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Camino Mozárabe September-October 2011

Wombat

Member
Report on the Camino Mozárabe from Granada to Mérida
12 September to 8 November 2011

Part 1

Introduction
In the autumn of 2009 my wife and I completed the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostella and Finesterra. That camino was a great experience and we decided to try the route from Granada along the Camino Mozárabe to Mérida, then the Via de la Plata to Salamanca and Zamora and the Camino Sanabrés to Ourense and Santiago de Compostella.

We are both members of the Confraternity of Saint James (London) and the newly formed Australian Friends of the Camino.

I will be adding to these posts and I hope that they will be of interest to forum members. This camino was in the autumn and the average maximum temperature for Granada in September is 28.8°C. In 2011 we experienced temperatures in the low to mid 30's for most of the Camino Mozárabe. I would not want to walk in hotter temperatures. Carrying enough water and lack of shade become problems.

Guides
As guide books we used the Confraternity of Saint James (CSJ) guide “2B Granada to Mérida”, 2009 edition, for the Camino Mozárabe and Alison Raju's Cicerine “Guide to the Via de la Plata”, 2005 edition and the CSJ guide 2A Seville to Santiago, 2011 edition, for the Via de la Plata and Camino Sanabrés. In addition we gathered quite a lot of up to date information from the Camino de Santiago forum.

Maps
I find guide books quite hard to follow when walking and much prefer a map. Therefore I downloaded 1:50,000 scale maps from the Centro Nacional de Información Geográfica at http://centrodedescargas.cnig.es/Centro ... /inicio.do The downloads are free for non comercial use I then used the graphical/photo editing program GIMP to mark the camino path as best I could identify it on the maps. Then I cut strip maps from the originals (still on the computer) and printed them out. The 1200km of map fitted onto about 40 sheets of A4 paper, printed back to back. I also carried backup digital copies on an iPod Touch.

Travel to Spain
We left Adelaide, South Australia on Friday 9 September 2011, flying with Singapore Airlines to Singapore and then on to Barcelona, Spain, arriving at Barcelona El Prat airport just after 8am on 10 September. That’s about 20 hours of flying. After spending the day in Barcelona we caught the Tren Hotel (sleeper train) at from Barcelona-Santes railway station at 09.30pm for Granada. We arrived in Granada on time, about 08.30am, after a good trip and a welcome sleep.

Granada
We had breakfast at the Granada railway station and then set out to find our hostal which we had booked over the internet. The Pension San Joaquin, Calle Mano de Hierro 14-16, is comprised of two 18th century, three story buildings with a central patio decorated with glazed tiles. It is located close to the church of San Juan de Dios and near the Cathedral. Our room was a double, air conditioned with ensuite toilets and bathroom for 30€ a night. Wifi is also available. It was old but comfortable although the air conditioning barely had any effect on the temperature.

We spent two nights in Granada. On the first day, Sunday, we visited the Alhambra, one of our reasons for starting in Granada. The Alhambra is a “must visit” place if you are ever in Granada. The standard cost is 13€ per person. Its well within walking distance from Pension San Joaquin, for a pilgrim. In fact we walked everywhere in Granada. The whole of Granada is very tourist orientated but I was surprised to see boomerangs with Australian aboriginal designs and “Granada” printed on them as tourist souvenirs.

The next day we went out to the Real Monasterio de las Madres Comendadoras de Santiago to get sellos in our credencials at the start of the Camino Mozárabe. TheCSJ Guide says to ask for the sello “on the corner of the Calle Santiago and the Calle Comendadoras de Santiago”. However, the gates and door were locked with no bell. There is however, another door further along Calle Santiago with the street number “20” which opened into a vestibule with a door bell. We eventually got a nun to answer the door and she willingly stamped out credencials.

The route out of Granada is waymarked from the Monasterio in the Calle Comendadoras de Santiago.

More soon,

Kevin
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Kevin,
Many thanks for this post. Bjorts has given us a lot of good information on this route in the two reports posted here, and it's always nice to get more information for such an untravelled route. Though I have a lot of caminos on my wish list, I am hoping to walk from Granada to Santiago in 2013. I walked from Sevilla in 2010 and so loved the Vdlp in springtime that I want to go back sooner rather than later. I look forward to reading about your experiences, especially the part between Granada and its connecting point with the Vdlp in Merida. Adding Granada and Cordoba to the incredible places you walk through between Merida and Santiago just increase its appeal even more.

When I walked the Vdlp in 2010, I did meet a German man who had started in Granada, but he said that he frequently got lost because of the lack of arrows. But I'm betting that the situation is changing rapidly. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Wombat

Member
Hi Laurie
Thanks for the comments. I used the comments by Bjorts for the Mozárabe and yours for the VdlP after Merída. They were both very helpful.

Having done the Mozárabe in Autumn I think that springtime may be the best time to do it, although you may have problems with waterlogged paths and stream crossings the flowers should be very good. In 2011 Autumn it was hot and dry. After the first few days I was wondering if we were going to be able keep going. We did, keeping the stages short, starting early and resting up in the afternoon.

