to have a few beers with lemon until 4.00pm, and then see if either the town hall or Bar Goyo magically opens. If not, I might have to carry on to somewhere else. Torralba looks promising on Google Maps, showing an Albergue and a couple of casas. As I'm about to leave, miserable woman's husband presumably insists in pretty good English to stay, because the Ayuntamiento is open "soon". What to do? Either a 2 hour hike or sit and hope? I don't mind more walking as it's nice out but don't want to rush stages if I don't have to. Okay. I buy a pre-packed cake with God knows what preservatives in it, try to be patient and relax with a smile in Bar Plaza, while their loud, irritating kids run around the place with their dog.

So, 5 o clock arrives and the helpful man in the bar instructs me to go to the Pharmacy next door, which has just opened. And there, a wonderful couple sign me in, escort me to the perfectly fine small albergue, which has 4 beds, give me the key, some cold drinks and plug in all the things that need plugging in. The world has returned to peace and harmony once more! Did I ever doubt this would happen?

So now, it's time for a shower, then buy a few provisions from the garage for tomorrow and then explore this great village!! And I'm starting to think about dinner. Bar Plaza does seem to have a good menu, but may pop in and check out Bar Goyo later.

It's been a really great first day after Cuenta. Tomorrow is a much shorter 22kms or so, so may drink a bit later have a late start and walk the five hours with a hangover tomorrow, in penance at having no patience today. Story of my life.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
I use the monkey and typewriter approach - if you take enough photos, one might be okay😀.

Stage 12. Cuenca to Villar De Domingo Garcia. 31.5 kms

Well staying a full day in Cuenca was a top move, one of my better decisions. It's definitely got a day in it for sight seeing and relaxing. My hotel is recommended and 2 minutes from a wonderful string in a row of about 10 bars with big outside areas, all serving amazing tapas. It came alive whilst I was there around 8.00pm. When you come out of the hotel, turn right then right again and it's somewhere up there on the left, about 4 or 5 minutes walk maximum from the hotel. You'll find it. All my aches have gone for the moment. I'm ready for anything. Bring it on!

Today was freezing cold when I stepped out at 7.00am but bright and sunny, with blue sky and wispy white cloud in places. It's supposed to be getting warmer later today, and it did but not by much. And in the next few days, the temperature is set to rise into the high twenties so I'd better enjoy these perfect walking temperatures while I can. As you follow the arrows out of Cuenca, the first place you come to is Nohales, after 4kms. There was a Hostel / restaurant but it was closed.

Chillaron was a further 5kms on and is a large village with a main road running through it. There was a friendly bar called Bar Los Angeles on the left as you entered the village. It was a busy bar, great for breakfast and picking up snacks for later. I didn't see any other open facilities in Chillaron although there were signs for another bar, bakery and tobacconist. 3kms on is Arcos, a tiny village. There are no facilities here except a water fountain and 'no chlorine' sign as you exit the village, just past the playground on the left. Next up along a slow uphill road 4 kms away is Tondos. This is another tiny village with no facilities and although there was some concrete containers with grim water in near the park, I didn't see a working water fountain.

From the outskirts of Cuenca all the way to Tondos, is quiet tarmac road. The next hour from Tondos to the road through Noheda is on a dirt track through open forestry scrubland. There is a drinking water fountain and bench in the shade by the church in Noheda but nothing else. From Noheda, you then spend a couple of kms on tarmac before turning off onto a dirt road all the way to Villar De Domingo Garcia. This stretch is really fabulous, with great vistas of glorious countryside but punctuated with little hillocks and gorges, trees and bushes. The countryside rolls in deep browns and vivid greens, with bone dry dirt tracks criss crossing the land. The track must have been pretty muddy once. You can see the deep footprints of past shoes in the track, but now dry. Someone must have struggled through this once when it was soggy!

Part way through this route is a deserted village. It looked largish once, and possibly like it was destroyed to my untrained eye rather than just fell into ruin over time. There is a something about six foot tall made out of wicker and surrounded by freshly planted flowers, maybe like a shrine or memorial. Does this ex-village have a name? Does it have a history?

