Mon 18th Sept., Castilblanco de los Arroyos to Almadén de la Plata, 28 klms
First, a pronuncian lesson for the Aussies in the audience. Andalusia is pronounced an-da-loo-see-a, not, as we might sometimes say in our rather casual way, ander-loosher. (The purer local Spaniards might even pronounce it an-da-loo-thee-a, with the "th" as in "think", but that is perhaps a little too pure for these purposes).
But back to now. Today was always going to be a whopper of a day, and so it was. But nowhere near as tough as I had earlier steeled myself for. Unlile yesterday, where I had convinced myself that it would be "easy", we were mentally prepared for a challenging day, and so rose quite well to the challenge.
Ourtr little private alburge last night was comfortbale - we were the only guests - and I slept the sleep of the dead. I recall having some pretty crazy dreams, no doubt brought on by the hard work of yestertday, but by morning time they'd all disappeared into the void. Our first stop was El Correos, where we lightened our loads by a modest 2kg - every little bit helps. Then a cheese and tomato bocadillo for desayuno (and a takeaway cheese and tomato bocadillo for lunch) and on the road a little after 9:30.
We knew that we had a 16klm road stretch before we turned off into the Parque Natural Sierra Norte. There's nothing particularly exciting about a 16klm bitumen road walk, and so there's just a couple of photos.
But as we got nearer to the parque we noticed that an ancilliary track seemed to be being made adjacent to the road. As we got closer to the entrance to the parque this track had been very freshly gravel topped. We weren't to know it at the time but exactly the same has occured at the other end of the parque. I surmise that someone (the local council?) is improving the Camino paths. That's no more than a guess on my part - perhaps a VDLP expert will know.
Above three: leading up to and at the entrance to the Parque Natural Sierra Norte
It was a long but quite enjoyable day. Door to door we were on the road for seven and a half hours. Allowing for stops our walking time was about six and a half hours. We strode out of Castilblanco de los Arroyas at a little under 6kph, and of course that slowed as the day prgressed, but all the same we average around 4.5 kph, which on balance is a pretty good effort. We left Castilblanco carrying 5.2 litres of water, and arrived here in Almadén de la Plata with none left, so the advice to be well stocked was wise. Our devices told us that we walked 35,000 steps plus.
Today's title?? The Andalucian sun did beat down on us all day, but never more than a most hospitable 25-degrees or so. A far cry to the 40+ of not very many days back.
Some more photos and comments to follow.
I didn't wander over to these ruins, but bookmarked as they were by a couple of eucalypts, they made an enchanting sight.
Markers/flechas never far away
The brand new path on the northern end of the walk
Part way along the new path
At the top of the final climb. If you've done this walk you'll know the spot. Congratulations to us.
Looking the other way. The most welcome sight of Almadén de la Plata.
With Almadén de la Plata behind us
Almadén de la Plata centro
I have to say I really enjoyed today. Didn't expect to, but there you go ...
Tomorrow is an easy day - just 13 klms, perhaps just over 3 hours on our feet.
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