In regards to your comments about lack of arrows, that particularly applies to the route from Olivares to Moclín and Moclím to Ermita Nueva. Construction of new roads and trainlines cause problems, both on the Mozárabe and VdlP. The guidebooks cant keep up and neither can either survey maps or Google Maps.

So to all of you who come after us, let us have your story too.

Buen Camino

Kevin
 

Wombat

Member
Camino Mozárabe September-October 2011, Part 2

Part 2
Now the Walking starts. The line in italics under the bold heading for each stage lists the day and date, distance covered that day (from the guidebook) and temperature at the nearest location that I could get records from. Also some of my comments refer to the route description in the guidebooks. If you refer further clarification let me know.

Stage 1: Granada to Pinos Puente
Date: Tuesday 13 September 2011 Distance: 18km Temperature: 16 to 36°C

The walk today is generally flat and easy to follow from the description in the CSJ guidebook and my maps. However, there is a waymarked route through Maracena rather than that described in the guide book.

Maracena
About 200m after going under the motorway the yellow arrows took us to the left into the Plaza de la Solidad which veers right into the Calle (C/-) de Lepanto. At the end of this street do a quick right then left into C/- Real which veers to the right and becomes the Plaza de la Constitution. Veer left into C/- al Jibe Bajo then turn left into C/- del Generalife which gradually veers to the right and becomes Avenda de Minbres. Turn left into the Camino de los Eriales (here you join the route coming down the Av. de Argentina). You then follow the Camino de los Eriales to the park at the outskirts of Atarfe.

There are public toilets in the park at the entrance to Atarfe, a rare thing in Spain.

Atarfe
Walking through Atarfe is easy following the CSJ guide but it will help if you have a map, even a copy of Google Maps at a suitable scale. This applies to most towns you go through.

At the N432 and the railway line we had a dilemma. A high-speed railway line is being constructed on the southern side of the present track. We chose to follow the route to the south of the line and crossed the railway on the road bridge leading into Pinos Puenta. However, it is not possible to recross the rail track at the turnoff to the albergue run by the Hermanos Esclavos de Maria y los Pobres. If you want to stay at this albergue you will need to walk along the shoulder of the busy N432. There appears to be only a narrow shoulder on the N432 so be careful. As construction of the rail track progresses it may become impossible to walk alongside it so be prepared to follow the N432. Actually I think there was a sign saying “No Pasar” which we ignored.

We stayed at Hotel/Restaurante Monserrat, Ctra la Redonda s/n, 45€ dbl ensuite with a menu del día 8€ and breakfast 3€. (Note prices for the rooms are for two people in a double room unless otherwise specifed. Meals etc are per person)


Stage 2: Pinos Puente to Moclin
Date: Wednesday 14 September 2011 Distance: 14km Temperature: 15 to 35°C

Pinos Puente to Olivares
Rather than follow the yellow arrows along the river we took the GR-3408 out of Pinos Puente. There was not much traffic on the road. We turned off the road onto the Camino just after the 5Km marker through the olive groves to Olivares. We purchased bread at the panaderia and cheese and a tomato at the supermarket for lunch.

Olivares to Moclín
We followed the Camino and yellow arrows out of Olivares turning left up the concrete road as described in the CSJ guide. Then some more yellow arrows but after the last yellow arrow the track faded out and we were left stuck on a steep hillside above the town with no obvious track or other guidance (Note: a compass would have helped at this stage but I had not been able to purchase one yet). We ended up walking into Tiena on a track not marked on our maps at about 2pm and were faced with another 5km walk and a climb of about 700 metres to Moclín). After filling up our water bottles we started up the road but the heat got to us and we hitched a ride into the Plaza España at Moclín. Our first Camino angel!

I have not been able to satisfactorily reconcile the description in the CSJ guide with the tracks visible on Google Maps. My suggestion is to not turn left up the concrete road but follow the Calle del Convento and take the road to Moclín.

We got a room at the Casa Rural La Briza, C/- de Padre Manjón 8, just off the Plaza, 40€ dbl. Ask at Bar El Califato in Plaza España about staying at La Briza. The Bar El Califato does meals and was open for breakfast.


Stage 3: Moclin – Alcalá la Real
Date: Thursday 15 September 2011 Distance: 25km Temperature: 15 to 34°C

Today was another adventure!

On the way our of Moclín in the morning we got took the first steep downhill gravel track and rejoined the road lower down the hill. However we took the right hand fork on the next downhill dirt track rather than the left hand track and ended up about 400 meters off the bitumen road at the Fuente del Malalmurerzo and had to cross a creek and walk across country to the road.

We got to the start of the Cordel de las Gallinas without further mishap but the yellow arrows stopped in the middle of the olives, which had been recently ploughed. We decided that we needed to head uphill to out right and after climbing through some scrub with we reached a track at the top of the ridge and after a short distance yellow arrows at a T junction and we were back on track.

