Joined September 2017
  • Day32

    Baena to Castro del Río (22.8km)

    October 20, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    After a day walking around Baena, it's interesting how we seemed to know the town well, as we were leaving this morning, recognising streets and buildings of the old town.

    It wasn't long before we found our first arrow and mojón. We were out of the peri-urban area reasonably quickly, and we were back into olive groves country.

    It's just amazing how this monoculture extends as far as the eye can see, up steep slopes. In Baena, the owner of one of the groceries shop said that the best olive oil was found here. I told him that Jaén claimed to be the world capital of olive oil. He acknowledged, saying that Jaén had more olive trees, but that it was only in Baena that one found the best olive oil.

    It was a nice walk to start with, with a few hills. However, it wasn't long before we came to a road. The A-3125, which was a little bit busy, took us to the bridge over the river Guadajoz. Then, the CP-325 led us all the way to Castro del Río. Had we not had to walk on a road, it could have been quite bucolic. We would get close to the river every now and then, and there was agricultural activity, such as a goat farm, tree nurseries, tractors on the road.

    Castro del Río also boasts a castle, which we will have to visit another time. We crossed the town to get to our accommodation at the Hostal A Ka La Sole.

    This was our last day walking the Camino Mozárabe. We have enjoyed the walk. Over the days, we have increased our endurance, which had made it easier for the most recent stages.

    Tomorrow, we're taking a bus to Córdoba, and catching a train to Málaga. We'll then fly to Switzerland, to give support to Rachel's sister.

    We'll be back in Málaga in November, as planned, to see our son, his wife and our gorgeous grandsons. As they will be living there for the foreseeable future, we know we'll be able to return to the Camino Mozárabe.
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    Traveler

    Thanks AJ. Great commentary. Will you be returning to the Mozárabe this year ?

    10/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you Annie. We'll return to Mérida on our way to see the grandkids in Málaga, but unfortunately, no more walking on the Mozárabe this year.

    10/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    Buen camino to you both - for Switzerland and Spain. Glad you can get back to see your grandchildren and family in Malaga before you return to oz. I will keep in touch. ❤️

    10/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you Annie! ❤️ We'll definitely stay in touch, and I'll follow your progress on the Mozárabe. Buen Camino!

    10/22/22Reply
     
  • Day31

    Baena

    October 19, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    Baena's Castle looks very simple from the outside, and the restoration work really makes it look fresh and modern.

    We were the only visitors this morning, and the lady at the entrance gave is a quick history of the castle. Built in the 9th century by the Arabs, it was captured at the time of the Reconquista and handed over to Diego Fernández de Córdoba in the 14th century.

    He demilitarised the castle and turned it into a palace and his main residence. It stayed in the family until the 18th century, when it was then abandoned.

    The Ayuntamiento took over the structure and built big water reservoirs. And in 2005, a prize winning restoration work started.

    Like for all castles, the views from the top are great!

    Our pilgrim friend Juan José had suggested we see the Casa del Monte. It houses offices and a restaurant. We went there for lunch, and the place mats were a map of the Caminos. The food was very good and I tried a local speciality, the mojete de papas.

    We also spent some time planning our next steps. We'll stop our Camino in Castro del Río, take a bus to Córdoba, and a train from there to Málaga. We'll then fly to Switzerland.
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    Traveler

    Ah .. alas ; with all the planning in the world AJ, some things just can’t be planned for - and we have to go where we are most needed. I hope it works out for everyone ❤️🙏

    10/19/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you Annie ❤️

    10/20/22Reply
     
  • Day30

    Alcaudete to Luque (Baena) (20.4km)

    October 18, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    The Ayuntamiento was all lit up when we walked past this morning. And it was open, so we got a sello!

    The walk was nice, and leaving Alcaudete, we walked through more olive groves. At one stage, we arrived at the Carretera de Córdoba, the N-432, but we didn't have to walk long next to it, as the Camino then diverges off, once again amongst olive trees.