After 31.5kms from Cuenta and at 3.30pm, I rolled into the final destination, past a petrol station which also serves as a basic shop by the way, looking forward to that albergue key and a shower. Alas, it wasn't to be. Bar Goyo is closed. No phone number to ring. So I walk down to the Ayuntamiento opposite Bar Plaza. Alas, that's shut, too. Bar Plaza is open though. Hurrah. Sadly, it is hosted by a miserably unhelpful woman, who is currently practising for the world championships of said demenour. Booooo. Then a man says that he thinks the Ayuntamiento might open at 5.00pm. Hurrah. But isn't sure. Boooooo.

What to do? I decide to have a few beers with lemon until 4.00pm, and then see if either the town hall or Bar Goyo magically opens. If not, I might have to carry on to somewhere else. Torralba looks promising on Google Maps, showing an Albergue and a couple of casas. As I'm about to leave, miserable woman's husband presumably insists in pretty good English to stay, because the Ayuntamiento is open "soon". What to do? Either a 2 hour hike or sit and hope? I don't mind more walking as it's nice out but don't want to rush stages if I don't have to. Okay. I buy a pre-packed cake with God knows what preservatives in it, try to be patient and relax with a smile in Bar Plaza, while their loud, irritating kids run around the place with their dog.

So, 5 o clock arrives and the helpful man in the bar instructs me to go to the Pharmacy next door, which has just opened. And there, a wonderful couple sign me in, escort me to the perfectly fine small albergue, which has 4 beds, give me the key, some cold drinks and plug in all the things that need plugging in. The world has returned to peace and harmony once more! Did I ever doubt this would happen?

So now, it's time for a shower, then buy a few provisions from the garage for tomorrow and then explore this great village!! And I'm starting to think about dinner. Bar Plaza does seem to have a good menu, but may pop in and check out Bar Goyo later.

It's been a really great first day after Cuenta. Tomorrow is a much shorter 22kms or so, so may drink a bit later have a late start and walk the five hours with a hangover tomorrow, in penance at having no patience today. Story of my life.
You are in for a treat in Villaconejos de Trabaque tomorrow. Have fun…!

/BP
 

Undermanager

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I hope so, but I'm not expecting anything. I hate ringing in advance to albergues and hotels and making plans so don't, especially because I can't speak Spanish.

It's quite fun tonight in Bar Plaza. Bar Goyo is closed, the friendly barman who helped me earlier is totally pissed, his miserable wife, probably the reason he's so drunk, is nowhere to be seen (praise the Lord), his other four customers should be wearing industrial earplugs and the only thing that my friendly barman is capable of making for me for dinner is a sandwich; so much for the great menu I was really looking forward to! I'm having a ball. The aim is to be as drunk as my amigo!
 

marilyn van graan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012) VDLP (2014) Portuguese (2015)
I hope so, but I'm not expecting anything. I hate ringing in advance to albergues and hotels and making plans so don't, especially because I can't speak Spanish.

It's quite fun tonight in Bar Plaza. Bar Goyo is closed, the friendly barman who helped me earlier is totally pissed, his miserable wife, probably the reason he's so drunk, is nowhere to be seen (praise the Lord), his other four customers should be wearing industrial earplugs and the only thing that my friendly barman is capable of making for me for dinner is a sandwich; so much for the great menu I was really looking forward to! I'm having a ball. The aim is to be as drunk as my amigo!
oh Dave you are a scream - enjoying reading your daily accounts - glad the aches and pains are staying were the should be!!!!!!
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
That woman in Bar Plaza wasn’t just having a really bad ‘off-day’ when we were there then! You missed a treat in Bar Goyo. Absolutely buzzing on a Sunday lunchtime.
 
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Undermanager

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Stage 13. Villar De Domingo Garcia to Villaconejos de Trabaque. 24 kms

A fun night is over. A new day breaks. The bar lived up to all its promises last night, except that despite my Sterling British Efforts, I woke up at 7.00am, bright, bushy tailed and hangover-free. Oh well. I'll try harder next time.

The albergue last night was very welcome, especially as I had it to myself. It's small, functional, can fit an absolute maximum of four in two bunk beds in a small room with no other space for cat-swinging, and has an amazing power shower. I'm pretty sure it's a converted sandblaster used for stripping off the outer surfaces of houses before repainting, but it was very hot and stripped off all my day's dirt, plus essential oils, hair and old skin. The place has a slight musty smell so if you have a cough or breathing issues, it may not be perfect, but I liked staying there very much and was very comfy.

