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Day 1 Birmingham to Almarie

Undermanager

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Madrid (x2)
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#1
An easy journey from Birmingham, got picked up using Blablacar at Malaga airport and was in Almeria by 8.00pm. Arrived in the rain but it didn't strike me as a top place to spend a day so am glad I'm off in the morning.

The wander round was mixed. I couldn't find anywhere that did a stamp - the Cathedral hotel suggested the actual cathedral, which was shut, and other places around the cathedral didn't have one. Phone shops were shut so couldn't get a sim card, I couldn't find anywhere that sold a knife for my salads and then found that I'd forgotten to pack any adapters so am relying on my battery until I can buy some!! This does not bode well. I'd forgotten how doing the simplest of things in Spain is so difficult!

However, on the plus side, the lift from Malaga was fun, I took a photo of the first yellow arrow near the hotel, the hotel is fine, and I had some great fish tapas with my beer in a cafe 200 meters up the road from the hotel on the left. I really need some adapters but will be out of here as soon as possible tomorrow so hopefully will be able to find some on the way. If not, I will have to keep my fingers crossed as I absolutely need my phone and maps.me. I can't believe I forgot adapters.

What a plonker I am!!!
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#2
Almeria does have some charms but you may not have noticed them on a dark and rainy evening. It's a pity you will be ahead of the pack because I have a whole bunch of adapters I could have given you.

The rain is due to stop on Saturday and the sun will be shining from then on. I hope you don't get too wet tomorrow!
Buen camino!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#3
An easy journey from Birmingham, got picked up using Blablacar at Malaga airport and was in Almeria by 8.00pm. Arrived in the rain but it didn't strike me as a top place to spend a day so am glad I'm off in the morning.

The wander round was mixed. I couldn't find anywhere that did a stamp - the Cathedral hotel suggested the actual cathedral, which was shut, and other places around the cathedral didn't have one. Phone shops were shut so couldn't get a sim card, I couldn't find anywhere that sold a knife for my salads and then found that I'd forgotten to pack any adapters so am relying on my battery until I can buy some!! This does not bode well. I'd forgotten how doing the simplest of things in Spain is so difficult!

However, on the plus side, the lift from Malaga was fun, I took a photo of the first yellow arrow near the hotel, the hotel is fine, and I had some great fish tapas with my beer in a cafe 200 meters up the road from the hotel on the left. I really need some adapters but will be out of here as soon as possible tomorrow so hopefully will be able to find some on the way. If not, I will have to keep my fingers crossed as I absolutely need my phone and maps.me. I can't believe I forgot adapters.

What a plonker I am!!!
Well after all you are "only" UnderManager :D

Maybe this one will cheer you up a bit:


Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#4
Raining in Almeria? I am puzzled as I have been here 2 days and not a drop has fallen on me. Yesterday was lovely and sunny in the morning but it clouded over in the afternoon so that made it a good day for walking. Maybe it rained after i was back in my hotel, but that is the best time for it! The forecast is good. I walked 16 km to Rioja and took the bus back to meet the others as they arrive. I have now met 3 forum members and more come today. Today I will be a tourist and then attend our forum meet-up. The serious walking starts tomorrow!
 

Seabeggar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mozarabe
#5
About to fly out of Almeria. Arrived back last night on bus after 9 day Camino to Granada. Splendid first pilgrim experience, but only met 1 other pilgrim! Most days saw no one but the great Hospitalarios. Suspect weather is improving, but we had snow, rain & cold last 2 days in the mountains, so glad we had enough warm clothes. Bueno Camino. Wished we could just keep on heading north.
 

