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BP starts from Alicante, version 3.0!

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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Hello pilgrimitos and pilgrimitas,

It's me again… Sorry to bother... :OP

Just a heads up that I will be starting from Alicante in about 10 days. For the third time from Alicante, and my second time on the Lana.

Why walk the Lana again, you may ask?! :Oo

Well that is because:

1) It is my favorite camino so far.
2) I am a repeat Camino offender.
3) Two years ago I hurt my foot on the Lana... And I am back for revenge!!

Luckily, Maggie and Undermanager have recently written about the Lana and posted loads of photos. I have no idea what I could possibly add.
I carry a simple cell-phone and it takes forever to write anything on it, and I cannot upload any pictures.
Therefore I will post very short info about each stage, with mostly practical information. It will give me something to do in the afternoons…

I hope to discover the San Olav and the Vasco Interior, and revisit the Invierno as well… But the best laid plans... I know!

Tag along! ;OD

/BP
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Hello pilgrimitos and pilgrimitas,

It's me again… Sorry to bother... :OP

Just a heads up that I will be starting from Alicante in about 10 days. For the third time from Alicante, and my second time on the Lana.

Why walk the Lana again, you may ask?! :Oo

Well that is because:

1) It is my favorite camino so far.
2) I am a repeat Camino offender.
3) Two years ago I hurt my foot on the Lana... And I am back for revenge!!

Luckily, Maggie and Undermanager have recently written about the Lana and posted loads of photos. I have no idea what I could possibly add.
I carry a simple cell-phone and it takes forever to write anything on it, and I cannot upload any pictures.
Therefore I will post very short info about each stage, with mostly practical information. It will give me something to do in the afternoons…

I hope to discover the San Olav and the Vasco Interior, and revisit the Invierno as well… But the best laid plans... I know!

Tag along! ;OD

/BP
Please, do bother us :D :D :D

Buen Camino BP!!!
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
Buen Camino! Post away. It'll be great to read.

"I carry a simple cell-phone and it takes forever to write anything on it, and I cannot upload any pictures."

Outrageous! No Excuse!

Make this Camino's resolution to pop out and buy a new phone tomorrow, get it set up and practice posting before you go! It can be a new and rewarding hobby - Bad Pilgrim - Top Blogger. Huawei P20 Pro - not the cheapest but a top choice and great camera. And all the help you need is here :cool: .
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Buen Camino! Post away. It'll be great to read.

"I carry a simple cell-phone and it takes forever to write anything on it, and I cannot upload any pictures."

Outrageous! No Excuse!

Make this Camino's resolution to pop out and buy a new phone tomorrow, get it set up and practice posting before you go! It can be a new and rewarding hobby - Bad Pilgrim - Top Blogger. Huawei P20 Pro - not the cheapest but a top choice and great camera. And all the help you need is here :cool: .
I am in the middle of my pre-Camino chores: I will se if I can fit a new phone into my budget...! I will try to write something each day though. But it will be my third time from Alicante to Villena… I feel I could start writing already because I already know what it looks like 😁!
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Hi ho,

Less than a week before I go.

I wonder if any Laners have arrived late in Alicante - and how did you get from the airport into town?

I have never arrived this late (around midnight) and last time I checked, there were no bus into town this late (?) I think I will have to take a taxi. Should I phone the taxi company before my arrival, or can I grab a cab when I get there? I never use taxi service.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Oh well,

My departure is approaching - and I have had a cold for a few days. A bit feverish etc. Not able to practise any long walks, as I usually do for preparation. I hope I won't be ill on Friday when I leave for Alicante. And then start walking...? I am a bit worried if I will be fit for fight. But I am still leaving on Friday…

I hope it is not the Curse of the Lana...

/BP
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
As Isca-camigo says, a good idea would be to spend at least one day in Alicante to see how I feel. (I had planned to start walking in the morning… with just a few hours of sleep.) I am seriously considering a rest-day at the moment.

Tomorrow Friday, I take the train at 15:48, the airplane at 20:00 and hopefully I can get hold of a taxi at 00.00 in Alicante to take me to the hostal Portugal as soon as possible.

Temperatures hover around 27 degrees C in Alicante right now, so at least the weather seems perfect!

My cold is the lesser problem. My worry is that I haven't been able to practice any long walks. I plan to walk no more than to Orito the first stage (Orito… Lovely Orito… I wouldn't stay anywhere else 😍). But that is still 24 kms, almost without training.

On the bright side: I can walk to Orito with my eyes closed. I won't add any extra meters searching for the camino.

I don't know if I can post every day, if wifi is weak or not existing. But I will try. Right now I am just hoping I will get through the first day/stage...

/BP
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
You'll be fine. Just take it easy for the first week and build up slowly. And buy a data SIM before you set off 😁.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. Next: Gd St Bernard to Rome
Hi ho,

Less than a week before I go.

I wonder if any Laners have arrived late in Alicante - and how did you get from the airport into town?

I have never arrived this late (around midnight) and last time I checked, there were no bus into town this late (?) I think I will have to take a taxi. Should I phone the taxi company before my arrival, or can I grab a cab when I get there? I never use taxi service.
There are now buses all through the night from the airport to Alicante, every hour after 11 pm or midnight. No need for a taxi. But should you decide to take one, there are plenty waiting, on the first floor of the airport - the buses are on the 2nd floor. A taxi is about €25, the bus €3.85.

 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
There are now buses all through the night from the airport to Alicante, every hour after 11 pm or midnight. No need for a taxi. But should you decide to take one, there are plenty waiting, on the first floor of the airport - the buses are on the 2nd floor. A taxi is about €25, the bus €3.85.

Wow,

You just made my life so much easier! Do you know if I can pay with my credit card on the bus... or do I need cash??

:Oo
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I very much doubt you can pay with CC on a bus. I even couldn't pay with CC in a supermercado in Leon the amount that was lower than 15€ ;)
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. Next: Gd St Bernard to Rome
Wow,

You just made my life so much easier! Do you know if I can pay with my credit card on the bus... or do I need cash??

:Oo
No, they don’t accept credit card. I think (it’s new) you may be able to pay with your phone, I’ll check....

Well, apparently you can now pay with a contactless credit card or a mobile phone for just a ‘one-off’ ticket
I wouldn’t rely on it though, just in case: my CC (from UK) doesn’t always work ‘contactless’ here... Better to have some cash methink! 🙂 There is an ATM at the airport.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Yes of course, how stupid of me. I have been to that airport before so I know there is an ATM... Bad pilgrim. Now I think all the obstacles between me and Alicante are removed! Except... my flight is 40 minutes late :mad:!
No, they don’t accept credit card. I think (it’s new) you may be able to pay with your phone, I’ll check....

Well, apparently you can now pay with a contactless credit card or a mobile phone for just a ‘one-off’ ticket
I wouldn’t rely on it though, just in case: my CC (from UK) doesn’t always work ‘contactless’ here... Better to have some cash methink! 🙂 There is an ATM at the airport.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Buen camino, BP!
Passing the baton - you begin as I end.

Vasco?
San Olav??
Go!
Better yet start the San Olav by taking the long way to Covarrubias from SDdS on the GR82 that leaves from the top of the town. A short detour from that goes to a gorgeous viewpoint above Contreras. And there is the Sad Hill Cemetary from The Good the Bad and the Ugly.
How could a BP pass that up?
Whatever you decide, may revenge be sweet.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Finisterra / Muxia
Lana
"there is the Sad Hill Cemetary from The Good the Bad and the Ugly."

Iconic, and is something I would have diverted off the Camino to see if I'd realised, and it's only a couple of k from the Camino near Santo Domingo - why on Earth is it not actually on it? :) Oh well - on the list for next time! I watched the film last night for the first time in a few decades - brilliant fun. Perhaps walk the next Camino in the style of Clint Eastwood's Blondie character?
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Alicante - Orito, Day 1

Well,

I am in Orito now, but with the same pain in my right foot as two years ago. The walk from Alicante to here was lovely, and everything as I wanted it to be, but at the same time I felt something didn't sit right with my foot. I helped my students to move furniture from our old school, to our new school, two days ago, and something must have happened. I don't know. It is too soon to tell, but I have a faint feeling that tomorrow will decide if it will be my second stage, or my FINAL stage, on the Lana. I have dutifully booked a room at the pilgrim-friendly Fuente El Cura in Sax, but I don't know.

I guess I shouldn't have made the jokes about the Curse of the Lana. Can't believe it is the same pain as two years ago!!!

Edit: I stayed in Casa del peregrino, 15 euros. The phone number in the Spanish guide (which also figures in Kevin O'Brien's English guide) is not correct: it is now 655364394.

/BP
 

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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Orito - Sax, Day 2

I am in the luxurious hotel Fuente El Cura in Sax! All is good so far. I had next to no problem with my foot today. I hope it stays that way. The camino does indeed get more adventurous when you know each stage could be your last one... I am not taking anything for granted anymore.

I have arranged so a hospitalero will meet me at the albergue in Caudete tomorrow, if I ever get there. It is a good albergue, and I need the washing machine!!

Today was a lovely walk, not too hot. Even cloudy for the last part into Sax. But the route leading to Elda/Petrer has been changed from two years ago (avoiding a tricky ditch in the middle of the road that is always flooded, so it is for the better). The new route is well marked so no need to worry.