I left at about a late 7.30am, out the village on the road for a hundred meters then a sharp right onto a dirt track. The plan is to go slower today, and have a leisurely breakfast in the first village Torralba 8kms away. It's freezing and pretty overcast but quickly warms up and clears! After about two kilometers, you rise up onto a kind of lowland ridge inland away from the road, with great morning views over the countryside towards the sun. The road is way down on the left of the track. The birds are chirping away and there are huge piles of dung compost about, ready to be spread onto fields. The aroma reminds me of where I grew up in rural Norfolk in England, and Brexit.

Torralba is a pretty village, with quite a few facilities for the tired traveller for such a small place, or it seems to according to Google Maps. It would, certainly on first impressions, be a better option than yesterday's place! The first bar, Bar Carman, serves coffee but has nothing to eat, although I am offered a biscuit. I have a coffee then decide to go on a morning pub crawl and try Bar Goyo Luis, but get sidetracked as there is a great shop next door. Breakfast! I buy a crusty bread, a hunk of what looks like luncheon meat from the fridge and a couple of bananas. Who would have thought that a bread, luncheon meat and banana sandwich was the tastiest thing ever? So I spend the next half hour relaxing on the strategically placed chair outside the shop, admiring the traffic on the main road. Life is good.

I really like this village and after spending some 25 minutes here, I feel I can speak as an authority 😁; if your little legs can manage it from Cuenca, I'd definitely stay here. It has a lovely atmosphere with just a minor not major road going through it, is very friendly, most people I've met in the last half hour are sober, it has some impressive ruins on a hill, an albergue, maybe hotels, two bars, a shop and a 24 hour funeral parlour - what more do you need?

Next up, the 9km walk to Villaconejas De Trabaque, which also threatens to have a bar and shop. The thought of more bread, luncheon meat and banana sandwiches spurs me on, like a carrot in front of a donkey. I set off at 10:30 and it is a lovely walk. The track goes through a valley, with beehives aplenty and wildflowers positively bursting out everywhere. Where the path gets close to the small river, the birdsong is extraordiñary. When you arrive at the village, which I did at 12:30, you realise that it too is a very pretty place, and the first building as you leave the dirt track and walk into the village is the large and friendly bar and restaurant La Omilla! Result! Great tapas here (the tortilla was fabulous) with your drink. I could sit here for hours! If there was a hotel here, I would stay.

You could follow the arrows into the village, round and out again, but I just walked along the road. You walk past the left road turn to your destination, and carry on about another three hundred meters. Then you turn left onto a dirt track all the way to Villaconejos. You'll see the yellow arrows.

The 5kms walk is another lovely walk in a valley, very pretty, and the time flies past. Somehow, with music in my ears, I forgot to look for the albergue at the very beginning of Villaconejos, so ended up in the middle of the village, strangely by a bar. So one quick drink and a plate of olives later, I walked back out of the village again to the church. After making the phone call to get the key and be signed in, I just had time to do 20 minutes of stretches and eat lunch when Pepe arrived to let me in. A bear hug greeting from Pepe made me realise my back was still not perfect but an evening's rest in this outstanding albergue should help! The jobs are all done except for a bit of shopping later for breakfast and tomorrow.

Another fantastic day!
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
an evening's rest in this outstanding albergue should help! The jobs are all done except for a bit of shopping later for breakfast and tomorrow.
As you know by now, the chances of a quiet evening's rest in Villaconejos de Trabaque are nil, but a convivial evening drinking Pepe's wine in the cellar that 5 or more generations of Pepe's ancestors have made that wine in is an unforgettable experience, even if it means that waking up early tomorrow morning is a problem.

Disfruta.
 

Dougyharry

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2014
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Mozarabe (2016)
As you know by now, the chances of a quiet evening's rest in Villaconejos de Trabaque are nil, but a convivial evening drinking Pepe's wine in the cellar that 5 or more generations of Pepe's ancestors have made that wine in is an unforgettable experience, even if it means that waking up early tomorrow morning is a problem.

Disfruta.
As you know by now, the chances of a quiet evening's rest in Villaconejos de Trabaque are nil, but a convivial evening drinking Pepe's wine in the cellar that 5 or more generations of Pepe's ancestors have made that wine in is an unforgettable experience, even if it means that waking up early tomorrow morning is a problem.

