- Camino(s) past & future
GR11 Hondarribia - Cabo de Creus
3 X CF SJPP to Finisterre
Camino Mozarabe, VP and Sanabres
I intended to post each day on this Camino but have found the days long and problematic with wifi. I'm sitting watching heavy snow, having arrived in Huéneja after a journey in beautiful sunshine. The views on the Camino are outstanding almost everywhere at this time of year and there are fresh blooms and blossom wherever I look. The arrival was beset by some transport delay, so, only getting to Almeria Cathedral after lunch, I decided to head for the Albergue Municipal at Rioja for the evening. It was excellent and I was met by two charming Amigos with whom I exchanged numbers/emails. They are tracking my movements daily to provide Camino following of a sort. Signage has been excellent and even travelling through Huercal was enjoyable in warm sun; I have no aversion to tarmac. Some of the past days have been in riverbeds, some of which are quite taxing in the sections where there are larger rocks, and the section along the river to Nacimiento was a tunnel of overgrown bamboo which seems to have taken over. Some signage may be confusing, as in Pechina where there are Camino Mozárabe signs pointing left and straight ahead at the entrance to the village. Straight ahead worked fine. There is a similar confusion in Santa Fe where signs took me around the village. I'd just keep heading upwards to pass on the road beneath the two bridges towards Alhabia where the signs again make sense. Rioja to Alboloduy was a sweaty walk with some steep inclines but the latter part was mostly along the river valley where the trees, crops and wild flowers produced amazing scents. At Gador the whole valley was filled with orange blossom. The casa rural at Alboloduy was excellent, complete with free washing machine, and the hostalero could not have been more helpful. The journey to Abla was long and my GPS measured 29.5km to the albergue at the top of the last hill. Again, the river valley could be taxing and the icing on the cake was a delivery of snow and cold winds as I arrived. As for this being an empty trail; it's positively crowded at the moment. I shared a walk with a Dutchman in the afternoon of day two and met two further peregrinos at the Municipal in Abla. The Camino is proving every bit as beautiful as expected and the weather/visibility has been outstanding. One surprise has been the rapid change back to winter and snow over the past day; it was freezing this morning, requiring gloves and muff to keep warm. I must mention the climb out of Alboloduy. A local advised that taking the road was a kinder option with better views, but I did the river valley and climb of the official route. It was steep at times and narrow in places but I took my time, proceeded carefully and it was a good experience that I'm pleased to have done. As Kevin O'Brien said in his excellent guide, stay on the route (which is well marked) and avoid any temptation to climb the scree slopes (as someone had done before me, as evidenced by boot prints in the shale). The municipal albergues have been great to date, my one observation is that they have little or no heating. Here in Huéneja, the inside temperature is the same as outside which is currently 6C; however the shower is hot! There have been no real issues of any importance and this is certainly a great time of year to see Andalucia's back yard, the Alpujarras, and the snow-covered Sierra Nevada. I shall post more in a few days.