I will have a nap to rest my feet, and I hope I will be fit for fight to take on Caudete tomorrow... I really like Caudete... There might be more pellygrims there, since it is a natural stop before the Lana and the Sureste split... And I am glad to be back in Sax.. Knock on wood... Bye bye...

Edit: The hotel Fuente del Cura charges 25 euros, breakfast included, which is a reduced price for pilgrims. If you leave early in the morning and miss breakfast, they still let you nibble on some fruit and biscuits, and have coffee, in the lounge of the hotel before leaving. It amazes me that they do not figure in the Spanish guide when it lists accommodation in Sax! I have absolutely no clue as for why they have been left out. Fuente del Cura has catered to pilgrims since years.

BP
 

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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Like what I read, BP...may your foot continue to be fine. Totally fine.
Buen camino, and thanks for sharing it!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. Next: Gd St Bernard to Rome
Yes, thanks for sharing and hope your foot is trouble-free! Thinking of you on your journey.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Sax - Caudete, Day 3

I am in the albergue Santa Ana in Caudete! 5 euros and a warm welcome by Joaquín from the Asociación in Caudete. He is so kind! And just like two years ago, I have met my first pilgrim here. Unfortunately without a dog this time! I had a great day here with Jacko, the little jack russel terrier, two years ago! Anyway, this dog-less man is going to Montealegre del Castillo tomorrow, on the Sureste, and I am going to Almansa. So our ways will part.

Today was flat as a pancake, for the first time since Alicante. It is getting hotter at midday now. Temperatures are rising. Good to know that tomorrow will be a short stage: only 25 kms to the beautiful, one and only Almansa. It will be my third time in Almansa! I think I will give the Slaves of Mary a rest this time, and check into a hostal. But right now I just want to take a nap...

Oh and I had to wash by hand after all, since there is no washing machine here. My memory tricked me! Of all the Camino chores, washing by hand is the worst... Still, this albergue is totally worth it... Don't miss it. Now to sleep... Bye bye

BP
 

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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Caudete - Almansa, Day 4

Manuel, the Spanish pilgrim, set off half an hour before me to do more than 30 kms to Montealegre del Castillo. I continued on the Lana. On the way out of town there is a bar that opens fairly early, so a quick café con leche... and then away.

There is no village between Caudete and Almansa (24 kms), but it never feels isolated. Part of the Camino joins the highway, or the railway, and there were plenty of farmers and construction workers so I saw quite a lot of people.

I remember LTfit said it was a stage that was easy walking, but also boring (correct me if I am wrong). But it must have been the weather...? In spite of the presence of the highway, it is a walk through a beautiful countryside. Much more ondulating scenery, with hills and mountains all around. Not those dry hills from Alicante but with trees, so much greener than on previous stages. Then all of a sudden appears the Sierra del Mugrón, certainly devoid of trees, which must be the enormous trademark of the region. Think of it as the Ayers Rock of Spain.

I am staying in the pension Pilar, which is OK for 25 euros. Almansa has lavanderías, aah... No washing by hand... And yes I have been to see the castle, but it still looks like far too many steps to get up there... Maybe when I am in Almansa for a fourth time... Apparently no-one told these people that castles can actually be built on ground level... Tsss... Medieval guys...

I am having trouble to find a place to stay for tomorrow, in Alpera. Hostal Cazador is perhaps full, but I was told to call again tomorrow. Hostal Stop has a new number, although I called them with the number on their homepage?? Now my phone goes on strike when I try to reach them. The Ayuntamiento (for information about the municipal albergue) doesn't answer. This will be interesting.

BP
 

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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I don't think you'll have any problem with muni albergue in Alpera. If the Ayto. is closed (after 3pm I think) the key should be in the bar on the corner across that little square.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
I don't think you'll have any problem with muni albergue in Alpera. If the Ayto. is closed (after 3pm I think) the key should be in the bar on the corner across that little square.
Ok! Thanks! My plan is to beg on my knees for any of the two hostals, then I go to the albergue!
 
Camino(s) past & future
'03CF, '08VdlP, '12Porto, '14VdlP via Port '15CPI ‘17Levante to Toledo
BP - I loved the Albergue in Alpera. If the Ayun is open it’s a breeze to find and lovely to stay there.
@Undermanager was there in May - here are some edited exercpts from his description - (I’m sure he won’t mind). . .

"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……..
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."
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
BP - I loved the Albergue in Alpera. If the Ayun is open it’s a breeze to find and lovely to stay there.
@Undermanager was there in May - here are some edited exercpts from his description - (I’m sure he won’t mind). . .

"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……..
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."
That sounds lovely! I stayed at Stop last time, so I might try something new...!
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
BTW forgot to say I've actually read enough of the details of this route - what interests me while I'm stuck at home are some fun stories such as you (@Bad Pilgrim) or @timr or @gerardcarey are wont to share. You all always manage some mishaps that make for interesting reading for the rest of us.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Almansa - Alpera, Day 5

Walking through Almansa in the morning was no problem, but I was late out of the pension Pilar and it would be a hot day: about 33 degrees C. Luckily it was windy so it never felt really warm. And I reached Alpera before noon.

In Almansa I had my first A-stranger-stops-you-in-the-street-to-talk-about-the-Camino-moment. I guess my sporty outfit and the mochila gives it away. (But I don't wear the scallop - never have.) He had friends who worked for the Asociación and he wanted to make sure I had all the information I needed. I kindly answered that it was the third time I left Almansa, so I was sure I wouldn't loose my way. (The first thing that happened after I left Almansa was that I lost my way, walking straight on after the tunnel instead of turning left next to the road.)

La Sierra del Mugrón got closer, and it got really windy as I reached the highest point of the day, by the corner of the cliff. Then down to the railway, where I have the habit of walking next to the rails instead of on the country road that runs parallel to it. Next to the rails are the usual railway gravel, but also a row of flat tiles that are perfect for walking. The surface is hard, so pilgrims who don't like hard surfaces would want to take the country road instead. I am probably violating some safety law here, but there are at least a few meters of distance to the rails when the trains come rushing by.

Then: Wildlife Encounter!! As I was busy checking my phone, I almost walked over the largest snake I have ever seen. Hardy Americans or Aussies would laugh at me, but where I live snakes don't look like that. This monster was happily sunbathing on the gravel next to the rails. He was as startled as me when we ran into each other. I just stopped, paralyzed, while he was checking me out. As he lifted his head and moved towards me, I gasped and took two steps back. But he was just turning around to glide down in the grassy ditch. I tell you, that thing looked like he was going to grab a slice of me...! I took pictures before he disappeared, but I can't upload here. Needless to say, every branch lying across the gravel, or black cable sticking out of the railway tiles, looked like a potential anaconda to me after this.

I phoned the Hostal El Cazador again, and got a room! So no albergue this time either. I have arranged to stay in the albergue in Alatoz tomorrow though. That is the albergue that only has cold showers, at least in the men's shower. I am seriously thinking about violating the laws of gender tomorrow because, as I have stated in previous threads, cold showers are an abomination to God and a crime against Humanity.

Now a stroll through Alpera, as the midday heat prevented me from this earlier. This is the first day that I have had to hide from the sun. I think temperatures will be dropping a bit for the next days though. And no other pilgrims to be seen...

BP
 

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Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
When I walked it last year, if I am remembering correctly, I walked in the field alongside the train track, soft surface, the side bits are not cultivated so the surface is ok, I'm sure that's the official way. You eventually come to a bridge or a 2nd bridge which you cross then you are away across farm tracks to Alpera.The embankment from the train line was the only obstacle to the wind that day which was quite intense.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
When I walked it last year, if I am remembering correctly, I walked in the field alongside the train track, soft surface, the side bits are not cultivated so the surface is ok, I'm sure that's the official way. You eventually come to a bridge or a 2nd bridge which you cross then you are away across farm tracks to Alpera.The embankment from the train line was the only obstacle to the wind that day which was quite intense.
Yes dirt road is the official way... I believe that is what the trains try to tell me, as they hoot and toot whenever we meet one another... Either it means: Hello pilgrim, or: Get out of my way!! :0o
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
pride comes before.....getting lost;-)
These are the kinds of stories I enjoy.
Thank you
Just watch out for the bicigrinos tomorrow
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Alpera - Alatoz, Day 6

It is time to put my plan into action: walking shorter stages than two years ago. Then, I went from Alpera to Alcalà del Júcar in one day. There is no problem since it is almost flat until Alcalá, but it is 37 kms. This time I stay in Alatoz, and I will walk through Alcalá to reach Casas Ibáñez tomorrow. That means I will discover new towns to stay in on this route, so that feels good!

The 25 kms between Alpera and Alatoz are the most beautiful ones since the start of the Lana. I have written about it before, and I would like to think that other pilgrims agree with me on this when I browse through this Forum and some Lana blogs. It is more green than before, even now in summer. But it must be even prettier in spring! A lot of walk in the shadow, so that is a plus for summer pilgrims.

In the last third or so, when you arrive in an area with some houses next to the rolling hills, there was a fuente at one point, on the left side of the road. Someone had put a filled water bottle next to it. I guess that means it is drinkable. I drank from it, and still no symptoms of poisoning. So there can be some water to be obtained on this long stage (I don't think the guides mention this).

The albergue in Alatoz was easy to find. Just walk "uphill", as previous Laners have written. It is an annex to the sportshall. Last pilgrim was here two days ago, but there has only been four of us in June so far! I don't think I will have company, since no-one else has arrived from Alpera today. Oh and I could shower in hot water, in the Ladies room. Just to try, I tested the men's showers and it seemed indeed ice cold to me. Gender discrimination!!