Disfruta.
Well Dave you my new hero taken over from K even andMagwood,just a bit .we in villa de Domingo Garcia and so far no-one here in this tiny but welcome space .Love your writing and eagerly await tomorrow walk to villaconejos salude ! Suzette and Doug
ps using Doug phone as mine no credit ,hence the typos ,Cheers
 

Undermanager

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Hey, great to hear from you. Glad you are having fun. It's all good this end. Having great weather helps but it seems to be getting hotter in the afternoons. Keep in touch and post when you can.
 

Undermanager

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Stage 14. Villaconejos de Trabaque to Salmeron. 31 kms

This village has quite a lot of facilities. As you come out the albergue, the large, wide road that swings left round into the village, so the pool is on your right, quickly takes you to the centre on a totally flat road. The Ayuntamiento and large plaza will be in front of you in five minutes. Around the plaza, there are two bars (although only one was open when I was there) and a couple of shops. One of them sells fruit, cheese, bread, meaty things, yogurt and so on, for a delicious meal sitting in the plaza as well as for tomorrow's breakfast. Around 7.00pm, lots of people come out to the plaza to socialise. You can see the Rio-like statue on top of the hill to the right of the Ayuntamiento as you look at it as well as another church. Shame they're not down here where I'm sitting 😁. It's a pretty place this and a really nice village to stop off in.

The bar that was open last night was great. There were lots of different tapas dishes to work through, each one, of course, washed down with a beer. A bonus was that although bullfighting was on the telly - booooo, one of the bulls in one fight got the matador, threw him in the air and got his leg. 1 - 0 to the bull although as always, it didn't last very long 🙁.

This village is in a valley so it is freezing in the morning, until the sun gets above the hills and starts warming everything up. Although I set off in very cold weather after a good breakfast, within a few hours it was warming up quickly, with not a cloud in the blue sky. This is going to be very hot this afternoon. It's a stunning walk through the Spanish countryside, with hardly a road crossed and little evidence of the modern world, except perhaps the tractors, which are out here and there at the moment. There are some long slow uphills today, which brings both great views when you are at the top and some good downhill sections.

After 11kms, you start walking along the top of a valley with a river in. Absolutely beautiful, full of birdsong and flowers. 2kms further on, you switch back down to the river, where you have to wade across a fast flowing but shallow section. All good fun. 18kms and nearly 5 hours after starting, you arrive at Albendea. Walk up into the village 5 minutes away, añd you'll find a lovely single shop, bakery, eatery, drinking place with a pretty sitting area under the trees outside. I stayed here for half an hour for a long lunch and sampled some of their goodies. Recommended!

Valdeolivas was a further 5kms on and perched on the end of a bit of an uphill slog. I arrive at 1:30pm. This is a large, very pretty medieval village, and another place to seriously considering staying a night in. I saw a hotel, a couple of bars and a shop and I can imagine it being even more beautiful at night. There's a Casa Ru4al here too apparently. It's getting very hot now at 25 Deg C so I stop for a rest and drink in Bar Gonzalez. They gave me a dish of whole peanuts, but their shells had been salted. You then broke them open to get the peanuts. I've never seen that before. They were delicious.

After nearly 31kms, I finally got to Salmeron. It has been really hot today and I was glad to see this pretty village appear down in the valley. I got the key from the dark Bar Cazador, although it was locked when I first arrived and had to wait. The entire village seemed deserted when I arrived, and was deserted as well làter. Very few people seem to live here? The albergue is excellent and surprisingly, there is a German staying here tonight, coming from the north towards Alicante. Apparently, he did the south to north route last year. Stretches, washing, shower and shave all done. I just need to work out tomorrow's destination to Trillo and check the distance, water to carry etc. I gather it's mostly uphill? The German guy reckons there isnt anywhere to get food for tomorrow so I guess that's the next thing to check out in an hour. He was right! There is a small shop but it closes at 2.00pm and doesn't open in the evening. But Bar La Mazmorra around the corner from the albergue with a great outdoor seating area and hosted by the friendly and helpful Phillip is doing some big boccadillos for me, one for now and one for tomorrow, and I'm filling up on olives and crisps as well. It's a crap diet but only for a day. I should have stayed in the last village!! Seriously, I should have. I should have stayed in that beautiful medieval village with its great facilities, bought a few extras for the following day and then planned to stay in the nice albergue in Viana de Mondejar. As it is, I have no choice but to press on to Trillo tomorrow. At least the weather is good.

