The albergue at Mataelpino is only a couple of years old and well equipped with beds for 18, two bathrooms, kitchen facilities and lots of tables and chairs. The cost is 8 euros.
Last evening Paul suggested that he would stay at the albergue in the morning, have a long lie-in and wait whilst Marilyn and I returned to Manzanares to continue yesterday’s stage. This way we could walk the distance without carrying our packs. What an excellent idea! I did take my backpack, but emptied it of almost everything. Oh joy! I might try to get my pack weight down to around 4 kilos next time (in my dreams).
Marilyn and I were up and out by 07:00 and made our way to the bus stop, having no idea what bus to catch or when it might arrive. In the event we waited around 30 minutes and arrived back in Manzanares el Real just after 08:00.
It was a dark and stormy morning, with black clouds hanging over the soaring mountains and threatening to empty their contents upon us at any moment. Loud thunder rumbled behind us and bounced around the hillsides. It wasn’t long before the heavens opened and we made a quick stop to apply some rain gear and continued on our way. The downpour was soon over and as we walked on there appeared in the sky a few patches of blue amongst the black. That looked promising!
The scenery was quite stunning, very rugged and very green. It was a lovely walk and we returned to the albergue at Mataelpino about two and a half hours after we had left, and covered a distance of just under 8 km. Paul was by now ready to go and, so we packed our bags and set off again.
Eli had walked ahead and Carsten met up with Ralf for their next stage. Yesterday we greeted new guy Dave. I knew Dave would be on the camino as he is a forum member and we had been in touch. So now we are seven…well, at least for the time being.
Paul and I matched Marilyn’s pace today and we ambled through beautiful countryside, along narrow tracks flanked by flowering cistus and sweet smelling lavender, following small streams, stepping over large granite boulders and frequently stopping to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ and the impressive scenery. The weather continued to be kind, with no more rain, and quite a bit of warm sunshine. We stopped for a picnic, perching on a large boulder and all was well with the world.
After passing through the town of Navacerrada there was some steep elevation to contend with and some delightful woodland to walk through. We met some roaming horses, one of which was very happy to receive some hands-on attention, and then we arrived at our destination of Cercedilla. Marilyn and I had walked almost 22 km, but if felt like more. The paths on the route are very well marked with arrows and mojones (marker stones). Today I heard my first cuckoo of the year.
The accommodation options in Cercedilla are a mat on the floor of the sports centre, a youth hostal or several inexpensive hostals. We chose the latter and are staying at Hostal Aribel Longinos. I am sharing a room with Marilyn. Prices here vary from 25 euros for a single ensuite room, 30 euros for a double without ensuite, or 40 euros for double with ensuite.
The bad weather finally caught up with us and the thunder boomed and the sky opened up and dumped all the pent-up rain. Four of us donned our raincoats and tripped through the very wet streets searching for somewhere to eat. Not an easy task at 19:00 when most restaurants don’t serve dinner until 20:30 or 21:00. But we persevered and were eventually directed to a restaurant that would cater for us. We traipsed in, a rather soggy and dripping quartet of pilgrims.
Tomorrow promises to be a tough one, with a great deal of elevation.
Today’s distance 22 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 434 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 12 m
Total distance 76 km
Average per day 25.3 km