There is not much to do in Alatoz, which is a very small town. But I am excited about Alcalá del Júcar tomorrow. It is very pretty. But I prefer walking through it instead of actually staying there, since it is touristy and, in my experience, difficult to find somewhere to stay if visitors occupy all the hostales and hotels. People I have been talking to suggest a rest-day in Alcalá though, because there are a lot to discover, the famous Cuevas amongst other things.

I have to stop writing now, before the local idiot falls asleep in my lap. He has been talking to himself for half an hour now and oozes beer. Apparently he is allowed to order more beer from the barmen, who happily serve him, although it is plain to see he is already drunk. Anyone knows how to deal with drunken people, please send me a PM, because I sure don't.

BP
 

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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Next post from BP.....drumroll.....what BPs do with drunk men;-)
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Alatoz - Casas Ibáñez, Day 7

One of the bars opens at six o'clock in Alatoz, so there is café con leche, although not much of a breakfast. The camino goes amongst the fields for the first few kms, then on a road. But early in the morning there is hardly any traffic. I didn't meet a single car.

After a while, you leave the road on your left. You will think "Ooh, no more tarmac! Lovely!" But be careful what you wish for. The arrows lure you right into the woods of the Blair Witch Project. Only ancient flechas, faint yellow dots and other ungodly signs guide you through the bushes. Can't believe I made the same mistake again: I should have stayed on the road and only turn left a few hundred meters later, at a point where the pagan path approaches the road. Sticks and stones may break my bones... And they do. But it was even harder last time, when I walked this stretch in the sunny afternoon. There is really no shadow between the dry pine trees, and every step requires an effort among the thorns and the fallen trees that occasionally block the way.

But what a relief to reach Alcalá del Júcar before noon, instead of at the end of a long stage! The canyon looked even more breathtaking now, that I actually cared about the scenery. Last time I was too knackered in the heat, as I descended the narrow path that leads down to the river. If you reach Alcalá at the end of a long stage, make sure you have somewhere to sleep, or you may have an unpleasant surprise. The pueblo is a tourist attraction and it deserves to be...!

After a short break, I started to walk up amongst the small houses to reach the flatlands again. There are no arrows here. That is understandable, given that Alcalá is a historically-protected-architectonically-superpretty town, or whatever they call it, and I understand that people don't want yellow arrows in every corner of the winding streets that lead up to the castle. But do not despair: the way out of Alcalá is easy. Walk up to the castle. Up, up up. You will see a small playground next to the castle. Then walk in the opposite direction, away from the castle and the playground. You get immediately to another road that leads upwards, with stones on the borders, that looks kind of a medieval bridge. Keep walking upwards on this (you will find yourself above even the castle of Alcalá). After only a hundred meters there is a small, white building with antennas on the roof, a water depository. The arrows appear on this building and tell you to turn left around the corner, leading you out in the wilderness again. Then an easy walk to Las Eras (that is, if you don't make a bad step and fall down the ravine. I have no idea how I survived this last time, when I left Alcalá in total darkness...! Only now, in daylight, could I see how dangerous it actually was! )

Fill up your water bottle in the little plaza in Las Eras, because once you leave you are on your own for the next 11 kms to Casas Ibáñez. The sun was merciless and I was desperate to get to target. The farmlands and the vineyards looked endless to me. Finally I checked in at the luxurious hotel Aros, well known by previous Laners. 25 euros, or 30? I was a bit dizzy from the heat so I don't quite remember.

Casas Ibáñez is a clean, tidy little town that is excellent for strolling and just hang out in the cafeterías. But I passed out in my room and slept for almost two hours before I could stand on my legs again. Tomorrow I am off to the jolly restaurant/hostal Los Tubos, in Villarta, where the fantastic, pilgrim-friendly Mónica runs the business...! Don't miss it! :OD

BP
 

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Undermanager

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Excellent stuff. Good to see you are in the swing now, both walking and writing. You bring it all back - it seems like years ago instead of about a month. Maybe a photo or two ..... ?
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Excellent stuff. Good to see you are in the swing now, both walking and writing. You bring it all back - it seems like years ago instead of about a month. Maybe a photo or two ..... ?
Noo, it says "file too large"...! Every time. I have no idea why that is...
 

Undermanager

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What phone do you have? There is a file size limit on the forum. You need to download any free 'photo compressor', compress the photo first and then send that. I use Lit Photo on my Android phone, at about 40%. Dead easy to use.
 

VNwalking

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I have no idea why that is...
I noticed if I used the 'pro' setting on my Android phone camera, the files were easily twice the size of the ones taken on auto. Maybe that?

And I had no interest in walking the Ebro before Soria. You truly are a Bad Pilgrim.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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What phone do you have? There is a file size limit on the forum. You need to download any free 'photo compressor', compress the photo first and then send that. I use Lit Photo on my Android phone, at about 40%. Dead easy to use.
Ok, I will try! I am having breakfast in Villamalea at the moment. Halfway to Villarta already. Heatwave is coming!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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I noticed if I used the 'pro' setting on my Android phone camera, the files were easily twice the size of the ones taken on auto. Maybe that?

And I had no interest in walking the Ebro before Soria. You truly are a Bad Pilgrim.
Half of what you just wrote sounds like ancient Greek to me... But I will sit down and have some quality time with my cellphone this afternoon. I will see what I can do!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Casas Ibáñez - Villarta, Day 8

This is a GPS stage. Vineyards as far as the eyes can see, and virtually no place to put yellow arrows, but here and there. There are simply no rocks big enough to paint, and I am sure the farmers and their vehicles would knock down any poles or signs if they were to be made.

The stretch between Casas Ibáñez and Villamalea is not that difficult to navigate, as the road runs nearby and points out the direction toward Villamalea. Leaving Villamalea though is impossible if only relying on arrows. There is nothing at the end of the last street to indicate where to go, nor in the following splits in the country roads. I had to rely on my printed map, counting the roads: first one to the left, second one to the right... Leaving Villamalea there are typical places/objects which normally harbor arrows, but there is nothing. The signs don't reappear until before El Herrumblar. Then more vineyards with a few faint arrows to Villarta. Last time around I got lost on this last stretch, but I learn from my mistakes and walked straight to Villarta without problems today. If you like vineyards, this stage is for you.

Mónica gave me the perfect room nr 1 in her pension Los Tubos, for 25 euros. This room is just as good as the suites in the hotel Los Aros on the previous stage. What a joy to relax there...! The air conditioning is most welcome when temperatures are on the rise. It will be a sharp contrast with the accommodation tomorrow: the infamous, spooky sports hall in Campillo de Altobuey. At least it is 0 euros, as I remember it, so it is kind to my wallet.

I have stayed in polideportivos before, but the one in Campillo is eerie! I love it! I recommend that you check out the Right Honorable pilgrim Sarah Dhooma's vlog (YouTube) about her stay in the sports hall, that will give you an idea of it!

Perhaps I will meet the ghosts of ancient, bad pilgrims in there...!

Take care!

BP
 

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Have a great night! I hope you are on your own in the sports hall and there are thunderstorms - it'll be a great experience! 😀😂😍😇. I'm enjoying reading your accounts every day. How hot is it?
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Have a great night! I hope you are on your own in the sports hall and there are thunderstorms - it'll be a great experience! 😀😂😍😇. I'm enjoying reading your accounts every day. How hot is it?
It is "only" 31 degrees according to the site that I normally check. But I was knackered the last slog, on tarmac, into Campillo, and I ran out of water. My feet were burning...!
 

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Whoops. That sounds hot, but I think next week could get hotter! Please take care with the water thing. It's tricky cos it weighs so much but running out in extreme heat can be dangerous. Someone should invent dehydrated water we can carry!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Whoops. That sounds hot, but I think next week could get hotter! Please take care with the water thing. It's tricky cos it weighs so much but running out in extreme heat can be dangerous. Someone should invent dehydrated water we can carry!
And I will try to reach Monteagudo tomorrow... 30+ kms... I need Sandra's washing machine!! But if it gets insanely hot, I stop in Paracuellos... We'll see...
 

Magwood

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Have a great night! I hope you are on your own in the sports hall and there are thunderstorms - it'll be a great experience! 😀😂😍😇. I'm enjoying reading your accounts every day. How hot is it?
Just catching up on this thread BP. As it happens when I stayed in the polideportivo in Campillo in April, there was a thunder/lightning storm with heavy rain pelting the tin roof all night and a gale blowing in under the door. @Ninja and I huddled in the middle of a huge landing mat, sharing the one blanket. Such great camino memories.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Villarta - Campillo de Altobuey, Day 9

I slept like a baby in Los Tubos. But I put the alarm at early 05:00 since I had to do about 30 kms to Campillo de Altobuey. Two years ago I got lost in the vineyards, but this time it went much smoother. I must say that I didn't see a single arrow with my flashlight on the way out of Villarta. I relayed only on my paper map from the Asociación de la Lana (in Spanish). But I left Villarta in complete darkness so perhaps there are some waymarks?

A heads up when you enter Graja de Iniesta (10 kms): don't forget to turn your head and look at your right before entering the village, or you might miss the restaurant Hostal Pepe. Restaurant Pepe is a roadside café, in a large building the size of a smaller airport, and thus big enough open early even on a Sunday morning! Thanks Pepe. I had a looong break and a gigantic breakfast, washed down with huge amounts of café con leche!