Undermanager

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#6
Day 2 Almeria to Alboloduy 39kms

A great day today. Perfect weather - cold and mostly blue sky. I left at 7.30am and eight and a half hours later, arrived in Alboloduy. It only takes 3 hours to get to get to the village of Rioja, where there is an albergue, bars and supermarket, and another hour to the village of Sante Fe. After Santa Fe, the walk changes from easy to hard slogs up and down, with poles strongly advised on the steeper bits. It took another four and a half hours of this to get to the destination. Overall, the walk is not spectacular. You walk on a pretty disgusting dry river bed a few times, and a lot of tarmac. The hills are unremarkable. You don't really need more than a litre of water anywhere except perhaps after Santa Fe as there are plenty of places along the way to top up. The albergue in Alboloduy is great and the shower the best in the world! I didn't reserve and it was full so they opened an extra room. Best to book ahead for this one as it is popular with groups of kids from school apparently. The feet took a pounding today and hurt a bit underfoot but I think they will be fine. Did lots of stretches and applied the Gewohl cream. Tomorrow is a hard day in the hills and also 30km long so need some good sleep tonight.
 

Undermanager

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#8
Day 3 Alboloduy to Abla

A fabulous day today but very tiring. At the end in Abla, you are rewarded with spectacular and close snow capped mountain views. The day starts with a tough two hour steep climb and some great views high up, then one hour steep downhill, and finally about four hours steady uphill. It's knackering! Naciemento is about 21km from the start. It has a bar which I couldn't find although others did. At the end of the village is a well kept water source, on the road under the very end house in the village. 8 kms before Abla is a small village called Ocana. There is a bar that was open and a sign that says an Albergue, but there was no albergue there according to the barman. From Ocana, you can follow the camino along the dry river bed but I elected for an easy and faster 7 km road hike. Those views as you get about three kms from Alba will take your breath your way. The albergue is great, with 12 beds, a kitchen, washing facilities, a communal area and a really nice chap running it. It is a trek however from the start of Alba, all uphill and a pain after 30kms, and it took a while to find it as I missed the A signs painted on the kerbs. But once you are there, the views will knock you out. Tomorrow is an easy 21kms so langsam langsam zum Affen fangen.
 

Undermanager

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#9
Day 4 Abla to Hueneja
Today felt like a holiday after the previous two days as I left about 8.30am and was in the hostel by 2.00pm. It was another cold blue sky day, perfect for hiking. For most of the route, you have snow capped mountains on your left so have your camera at the ready! The first few hours from Alba is mostly flat or slightly uphill along a quiet road. The second half of the walk is gently uphill, mostly following a dry river bed. About 8kms from Alba is the large village of Finana, where there are a few shops and a couple of bars. After that, there isn't much in the way of stops. You don't need more than a litre of water. The albergue in Hueneja was easy to find. It's a small apartment on the top floor of a block on the far side of the village. There was a lovely warm welcome and a meal and drinks to greet the new arrivals. Much appreciated! So far, the body and feet are fine, just the usual pains. If you have underfoot blisters prepare for pain on those river beds, though!
 

Undermanager

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#11
Jo from Chicago, Matt from England, Margaret from Australia, a chap from America / Puerto Rica and a Spanish chap. All good fun and I'm learning a few more Spanish phrases than normal. I'd really like to push on and do a double stage tomorrow but it all depends on the feet and energy levels, and I need to check out the terrain. I was still pretty tired when I got here, after only 21kms.
 

Undermanager

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#12
Day 5 Hueneja to Guadix 42km
What a brilliant day! Bitterly cold and blue sky, great walking under the Sierra Nevada. I didn't get much sleep last night. The apartment albergue is tiny and I didn't sleep until the last of the guests decided to go to bed. Not the place to stay if you need rest or space, although the welcome was very warm! There is a 20 minute uphill hike out of Hueneja then it's great views to the pretty village of Dolar 5 kms away. This would be a great place for coffee and breakfast, but even better is Ferreira, a further 5km away, uphill first then rolling countryside and olive orchards. As you enter Ferreira, there's a bar. When you leave, unless you want to go walking around the place, ignore the signs and just head out along the bottom of the village - you will pick up the yellow arrows after 30m.