    It is on the carretera that we crossed into the province of Córdoba.

    By then the temperature was rising, and there was practically no shade. So the UV umbrella came out for Rachel.

    This stage is roughly 26km, and I had a plan B, should the heat be too much. I had planned to take a road from a point just after the Laguna del Salobral, and leave the Camino, heading towards the Antigua Estación de Luque, which is an easy place for a taxi to pick us up.

    It turns out that just before the decision point, we crossed the Via Verde. So we opted to follow that, knowing that there would be no traffic, and that any slopes would be gentle.

    We ended up at the Antigua Estación de Luque, which is now a restaurant, Nicols. The food was really good, which explained why the place was packed and we had to queue to get a table.

    After lunch, I called José María, a Baena taxi driver who knows Nely, and whose number is in the Asociación Jacobea guide.

    We're staying in a quaint casa, with half levels, in a quiet part of Baena behind the Castle. We even have a view of the castle!
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    Traveler

    Space to contemplate..,

    10/19/22Reply
    Traveler

    A wetland, dry as a bone...

    10/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Very cheery and pretty

    10/19/22Reply
    2 more comments
     
  • Day29

    Martos to Alcaudete (23.6km)

    October 17, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Leaving Martos was interesting this morning. We wanted a stamp for today, knowing that there were no villages or towns on our path today. Just a few 100 metres up the road was a Guardia Civil post, so we asked them if they could add a memento to our credenciales, which they did. The hotel is not on the Camino, so we had to make our way to where we thought we would find arrows. We did so against the tide of workers going to a large factory.

    As soon as we were out of the urban area, we were surrounded by olive groves. All the way to the horizon. And popping out from under the olive trees were rabbits, scurrying across the path.

    And it wasn't long before we came to the Via Verde del Aceite, which made our walk so easy today. It follows the now dismantled railway track, built in 1859, which used to go from Jaén to Puente Genil.

    We crossed a number of viaducts, and from one of them we could see a medieval bridge over the río Víboras.

    The train line didn't use to go to Alcaudete, so we had to leave the Via Verde, and take a steep incline in the direction of that town.

    The temperature went up, so we used the umbrella with UV protection to shade Rachel on her walk.

    The Castillo Calatrava greeted us as we entered Alcaudete.

    Our day was saddened by the news that the husband of Rachel's sister had passed away after a long illness. Rachel might fly out to Switzerland to be with her sister.
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    Traveler

    Feeling for both you now; sad and wanting to comfort family .

    10/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you Annie!

    10/17/22Reply
    Laurie Reynolds

    I am so sorry to hear this, AJ. Sending condolences to you, Rachel, and her family.

    10/17/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you Laurie!

    10/18/22Reply
     
  • Day28

    Jaén to Martos (23.8km)

    October 16, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    We're back on the Camino!

    We started at the cathedral, following the arrows, many of which were bas-relief, through the streets of Jaén. We went through places Jacinto showed us, so many of which have stories linked to the Camino and Santiago.

    As today is Sunday we couldn't find a place where we could have our desayuno un Jaén. Before leaving our room we always have an orange, so Rachel can take her medication. It wasn't on an empty stomach that we left Jaén.

    As we left Jaén, there was a roundabout with the words: "Jaén, Capital Mundial del Aceite de Oliva". It didn't come as a surprise that our walk was through olive groves.

    By the time we arrived in Torredelcampo, we had been walking a bit more than two hours. We were getting hungry. At the church, the arrows pointed in a different direction to what my GPS track was indicating, and away from a churrería that I had noticed on the map. Nevertheless, we trusted the arrows, and we arrived in the Plaza Fuente Nueva. A few elderly gentlemen were sitting on benches, probably sorting out the world's problems. We asked them if there was a café open in the vicinity so that we could have breakfast. In unison, they told us to go down the street, and we would find one. So we did. This café was between two parallel streets, so it had two doors. We entered through what I found out was the back door. There were about a dozen men, arguing. I recognised the word "ladron", so they must have been talking about some politician. We ordered our breakfast, a media tostada con jamón, tomate y queso, with a garlic clove thrown in for good measure, and our usual Colacao and manzanilla. After breakfast, we walked out the front door, and as I exited, I noticed the photo of Lenin, as well as those of candidates and local officials. We had had breakfast in the café of the Torredelcampo Communist Party of Spain.

