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    • Day 31

      Campanario to La Haba

      March 4 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      D: Today’s walk began with misty long views, including of Magacela, perched on the side of the only mountain half way along today’s 20 km route. It was a pleasant walk today in mildly variable weather. The route was to take us a little ways up the mountain but G found a diversion and we bypassed the town. My main issue today is my sore Achilles, but La Haba offers a pleasant opportunity for rest. The Albergue is only 5 years old and really nice. Clean, great beds, great showers, a nice common room and cooking facilities. Angelina, who is in charge of the Albergue, is quite sweet and reminds me a bit of Nely. She said that G and I can share the showrr/washroom because we are married and there is no-one else here! 😇 Such a contrast to the horrible Hostal Maya we stayed at yesterday.

      About the photos: obviously they are mainly taken by Gerrard as I am in so many of them. His phone has a much better camera, I ask him not to post so many photos with me in them, but he insists that the backgrounds are nice. Oh well!

      G: debi en ik schrijven alletwee in deze blog. Soms overschrijft de een de bijdrage van de ander. Zo ook deze keer. Ik laat het hierbij, heb geen zin om het hele verhaal nog een keer op te schrijven. Morgen maak ik mijn verhaal eerst in Word dan kan ik het altijd terug halen… weltrusten.
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    • Day 32

      La Haba to Medellín

      March 5 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

      D: We began the day with a cold but quick walk to Don Benito, where we had our first coffee of the day. By that time it was sunny and warm (although we are quite fine with the cold for walking…no complaints about weather). After Don Benito the walk was quite uninteresting, on or near a highway. Part of the walk along the highway was on a very narrow side of pavement with a constant stream of vehicles passing us at great speed. Gronze warns about the danger of this part of the walk.

      We had arranged with the local police to sleep at the sports hall and had told them when we would arrive, but when we arrived at the police station it was closed (oops, wrong station!). We decided to walk to the nearby sports hall to investigate access before trying to phone the police. Coincidentally (?) a police officer pulled up and showed us into the building, providing us with instructions and keys. We were to sleep on some sports mats in the corner of the gym. We were totally ‘game’ for it, and G began to try a bit of gymnastics, but after the officer left the cleaner informed us that the area would be used by small children from 5-6, and from 6-9 the gym would be used for athletics, so it was not available to us until after 9, when it would also presumably be filled with the scent of perspiration. That was all a bit too much for us, so we went for a menu del dia and then headed to the hostel, which is cozy and comfortable, with great beds.

      I took an anti-inflammatory this morning and that did wonders for the discomfort of my Achilles. Yay drugs! Last January we walked the Via Serrana, which is a much shorter route, and G had trouble with his Achilles (his first time with a walking injury…he was indignant). We had to skip the final two days and take the train to Seville to hang out on patios drinking sangria. I feared (?) a repeat.

      Still, I am hoping that the remainder of the way to Merida will not be dominated by hard surfaces. We will need to check with the police in the morning about the river crossing as we forgot go ask the officer who assisted us this afternoon.

      G: Vanmorgen op zoek naar de bakkerij in het dorp. We vonden die maar er was geen winkel alleen de bakkerij. Debi ging naar binnen en vroeg of ze iets kon kopen en koffie. De bakker verwees haar naar het restaurant in de richting waar we net vandaan kwamen. Dan maar koffie in het volgende dorp, acht km verder.

      De koffie was in Don Benito zo gevonden, de Camino liep er bij doorheen. Na de koffie lopen we het dorp uit en zien dan al snel het kasteel op de berg waar we naar toe moeten, Medellin. Na twee uur wandelen zijn we er.

      Bij de politie konden we de sleutel van de herberg ophalen. De agent leidt ons binnen in de sporthal. Er is een schoonmaakster bezig. Hij wijst ons douche en waar we kunnen slapen. Dan gaat hij weg. We slapen in de conditie ruimte met een grote judomat en allemaal toestellen.
      Het is half drie en Debi begint alvast haar bed te maken, door een paar extra matten op elkaar te leggen. Het is improviseren maar daar kunnen we wel op slapen.
      Dan komt de schoonmaakster, ze is klaar en wil weggaan en ziet debi bezig op de mat. Ze vertelt in rap Spaans dat er om vijf uur kinderen komen spelen op de mat. En nog iets… we halen de google vertaal app erbij.
      Ze zegt dat er van zes tot negen volwassenen komen trainen op de apparaten en dat we daarna in de ruimte kunnen slapen.