New road works have made walking on the left hand shoulder of the N432 after the olive oil cooperative (see CSJ guide p.17) risky akthough there is a yellow arrow on the tarmac. We had two Guardia Civil police on motorbikes wave an accusing finger at us for walking on the shoulder and reverted to the olive groves for a while.

At Ermita Nueva we stopped for a zomo de melecaton (our usual afternoon cool drink) at the Cafe Bar El Hogar, the barman kindly refilled our water bottles.

The next problem occurred after crossing the N432 again. The guide says “150 metres after passing a tall ruined house fork L of track onto small foot path alongside irrigation canal...” (p. 18) There were no way-marks and recent ploughing had made the track difficult to see so we continued on the road, under the new road (not marked on the survey maps) at a large roundabout to the left of the dirt road exit and then followed the road-signs into Alcalá la Real along a bike/walking path. Which ran parallel to the main road (the A403A). The camino joined the path just before Alcalá la Real.

We found a room at the Hospederia Zacatin, C/ Pradillo, 2, 45€ dbl con baño. The hostal bar has an 8€ menu.


Stage 4: Alcalá la Real- Alcaudete
Date: Friday 16 September 2011 Distance: 24km Temperature: 16 to 34°C

We didn’t start walking until 9am but no bars open for breakfast. We bought a sweet pastry for breakfast and pan for lunch. It was quite cool and we made reasonable time. An elderly man working in his vegetable patch tried to give us a melon weighing about 5kg which we had to refuse as we couldn’t carry it. We reached the tunnel under the N432 (see CSJ guide) which is for a creek, not humans! There is a nice pool on the other side of the tunnel where we had an early lunch (pan with cheese spread, sometimes with tomato). We had no shortage of waymarks on this part of the track.

At Ventas de Carrizal we stopped at the bar in the park for juice. We also filled up there with cold water. The 10km to Alcaudete felt as if it was mostly up hill.

It was fiesta time in Alcaudete on this weekend but we found a room at the Hostal Spa Rueda, Avenida de Andalucia 47, 40€ dbl, con baño. The hostal has a restaurant with an 8€ menu.


Rest Day
Date: Saturday 15 September 2011 Distance: 0km Temperature: 16 to 32°C

The heat, blisters and an ill-fitting pack had got to us and we decided to have a rest day in Alclaudete. So after a sleep-in and breakfast we found a farmacia and bought Betadine gel. Then a bazaar for needle and cotton and also fruit.

Back in our room we tried the blister treatment technique of sterilising a needle and thread with the Betadine gel then passing the needle and thread through the blister. Cut the thread from the needle and leave it in the blister with the ends poking out. The fluid drains out gradually. Cover the blister with a plaster. I was sceptical at first, and didn’t try it until the next day, but the treatment dried up the blisters and we had no infection problems. Neither did the blisters reoccur.

The ill-fitting pack was easily adjusted so that most of the weight was transferred to the waist and the shoulder straps just kept the pack firm against the back. A good siesta during the afternoon and a day out of the sun helped a lot. We did check out the fiesta early in the day but it was too early and nothing was happening.


Stage 5: Alcaudete - Baene
Date: Sunday 18 September 2011 Distance: 27km Temperature: 12 to 32°C (at Granada)

There are no facilities between Alcaidete and Baene so take all the food and water you need

We left the hostal in the dark at 7am. Breakfast in the room of a nectarine and a bar. Nothing else open on the way out of town. The walk today is easy for most of the way, apart from some stony ground. The laguna still had water in it. It was well waymarked although we did miss the short cut just after crossing the former railway line. We stuck to the road which, although slightly longer, avoids a steep climb and river crossing.

We reached Baene at 3.30pm and found a room at the Hostal/Restaurante Rincón, C/- del Llano del Rincón 13, 40€ dbl con baño. Dinner cost 28€ for 2 as no menu on Sunday! Apparently breakfast is included in the room price but as we wanted to leave early they gave us a bread roll and a bottle of water to take with us in exchange.

No shops open as it was domingo. However, in the evening, a statue of the Virgin was paraded through the streets accompanied by brass band and fireworks. The 18th of September was the old feast of the Nuestra Senora de los Delores so it was probably the reason for the parade


Stage 5: Baene – Castro del Rio
Date: Monday 19 September 2011 Distance: 27km Temperature: 13 to 31°C (at Granada)
18 to 32°C (at Cordoba)


The CSJ guide describes two alternative routes for this stage. We choose the northern route 'a' as the way looked more straight forward than route 'b' which had several kilometres of walking through olive groves. The way out of Baene is waymarked from the hostal. There were bars and panaderias open for breakfast. The walk up to the Rio Guadajos is good although there is some uphill work and local traffic of workers going out to the olive groves to prune and harrow.

The cantina on the south side of the river (described in the CSJ guide) was closed. However, there is now a bar on the northern side of the bridge. We were able to get to get a drink there, but no coffee machine for Café con Leche or Cola Cao.

The CP325 to Castro del Rio is not busy and there were Eucalypt trees to make us feel at home. We did find a shady spot by the river for lunch but it is hard to get down to the water.