Fully tanked, I set out again to do the remaining 20 (gasp) kms to Campillo de Altobuey in the rising heat. Nice surroundings, but far away from civilization. I will see if I can upload the pictures. I started out in full speed, then gradually slowed down... When I entered Campillo, my feet were on fire. That uphill, before crossing the road and descending in Campillo, really crushed me in the midday heat. It is not steep, but rather a long slog, at least when you are running out of energy... and water. When I entered Campillo, I didn't have a drop left.

I apparently missed some sort of religious or traditional procesión in the village. It was all over when I arrived, I was told, but the plaza and its bars were still full of people, musicians, tourists... Everyone eating and shouting at each other, for no obvious reason. From time to time I happen to find those bars with people who are screaming all the time, and these places are not nice for relaxing after 30 kms. I had run out of water and needed to order something to drink, but when I couldn't take the noise anymore I decided it was time to head for the polideportivo, the sports hall. I don't get the shouting thing in bars, sorry.

I already knew where the sports hall is located so it was no problem getting there and getting hold of Nice Sporthall's Lady who handed me the keys. She says there is cold water in the men's changing rooms, but warm water in the women's room. No comments...

And then... Outrage! Horror!! They have taken away the large, thick mattress (a landing mat) where I slept two years ago. My plan was to sneak out in the hall at nightfall to use it as a bed, because the thin mats that Nice Sporthall's Lady normally gives me are so thin they are useless. With my back, I can't sleep on them. I had to explore the rest of building to see if I could find something else to sleep on.

The gym was open, and I found more of the same thin mattresses that I can lay over one another to make a softer surface. Nice Sporthall's Lady also left me with a pile of blankets: I folded them and put them under me as well, so the matresses get even softer. Yet another gym mat, together with my dusty rucksack, will do for a pillow. I took a picture of my creative work (I will try to upload it later). It looks ghastly. I am sure I will never win any housekeeping awards with this, but at least it is functional.

Nice Lady says there are no games here tonight. So there's only going to be me and the ghosts. Cool. I have called ahead to get a place for tomorrow (with a normal bed) at El Rincón de Sandra (a Casa rural), but I only got hold of her husband. She will call me later this evening. I keep my fingers crossed. I need their washing machine!!

/BP
 

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Bad Pilgrim

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Just catching up on this thread BP. As it happens when I stayed in the polideportivo in Campillo in April, there was a thunder/lightning storm with heavy rain pelting the tin roof all night and a gale blowing in under the door. @Ninja and I huddled in the middle of a huge landing mat, sharing the one blanket. Such great camino memories.
That sounds amazing...! But if you know where this landing mat is stored now, please let me know ;0D
 

Magwood

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That sounds amazing...! But if you know where this landing mat is stored now, please let me know ;0D
There are two of them, in the main hall. They were by the exit door when we were there and we manoevered one away from the cold air coming in under the door. They are huge and not easy to move alone. We thought they would be infinitely more comfortable than the yoga mat provided. It is bound to be a lot warmer now than when we walked, so you might be grateful for some cool air! Sleep well.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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There are two of them, in the main hall. They were by the exit door when we were there and we manoevered one away from the cold air coming in under the door. They are huge and not easy to move alone. We thought they would be infinitely more comfortable than the yoga mat provided. It is bound to be a lot warmer now than when we walked, so you might be grateful for some cool air! Sleep well.
Yes, they were there before but now gone... They may be in some storage room where I don't have the key. I tried to take a nap earlier, and it was not comfortable...! I will have to do with this for one night, I guess...
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Campillo de Altobuey - Monteagudo de la Salinas, Day 10

Don't make jokes about the ghosts in Campillo... Yesterday I put stones in the opening of the back door in the sports hall so I could come and go, just like Nice Lady had told me to do. When I came back from my errands, the door was shut close and the stones removed. I had to phone and wait for Nice Lady for half an hour before she could come and let me in again (there is no other way in).

Before going to sleep, I remembered that I hadn't stamped my credential, so I had to go back to the main square again. I angrily put a bench from the sports hall in the door opening, to prevent the door from blowing shut. I put other stones on the outside so it would stay slightly ajar: no need to show people that I was there. When I came back, the door was flung open instead, and the heavy stones removed again. I had to check the changing rooms and the gym one extra time before going to sleep to ensure I was alone in there, or if some mischievous teenagers had snuck in while I was out...!

I slept bad in there. Not because of the creaking walls and the rustling wind, but from my stupid, improvised bed. I had totally planned to sleep on that landing mat instead, but it was nowhere to be found. I see that there are some casas rurales in Campillo: I suggest that people who don't enjoy sleeping on yoga mats go there instead!

At least I didn't have to climb the gates to get out in the morning, like two years ago! Even then, some ancient ghosts - or mischievous teenagers - shut the gates closed during night. This time I could get out early.

After a few kms out in the fields, there is mostly tarmac all the way to Paracuellos de la Vega. I have never seen a bar here. But there are water at the entrance to town, and also at the main square. Behind the church is a small shop, only marked with TIENDA, at nr 7. I arrived just in time when fresh bread was delivered...!

The real treat comes when leaving the village: the castle is exquisite. The camino has changed since a few years ago so now you get much closer to the castle than before. But I prefer the old route that went around the castle on the road that can be seen further down from the hill: the photos of the castle from a distance, in a field of poppies, were even better than the photos up-close of it.

There are some strenuous kms on tarmac, and uphill, until the camino veers off for the final country walk to Monteagudo de las Salinas. And a looong walk it was. I wasn't this exhausted last time. I was battered for several last kms and I have no idea why, perhaps the lack of sleep. My phone also went on strike, so I couldn't call to tell Sandra I was approaching. The man in the (only?) bar helped me to get hold of her. Apparently, the whole village is connected to Movistar. If you don't have Movistar you can't use your phone. (Have anyone else had this problem in Monteagudo??)

What a feeling, to throw my clothes in a washing machine and pass out in a real bed...! I slept for two hours in the afternoon. El Rincón de Sandra is 20 euros and refreshingly cool in the summer heat...! It is located at the top of the hill, but Sandra or her family will surely take you there by car. There is a small shop at the bottom of the hill. But just as in Paracuellos it is pretty anonymous. You have to buzz and hope that someone opens.

Only 23 kms to Fuentes tomorrow! But thanks to Movistar, I haven't been able to book ahead in a hostal! Worst case scenario is to stay at the albergue in Fuentes. According to what others have reported, it seems that more yoga mats are involved...

BP
 

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Undermanager

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Glad you survived the sports hall. I wonder what they did with the big thick gym mats? Have fun today. Glad the sun is shining. The UK is just cloud and rain! Very depressing and not easy to get motivated to be active. That's what I like about the Camino; always busy, up at 6ish instead of up late and slobbing about doing lots of mundane nothing things. Roll on the return of the sun.

Are you staying in Cuenca for a day?
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Are you staying in Cuenca for a day?
No, but I will be there early tomorrow so I will have the rest of the day to explore. Much better than last time when I did Monteagudo to Cuenca in one go...! I am never doing that again!! I arrived far too late to see anything in Cuenca. So tomorrow only 21 kms to Cuenca, aaah! Short stage!

And I got hold of a hostal in Fuentes, so no albergue today...! Just chilling out with the (other) dinosaurs in town. I will go to the Dino museum later to see if it is open! Don't know where it is, but I saw it on Sarah's Lana vlog on YouTube and it looked interesting.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Monteagudo de las Salinas - Fuentes, Day 11

An easy walk all the way to Fuentes. I had no phone connection for 90% of this stretch, so when I say I was on my own for more than 20 kms, I really mean it. In the woods, no one could hear me scream. But I have been here before and there are some landmarks that help me to calculate the distance to Fuentes: three gates to open (and close!), the slope to reach the bridge over the AVE railway, the crumbling ruines of a house on a pasture, another pass over the railway and then just a few kms amongst the fields to Fuentes.

The first gate in the woods is the most ridiculous. Previous pilgrims are familiar with the written warnings of the landowner, who has scribbled all over the gate that this is private property and that trespassing will be punished. (And no pilgrim ever cares about it.) Since I was here two years ago, he has reinforced his message with a sign that can only be interpreted as follows: if you dare to walk through the property, evil ninjas will jump out from a tree and take you down, and/or a military device will automatically shoot up from the ground and put a bullet through you. At the same time, the Asociación has stepped up a level and painted many fierce, yellow arrows that explicitly tell you to walk through the gate and continue. I wonder what this battlefield will look like should I happen to come back a third time.

I even ran into some people living or working next to the houses further on, but they didn't care about me. I hope they understand that they lost the struggle against the Asociación a long time ago.

I was a bit disappointed about not having any Wildlife Encounter today. Early in the morning, majestic deer, alone or in groups, are frequently seen. But today I only saw one (1) rabbit for 23 kms and that was it. Not even cows or bulls on the pasture. Well, Fuentes is also known as dino-town, since they found a bunch of old fossils here. So I thought I would have my Wildlife Encounter at their Dino museum. I just found out that it is closed though. 23 kms and not a single dinosaur... I hear that Cuenca has a similar museum, hopefully with more generous opening hours. And tomorrow is only 21 kms, shortest stage so far! I need it, because the heat is getting worse. No wonder those dinos dried out.