So, overall, another great day of walking. No major problems although I used my first Compeed plaster today, to cover up a hotspot on my heel. I completely forgot about it after half an hour. Màgic stuff them plasters.

More tomorrow ....
 
Last edited:

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Stage 14. Villaconejos de Trabaque to Salmeron. 31 kms

This village has quite a lot of facilities. As you come out the albergue, the large, wide road that swings left round into the village, so the pool is on your right, quickly takes you to the centre on a totally flat road. The Ayuntamiento and large plaza will be in front of you in five minutes. Around the plaza, there are two bars (although only one was open when I was there) and a couple of shops. One of them sells fruit, cheese, bread, meaty things, yogurt and so on, for a delicious meal sitting in the plaza as well as for tomorrow's breakfast. Around 7.00pm, lots of people come out to the plaza to socialise. You can see the Rio-like statue on top of the hill to the right of the Ayuntamiento as you look at it as well as another church. Shame they're not down here where I'm sitting 😁. It's a pretty place this and a really nice village to stop off in.

The bar that was open last night was great. There were lots of different tapas dishes to work through, each one, of course, washed down with a beer. A bonus was that although bullfighting was on the telly - booooo, one of the bulls in one fight got the matador, threw him in the air and got his leg. 1 - 0 to the bull although as always, it didn't last very long 🙁.

This village is in a valley so it is freezing in the morning, until the sun gets above the hills and starts warming everything up. Although I set off in very cold weather after a good breakfast, within a few hours it was warming up quickly, with not a cloud in the blue sky. This is going to be very hot this afternoon. It's a stunning walk through the Spanish countryside, with hardly a road crossed and little evidence of the modern world, except perhaps the tractors, which are out here and there at the moment. There are some long slow uphills today, which brings both great views when you are at the top and some good downhill sections.

After 11kms, you start walking along the top of a valley with a river in. Absolutely beautiful, full of birdsong and flowers. 2kms further on, you switch back down to the river, where you have to wade across a fast flowing but shallow section. All good fun. 18kms and nearly 5 hours after starting, you arrive at Albendea. Walk up into the village 5 minutes away, añd you'll find a lovely single shop, bakery, eatery, drinking place with a pretty sitting area under the trees outside. I stayed here for half an hour for a long lunch and sampled some of their goodies. Recommended!

Valdeolivas was a further 5kms on and perched on the end of a bit of an uphill slog. I arrive at 1:30pm. This is a large, very pretty medieval village, and another place to seriously considering staying a night in. I saw a hotel, a couple of bars and a shop and I can imagine it being even more beautiful at night. There's a Casa Ru4al here too apparently. It's getting very hot now at 25 Deg C so I stop for a rest and drink in Bar Gonzalez. They gave me a dish of whole peanuts, but their shells had been salted. You then broke them open to get the peanuts. I've never seen that before. They were delicious.

After nearly 31kms, I finally got to Salmeron. It has been really hot today and I was glad to see this pretty village appear down in the valley. I got the key from the dark Bar Cazador, although it was locked when I first arrived and had to wait. The entire village seemed deserted when I arrived, and was deserted as well làter. Very few people seem to live here? The albergue is excellent and surprisingly, there is a German staying here tonight, coming from the north towards Alicante. Apparently, he did the south to north route last year. Stretches, washing, shower and shave all done. I just need to work out tomorrow's destination to Trillo and check the distance, water to carry etc. I gather it's mostly uphill? The German guy reckons there isnt anywhere to get food for tomorrow so I guess that's the next thing to check out in an hour. He was right! There is a small shop but it closes at 2.00pm and doesn't open in the evening. But Bar La Mazmorra around the corner from the albergue with a great outdoor seating area and hosted by the friendly and helpful Phillip is doing some big boccadillos for me, one for now and one for tomorrow, and I'm filling up on olives and crisps as well. It's a crap diet but only for a day. I should have stayed in the last village!! Seriously, I should have. I should have stayed in that beautiful medieval village with its great facilities, bought a few extras for the following day and then planned to stay in the nice albergue in Viana de Mondejar. As it is, I have no choice but to press on to Trillo tomorrow. At least the weather is good.

So, overall, another great day of walking. No major problems although I used my first Compeed plaster today, to cover up a hotspot on my heel. I completely forgot about it after half an hour. Màgic stuff them plasters.

More tomorrow ....
Tomorrow you will see the Boobs of Viana! :Oo

Have fun!

