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Day 22 - Roads Signs

Sat 7th Oct., Jarilla to Baños de Montemayor, approx. 23klms, 30,000 steps

As I wandered along today I had a head debate as to what to call this post. I vacillated between Roads and Signs, but I felt I couldn't use the latter because I'd used it before. So Roads Signs it is.

Why I hear you ask? Well firstly because I'd received a question from home overnight about the N-630 road, and today we seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time on said road. And that led me to once again think about the signs which guide us, or not, on our journeys. So I took photos of roads and signs today.

Leaving Jarilla on the N-630

From the road, a little later on

Big roads- the intersection of the N-630, E-33 and A-66

But as riveting as pictures of bitumen roads might be, there's a bit more to this.

The smaller roads, the laneways, were lovely:

At one point, wandering along an otherwise nondescript stretch of laneway, we came upon a sign advising the following:

The cattle trails: the Cañada Real

The cattleways, trails, and paths that cross the territory of Extremadura has embraced, since the Middle Ages, the movement of people and herds of goats, sheep and cattle from the north of the peninsula, becoming the backbone for cultural exchanges between the lands of the North and South.

The Cañadas Reales were regulated in 1273 by an edict issued by Alfonso X the Wise, to manage and protect these important roads for ‘transhumance,’ ie, sheperds moving long distances every season. The. “Honourable Council of the Mesta of Shepherds” is established, which would control the traffic of livestock and preserve the cattle trails, as well as be both judge and party in thelitigations that concerned it, such as the encroachment of roads or the contracts for the use of grassland necessary for the cattle. This institution was a major milestone for the Spanish economy until the mid nineteenth century.

This section, known as La Cañada Real of the Plata or Aliste-Zamorana, runs along the same route of the old Roman road. Its total length is 587 kilometers, starting in the Alto de Viganos between Asturias and Leon, and ending in Trujillo. It should have been 90 Castilian yards wide, or 72.22 meters, although in some sections, as the one we are on, its width was greater due to the existence here of a "resting” place, where herds rested or spent the night.

So not just any old country road but a fairly significant one. In my research I'd come across Alfonso the Wise, although I'd never worked out the basis for his wisdom. The above is clearly an example. These old kings had interesting additional names at times - Alfonso XI was the Avenger, and there were Just, Brave, Cruel and a whole swag of others.

Back to signs, here's another one showing part of our journey.

Today's walk, whilst long-ish, was perfectly structured. Around 12 klms to our first stop, and then two lots of 5 after that.

The first stop was at Aldeanueva del Camino, apparently the home of paprika production in Spain. They have a festival next week.

Pimentons on display around town

Back to roads, and things that go on them, we came upon a truckload of new VWs. We see surprisingly few EVs.

Top octane fuel €1.85/litre

We've been walking on or near Roman roads for some time now. I figure that the dead straight road leading into Aldeanueva del Camino which sort of morphs into the main street has a Roman heritage. Here's a little detail on their process and technology:

The construction of Roman roads

The archaeological work carried out in different Roman roads have allowed us to know how they were built. The formation of structure resistant to the traffic of loaded carriages, animals and people is the result of the planning of architects and surveyors. In each case, its construction was adapted to the topography and to the geological features of the land where they were located.

After choosing the correct path of the road two parallel grooves were dug, including a wide ditch.  The pit was were filled with different layers of materials from the area surrounding that stretch of road.

Each layer was properly compacted and arranged one over another, forming a package whose thickness varied depending on how soft the natural terrain was, sometimes reaching more than a metre.

The running surface, ie, the firm, would always be composed fine-grained soils to allow optimal traffic and so the hoofs of beasts did not suffer, because in Roman times they were not shod. Only urban roads were paved with flagstones Laterally, they were enclosed by stone curbs and embankments to prevent road from being affected by the rain. The highways  also had to be wide enough  for the passage of vehicles had to in be both directions, enough generally 6 metres wide or more.

Back to now, the last road sign is this one below. We'd walked the last 10klms or so in mid-30s heat, and the sign (mid shot) tells us to expect snow ahead. Yeah, sure.

For anyone planning this walk, please read your guidebooks closely. The path from

Aldeanueva del Camino is not well waymarked. Most of the path is actually on the N-630 (alertness needed but safe); it's just that it's not always obvious that that's the case. Las Cańadas is a pleasant stopover between Aldeanueva and Bańos.

One more sign before I sign off for the night ...

One of the buildings in the centre of Bańos de Montemayor has a sign between the two red doors.

The sign reads:

And in English this translates roughly to:




So I assume that Gaspar Flores lived in this house, some time in the 1500s, and that his daughter was born in Lima whilst he was there. Clearly a famous resident (notwithstanding that the Spanish conquistadors weren't exactly kind to the Peruvians of the day).

Re Santa Rosa de Lima, wiki advises:

Saint Rose of Lima (Lima, April 20, 1586-Lima, August 24, 1617), secular name Isabel Flores de Oliva, was a Dominican tertiary Catholic saint canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671. Among people born in America (formerly the West Indies), Rosa de Lima was the first to receive canonical recognition of sainthood from the Catholic Church.

That's enough rambling for today. We start tomorrow with a fairly solid 3klm uphill walk, but the journey to La Calzada de Béjar

is only about 12klms. Tomorrow we leave Extremadura and enter Castilla y Leon. I may talk about that mañana.

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Oct 08, 2023

I note the photo of Janet almost embracing a Volkswagen. I guess that happens after a few hundred kms of walking .

the road certainly looks good for cycling, and possibly some of the paths. Getting greener and more interesting now than the brown plains around Seville

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