I immediately found the Hostal Palancares, but without knowing it. I asked in the first bar labeled "Hostal" that I saw in Fuentes, if there were any rooms available. The grumpy woman in the bar muttered she would "call someone" . A few minutes later Abuela herself appeared in the doorway, rushed towards me with her arms wide open and gave me two kisses on each cheek. I have never met this woman before, but who can resist a welcome like that? It turned out I was in the hostal Palancares after all, it is just in a different building. The chatty grandma swiftly handed me my keys and showed me the way to my room, while she told me numerous things about the hostal and the town. I learned that she herself has problems with mobile connection: often when she tries to call her daughter, who is the real owner of the hostal but who works "in the mountains", she can't get through to her. Anyway, hostal Palancares is the perfect hideaway from the heatwave for 25 euros. And Spanish grandmothers are the best...!

Tomorrow: Cuenca!

BP
 

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Bad Pilgrim

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Ha, those signs attempt to be very intimidating. Luckily pilgrims are fearless (or foolish?) fellows!View attachment 59872
I know, but we do the right thing. You know, if the landowner doesn't even care to wash away or to destroy the yellow arrows... then he can't really care about the camino?! There were freshly painted arrows all through the property, even near the farm houses and the ermita. So strange. With people coming and going every week, I think he knows he lost the battle...!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Fuentes - Cuenca, Day 12

I left Fuentes in the darkness, hoping for cool temps in the morning. But it was warm and humid already. Yuck! Only when I walked by the lagoons could I feel some puffs of cool air from the water. Temperature doesn't go below 20 C even during the night now.

The good news was that the camino doesn't go straight through a field anymore, at approximately km 7. A few years ago, the trail suddenly stopped at the limit of a brown, dusty field of crops, and you had to navigate through it for six hundred meters with a couple of lonely trees as the only guideline. The surface was that of fine, brown sand that your shoes sink through and it is difficult to walk in. The arrows would reappear on the other side of the field. In rainy weather this wouldn't have been a muddy road - it would have been a sea of mud! I am thinking of Maggie and LTfit who indeed encountered bad weather in the vicinity. I believe this stretch has been changed before they came through here, or I am sure they would have made a note of it.

In La Melgosa, the sign on the bar said Cerrado por descanso, just as Kevin O'Brien found it according to his guide. The bar looked abandoned to me and I thought Cerrado por descanso might be another way of saying We're out of business. Just when I left the plaza, I saw in the corner of my eye that someone opened the door - hooray! I turned around and could finally have my café con leche. The Cerrado por descanso-sign is just a regular We are not open! They open at nine according to Google maps, and today even at a quarter to nine. If you start later in the morning than I did from Fuentes, there is a good chance that it will be open already! But it could also be one of those summer bars, that only come to life to cater to summer residents of the village.

The day was heating up even more. But I knew Cuenca was within reach. The camino crosses the motorway and takes you out on the country roads in the fields, and there are some ups and downs before getting there. Unfortunately the first thing to see of Cuenca is a wall of a monotonous, unicolored apartment complex. There is a real slog through the suburbs, albeit in a park, before the city reveals itself.

Now that I can compare, I can honestly say that walking into Cuenca after 20 kms feels a lot better than after 45 kms. If anyone have doubts about it. Just like with Alcalá del Júcar, I could finally see how beautiful the old town was when I approached. It was like seeing it for the first time. After a day of 45 kms, looking at the city isn't really your first priority. But now I went Ooh and Aah at every corner, and took my time to pause to catch some nice pictures. And I could march directly to my pensión Ángel, since I remembered where it is located. Easy to find after the bridge San Antón. Pass the bridge, turn left up the street, that's it. 15 euros is a good price for a cramped but decent room that looks like the rooms in the Pension Pilar in Almansa (but they were 25 euros!).

The barrio of San Antón is right on the Camino. It is centered around a quaint little street, with old but charming houses which almost remind me of Monmartre in Paris, or of any old-and-bohemian-looking block in a large city. I can easily picture Picasso or Salvador Dalí coming round the corner with a bunch of paintings under their arms, that's how bohemian it feels.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that the Camino passes right in front of the Dino Museum in Cuenca, and it says visits are free on Wednesdays??! I am definitely going there! How cool is that. It will fill my quota of cultural experiences for the rest of the year... !

Until then, I stay inside. I tried to go for a walk at three pm but it was suffocating. I hid in the nearest café, had another café con leche, then crawled back to pension Ángel. Tomorrow is almost 30 kms to Villar de Domingo García and I have no idea how I will pull that off. We'll see.

BP
 

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KinkyOne

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I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
... My phone also went on strike, so I couldn't call to tell Sandra I was approaching. The man in the (only?) bar helped me to get hold of her. Apparently, the whole village is connected to Movistar. If you don't have Movistar you can't use your phone. (Have anyone else had this problem in Monteagudo??)
...
Exactly the reason why I always suggest people buy French SIM card to use In Spain (for example) because after annuiment of roaming fees within EU foreign SIM card will search for the best signal whichever provider's it may be.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Excellent stuff. Good to see you are in the swing now, both walking and writing. You bring it all back - it seems like years ago instead of about a month. Maybe a photo or two ..... ?
I (under-)managed to process the photos ;OD

I have updated all my previous my posts with at least one photo, to spice things up!

Thanks for suggesting/helping!

BP
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Exactly the reason why I always suggest people buy French SIM card to use In Spain (for example) because after annuiment of roaming fees within EU foreign SIM card will search for the best signal whichever provider's it may be.
I didn't know that. Ok. I have the habit of phoning ahead so no connection is a nuisance! Half of the time people can't hear me when I am talking either, or my calls just shut down (even when I have connection). :confused:
 

KinkyOne

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I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
The thing is that let's say Spanish Vodafone SIM card will search for Vodafone signal. If it is weak you'll have problem hearing the one you call or vice versa. Or maybe there even won't be any Vodafone signal and you would be cut off. Happened to me once on Sanabres while having Orange SIM card but the signal was only from Movistar. So - no signal, no calls, no connection, nada.
BUT if you have foreign (not Spanish, but from EU) SIM card in your phone it will search for the best or any available signal possible regardless of signal provider without extra roaming fees. Especially useful on less walked Caminos in remote areas and for using on-line GPS.
You just make sure you can top up that foreign SIM via internet.

I'm coming from EU so I already do have my SIM card with no roaming fees but having dual SIM phone I always buy prepaid Spanish SIM card just in case.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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The thing is that let's say Spanish Vodafone SIM card will search for Vodafone signal. If it is weak you'll have problem hearing the one you call or vice versa. Or maybe there even won't be any Vodafone signal and you would be cut off. Happened to me once on Sanabres while having Orange SIM card but the signal was only from Movistar. So - no signal, no calls, no connection, nada.
BUT if you have foreign (not Spanish, but from EU) SIM card in your phone it will search for the best or any available signal possible regardless of signal provider without extra roaming fees. Especially useful on less walked Caminos in remote areas and for using on-line GPS.
You just make sure you can top up that foreign SIM via internet.

I'm coming from EU so I already do have my SIM card with no roaming fees but having dual SIM phone I always buy prepaid Spanish SIM card just in case.
Thanks K1, I am taking notes of this. I had no idea what was going on with my phone. If I can learn how to compress my photos, maybe I can even learn how to handle my phone... :rolleyes:
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Cuenca - Villar de Domingo García, Day 13

When I left Cuenca at 5 am it was 23 degrees C. Temps didn't go any lower tonight. I felt yucky as soon as I started walking, and wondered how in the world I would survive once the sun would rise above the horizon. Although I have got a secret weapon: my umbrella. And I am not afraid to use it.

It didn't get light until I reached Chillarón de Cuenca. I thought I might as well have breakfast in the Hostal-bar Los Ángeles by the road. Looks nice! In case a pilgrim would like to skip staying in Cuenca - for whatever reason - that hostal sure would be a good substitute.

In Los Ángeles, the TV was on and the fancy weather reporters (they always look so proper) kept warning about the heatwave. They went through all the details. Cuenca was among the provinces that could break their historical heat record today! I really picked the right day to walk 30 kms to Villar de Domingo García, didn't I. I hurried out from the cafeteria and started marching again. Surprisingly, it was cloudy all the way! It was windy - and not those puffs of hot air, but cool windy - and the sky looked as if a storm was coming. Only the last few kms could I feel it getting hotter. But the sun never really shined through until I was safely arriving in the village. Certainly, I was there before noon, but I thought the heat would be worse than this??

I didn't need to reach for my water bottles either. It was enough with the fuentes that are conveniently placed along the way, for example in Chillarón de Cuenca, in Tondos and in Nohales. The highlight of the day is the empty village of Villalbilla, abandoned as late as in the 1980's. It looks much older: only ruins are left now. I took a few pictures of this eerily beautiful place which you can see below.

In Villar de Domingo García, I reluctantly went to the bar Goya and asked for the keys to the albergue. It is in a room next to the municipal library, and the library was like a greenhouse last time I was here. (The hospitalero wanted to open it up and show it to me.) Water was running down the windows - on the inside. The air smelled of mold and was unbreathable. That library has an ecosystem of its own, I can tell you that. At least in summer. The albergue then, which is in the adjacent room, is basically clean. But I can feel the moist oozing from the walls... even if it is just my imagination. Also, the shower here has a good reputation if you read any of the Lana guides. Well I don't know what bathroom those authors went to. I am afraid to touch everything in there, it looks like it hasn't been cleaned up since ages. And last but not least, an earwig of biblical dimensions crawled up from the shower drain when I was standing there! Eeew!! Wildlife Encounter, yes please, but not while I am taking a shower.