/BP
 

blvdve

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Sanabrés from Ourense, September 2019
I am totally enjoying this thread, and even taking notes. :) I have been to Cuenca once upon a time (in the 70's!), and I tend to not be an albergue kind of walker (shoot me), but this Camino sounds like I would love it anyhow. Maybe someday. Soon.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Stage 15. Salmeron to Trillo. 30 kms

I expected a hot day so was out the door at 6:30am but it was pretty cool all day, perfect walking conditions. I saw four deer today at different times, including a huge buck that sprang across my path about 10m in front on me. Exciting! There were also many huge soaring birds you could see when you got close to the two mountain plateaus. I have one boccadillo, two apricots, two litres of water and a packet of fishermen's friends. It was just about enough even if it wasn't inspiring.

Today starts with a 5km uphill slog but is rewarded with great panoramic views, then it's flat for a few hours through forest. 15kms from Salmeron, it gets really pretty, with mountain views and gorges as the path starts thinking about going down to Viana de Mondejar. I finally got to this village after 22kms and five and a half hours. I saw no-one in this village and there are no facilities except a water tap next to the church. Time for a half hour break and lunch what's left of my boccadillo. Note to self: slap up meal tonight.

The next 8kms to Trillo seems much longer! There's a steep climb out of the village, with some great closeup views of the two mountains on the left as well as impressive soaring birds. You keep walking a while before descending into Trillo, with some top views of the nuclear reactor. Except the 'down to Trillo' seemed to involve lots of ups and lots of downs. I was really tired when I got to the pretty town of Trillo. The good news is that it was cool and there was a lot of cloud cover the closer you got to Trillo. Perhaps related to the nuclear plant? 😁

The albergue was easy to find. When you cross the bridge, turn left and walk as close to the river or greenbelt as you can, and after five minutes, you get to the bullring. The building right next to it that looks a bit like a changing room is the albergue! A quick phone call to the number above the door and half an hour later, I'm in. It's 3:45pm so about 9 hours in total today.

Trillo looks pretty. There's a large river running through it, some rapids, a few people kayaking and it generally seems like a holiday sort of place. I've already seen a few bars and as soon as the jobs are done, I'll be off to try them out. The albergue is excellent, although a little chilly.

Now having tried and failed to find a place to cook me something, or a tapas bar, or just a small Burger king, it's supermarket time. I found some hummus, vine tomatoes, an onion, slices of ham from the counter, bread, a litre of pineapple juice and two not one tubs of chocolate moose😂. Then down to that table by the river near the albergue and stuff that gob. I never realised how hungry I was, from both yesterday and today. I am beginning to loathe boccadillos with a passion. And another thing! Why, when I order a boccadillo with cheese, tomato, onion, salad, I always get a boccadillo with that tomato paste stuff as butter, lumps of cheese, no tomato, no onion and no salad???? This has happened THREE times now. Is it to do with Gibraltar?

Okay, I did find Bar David, which is absolutely superb inside, with a kind of big indoor beer garden and food area. Very lively. It's down by the river. Not the really big open place with loads of chairs outside and trees you can sit under by the bridge, which is closed this evening, but on the other side of the road, down a little side street that looks like nothing is there. They appear to be doing BBQ food as well !!! I've added it to maps.me but it's on Google maps.

It's been another excellent day today, with no injuries or pains other than the usual ones.
 
Last edited:

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
I believe it is in Trillo. It is a beautiful town with a nice café-restaurant next to the river. It must be lovely, but there was pouring rain and a thunder storm when I was there :O(
Yes, Trillo. Close to the nuclear power plant.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Stage 16. Trillo to Mandayona. 41kms

Bar David is brilliant. Don't miss it. It has a huge open fire pit in one corner with three chefs furiously turning out pub food and food for the restaurant. Great atmosphere but didn't really get going until after 8.00pm.

I left Trillo at 7.00am after a fabulous sleep in my cosy lightweight down sleeping bag. As soon as I walked out the albergue, I had to stop to rearrange the rucksack. There were black clouds in the sky! Could this be my first day of H2O? I really had no plan for today as far as the destination goes so we'll just strike out and see.

You get to Gargoles de Abalo after about 5km. When you reach the road, rather than crossing it and going up into the pretty village, I went left on the flat road for 400m and picked up the path there. You'll see lots of wine caves and BBQ pits on the right if you go this route, and will also see the huge sign for the bar / pension. This might be another option of somewhere to stay for someone to try out one day? It was shut when I checked it out this morning though.