      Misschien is het toch maar beter om een pensionnetje op te zoeken… wat we dan ook doen.

      We scoren vervolgens ook nog een menu del dia dus onze dag kon niet meer stuk. Welterusten.
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    • Day 33

      San Pedro de Mérida to Mérida

      March 6 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

      D: And, more quickly than expected, it was over! We were informed in the morning that we should not attempt to cross the river as the water would be waist deep and there would be a current. G wanted to walk on to Torrefresnada, but I balked at the prospect of the highway walk, esp. Given my Achilles problem. We asked the fellow behind the bar at the hostel to call a cab for us. Someone showed up and drove us to San Pedro de Merida for 30 euros.

      The walk to Trujillanos was along the side of a highway, or on a parallel road. We listened to music/podcasts to block out the roar of the trucks. The remainder of the way in to Merida was along a red dirt path, which was fine. Certainly the last 2-3 days of the CM are missable, unless you want to walk every step. If you want to walk into Merida, as we did, walking from Trujillanos is a good option.

      We stayed the night in the Albergue in Merida, a place where (as we also found during our last stay here on the VDLP) peregrinos take advantage of being in a city and stay up late. We rushed back from the city so that we would not disturb others who were sleeping, but were the first in the bunk room. After so much of the CM on our own, It was also a reminder of the more typical Albergue experience (chorus of snoring)!

      We are now waiting for the bus to Seville. We will fly home to Amsterdam on Monday evening. There is possibly time for another very short walk, but where?

      G: gestart in San Pedro. We hadden ons net zo goed nog wat verder kunnen laten afzetten want de eerste zeven km loop je parallel aan de lawaai snelweg. In Trujillanos een korte stop en daar zie ik een kerk met minstens tien ooievaarsnesten. Het kunnen er nog meer zijn ( in het midden) maar dat kan ik niet zien. Dit is het meeste van wat ik tot nu toe gezien heb.
      Het laatste stuk naar Mérida is over onverharde weg dus dat is wel lekker voor debi haar voetjes. Voor een laatste keer in de herberg, er zijn drie andere pelgrims. Een van hen, een Italiaan die op de fiets is laat ons binnen want de hospitalerio is r er nog niet. Morgen vroeg met de bus naar Sevilla. En dan is het plots over… Dat komt altijd met een beetje een droevig gevoel … Buen buen Camino
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    • Day 51

      Day 38: Castuera to Campanario

      June 13, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      Day 38, Castuera to Campanario, 22.6km.
      It wasn't until we left Castuera that we realised we were in the world capital, no less, of everything to do with sheep.
      Leaving town, we followed a Via Pecuaria, one of those transhumance paths. This Via Pecuaria is marked by milestones bearing the letters VP at regular intervals.
      After just over 7km, we crossed the Río Guadalefra. The railway crosses it on an iron bridge.
      This railway links Puertollano to Badajoz, passing in front of the old station of Quintana de la Serena. This station, now disused, was at one time, or still is, I don't know, an albergue, far away from everything.
      When a combine harvester goes by, you just get out of the way! Farming isn't the only activity here, as we passed by a granite quarry and a black pig farm.
      Arriving in Campanario, looking for a menu del día, the Restaurant Seneca was recommended to us. Delicious food and a very friendly owner.
      We had been warned that the Campanario refugio was spartan. Our Australian friend compared it to a prison. We booked a room at the Albergue de la Estación. It's a bit more comfortable, the only downside being that it's 40 minutes from the city centre.
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    • Day 52