With hindsight, I would have stayed a few kilometers further on after leaving Abla, in La Calahorra rather than Hueneja, then from there to Guadix - that would be two stages around the 30km mark. La Calahorra has a big castle, definitely has a few hostels that I saw as I walked through the place, the usual shops and bars and is a very pretty small tourist town I think. I got some snacks, a stamp from the city hall, had a break then moved on. Next was Alquife. I started walking on the Camino out of La Calahorra but then switched to the road for the last three kilometers for a road hike. It seems pretty enough but I went straight through the town, stopping briefly for supplies and lunch. It was about 1.00pm by the time I set off again. The walk to Jerez del Marquesado just gets better and better, and arriving at the village after about an hour and a half takes your breath away. You are very close to the snowline, the sun is brilliant blue and it is ridiculously pretty. Stunning. But I had to press on. Down out of town, then uphill over a hill, through a wood then a glorious, and flat, plain as far as you can see. I didn't go round the lake you can see - I just headed down, crossed over on a concrete pillar and then the plain. Head down, music on and about 15kms later I was in Guadix. The journey is great. There's a town after about 3kms for supplies. Then a lot of flat walking, down into a valley for about 8kms and finally, out into Guadix. Don't get too excited when you get there as it took an hour from the outskirts to the truly amazing albergue. I never did my homework - the town is incredible - I won't say why- and I took a long time finding the albergue. I'm the only one here as well! But very happy. This must be the best albergue in the world - book ahead! A brilliant walk of 42kms and I feel totally fine.
 

Undermanager

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#14
Day 6 Guadix to La Peza 25km
An absolutely brilliant day but this 25km is very tiring, with lots of ups and downs, and even more to come tomorrow, I gather! And it must have been 8 or 9 degrees hotter!

The Albergue in Guadix is breathtakingly beautiful and I feel priviliged to have stayed there. The designer must be a very talented person indeed, and Gabriela was a diamond. I slept late, had a chat over breakfast with Gabriela, had a wander around the town, finally got a Sim card (Vodaphone, 2GB plus 50 mins international calls, can be used anywhere in Europe, all for 15 Euros, renewable every 4 weeks) and left about 11.00am What can I say about the day? It was hot, exhausting, some great scenery, up, down, along and quiet. I should have left earlier! I wouldn't tag this stage onto any other as it is too much! If you are looking for options to break the stages up in different ways, there were loads of hostels in Los Banos you could check out. La Peza is a nice town but look out for the Albergue letter A on the ground near the fountain next to the church or you will miss it - it is in the opposite direction to the Camino!

The albergue is perfectly fine and welcoming with a good kitchen, great showers, and near a supermarket and some bars. I am just off to stock up for tomorrow - there are no supplies on the route tomorrow apparently. Another day, exhausting but fun. So far on this trip the yellow arrows have been perfect so thanks for that yellow arrow painters. My feet have zero problems after 5 days and all is well. I may throw away a few things tomorrow - I think another half kilo is possible! I'm enjoying reading the adventures of others on this route so keep posting.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
#15
You’re ‘doing your own thing’. Undermanager?
Is the mob behind walking in your dust !.
I’m enjoying all the reports on this route. Doubt I’ll ever do it but it’s great following. I just cruised into SdC today from Invierno sola
 

Undermanager

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#16
It's a stunning route but tiring. I have developed an unhealthy habit in the evenings of eating packet spaghetti with cheese sauce washed down with cheap red wine - I hope I can come off this when I go home! I think it puts all the salt back in my body in one go, which is why I like it so much!
 
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Undermanager

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#17
Day 7 La Peza to Quentar 29kms
I had a quick look at the bars in La Peza but they were pretty grim so was glad to have eaten at the albergue. The supermarket near it closed at 8.00pm.