We found the Casa Antonio in Baene but there was only a telephone number on the door, the bar attached was closed until the 25 September. The Hostal/Restaurante A Ka La Sole, C/- Alamo 11 had a number on the door to ring and we got a nice room. The attached restaurante is not open on Mondays so we had dinner at the Bar Cordoba , C/- de Córdoba, (just head south down C/- de Olivo until you get to a plaza and the bar is on your right).

Thats all for now,
Buen Cameno
Kevin
 

Wombat

Member
Castro del Rio to Monterubio de la Serena

Just a reminder that some of my comments relate to the CSJ guide book for the Camino Mozárabe. If you require further information please ask for it.

Stage 7: Castro del Rio - Santa Cruz
Date: Tuesday 20 September 2011 Distance: 21km Temperature: 15 to 34°C (at Cordoba)

We had breakfast at the Bar A Ka La Sole. There are two sets of yellow arrows leaving town. One points to the southwest for the Camino Malaga to Espejo and Santa Cruz. Although we were going to Santa Cruz, thus splitting the long stage to Córdoba, the track described in the CSJ guide looked easier and shorter and we took that one.

The waymarking was generally good but where the guide says “2.5km (approx.) from bridge reach tarmac road crossing at right angles in front of farm. KSO on FP on other side and go downhill.” The road is the CP-271 and the so called track was completely overgrown with dry thistles and prickles. We had to walk over ploughed land. On the maps the farm is named Cjo. Del Castellejo de Teba. We should have turned left at the CP-271 which leads to Santa Cruz, although slightly longer it would have been easier.
Part 3
Of the hostals in Santa Cruz we randomly picked Casa José, Ctra. Badajoz-Granada (N-432), no wifi, on the right at the N-432, although their sello was for Hostal La Galga.


Stage 8: Santa Cruz - Córdoba
Date: Wednesday 21 September 2011 Distance: 25km Temperature: 17 to 32°C (at Cordoba)

Breakfast at Casa José. We took the left-hand road at the junction, the CP-3019. It was the simplest way to get out of town, and we had checked it last night. Waymarking on the whole section was good. There is no shade for most of the route and we found had to eat our lunch standing in the shade of a farm gatepost. If its hot, this is a good day to start early.

We stayed at the Hostal Alcazar, San Basilio, 2, 45€ dbl con baño, a small room, old but OK. We stayed for two nights.


Date: Thursday 22 September 2011 Distance: 0km Temperature: 18 to 31°C (at Córdoba)

A rest, come tourist, day. We visited the Mesquite, 8€ each. Unfortunately we forgot to ask for a sello for our credencials.


Stage 9: Córdoba – Cerro Muriano
Date: Friday 23 September 2011 Distance: 18km Temperature: 19 to 26°C (at Córdoba)

We left the hostal shortly after 7am and followed the CSJ guide route out across the city. There are Camino Mozárabe signs as far as the Calle Carlos Rubio but after turning left into that Calle there are no more signs until we turned into the Ave. Cinco Cabaleros. The camino signs probably take you to the Iglesia de Santiago. We had breakfast at a small bar that was just opening in the Plaza Realejo.

After turning left under the railway line and at the fork right along the side of the bus depot there is a path leading to a reconstructed Roman bridge. There is a yellow arrow on a rock that suggests you should go over the bridge. Looking at Google Earth I can not see where this path might go. We took the route described in the CSJ guide up the side of the bus depot, then left the traffic lights and cross to the other side of the C/- de los Artesanos. This is a bit risky as it is not a designated pedestrian crossing so take some time to check the traffic flow patterns. There are yellow arrows on the old main road on the other side. Further on there are also Cerro Muriano walking trail signs.

Once under the N-432 and before you get to Torreblanca it looks like you are walking through a rubbish dump. Spanish builders and renovators seem to dump their rubbish on minor roads on the outskirts of towns and villages. There has been a lot of building at the Urbanización Paraíso Arneal and some of the instructions in the guide are out of date. Dirt tracks have become bitumen roads. The changes are probably ongoing.

Its a hard slog uphill all the way. The weather was cooler but more humid and not much breeze. We got a room at the Bar Casa Bruno, just past the Bar Cinema on the right, 15€ each for a room in a modern apartment owned by the bar. They are pilgrim friendly and have a pilgrim oriented sello. Food is available at the bar at a reasonable price, a change from the menue del dia formula.

Note:
1. Bar X appeared to be undergoing refurbishment and was not open.
2. Hostal el Colonel could not be located and is probably closed.


Stage 10: Cerro Muriano - Villaharta
Date: Saturday 24 September 2011 Distance: 21km Temperature: 16 to 28°C (at Córdoba)

We left the Casa Bruno at about 7.15am. There were no bars open in town. We followed the yellow arrows which fork right down C/- Eucalyptus which becomes C/- Media Luna and then a good bicycle path north past the army base.

At El Vacar We stopped at the Panaderia-Cafeteria-Confiteria Gonzalio Arellano on the northern edge of the village, for a late breakfast or morning tea. A nice place with a good variety of cakes, sticky buns and bread, plus coffee.

