Today’s distance 21.5 km
Elevation gain 432 m
Elevation loss 139 m
Total distance from Almería 90.5 km
A much nicer start to the day, with the snow topped mountains to our left and walking along comfortable country lanes and tracks. We did dip down onto the river bed again, but at this point it had been used as a vehicle track and was compacted and not at all rocky. At 8 km we reach the town of Fiñana and stop for refreshment.
We expect there to be another refreshment break at around 15 km but if it existed, we unfortunately missed it. We walked a few stretches on pleasant country roads. There are lots of orchards hereabouts, I spotted apple, pear, cherry, apricot and of course almond and countless fig trees with their fruit just forming. The citrus groves of the first couple of days have now disappeared, along with their gorgeous scent, and have been replaced by the occasional olive grove. The landscape continues to become greener with each stage, presumably there is more humidity at these heights to allow for more variety.
It has become very hot by mid day and after our failed attempt to find our second refreshment stop three of us find an inviting tree on the bank of the river bed, one of very few, and we take the opportunity to sit in its shade and eat our supplies. I have a salad that equals the size of the one I made last night and eat the lot.
It is not easy to drag an aging body from sitting at ground level and after struggling to a stand it takes a while for the muscles to warm up. By now the dreaded river bed is very rough again, my feet are complaining and I decide it would be prudent to apply some sun protection on my legs that are rapidly growing rather pink.
As I bend to apply the lotion, my umbrella swings forward and bumps me on the nose. Probably trying to tell me that there is no use dragging it across Spain if I am not going to use it for its intended purpose. It has a silver outer shell that provides SFP 50 and so up it goes for the first time, but the bungee straps that I fitted to hold it secure and hands free don’t seem to be in the correct position and I end up having to hold it and in place.
By now I have lagged far behind the other two and my feet are dragging and tripping over the stones. Aha, I thought, I know what I need! And plugged into my camino playlist of upbeat numbers with a good marching pace. In no time I had caught up with the others and zoomed past them. Guaranteed to revive flagging energy.
I arrived at the stage end at around 14:30 and then walked to the far end of town to find the albergue, situated next to the school. (Keys have to be collected from the old people’s home next to the church) The albergue is on the third floor of a small block of flats. There are two rooms, one with three beds and one with four, a minuscule bathroom with lashings of hot water, a rather scruffy kitchen with microwave and hob that doesn’t appear to work and a common room. Not at all up to the standard of accommodation experienced so far on this camino, but we are all very grateful to have a bed for the night on a donativo basis.
I have been very remiss about posting photos of albergues thus far. I have taken photos but usually not until the next day after I have posted. I shall add the appropriate photos when I have time. Meanwhile, here are images of tonight’s accommodation.