This next stage is a fantastic one, very pretty, in the mountains, great views and quiet. If it is a hot day, set the alarm clock and leave as early as you can. There are a lot of up and down sections that become harder and harder the hotter it gets. I don't normally like to walk when it's dark but the start is very well marked and on big wide tracks so with a light, it should be no problem. You will need lots of water. I took 3 litres and it was just about enough on a warm day. And you will need food, for beakfast, lunch and snacks. When you leave La Peza, follow the signs out onto the track and you have an uphill slog for about 5kms followed by a downhill section for 3kms to the road. It's worth noting that just outside La Peza is a 20km horse riding route that runs in some part on the camino - it could be worth investigating if that is your thing!

When you get to the road, you follow the camino by the road for three or four kilometers, until you leave it behind as the camino heads off again into the mountains. Although I didn't see any bars or shops during this stage, after about 17kms, there is a very pretty picnic site with a fast flowing clear stream through it. There is a sign saying 'water fountain' but I didn't see a working one. I stopped here for half an hour for lunch before starting the final, big 3km ascent. You will get to a quarry, pass through it and down. The signage is confusing in places here so you will have to look carefully at where you are going. Oh, and the marked route after the quarry was nothing like the maps.me track. I think this may be a newly laid out track but I could be wrong.

The albergue in Quentar is very pretty with all the facilities you need, including stuff for eating. There is a shop in the village if you want to use that. All in all, another great day but quite strenuous. Grenada tomorrow, or beyond?
 

Undermanager

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#18
Day 8 Quentar to Grenada 18kms
If you just can't walk anymore, there is a bus at 8.00am to Granada from the square near Hotel Quentar. Just follow the Camino arrows. You will also see some bars for breakfast. The albergue is not to be missed. If you need a few days rest, this would be a brilliant place, and buses to and from Granada are every two hours.

From Quentar, you walk half an hour through a valley. Then it's a slog uphill for over an hour. After that, it's all fairly straightforward, great views and a nice walk into Granada. The whole walk to my excellent, cheap and convenient Pension Austria was about four hours and very close to the Camino near Plaza Nueva. It is also near bus stop C2, which is a circular bus with a stop just as you come out of the valley and into Granada.

The city is really pretty and there is plenty to see but I seemed to be very tired and feeling a bit queezy so went to bed for the afternoon. Feeling better now and ready for more.
 

Undermanager

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#19
Day 9 Granada to Birmingham!!
Bugger. I know I was feeling a bit sick for most of yesterday but when I woke up and got out of bed today, my back screamed in pain. After that, every movement really hurt and standing let alone walking was a real problem. I laid still for a few hours, did some stretching exercises for the kind of pain I had but no change. I'm guessing a torn muscle or trapped nerve but I can't see it going away without a few weeks of rest at least, and will have to go to the doctor's tomorrow. The hotel in Granada was next to useless helping me organise a visit to a doctor's in Granada, saying that they didn't know what to do as it hadn't happened before, and a lot of guests were arriving later so they were very busy!! Pension Austria is off my Christmas card list for the next two decades. So sadly, that is the end of my camino for a while. I guess I will return but probably not until the Autumn. I was able to take a taxi to the bus station and a bus to Malaga. I have 7 hours to kill until my flight so I guess I just need to find somewhere out of the sun. A real blow after so much planning but what can I do except enjoy the pictures and posts of others on the forum for a while?
 
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
#20
Arrrgh I feel for you. Best laid plans etc.
autumn it is ! Take care of yourself. Let us know what happened too !

Annie
 

Undermanager

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#21
Thanks. I was only thinking before getting out of bed this morning that I was just about getting into the groove! If anyone wants a 10 day walking holiday, then Almarie to Granada would be a great option to look at. I was really looking forward to pushing on to Cordoba, too. I did stretches in the morning and afternoon after fjnishing, and only carried 8 kgs without supplies but I think I could have still lost 1 more kg. The extra weight with water, the very hilly terrain for most stages and perhaps doing some too long stages too soon must have all played a part. This will take a while to recover but it will be off to the doctors in the morning. And I don't like being in Malaga - it's so cold!
 


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