    We walked through another village, Jamilena. The name made me think of the Arabic word "jamila", which means pretty, but the only pretty thing we found was a sign welcoming visitors to the village, only we were leaving it.

    The Castillo de la Peña de Martos appeared on the horizon, a sign that we weren't far from our end point. One last ascent to the Plaza de la Constitución, where we found the parish church and the Ayuntamiento. From there, it was downhill to our room.
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  • Day27

    Jaén - day 2

    October 15, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    There is a bus line that runs up to the Santa Catalina Castle, and the Tourism office had given us the timetable. Great, there's a bus stop right at the end of the street.

    We waited, and waited. But no bus came. We found out later that as the Feria was on, they had cancelled the bus service.

    Once we figured out that no bus would be forthcoming, we decided to walk up to the castle. It turned out to be less strenuous as what Jacinto had led us to believe.

    Looking at the castle ridge, from the city, one could think that the castle was as large as the Fortaleza de la Mota. In fact, the castle itself is not very large. The rest of what we see on the ridge is taken up by the Parador.

    We weren't dressed well enough to have lunch at the restaurant (the polite excuse was that the restaurant was fully booked), but we could eat something at the cafeteria.

    After this very nice lunch, we spent some time at the castle. Jacinto had told us the following story. There used to be a church of Santiago in Jaén. It was one of the first churches. By 1784, however, lack of maintenance and very bad weather caused the collapse of the building. When the French Napoleonic army took over the town, they used the stones of the church to build a hospital in the castle. Then as the French retreated, they blew up the hospital. In 1965, the Parador was built, and they used the stones from the French hospital. That's how stones from the church of Santiago ended up at the Parador. And in a funny coincidence, the paper under my French fries had a scallop shell with the cross of Santiago.

    Just a few hundred metres further along the ridge, there is a large white cross. It's the only place where you can see the cathedral from above.
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    Laurie Reynolds

    Now that I’m back home I can look at your pictures on my ipad instead of on my phone and they are even MORE beautiful. I once ate a Christmas dinner in the parador, and felt terribly underdressed so maybe this is a particularly formal place.

    10/15/22Reply
    Traveler

    There were notices everywhere about how the place was exclusively for guests. I still went in to reception and managed to get a sello 😄

    10/16/22Reply
     
  • Day26

    Jaén - day 1

    October 14, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Yesterday, Jacinto, of the Asociación Jacobea de Jaén, suggested a number of things to see in Jaén.

    One of the main ones, as you can imagine, is the Cathedral. It is quite unique in that it has numerous balconies, both outside and inside. The visitor can go up to the gallery and walk around with views of the Plaza Santa María and the Ayuntamiento, as well as views of the choir. Jacinto had given us a challenge: Santiago is represented 4 times in the wooden sculptures of the choir stalls. We only found three.

    Jacinto also suggested visiting the Arab Baths. They were built in the 11th century, and in the 16th century, a private palace was built over them. In the 20th century they were rediscovered and are now part of a museum.

    The "Fuente del Lagarto", or Fountain of the Lizard, is the source of many legends in Jaén. They all relate to a large reptile that ate local sheep, and people, who came to the Fountain of Magdalena, and how it was killed.

    A must see jewel is the Salón Mudéjar, which has an amazing ceiling.