After El Vacar we had a small complication at the junction of the N432 and the A3075. There has been a lot of road works in the area but I think we took the option (b) from the stayed near the N-432, following yellow arrows. Any way, the waymarked path was close too but not on the shoulder of the N-432 and we ended up in the creek below the above junction. There was a yellow arrow on the buttress of the left hand culvert and it was not clear to us if it was pointing through the culvert to go or up the bank to the road, this bank was very steep. We choose the 'through' option but that led us into an overgrown creek on the other side with lots of prickles and dry grass, in between two 2 metre fences. A local indicated that we should to go back through the culvert, scale the rockface, climb over the crash barrier and get on to the old road on the left hand side of the highway. Then came the process of de-prickling our socks.

The rest of the day stage was uneventful and we walked into the Hostal El Cruc on the N-432 outside Villaharta at about 2pm and had a recuperative zomo de melecoton. If you are aiming to stay at the Hostal El Cruce just turn left after you go through the tunnel under the N-432 and you can see the hostal about 300 metres ahead.

Stage 11: Villaharta – Alcaracejos
The CSJ guide book lists this stage as 39km from Hostal El Cruce. There is no way of splitting this stage and no support on the way. You need to carry all your food and water with you. Given a forecast temperature in the 30's Celsius and the delicate condition of our feet we decided that we would skip this stage.

One of the barmen at El Cruce rang for a taxi and got was quoted 50€ to which I said “Fine thanks”. The taxi took over an hour to get there but we took the opportunity to have another cool drink. The taxi driver was another angel and took us to the Hostal las Tres Jotas which was shut but the Bar Tic Tac, opposite was still open. The driver made sure that we could get a room before leaving us. The double room cost 28€ (Bar Tic Tac closed shortly after this and did not reopen until 6am the next morning).

We had dinner at the Hotel-Retaurante Estefani on C/- de Pozoblanco, but not until after 9pm. We shared an ensalada mixta, calamares and bacaloe plus juices, cafe con leche and Cola Cao. The food was quite good but I can't remember the cost.


Stage 12: Alcaracejos – Hinojosa del Duque
Date: Sunday 25 September 2011 Distance: 23km Temperature: 21 to 32°C (at Córdoba)

Breakfast at Bar Tic Tac and we were on our way before sun up. There had been some noisy guests in the hostal last night, no trouble, just loud talking.

Easy walking past farmsteads with lots of dogs. A shepherd setting out with his dogs and flock. Through Villanueve del Duque and more dogs, horses and cows until Fuente la Lancha. The bar at the end of the village was open and we has a drink of zomo. However they did not do bocadillos.

One thing that intrigued us was the granite fence posts.

The way from Fuente la Lancha to Hinojosa del Duque is mostly along a camino de tierra. We returned to the road briefly to cross the Río Guadamatilla, although we could have easily crossed it without getting wet. Almost like magic there were no dogs and not many other animals on this stretch. The Ermita de la Virgen de Guia proved to be close to the road. The survey map has it about 500metres to the north.

We got a room at the Hostal-Restaurante Cazador, Avd. Marqués de Santillana 112 (that's the A-422, the road from Fuente la Lancha), for 36€ a double. Dinner was very good, 13€ each, but not served till after 9pm. As it was Sunday there were no shops open to purchase supplies.


Stage 13: Hinojosa del Duque – Monterubio de la Serena
Date: Monday 26 September 2011 Distance: 31km Temperature: 17 to 34°C (at Córdoba)

Up early again for breakfast. We took a bocadillo y queso with us from the Hostal. It was a nice walk out of town in the early morning. The track was good and so were the waymarks. We did not need to step into the water at the stream crossings and there were no dogs at the farm El Coto Chico (see warning in the CSJ guide). On today’s track you will need to pass through a number of gates. Please leave them as you found them. As well as yellow arrows you will also find wooden blue plaques with yellow shells and arrows as waymarks.

After 15km you reach a minor road. The yellow arrows suggest that bicycles turn right and take the road and walkers cross the road and keep straight on. The CSJ guide only describes the road route. We took the walkers route.

The dirt track heads roughly west for two and a half kilometres and then crosses a railway line near a ruined station building marked No.9 K.21. We had lunch under a solitary oak near the railway line. The line is still in use so be careful crossing it.

After lunch and across the railway line the track was overgrown until we reached a farm track which runs in a northerly direction. The track intersects the A-3280 by another ruin. The yellow arrows continue on a track across the road and meet up with it after crossing the Río Zúbjar. We choose to follow the A-3280 as we wanted to have a rest in the shade at the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Gracia de las Alcantarillas. There is some traffic on the narrow road so be careful.

Fork left across the road bridge over the river and climb the hill to the ermita. There is shade and tank water taps in the picnic grounds although after a long dry summer don’t depend on it as a water supply. It was a long hot 8km into Monterrubio de la Serenna and we arrived at about 4.30pm.