      Day 39: Campanario to Magacela

      June 14, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Day 39, Campanario to Magacela, 11.7km
      Last night we enjoyed a magnificent sunset over Magacela.
      We left Campanario amidst the vineyards, and after passing the railway line, we went along it on a country lane.
      Later, we arrived to a structure that hides an interesting site. These are the ruins of a building constructed in the 5th century BC by a civilisation about which little is known, the Tartessos.
      As we had a short stage, we stopped to visit.
      Resuming our walk, it's hard to get lost: the hill of Magacela dominates the horizon.
      For pilgrims who don't stop here, there's an option to go around the hill.
      We'll be spending two nights here, so we continue on to Barrio de Abajo. In the afternoon, we climb the hill to visit the Centro de Interpretación del Camino Mozárabe.
      In the evening, we visit the Magacela dolmen and a 16th-century lime kiln.
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    • Day 33

      Medellín to San Pedro de Mérida

      March 6 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

      Gerard: We did not walk this part. It looked ideal going through Yelbes and taking the river road. The officer advised not to do it, He telephoned a colleague in Santa Amalia who confirmed. There is a water speed bump in the river that pushes the water up. He expected it to be waist deep this time of year. Such a bummer, if i had a rope i would have gone for it,
      But if you go and the water appears to be impassable you do a lot of extra kilometers. We have to take the advise seriously.
      So what to do now… we concluded to take a cab.
      A last look at the castle. In the street they were doing archeological research..

      Dit gedeelte hebben wij niet gelopen. Het leek ideaal om door Yelbes te gaan en de rivierweg te nemen. Men had ons geadviseerd om te vragen op het politie buro of de rivier doorwaadbaar was. De agent adviseerde ons het niet te doen. Hij belde een collega in Santa Amalia die het bevestigde. Er is een waterdrempel in de rivier die het water omhoog duwt. Hij verwachtte dat het deze tijd van het jaar heupdiep zou zijn. Zo jammer, als ik een touw had, zou ik ervoor zijn gegaan,
      Maar als je gaat en het water blijkt onbegaanbaar, dan maak je heel wat extra kilometers. We moeten het advies serieus nemen.
      Dus wat nu te doen… we besloten een taxi te nemen.
      Een laatste blik op het kasteel. Op straat deden ze archeologisch onderzoek..
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    • Day 53

      Magacela, rest day

      June 15, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

      Rest day in Magacela today.
      The only effort was to climb from Barrio de Abajo to Magacela Castle.
      First stop, the Ayuntamiento. Sello on the credenciale, information on the castle in hand and we continued our ascent. Magnificent views: you can see two days of stages before and two days of stages after from up there.
      It's a good thing the walls are still standing: there's shade and it's pleasant.
      On the way down, we strolled through the pretty streets of the historic quarter.
      To escape the heat, we spent some time at the Centro de Interpretación del Camino Mozárabe, and read some interesting information. On our way out, we stopped off at the Ayuntamiento to meet Inès, the current alcaldesa of Magacela, and Angel, who will be the alcalde from next month. Both are enthusiastic supporters of the Camino Mozárabe.
      Get up early tomorrow: the heatwave is coming!
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    • Day 24

      Rain, hail and wildflowers!

      May 1, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      Today was a long 40 km day. The first 12 or so on asphalt were not my favorite, but it was in total quiet through olive groves and cultivated fields. Then about 8 km on a nice track, where the wildflowers began their display in earnest. After a long walk from one end of a long small town to the other, the camino went off road onto a path that had me totally gasping. The wildflowers were amazing— pink, purple, red, white and yellow. I started a little contest to see which combination I liked the best. Yesterday’s clear winner was the red and yellow, but I think today’s would have to be purple and yellow.

      This was without a doubt the best wildflower display I’ve ever seen on a camino. And with the changing sky and rolling hills with scrub oak and holm’s oak, it was a riot of beauty.

      And then...about 8 km from my destination, thunder and lightening started popping up all over in front of me. I thought it was unlikely that I’d make it to Campanario before the downpour and I was right. About 3 km outside of town, the wind picked up, the rain started and then bam it was hailing —hard. After about 15 minutes I cane upon a little chapel with a porch where I waited out the rest of the storm. I was already soaked through and cold, but I thought it best to wait till the thunder claps receded. Thirty minutes later, I dragged myself the next few kms to my pension. It is probably the worst place I’ve stayed yet, but it’s 20€ for a private room that seems basically clean.

      I am eating a good meal, have showered, and the storm is a distant memory. But those wildflowers are vivid in my mind!
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