I forgot to turn on my gps for a while so the distance walked was perhaps 1km longer than stated below
Today’s distance 24 km
Elevation gain 254 m
Elevation loss 81 m
Total distance from Almería 24
Nine Pilgrims met in Almeria last evening together with the lovely ladies from the Asociación Jacobea who arrived with credenciales for those who needed one and little papier-mâché yellow arrows for all. A couple of very pleasant hours were spent getting to know each other whilst downing a glass or two of wine. We were two Brits, a Chinese, two Canadians, an American, a Dane, a New Zealander and a South African and of course the three Spanish camino angels.
Marilyn (with whom I walked last year) and I retired to our upgraded room – from the Torreluz Centro Hostal to its posh big sister the Hotel Nuevo Torreluz where I slumped into my bed and instantly dozed off until 04:30, from which point I slept very little. I don’t think this had anything to do with the several glasses of wine I had consumed…more likely the anticipation of my coming adventure.
Four of the group had already walked the short stage to Rioja and returned to that point this morning by taxi and will walk on to the end of stage 2.
Meanwhile we five, from South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark and UK, set out from Almeria on what proved to be a bright and sunshiny day.
The walk out of the town is not unpleasant and not overlong. The signage was excellent and soon enough we had left the city behind us and were eventually directed onto a virtually dry river bed – a bit stinky in places and fairly rough under foot. We left the river bed for a visit to the pretty village of Pechina after 11km where we stopped for a drink.
Then back on the river bed until we reached the town of Rioja where we stop for a snack. I asked if there was anything they could provide for my vegan diet and after a quick consultation with the cook, I was offered a baked potato – result!
On the road again, literally, on asphalt all the way to our stage end of Santa Fe de Mondújar. The lovely Associacion ladies had reserved us a place at the municipal Casa rural. The cost is €15 per person or €40 for the apartment, so for five of us only €8 each. There is a twin room, a double room and a double sofa bed. Inginuity won the day when our Canadian contingent investigated and found that the sofa bed cushions could be unzipped to porvide a further two singles. And guess who was allocated the double? Well someone had to do it, and it would have been churlish to refuse.
We made use of the washing machine in the apartment and whilst our washing dried we adjourned to the bar to wait for the shop to open so we could buy some food for supper. When I checked at 18:30 it wasn’t open and I assumed it was shut for the day. But I just needed to be patient, it was actually open the next time I passed so after canvassing the others and establishing that they would be happy to eat with me, we bought supplies for a chickpea, spinach, tomato and red pepper casserole, to which they added some cheese and everyone seemed very happy – all for €8.
It was a comfortable, shortish, start to the camino and under blue skies and in fairly hot sunshine. Altogether very pleasant. We took an after-dark walk across the imposing road bridge that spans the valley and dominates the village. Alongside is a railway bridge. Such a pleasant way to end a really enjoyable day. I think this might be a very special camino.
Info for albergue…fabulous cooking facilities, at time of writing everything brand new and shiny. Microwave and ceramic hob, big fridge, washing machine, lovely shower. Ring in advance to reserve 678 288 143.