We enquired about a room at the Hostal Vaticano in the Plaza de Espania but were rather brusquely told that they had no rooms (I am not sure if they were complete or whether they don't have lodgings now). We were directed to the Hotel Coto de la Serena across the plaza at number 7. Unfortunately the Hotel was locked and no one answered the door bell. I tried ringing the telephone number on the door (924 63 51 69) and could hear the phone ringing but no answer. There were chairs and tables under an awning so we sat down to wait.

No one was able to tell us when or if the hotel would open that night but eventually after 7pm we heard noises inside and rang the doorbell and we were given a very nice room. 40€ a double with bath and wifi. We had a nice meal there, they even put the BBC English news on the TV for us, although there was a football match on that the locals were interested in. Dinner, breakfast and a bocadillo for lunch cost about $38.00.

More in few days
Buen Camino
Kevin

PS if there are any sections where a segment of map would be useful let me know.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2009)
Camino Mozarabe, VDLP, Camino Sanabres (2012)
Thanks Kevin,for all your posting. I am so appreciative of all the info you are sharing.

Yes, maps would be helpful , if you have them, especially in areas where the signage is poor. I have the CSJ guide, but will check for the latest editions.I will certainly be taking your info with me, if this Camino eventuates in Sept. You have become a " Camino angel".
I look forward to further posts.

Cheers,
Sandra
 

bjorgts

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003. Last: Malaga - Cordoba November 2019
It is interesting reading this. You were 2-3 weeks ahead of us. I will also continue my reports, but not just now. Just to the question of guides: If you read some German, the guide from Outdoor (Conrad Stein Verlag) “Mozarabischer Jacobsweg” is good. That was our main source for information on this route. Bjorg
 

Wombat

Member
Monterubio de la Serena to Mérida

]This is the third and last description of our Camino Mozárabe. However I will reply to a few questions that I have received and make some other comments later. Thanks Bjorg for your comments too. I look forward to your reports so please continue them.

Stage 14: Monterubio de la Serena - Castruera
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2011 Distance: 22km Temperature: 19 to 33°C (at Córdoba)

Today was supposed to be 18 km. We had breakfast and collected a bocadillo from the Hotel and were on the road by 8am. There is a map of the stage on the information board near the Disco Oli-Bar on the way out of town. The camino heads north on a bitumen road with olive groves on each side. You can see Benquerencia de la Serena in the hills to the right of the camino. Crop dusting aircraft were taking off and landing a kilometre or so to the east of us.

The bitumen road continues for about 15km before becoming a camino de tierra. We stopped in the shade of some almond trees and ate the bocadillo, together with almond kernals from nuts lying on the ground. We were hot and bothered by the time we reached the Castuera. I called into the Oficina de Turismo in the Plaza de España for a map of the town and found that the Hotel Paraíso had closed due to the Global Financial Crisis. They kindly rang the Hostal Los Naranjos but they were complete. The only other a accommodation in Castruera is the Hotel Barón del Pozo, 3km out of town on the EX-104 and another phone call booked us a room. The Oficina de Turismo has a sello and also gave us some Camino Mozárabe pins.

After a cool drink at a nearby bar and a visit to the supermecardo for fruit and other supplies we headed out the EX-104. The Baron de Pozo has a rather grand ediface but is isolated on the highway and our room was showing its age. However it was comfortable and has wifi. Our double room cost 36€. The menu de la dia cost 7.50€ but the food was good, served at 8.30pm. There was only one other guest in the hotel.


Stage 15: Castruera - Campanario
Date: Wednesday 28 September 2011 Distance: 23km Temperature: 17 to 30°C (at Córdoba)

We were on the road again by 7.30am. We had to backtrack to the edge of town to pick up the camino which heads to the west of the EX104. The track is quite good and well waymarked but not a great deal of shade. There was water over the ford at the Río Guadalefra but we got across using stepping stones. If you are tempted to cross on the railway bridge remember that the line is still used for passenger and freight traffic.

The building at the former railway station at Quintana de la Serena is definitely not being used as an albergue and showed no signs of current habitation. When the railway line turns north the track continues to the north-west for about 1.5km and then turns more northerly at a water hole and later north-westerly to cross the railway line by a road-bridge. As you move further north you pass granite outcrops, where we had lunch under an enchina, and a granite quarry before rejoining the EX-104.

We reached Campanario at 1.45pm and considering the problems that we had getting accommodation on the last two days I rang the numbers I had for the Albergue la Estación. We were asked to ring again once we had got to the station, about 2km to the south-west of the town on the EX-115 at the railway station, which we did, and Amelia came out and showed us the albergue, gave us disposable sheets and arranged to have dinner at 8.30pm in the restaurante building. The albergue has beds for 30 in rooms for 2, 3 and up to 8 but we were the only ones there. Its also has air-conditioning and a large common room. There is a balcony where you can dry your washing. Costs were 15€ each and 8.50€ for the menú del día. Telephone numbers are 619 653 760 and 695 669 474.


