I was up and ready early today and into the bar on the square to buy some food for our journey, as there were no shops open in the town and no villages en route to buy supplies. Unfortunately there was no fresh bread for bocadillos and our only option was ham and cheese toasties. Now, I would not normally eat the synthetic ham and cheese used to make toasties, but beggars cannot be choosers. The option was toasties or hungry, and as it was to be a long day the toasties won out. Just imagine how this dubious food source might taste having been wrapped in foil when hot and shoved in the back of my pack for several hours. I think you can get the picture.
We had a short spell on the road and were then directed onto a track, and there we stayed for three quarters of the journey, through very similar beautiful countryside as yesterday, and with some interesting water features. It was fresh but not cold, with plenty of light cloud in the sky.
We have passed very many dogs on this Camino, most of them the huge ‘mastin’ breed. Almost without fail they bark excitedly and rush up and down protecting their property safely on the other side of a fence. This breed is usually very gentle, but they have a job to do and that is fair enough. Of the dozens we have passed I have only come across one that I would be very wary of, if it somehow got to me – it was very aggressively showing me his teeth in no uncertain manner.
It is my whim to try and talk these barky dogs into submission with kind words and sounds – and it usually works. But today I could see up ahead a large mastin on one side of the track and a couple of geese on the other. I was less sure of the geese than the dog as I know they can be quite defensive/aggressive. The dog was guarding a whole menagerie of creatures – chickens, turkeys, a pig and some goats – and also a couple of greyhound pups. He made a halfhearted attempt to warn me to behave, although he didn’t like it when I loitered to take photos, but all was well.
As we moved on I realised the pups had run up behind us and were irresistibly wriggling and squirming at my feet just waiting for a tickle and a fuss. I knew it was likely to be a mistake but I just cannot resist a puppy and gave them some well deserved attention. But they wanted more and would not stop following me. I shoo-ed them, and shushed them, clapped my hands and clacked my sticks at them, stamped my feet and shouted at them, but every time I moved off, they were right at my heels. I finally discovered the only way to send them home was to do all of the above and bark loudly at them whilst running after them. Finally they were gone and I felt bad that I had to be so horrid to them. Poor little things. I know enough about the use of greyhounds in these areas to assume they would have a hard life and an untimely end.
We had a lovely lunch break (apart from awful lunch) sitting under an oak tree looking out at the meadows, and knew from our notes that the next stop would be to remove our boots and wade a river. We did have an option to take the road, but we were assured that the river would not be more than knee deep and so we decided to go for it.
I let George go first, he put on his flip-flops which I thought would be doomed to create a slip up, but he made it courageously to the other side, flip-flops intact. I had my crocs but knew I would be sliding all over the place in them once I got in the water. So I strapped them onto my feet using some elasticated knee braces (thankfully haven’t needed them for their intended purpose yet) and gingerly headed into the water. It was very stoney and I was glad of the extra support of my walking poles to test the river bed. And I too made it across safely. In fact we both quite enjoyed the adventure and it was lovely to cool our feet for a while before returning them to the confines of our boots.
The last 8 km or so of the walk was on the road and absolutely no fun. It was a quiet country road with very few vehicles, but those that passed did so at great speed. There was no shoulder and it was hot with virtually no breeze and not a speck of shade. A real slog at the end of a longish day and I was exhausted when we reached our destinstion.
During this stretch on the road we passed the boundary between Andalucia and Extremadura and are currently in the province of Badajoz.
We are staying in Hostal Vaticano and being charged 20€ each for the honour. The rooms are pleasant enough with ensuite, but it seems a bit steep. The option was the floor of ‘parroquia’ which could be the church or a side office, but after such a horrible end to the day’s walk we thought we deserved better than the floor. Luckily there was not an opportunity to donate at the Albergue last night – no donation box or information available, so none was left, as I think was intended by the Policia Local. So what I saved last night can go towards the cost of tonight.
On first sight this seems an unremarkable town, but there may be hidden treasures. The trouble is I don’t think I have the energy to find them! Update – I did summon the energy to wander around the town, and I can confirm my first impressions were correct. The church seems to be the only point of interest in this fairly sizeable town.
Distance according to wikiloc (my own recording) 33.7 km, Fitbit recorded steps 42,767
Accumulated elevation uphill 215 metres
Accumulated elevation downhill 202 metres
Total distance walked 375.9 km, average 26.85 km per day
Today’s spend – toastie 3.40€, drinks 2.50€, ice cream (new raspberry magnum, yum!) 2€, dinner and drink 9.50€, hostal 20€. Spend for the day 37.40€
Fourteen days total spend 366.80€