Another half an hour past this village along a dirt track brings you to Gorgoles de Aribba. It had a bar, Bar Consuelo, which was also closed. A theme is beginning to develop today and it's not even 9.00am ......

Although it has been threatening to rain since I left Trillo, within 5 minutes of reaching this village, the clouds disappeared and it's blue sky. Yeah! Onwards to Cifuentes. When I got to the road, you can cross it and go up a track. Or, it's just a 3km road hike, so I set off along the road and am in town by 10:00am.

Time for breakfast. I head from the road into the centre of this small town for a coffee añd tortilla and decide that it's so early I might as well press on. It helps that there are frequent villages ahead so I don't need to carry supplies, just half a little of water and something for emergencies - Orios. And it's cold so not so draining. I pop into the bakery opposite to get some reserve biscuits and set off.

After yesterday, this walk really is a breeze. After an hour and a half and 20kms after leaving Trillo, I arrived at the wonderful village of Moranchel, with some fabulous paintings of houses and businesses on the fronts of houses. A minute after the paintings, keep your eyes open on the left for some tables and chairs, opposite bungalow No 16! Listen for the TV outside the anonymous building. You have found the local fishing club headquarters and bar, the Coto de Pesca la Tajera. If it is open, pop in for a coffee and use Google Translate to tell some fishy tales about walking the Camino 😀.

Pressing on, It's mostly a flat walk all the way to Las Invernas, where I arrived at 2.00pm, and 27kms from Trillo. Here you will find a wonderfully local bar for local people. The coffee con leche was like coffee I've never tasted before but on the plus side, the 'una vaso de Agua' was exceptional. And that ambiance is to die for. This place is unique and deserves to be iñ B movie. Visit it without fail!

One of the few uphill sections is next, but it's only 2kms so not too much pain. You get great views back to Trillo and especially the two mountain plateaus, which are just visible. Gosh, was I really near there this morning? At the top, it's lots of flat walking. Lots and lots of it, but it's glorious. The weather is deliciously cool. I stop regularly to admire the view. (Actually, I stop regularly to have an Orio biscuit, but still take time to admire the views.)

You cross a railway bridge, then cross a motorway. There's a cafe there but I pressed on, until the village of Mirabueno. There is a grand old church that seems to be crumbling a lot, but the gargoyles are impressive. They're worth a look. I think I found a social club bar but it was closed. As you leave the village though, prepare to be amazed! Those views down down down into the valley are incredible, and Mandayona, my destination is thankfully down there - usually on these Camino's, the last section is 'up there' and a real killer!

So, a glorious 3 km trip down, singing so loud I made my second deer of the day reveal itself. Not quite Dr Dolittle though. The poor thing kept trying to bash through a wire fence to get away from me. Doesn't it like the Cranberries?

Into the village I walk ridiculously happy after about 11 hours and 41 Kms from Trillo, and I stop at the first bar, Bar Milagros, asking if he knows where the Ayuntamiento is - five years doing Caminos and I still can't say that word properly without seeing it written down! What a star the host there was! He puts down his pre-Friday rush mop and takes me to a house a few minutes away, rings the bell and leaves me in charge of a nice old gentlemen from the Ayuntamiento. So, he walks me there and after signing in, getting a stamp, getting the key and being walked round to the 'albergue', I now have a fantastic theatre hall and toilet on the first floor to myself, with a blow up mattress, a balcony to dry my clothes and a bar opposite. I'm in heaven. I should have phoned ahead, but turning up unannounced around 6.00pm, and still it's no trouble for people. I got lucky as I expected to pay €30 for a room in a Casa Rural, so now, I will use it for a splurge instead!

This place is hugely recommended. Plan to stay here if you can. There are four blow up mattresses, but space for about two hundred pilgrims!

And so finishes today. If you need a big stage, do this one. Yesterday was about 30kms and knackered me because of all the ups and downs. Today was 41 Kms but mostly flattish with the odd short climb, and loads of fun, possibly because of the cool no rain day, too. Marvellous, brilliant, possibly the best yet, wonderful wonderful countryside, great variety, probably tired but feel really alive, body not complaining and now for something to eat, vino and reading about tomorrow's stage.

This is proving to be a fun Camino!
 

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