Stage 16: Campanario – Don Benito
Date: Thursday 29 September 2011 Distance: 25km Temperature: 19 to 32°C (at Córdoba)

There is another waymarked camino from Campanario other than that described in the CSJ guide. We made our own breakfast from fruit, Maria biscuits and cheese and left the alburgue heading back towards the town for about 500 metres before turning left down a camino de tierre. After going west for 1.5km the track crosses the railway line via a bridge, then after about another 3km the track turns sharp right for about 70 meters before veering left off the road again for 1.5km before meeting the way described by the CSJ guide on the bitumen road coming from your right behind. Before turning right you pass the archaeological site of “la Mata”, a 6-5th century BC building that has been excavated, for more information see http://www.lamata.info . There are also a number of antique stone huts (does anyone know the Spanish name for these huts?) and other archaeology on the surrounding hills. When we reached the Barrio del Berrocal below Magacela we had some difficulty and my memory is a bit hazy on the detail. I think that we followed the yellow arrows which lead us up onto the Av Estacion past the Estacion de Autobus and the weighbridge and onto the EX-348 past the intersection with the BA-084 for about 200m where the camino does a right turn onto a dirt path which eventually leads you to the south of Magacela. This is not the route described in the CSJ guide and we didn’t get our a coffee break. It does however avoid some of the climb up to the village. The dirt track joins up with the bitumen BA-084 at the 4 kilometre mark on that road.

At about 250m past the 5km mark on the BA-084 there are yellow arrows directing you to a track to your left. Do not take this track, but continue on the BA-084 into La Haba. The track can be waterlogged but even if not it now leads you onto a the construction phase of a new major road (probably the EX-346 bypass of La Haba) and an unfinished bridge over the BA-084. We had a bocadillo and cool drink at a bar at the entrance to the village.

Once through the village it was an easy, but hot, walk of 6km to Don Benito along a dirt road. However, there is not much shade.

Once again we realised the need for a good town street map. Even the locals had difficulty in explaining how to get to the Hostal Galacia, Plaza Sánchez Cortés, 38€ double, they have wifi. Dinner on the plaza cost us 30.30€.


Stage 17: Don Benito – Santa Amalia
Date: Friday 30 September 2011 Distance: 16km Temperature: 18 to 31°C (at Córdoba)

We had decided to split the remaining distance to Mérida into 3. This means we can avoid the potentially difficult river crossing after Yelbes and reduced the distance per day in these hot conditions. The bar in the Hostal Galacia didn’t open until 8.30am so we had a late start. The walk to Medellín is alongside, but off road, for most of the way. You need to be careful crossing the road bridge across the railway line just out of Don Benito. The fields are irrigated growing rice and maize. Closer to Medellín the castle on the hill dominates the skyline.

We wandered through Medellín looking up at the castle. We had a drink and a bocadillo at the Hostal Río. There were people fishing in the Río Guadiana below the impressive bridge.

The waymarked route to Santa Amalia is not as described in the CSJ guide and is suitable for bicycles. Rather than taking the EX-206 to Santa Amalia the camino takes a track parallel to but west of the EX-206. Its very quiet with only a few farm vehicles on it.

You leave Medellín by the old bridge and take turn left along a dirt track parallel to the EX-206. Take the Yelbes road. After just over 1km veer left onto an agricultural road which itself veers to the north around a range of low hills. After nearly 2km the track turns sharply to the left and then more gradually to the right. After about 300m there is another fork. Take the smaller track to the right and follow it for 2km into Santa Amalia. Rice harvesting was in progress as we walked north.

We stayed at the Hostal-Restaurante El Cariba. I didn’t record the price of the room or dinner. However, dinner was not served until 9pm.


Stage 18: Santa Amalia – San Pedro de Mérida
Date: Saturday 01 October 2011 Distance: 18km Temperature: 17 to 32°C (at Córdoba)

We were up early and had breakfast at the Hostal. On the road by 7.40am. Sunrise was not until 8.10am. The way is along the shoulder of the N430. We were walking on the left hand side, facing the oncoming traffic, but its a bit disconcerting having large trucks coming up behind us while passing another vehicle. After about 8km the N430 joins the A5 freeway. Keep to the left on the old road and after 1km enter Torrefresneda, a modern village with an avenue of palms and lawns. We had another Café con leche and Cola Cao at the Bar-Discoteca Carmen on the Plaza San Martin, just pass the church. Its a pleasant place to rest decorated with lots of pot-plants.

After Torresfresneda you walk along service roads parallel to the freeway, a mixture of gravel and bitumen surfaces. We found a bar on the southern side of San Pedro de Mérida on the layoff of the main road and shared a ration of tortilla for lunch. Then we found a room at the Hostal Juan Porro (with wifi), 46€ a double. The room was nice but nothing special. The menú del día for dinner cost 12€ each and included aqua and coffee.