    We finished the day by going to a tavern suggested by Jacinto, La Manchega. We arrived as they opened, and had our choice of table. Half an hour later, it was standing room only, and the noise was pretty high!
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    Laurie Reynolds

    WOW

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Amazing ceilings

    10/16/22Reply
     
  • Day25

    Jaén

    October 13, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    We knew there was a bus running between Alcaudete and Jaén, but we weren't sure of the departure times. We were told there was no point going to the bus station, because it wasn't attended, and there was no information available.

    So we did a first: we booked a Blablacar. The driver, Carolina, is a nurse. She was driving to work in Jaén, and by chance, she lives just down the road from the hotel.

    She dropped us off near the hospital and we walked to our accommodation. We're staying at Pension la Florida 19. Comfortable, it was the only place that was available at a reasonable rate, as there are festivities in Jaén, and we booked too late.

    At 6 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Asociación Jacobea de Jaén opens its office at Calle Nuñez de Balboa 1. We met Jacinto and other members of the Asociación. Jacinto then showed us some parts of Jaén, commenting on the links to the Camino.

    By chance, Carlos, who contributes to Gronze, is also walking the Camino Mozárabe, so we got to meet him.

    We ended in front of the cathedral, which we will visit tomorrow. We had a quick dinner at a restaurant close to the cathedral square.
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    Traveler

    Success with blabacar ! I have not yet tried them either. Buen camino. You’re going strong. Enjoy the festivities 🥳

    10/13/22Reply
    Traveler

    We have found out that the festivities are in an area on the outskirts of the city. There's nothing happening in the city centre.

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Beautiful photo . Good keepsake . I see they have a real office AJ. I hadn’t thought there would be many start from Jaén? Obviously there must be.

    10/14/22Reply
     
  • Day25

    Alcaudete

    October 13, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We're going to Jaén, so that we can walk the two stages from Jaén to Alcaudete. We were not leaving until 2pm, so we decided to visit the Castillo Calatrava or Castillo de Alcaudete.

    It has been restored and the information is quite interesting. It is smaller than the Fortaleza de la Mota. The various rooms have mannequins, and their faces are all those of Hollywood actors.

    As with all these castles, you get some amazing views from the top of the tower.
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    Traveler

    It made me smile thinking of those mannequins with faces of Hollywood actors. I was wondering which actors were depicted. 😁

    10/14/22Reply
     
  • Day24

    Alcalá la Real to Alcaudete (23.2km)

    October 12, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    We don't always walk backwards, but leaving Alcalá la Real, we turned around many times to see the sunrise over the city.

    We had had a storm overnight, and a mist hung around for a while. Little pearls of water formed at the tips of leaves.

    The walk was nice, and we don't get tired of walking amongst the olive trees. The noise of the nearby Carretera de Córdoba N-432 didn't bother us.

    At Ventas del Carrizal, we stopped for a drink. Shortly after we had sat down, 11 pilgrims appeared with their Spanish guide. They were walking from Granada to Córdoba. Some of them had never walked a Camino.

    We continued our walk and the sun came out. There was not much shade directly on the path, but we found a big oak tree, under which we stopped for lunch.

    A mojón at the entrance of Alcaudete indicated we had another 1114km to go to reach Santiago. Not this year.

    The bells were ringing when we arrived at the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Fuensante. The statue of Madonna in the chapel had been crowned, and the whole town was decorated to celebrate.

    We checked in at the Hotel Spa Rueda, and went for a walk. It looks like tomorrow morning we're going to visit the Castillo.

    After that, we're taking a Blablacar, our first time, and we're excited, to Jaén. We're taking two more rest days to discover the city.
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    Traveler

    Wow. Still a long way to go from that point for those walking all the way to Santiago de Compostela. I know both you and Rachel (and myself later this month ) are going as far as Mérida (this trip at least ).

    10/14/22Reply
    Traveler

    Jacinto from the Asociación Jacobea de Jaén was proud to point out that the distance from Jaén was 1148 km 😊

    10/15/22Reply
     

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