I don't know where to stay tomorrow. The typical stop would be to hang out with super-hospitaleros Pepe & Co in Villaconejos. But if it gets too hot I must start to shorten my stages. That leaves me with Albalate de las Nogueras, before Villaconejos. I have to sleep on it...

By the way, it is terribly windy here. I don't know if I can hear thunder in the distance, or if it just the trucks rolling by on the main road further away. Those fancy weather people on TV didn't mention storms in the area, but who knows?

BP
 

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Magwood

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There were four of us staying in that tiny albergue BP, it was hilarious having to move around each other in the few inches of space between the two sets of bunks. Also it was one of my non-shower days, I don't care how hot the water is, if the shower is filthy I'll make do with a wash down!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Also it was one of my non-shower days, I don't care how hot the water is, if the shower is filthy I'll make do with a wash down!
That's my kind of pellygrim...! 😃

Wow, four people. I glanced in the register at the pharmacy.... The last one was here the 3 of June :eek:!
 

Joe McDonald

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Hi BP,
I been following your posts with interest, especially since you have arrived at Monteagudo de Salinas. Appreciate all the information you are providing.

I fly out to Valencia on the 20th August and intended to start walking on the 22nd along the Requena to MdS and join the Lana there. My intention is to head up to Burgos, along the FC to Leon, up the Salvador and then the Primitivo to Santiago. I have given myself just over 6 weeks to do it all in.

I know the problems with the heat at that time of year ( it was really hot last year at that time when I walked the Sureste and the VDLP the year before) but it's a time that suits me to walk and I enjoy the sun.

Keep the posts coming and may I wish you a buen camino.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Hi Joe!

If you are familiar with the Sureste, VdlP, heat will be no problem for you! But I have no experience of the Camino in August.

The Requena joins the Lana right outside Monteagudo, in a tunnel. A piece of advice if you arrive thirsty: don't walk right up the hill where there is a large sign saying BAR. It was desolate, at least two years ago. Follow the road around the left side of the hill, and you will see the (only?) bar/cervecería, slightly from above, on your left.

The Lana from Monteagudo is not that hard. I found the Salvador much more difficult...!

Thanks for reading. But I believe previous Laners have provided much more practical information than I have...! Be sure to check them out!

BP
 

Joe McDonald

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Hi BP,

thanks for the tip of where the bar is if I reach Monteagudo! I always really enjoy my first beer when I reach my stop for the day! It is something that keeps me going if the road is tough.

Take care and all the very best.

Joe
 

Undermanager

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Glad you've mastered the photo upload, BP. I think it makes the daily blog even better. Take extra care in the heat. I love my big floppy canvas hat for hot days - it gets a total soaking at every fountain and keeps the brain cool for the next six or seven kilometers.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Glad you've mastered the photo upload, BP. I think it makes the daily blog even better. Take extra care in the heat. I love my big floppy canvas hat for hot days - it gets a total soaking at every fountain and keeps the brain cool for the next six or seven kilometers.
Yes I thought about dipping my head in the fountains today. But then, in the end, it didn't get as hot as I expected...! Perhaps tomorrow!

I wonder if there are rooms at the bar in Albalate, or if I have to carry on to Villaconejos after all.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Villar de Domingo García - Villaconejos de Trabaque, Day 14

I left Villar de Domingo García before 5 am. This would be the shortest stage since I started, 21 kms, but I didn't want to take any chances with the heat. Above all, I wanted to leave that albergue as soon as possible! That means I was in Villaconejos already before 10 am. It is early to stop, but next village is 17 kms away with only yoga mat accommodation (if any). So there is not much of a choice.

The bar was closed in Torralba (7 kms), so I had breakfast in Albalate de las Nogueras (8 more kms). More about the heatwave on the news. But I had only 6 kms left to Villaconejos so I didn't worry.

I went straight to the bar in Villaconejos and phoned one of the numbers in the guide. The person with the keys took forever to come by, but I hadn't called ahead so it was my own fault. I can't expect them to drop everything and turn up immediately... It was Pepe's wife who arrived. (I have met Hospitalero Pepe before, but not his other half.) Ana is just as nice as her hubby, and she gave me a quick ride to the albergue. Only to discover that she got the wrong keys so she had to go back to fetch the right ones.

Ana said there had been pilgrims staying recently. Unfortunately I could see traces of them outside the albergue: beer cans and bags of crisps thrown around. Who doesn't clean that up before leaving?!

She came back a few minutes later with the same keys, her husband convincing her - loudly - by phone that they were the right ones. No success. This poor woman finally drove all over town to find people who had copies of the keys. Probably the butcher, the mayor, the shopkeeper, the cat lady... Time passed as I waited in the shade of the albergue. I felt like such a troublemaker...! Finally a man turned up with the right set of keys (attached to a pink baby shoe, very cute, picture below). Pepe himself would come by in the evening and stamp my credential. I was also informed that I would surely be invited to Pepe's bodega!

I have no idea how Pepe and his friends can keep up this traditional welcoming of peregrinos in Villaconejos. There must be pilgrims coming by every other day in spring, for example. They are truly very industrious members of the Asociación! Although I have mixed feelings about this dinner since it will be a late evening. Especially since we have to wait for temperatures to drop (41 degrees C at 5 pm). I need to have a good night's sleep in order to be able to get up early tomorrow. Well the invitation hasn't come yet from Pepe himself, so I don't know what happens tonight. We'll see!

I did find an electric fan in a corner of the albergue though. Lifesaving device!!!

BP
 

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I spent the evening in the bar after having dinner from one of the shops in the very nice square in front of the Ayuntamiento, going through the tapas on the counter one by one. Fabulous and recommended. 41 degrees C at 5 pm? Wow! That's impressive. I think I'd want my bed by 9 o' clock after that. I remember the next morning though was absolutely freezing because the sun didn't get up over the valley side for a few hours after rising. No chance of that tomorrow I guess!
 

Bad Pilgrim

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I spent the evening in the bar after having dinner from one of the shops in the very nice square in front of the Ayuntamiento, going through the tapas on the counter one by one. Fabulous and recommended. 41 degrees C at 5 pm? Wow! That's impressive. I think I'd want my bed by 9 o' clock after that. I remember the next morning though was absolutely freezing because the sun didn't get up over the valley side for a few hours after rising. No chance of that tomorrow I guess!
I am in that bar now! Going to the shop soon. It is still hot but I got tired of staying inside! I noticed that the piscina municipal/pool near the albergue isn't open, that's strange.

Pepe is busy with working in the fields and needs to be up early as well, so no dinner in the cave. His friends were also busy, or out of town. Actually it suits me perfectly, I need to sleep. I set the alarm at 4.30 am these days...
 

Bachibouzouk

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Great stuff Bad Pilgrim. I'm planning on starting the Ruta de la Lana end of September. I'll be using your blog as a guide, as I did on a previous Camino (Levante/Sureste/Don Quijote, I think it was). I'll give it more attention when I get home. Presently about to complete La Ruta del Argar with some Ruta Don Quijote thrown in. Should reach Mora tomorrow. I started a thread (Ruta del Argar) with my daily input here on the forum, if anyone is thinking of doing that one.

Enjoying the sun and heat BP? Up to 44C here!

Buen Camino.

Alfin del Asfalto
 

Bad Pilgrim

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INTERMISSION in Villaconejos de Trabaque, Day 14

That same evening, Pepe came to stamp my credential. But due to his workload (he works in the fields... In 40 C), the traditional pilgrim dinner would be difficult to arrange. He had to be up early tomorrow, his friends were busy or out of town... He went out of his way to apologize. I said it was no problem at all. He said he would at least call his friend Antonio, whom I have also met before, so Antonio could have a chat with me. Well, that chat turned into a full-fledged guided tour of the region! Antonio invited me to do some sightseeing of the neighboring villages. Temperatures were dropping so why not? We jumped into his car.

We moved mostly along La Ruta del mimbre (wicker) that runs in the region, due to the historical importance of this product. The view of the mountains from the road was breathtaking: vertical cliffs, rocks and woods as far as the eyes could see. The road ran through a canyon with some pretty sharp curves. All the while Antonio told me everything that was to know about the villages and the landscape.

First we went to Priego, a village with an old tower and a beautiful, buzy plaza. I was amazed that similar villages are all in the vicinity of the Camino, but never seen by pilgrims.

We visited the church when Mass started. On the way back to the car we ran into one acquaintance of Antonio's after another. He and Pepe seem to know everyone not only in Villaconejos, but in the surrounding villages as well: it is crazy.

Then we went to Cañamares, where an artificial beach has been created by the river. Artificial doesn't sound nice, but it was! The water wasn't ice cold, like I thought it would be in a river, but cool. Though it was possible to get a towel and have a splash, we only dipped our feet. It was all very calm... We talked about the Camino, about the state of the albergues (my favorite topic) and about past and present pilgrims. Antonio and Pepe have such fond memories of Maggie and Nina!