Stage 19: San Pedro de Mérida - Mérida
Date: Sunday 02 October 2011 Distance: 16km Temperature: 16 to 32°C (at Córdoba)

We had breakfast at the Hostal, leaving about 7.40am. To leave the village you need to go back into town to the Aveneda Mérida and follow it westwards out of town. Keep on the service road on the northern side of the A-5 for 6km to Trujillanos. There was a yellow arrow directing us into this village but then there were no more arrows. So we found our way to the church and then the roundabout at the western edge of the village where you take the bridge across the A-5 and on the other side turn sharp left and then sharp right onto a dirt road (Note this is not the route described in the CSJ guide and avoids walking along the N-V road into Mérida). As it was Sunday there were quite a few runners and cyclists on the road but few vehicles. The road surface was what we had come to call “a bit rubbley” in places, that is some of the stones were larger than gravel. We reached the town by 12.00 noon.

The dirt road reaches the EX-307. Turn right and about 300m reach a major junction with the N-V and a roundabout with fountains on your right and the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Antiqua further on.

The street directly across the N-V bearing slightly to your left is the C/- Nuestra Señora de la Antiqua which leads into the Ave del Rey Don Juan Carlos I. From here you can follow the directions in the CSK guide. However, the Oficina de Turismo listed in the guide in the building with the clock at the start of C/- Santa Eulalia is no longer there although there are still street signs pointing to it. The only Oficina de Turismo is near the Teatro Romano. There are signs pointing to the Teatro and other tourist places if interest.

We stayed at the Hostal Senero, C/- Holguin, 12, 38€ for a double room and they have wifi. We stayed two nights having a rest come tourist day the next day. On both days we had lunch at the Panadaria, cafeteria Horno Sant Eulalia on C/- de Santa Lucia, a very nice place.

Well thats our Camino Mozárabe, I will be uploading notes on the Via de la Plata and Camino Sanabres sections on the Via de La Plata forum.

Thank you all for reading these notes.

Buen Camino

Kevin
 

Attachments

Perigrinator

New Member
Hi Kevin

I am planning to walk from Orgiva, which is about a two day walk south of Granada. I also find maps much easier than guidebooks and wondered whether you would be prepared to share your marked up electronic ones.

Perigrinator
 

Wombat

Member
Re: Camino Mozárabe maps

Hola Perigrinator and All,

The maps are marked up Spanish 1:50,000 survey maps. They are strip maps cut from the originals and combined into a PDF file. I have updated the Camino Mózarabe maps but have yet to work on the Via de la Plata section of our camino. I am willing to share them but be aware that I do not hold the copyright for the base maps and therefore they are for private use and study only and should not be distributed further.

The base maps are a few years old and dont have some of the newer autopistas or highspeed rail lines on them. Also I do not claim that my markups on them are without errors. I also spent some time checking the route with Google Maps and Street View and that proved usefull on the way.

I suggest that you send me a private message with your email address if you would like a copy.

Regards

Kevin
 

janice3

New Member
Hi Kevin

I am planning to walk in May but have only enough time to walk half of the Camino Mozarabe and have to decide between Gradada to Cordoba or Cordoba to Merida - do you have any comments as to which of these two options to choose?

Janice
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2009)
Camino Mozarabe, VDLP, Camino Sanabres (2012)
Hi Janice,

I walked the Mozarabe last Sept/Oct. Both sections you asked about have pros and cons-----however, if you can only do one section maybe Cordoba to Merida would be better, as I believe there is less chance of becoming lost on that section. It seems to me , that everyone who has posted on the forum after walking the Mozarabe,myself included, speaks of becoming lost during the first few days out of Granada. However, maybe you could start in Granada to see/ explore this beautiful city, and then get a bus to Cordoba . Are you continuing on to Santiago, after Merida ? Feel free to PM me if I can give any more assistance.

Buen Camino,

Sandra
 

janice3

New Member
Hi Sandra

Thank you for your reply. You confirmed what I already had in mind but I hadn't thought about going to Granada first and then taking a bus to Cordoba which is what I now plan to do. I won't be going on to Santiago this year but next year I hope to walk from Seville to Santiago when I will have more time.

Do you know if there is a direct connection by bus or train from Merida back to Madrid?. I haven't been able to find anything on the internet so I think that I may have to go Seville and get a train to Madrid from there.

Thanks again
Janice
 

Wombat

Member
Re: Camino Mozárabe-May

Hi Janice,

We found Granada to Cordoba very tough. However, by the time we reached Cordoba we had toughened up too. When you are planning your itinerary bear in mind that you will want to spend several days in each of these cities and that they are quite touristy. Also remember that May can be quite hot. The average maximum temperature in Cordoba in May is 28°C and has reached 40°C. You have probably read my notes above.

The stage between Villaharta and Alcaracejos is long and there is no support. However, it should be nice in the spring. We skipped this stage because of the heat, other pilgrims have taken a taxi to Puerto Calatraveno (the top of the range on the main road, no village), walked about 800m east to the camino and then to Alcaracejos. If you walk this stage take plenty of water.

Note, the taxi will probably have to come from Cordoba. Expect to pay at least $50.00.

Also don't expect to meet any other pilgrims on the way, there is an average of about one per week walking this path.

I had a look at the ALSA bus route and they dont have a direct bus to Madrid. However there RENFE intercity train from Merida to Madrid, it takes about 5 hours. See:

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

Please private mail me with your email if you need anything else.

Regards

Kevin
 

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