After a good night’s sleep, we set off this morning shortly before 08:00. The weather was quite fresh, plenty of cloud and a cool breeze, but the forecast was for sunshine. I had decided to wear a sleeveless merino T-shirt this morning, but I needed some extra warmth to begin with, so I had to tuck my fleece sleeves under my bra straps to keep them in place. For the last couple of days I have also started to wear my ‘buff infinity’ (long loop of bamboo fabric) to keep the sun off the back of my neck. The new T-shirt worked well, it was nice to have my arms entirely uncovered when it warmed up later in the day.
The first few kilometres were spent walking along the road which runs between a huge military complex, but we were eventually directed onto meadowland and a variety of tracks through Holm oak woodland and rocky paths, along a disused road covered in rutted dirt, beside a long unused railway line, on quiet country roads, sandy tracks lined with beautiful flowers and rough gravelly tracks.
At 13 km we stopped at the only village we passed through today, where we found a cafe that was overflowing with people, a dozen or so cyclists, bikers, lorry drivers and locals, all enjoying sweet pastries or eating toast spread with olive oil and puréed tomato. It was manic and interesting to watch the waiters juggling the orders.
Just another 9.5 km to walk, which was again on a variety of surfaces and never far away from the main N432 road.
We arrived at our destination of Villaharta at around 12:30 and stopped for a drink at the first place in the village – Bar Mirasierra, where we are staying the night for 15€ for a room each and a shared bathroom. Also with Ukitchen facilities and huge sun terrace. My notes tell me that the town hall offer the floor and a shower in the sports hall, but the telephone number given is a landline, and the chance of getting an answer on a Saturday is entirely remote. Added to that, I am not in the slightest bit keen to sleep on the floor. The host at Mirasierra is a lovely chap who is very helpful.
Tomorrow is a very long day with no villages between here and our destination 38 km away. It has been suggested that there are three options.
1) our host will drive us to a point 17.5 km along the track where it runs close to the road and we can start walking the remaining 20+ km from there.
2) we can walk to the above mentioned point and telephone our host to collect us and we can stay another night here and in the morning he will return us to the same place for us to finish the walk in two stages
3) we just go for it in one go.
We have decided on option 3 and will have to take extra water supplies and enough food to stoke the engines.
So far, this Camino is very different from the French and Portuguese routes, where you pass through many small towns and villages most days. The Mozarabe until now has run almost entirely across country, passing through either no, or only one village en route between stages. I do love the countryside, but I think I prefer to pass through small villages, interact with the locals and poke my nose over the garden walls to see how they are living their lives.
My foot is still a bit swollen, but I think less than it was. I have a small blister on each heel, neither of which is giving me much bother, but they have been hanging around for a few days now. I think I may try a compeed on each of them tomorrow and hopefully see them gone in a few days.
Off in search of wifi now – there is none in the room, but hopefully I will be able to log on in the bar – and it would be rude to just sit there without a glass of wine, so I will just have to do that as well.
Distance according to wikiloc (my own recording) 22.8km, mapmywalk 24.3km, Fitbit recorded steps 27,244
Accumulated elevation uphill 293 metres
Accumulated elevation downhill 217 metres
Total distance walked 281 km, average 25.5 km per day
Today’s spend – Coffee and pastry 2.20€, tinto de verano 1.20€, hostal 15€, shopping 2.20€, dinner and drinks 5.80€. Total 26.40€
Eleven days total spend 278.30€