We continued to a place that has been featured on Sarah's Lana vlog: the point where you can start climbing vertically up the walls of a cliff, or choose to walk on a narrow wooden bridge that runs next to it. The latter looks less dangerous, until you see that there is no railing between yourself and the ravine! For both options, a safety device is mandatory. Of course Antonio opened the trunk, hauled out ropes, harness and a helmet : would I like to try...? I gracefully declined the offer. But I couldn't stop gazing up the climbing trail. It looked insane to me. If I didn't fall to my death, the vultures and the mountain lions would surely finish me off before I reached the summit. I have only had bad encounters with wildlife so far on this Camino.

We then proceeded to a monastery, that was closed, but which provided more views of the surroundings. Now in the light of the sunset that colored the hills red, or even golden. On the way back, behind a curve, we ran into the sun just going down in front of us. Antonio, who is an avid photographer, jumped out of the car to catch some photos during the few seconds that the sun lowered behind the ridge. His camera looked like a weapon of mass destruction. I did what I could with my stupid cellphone. I need a better camera...

So what can I say? These people always come up with something that makes pilgrims feel welcome. I took two hours of Antonio's spare time as he guided me through the area. How they keep this up is a mystery to me. They are true ambassadors of the Lana!

Some pictures of the evening below!

BP
 

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Bad Pilgrim

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Great stuff Bad Pilgrim. I'm planning on starting the Ruta de la Lana end of September. I'll be using your blog as a guide, as I did on a previous Camino (Levante/Sureste/Don Quijote, I think it was). I'll give it more attention when I get home. Presently about to complete La Ruta del Argar with some Ruta Don Quijote thrown in. Should reach Mora tomorrow. I started a thread (Ruta del Argar) with my daily input here on the forum, if anyone is thinking of doing that one.

Enjoying the sun and heat BP? Up to 44C here!

Buen Camino.

Alfin del Asfalto
Wow, I will check out your thread! I don't know anything about the Argar!

I did a report from the Sureste a few years ago, that must be the one you've read.

39 degrees in Salmerón today, and tomorrow the same! That's quite enough for me...!

BP
 

Magwood

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What a wonderful report BP. There were six of us at the albergue at Villaconejos. We were treated to a wonderful tour of the cave. Pepe signed us in at the albergue but couldn’t join us in the evening due to an out of town taxi job (a man of many employments!). But Antonio, his cousin Martin, and the characterful Paulino prepared a feast for us (including catering to my vegan diet) and entertained us with tales of old about the cave and how the wine was produced. Such wonderful, charming and uplifting people who go to so much trouble for we pilgrims. Paulino drove to find us on the road to the next day and bought us hot drinks before bidding us ‘buen camino’.

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Bad Pilgrim

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What a wonderful report BP. There were six of us at the albergue at Villaconejos. We were treated to a wonderful tour of the cave. Pepe signed us in at the albergue but couldn’t join us in the evening due to an out of town taxi job (a man of many employments!). But Antonio, his cousin Martin, and the characterful Paulino prepared a feast for us (including catering to my vegan diet) and entertained us with tales of old about the cave and how the wine was produced. Such wonderful, charming and uplifting people who go to so much trouble for we pilgrims. Paulino drove to find us on the road to the next day and bought us hot drinks before bidding us ‘buen camino’.

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What a nice picture! I have never met Paolino, or the other guys. Jealous...! Maybe next time... If they don't get tired of me 😆

Oh yes, they remembered you and Nina very well. Antonio recalled your vegan diet (it can't be that common in the land of the morcilla ;)!) They said I should say hello to you from them, and they wish you all the best!

BP
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Villaconejos de Trabaque - Salmerón, Day 15

Last time around I forgot my printed guide in the albergue and had to do the whole stage to Salmerón only with arrows. Which was perfectly fine. So I can honestly say that this stage is well marked!

This is the first stage, in my opinion, where the ups and downs are noticeable. The other stages have been flat as pancakes, in comparison. I find it difficult to get used to. It is never steep, but there are some long stretches of either ascending or descending. For example when you go down to a river crossing, where you have to remove shoes and socks, even in summer. I have no idea how spring or autumn pilgrims manage this crossing: it is difficult with the level of water even in June-July. The ground is of concrete so it doesn't hurt, like walking on pebbles. But on the other hand it is slippery and nowhere to get a grip with your feet! I walked slowly, like a turtle, so I wouldn't fall.

And then... Up up up to the road that leads to Albendea (at 17 kms). I have taken a look at Albendea before (there is a tienda) but then you have to leave the Camino. This time I just got water from the fuente at the bus stop right in front of the road, and continued.

Five more kms on tarmac to Valdeolivas. A large pueblo which is actually inhabited, and where the old houses are not crumbling but taken care of. But I always found it a bit soulless, I don't know why.

Six more kms in the countryside, slowly up and down a few times, and you discover Salmerón from the top of a hill. This is the first village in the Guadalajara region! Salmerón doesn't have a lot of salmon, but a few hundred inhabitants and a thousand cats. Those poor animals laid in droves in the streets, apparently paralyzed by the heat...! As for me, I marched directly to the bar El cazador to get the keys to the albergue.

El Cazador is the gloomiest bar in Spain, with an old man behind the bar who only replies to your questions with one-syllable words. If you're lucky. Later, when I asked if the bar had wifi, he didn't understand what I meant. He asked a costumer what that was, and she said that there was. It's as if it is a never-ending funeral in there. The bar La Mazmorra further up the street is a happier place. A young-ish couple runs it and have turned a dark and gloomy windowless cellar (wine cellar?) into a cozy, cool bar. Those stone walls give the same feeling of coolness as walking into a stone church when it is hot outside! Aah, refreshing!

Anyway, the albergue is 5 euros and wow, spotlessly clean. At least when I was there. Recommended. And you have no other place to stay in Salmerón so there is no alternative anyway. I have seen a Casa Gavira, a hotel, on Google maps though. But I didn't investigate. There is a shop hidden on a street behind the church, close to the Ayuntamiento.

It was hot all night through. I had no choice but to open the window, which meant I had to listen to the music and the talking coming from the courtyard of La Mazmorra - until 3 o'clock in the morning! And at 4:30, rise and shine to start walking to Trillo...

Tomorrow I will see the boobs of Viana!

BP
 

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Totally agree about El Cazador being dreadful; dim, grim, depressing, like a bad funeral run by someone who just doesn't speak more than a word at a time and only stares (another 'local bar for local people'), in contrast to La Mazmorra, which was very jolly. Getting food in the village was a problem when I was there - the shop shut around 2.00pm and didn't open in the evenings, but La Mazmorra did knock up some boccadillos (i.e. bread with lumps of cheese in) so I didn't starve. For future Lanas, consider staying in the village before - far more bars with better facilities, or at least stock up on your way to here.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Totally agree about El Cazador being dreadful; dim, grim, depressing, like a bad funeral run by someone who just doesn't speak more than a word at a time and only stares (another 'local bar for local people'), in contrast to La Mazmorra, which was very jolly. Getting food in the village was a problem when I was there - the shop shut around 2.00pm and didn't open in the evenings, but La Mazmorra did knock up some boccadillos (i.e. bread with lumps of cheese in) so I didn't starve. For future Lanas, consider staying in the village before - far more bars with better facilities, or at least stock up on your way to here.
Yes I saw at least one hostal, at the plaza mayor (I think) in Valdeolivas. It is worth investigating. But... That adds six kms to next day's walk. I did give it a thought, but that would be too long to me the following day 😕
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Salmerón - Trillo, Day 16

A spooky walk out of Salmerón into the compact darkness of the mountainside. If my flashlight would fail me, I would have to sit down on the spot and wait for daylight. Impossible to see a thing. I heard roe deer that barked at me, and sometimes I could hear them hurrying away between the trees whenever my light got to close to them.

And it was hot. The further up the hills I walked, the warmer the air felt. After 4 kms of continuous ascent, and me huffing and puffing like a steam engine, it was almost daylight and the camino finally flattened. It would remain flat until the long descent into the hamlet of Viana de Mondéjar.

In between, there is the possibility of a shortcut over a private estate, Villaescusa de Palositos. I seriously considered this, as Kevin O'Brien writes that the other way is several kms longer. But Antonio in Villaconejos had told me that it doesn't matter which route one takes. They look just about the same length on the map. My printed Spanish guide said it is in fact only a difference of 500 mtrs...! So once again I went for the longer alternative, I didn't care.

After a few kms, at a fence with an informative panel, I got the first glimpse of the boobs of Viana. Yes, the boobs! Hey, I didn't name them that. Don't come for me. I guess the Metoo-movement never reached Viana de Mondéjar. Don't come for me!!

Las Tetas de Viana, if you prefer to call them that, are twin mountain tops that dominate the area. See pictures below. I know a few hardy pilgrims take the extra walk up to the summit (both summits?) to experience the view, and perhaps to catch a glimpse of the wild animals that thrive there. According to the information panels that sprinkle the trail, there is no end of them: owls, vultures, wild boars, earwigs, snakes, rabbits... I thought I would have to run for my life all the way down to Trillo.

The waymarks between Viana and Trillo are ok. Some arrows are fading, but they are there if you look closely. I have now done this stretch in both pouring rain and scorching sun, and both times I have arrived safely in Trillo. But be careful, because there are trails that separate and converge all over the place.

I just couldn't go to the albergue in Trillo when I knew there was a hostal in town: Capadocia. Well, "hostal" according to me means about 25 euros. I got a bit miffed when I was told that the price was 50 euros, and 45 euros for pilgrims. But I just couldn't walk across half the town back to the albergue. I accepted the offer. It then turned out that the owner would also wash and dry my clothes, which was exactly what I needed, and that breakfast was included. So I guess 45 euros is ok. All in all I recommend it, although I know almost every pilgrim goes to the albergue instead... The albergue is located on the left after the little bridge in the town's center. It is all right. Although I recall that no windows will open, so I suspect it will turn into a greenhouse during tropical nights like this. Call Ayuntamiento for access. Watch out: Google says that Ayuntamiento is closed on weekends!

Trillo is a great place to chill out in. Touristy but small, and without being overly prettified. The café down by the waterfall is probably the best placed cafetería on the Lana...!

Tomorrow a super short stage to Cifuentes : 14 kms. That's because this is where my foot problem started two years ago, when I did 40 kms to Mandayona in one day. Never again! I know I have a habit of pushing on if I arrive too early somewhere. But I'll be damned if I can't stop myself in Cifuentes tomorrow...!

BP
 

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Trillo - Cifuentes, Day 17

14 kms is practically a rest day. I left the hostal Capadocia at 07.30 and I was in Cifuentes about 10.30. The two tiny villages on the way, Gárgoles de Arriba and Gárgoles de Abajo, were quite boring. When I could, I stayed on the road and bypassed them, cause I know from before that the camino lures you into them just to let you back on the road a few minutes later.

Wildlife Encounter: roe deer. It kept barking at me and, a few times, it moved towards me instead of running away. Who said they were shy of people? In these remote areas, who knows if they have ever met a human being. Dang deer!

A small fancy suburb, and then Cifuentes. I stay in hostal San Roque, at the end of the town, instead of the hostal Secuoyas at the plaza mayor, since Kevin O'Brien qualifies Secuoyas as "not recommended". The funny thing is that the owner of Capadocia told me that Secuoyas is the better one, in terms of both price and quality! Future pilgrims will have to sort this out. Anyway, San Roque charges 25 euros and the room is totally fine. It has 1) AC and 2) the AC is actually working. I believe it is the first time since Alicante that both requisites are fulfilled.

The temperature would drop 4 C today and there may be a thunderstorm in the evening. Even after noon it was possible to move outside for some sightseeing. Cifuentes is a modern, small town that feels a bit like Casas Ibáñez. Smaller than a city but larger than a rural pueblo. It boasts no less than two big churches, thrown together near the busy plaza mayor. Unfortunately, the whole square also serves as a parking lot...! I've never seen that before. The rest of the square is charming, with arcades and old houses all around... Sometimes too old houses, probably in need of a restoration. How nice to have stopped here for the day, instead of struggling 26 more kms to Mandayona...!

One of the majestic churches was open so I took a peek inside. It was empty: not only of people, but of... things. Benches and altar yes. But it was the darkest, poorest inside I have seen along any Camino. I guess they put all the money on the fancy exterior and forgot the inside. That church is desperately in need of an interior decorator. And with this I considered my daily quota of cultural extravaganza being full. I went back to the hostal for a looong siesta.

When I write this, I am still waiting for that thunderstorm to hit. I just hope it won't mess up the country roads tomorrow!

BP
 

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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Cifuentes - Mandayona, Day 18

Yesterday, a thunderstorm did hit Cifuentes in the evening. But there were only a few outbursts of rainfall and that was it. The water didn't mess up the camino. Because this stage has a lot of country roads that would turn into mud after a heavy rainfall.

I slept in this morning (until 05:00), lazy as I am. An easy walk out of Cifuentes led me to the first one of several little villages that I would visit today: Moranchel.

The mural paintings - or what to call them - in Moranchel have been featured in many Lana reports. I took some pictures of them anyway, as you can see below. What to do if there isn't any bakery in town? You paint one, of course...! Since I was here last time the exhibition has expanded to the outskirts of the village: a part of the fence next to a field is now also painted in stark colors. There is even a bit of information about the artist. A nice initiative to lighten up an old village, or just another type of damaging graffiti? You decide. No offense, I think it's cool!

In Las Inviernas the bar looked closed. I carried on up a hill, to reach the flatlands again. Exactly on the bridge over the AVE railway I ended up in a horde of sheep! They are so cute. I wish I could sneak one of them down my backpack. But no less than four dogs circled around them to coordinate their passage. I thought the animals would be scared to death when the AVE came rushing underneath the bridge. But they didn't care.

After La Moranchel and Las Inviernas came my favorite inhabited area of the day: El Truck Stop. How did medieval pilgrims survive without truck stops? I have no idea. A salty tortilla de patata, combined with a fine café con leche and a mature Coca-Cola.

The next pueblo, Mirabueno, looked empty. But be ready to fish out your camera when you reach the end of the village: the view of the fields and the hills from above comes as a surprise. A narrow path - with an incredible scenery - then leads down from Mirabueno, all the way to Mandayona. There are at least two fountains along the descent, with cool water from the hills.

In Mandayona I ran into pilgrim nr 2 since Alicante. He had been to the Ayuntamiento to ask about the albergue, but it was closed and he didn't know what to do. Well I was on my way to Cumbres de Castilla (a hostal rural) so I couldn't help him. Later I met him in the bar Milagros: the people working there had phoned the mayor who would open up the place, so problem solved for him. But a señora whom I met in the street - she first mistook me for the other pilgrim - said that the so-called albergue was in really bad conditions. She seconded my choice of Cumbres de Castilla.

So Cumbres de Castilla is also pricey, 40 euros for a pilgrim, breakfast included. I start to feel like a real turigrino with all these hostales and casas rurales. But when I read in the Lana chronicles that the albergue in Mandayona doesn't have a shower... No. I only wish there were alternatives in between these extremes. Oh! Now I remember that the Spanish pilgrim said it was the polideportivo, the sports hall, that he would get. There must be showers there, right? Anyway, I passed the polideportivo on my way to Mandayona. It is one km outside of Mandayona! Well he is going directly to Atienza tomorrow, as I did two years ago, while I am checking out the Sigüenza alternative. So I don't think we will meet again.

I am excited about following a new route tomorrow, one that I don't know from before. It will be two days in unknown territory, before I am back on track in Atienza. Previous Laners say it's a beautiful walk. We'll see!

BP
 

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Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
In Mandayona I ran into pilgrim nr 2 since Alicante. He had been to the Ayuntamiento to ask about the albergue, but it was closed and he didn't know what to do. Well I was on my way to Cumbres de Castilla (a hostal rural) so I couldn't help him. Later I met him in the bar Milagros: the people working there had phoned the mayor who would open up the place, so problem solved for him. But a señora whom I met in the street - she first mistook me for the other pilgrim - said that the so-called albergue was in really bad conditions. She seconded my choice of Cumbres de Castilla.
We loved staying in the albergue in Mandayona. It is situated in a meeting room/town theatre. Stage with four inflatable mattresses. Only one blanket. No shower but two good cloakrooms with hot water, and no facilities for cooking, but food available in the bar/restaurant and a good little supermarket at the end of the road. And its free! Ana in the ayuntamiento told me the number to ring to give advance warning of your arrival is 949 305 002, and gave me permission to share her personal number 649 721 552.
We had such fun that we put on a show...
Mandayona.jpg
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
We loved staying in the albergue in Mandayona. It is situated in a meeting room/town theatre. Stage with four inflatable mattresses. Only one blanket. No shower but two good cloakrooms with hot water, and no facilities for cooking, but food available in the bar/restaurant and a good little supermarket at the end of the road. And its free! Ana in the ayuntamiento told me the number to ring to give advance warning of your arrival is 949 305 002, and gave me permission to share her personal number 649 721 552.
We had such fun that we put on a show...
View attachment 60490
Wow, it was free... Ok I guess I am reminded to make an effort and stay at the Convent in Sigüenza tomorrow... It will be kind to my wallet... As long as it is not damp!!

I can do hot and cold, but I can't do damp... !
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Wow, it was free... Ok I guess I am reminded to make an effort and stay at the Convent in Sigüenza tomorrow... It will be kind to my wallet... As long as it is not damp!!

I can do hot and cold, but I can't do damp... !
Actually, I didn’t like the convent. Not really sure why. 15 euros. No atmosphere even though the the building beautiful. I wouldn’t stay there again. @Undermanager mentioned a nice albergue/hostel in Sigüenza. Not sure if he mentioned the cost.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
Actually, I didn’t like the convent. Not really sure why. 15 euros. No atmosphere even though the the building beautiful. I wouldn’t stay there again. @Undermanager mentioned a nice albergue/hostel in Sigüenza. Not sure if he mentioned the cost.
Ok, I called the convent half an hour ago to tell them I was coming. But I guess that can be reversed. Undermanagers alternative looks interesting! It's just that I feel like I have to start saving my money for a whammy of 50+ euros that's coming my way in the next few days...
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Ok, I called the convent half an hour ago to tell them I was coming. But I guess that can be reversed. Undermanagers alternative looks interesting! It's just that I feel like I have to start saving my money for a whammy of 50+ euros that's coming my way in the next few days...
We stayed in hostal San Cristo in Atienza. 15 euros each to share a room. I have a feeling it might be the same if you are alone. It was a great place right at the entrance to town. We had waited around for ages to get access to the municipal albergue, but when we finally saw it we turned right around and walked out. Very cold and damp. But then so was the weather! It might be a very different story now that it’s warmer.

And there is the best albergue you are ever likely to see in Retortillo de Soria. Also 15 euros, with all facilities, and all new and sparkly.
 

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