Today’s distance 24km
Elevation gain 201 m
Elevation loss 505 m
Total distance from Almería 134.5
It became very cold during the night and I had chosen a very lightweight blanket and didn’t sleep too well as a result. Manuel’s breakfast consisted of coffee (which apparently was very good) and doughnuts – neither of which interested me in the slightest. So I left the albergue on a rather fresh and chilly morning on an empty stomach.
The first 3.5 km were on level ground and then we took a steady descent into a valley and across a river bed that actually had some water running through it – not a lot – but enough to create a fertile environment with poplar trees and grassy slopes. A little further along there is another river to cross – a bit wider – and whilst the Americans are deciding where to hop and skip across we suddenly notice a bridge a few metres away which makes for a much easier crossing.
Then there is a climb up to the first village on this stage – Jerez del Marquesado at 6 km, where we stop for toast in a very nice bar on the way out of town.
There is a lovely soft dirt track out of Jerez with running water alongside and after a short climb we reach the tree level, and for the first time on this camino we are walking through a pine forest – only briefly – and with works of art hanging from the trees – if anyone knows the significance of these fish sculptures, I would love to know.
After the forrest we reach a large reservoir and we have been advised that we can take a shortcut across the top rather than walking all the way round as directed by the yellow arrows. Then we are on wide dirt tracks until reaching the town of Cogollos de Guadix at 12 km, where I have a second breakfast of tostada con tomate and now feel more comfortable.
We leave town on asphalt road for 1.5 km and then transfer onto agricultural tracks and find ourselves on a huge flat plateau of land where crops are swaying in the increasingly strong wind. We suffer another 5 km of river bed walking, but it is much smoother than we have experienced in previous stages and there are amazing rock formations to spike our interest. Then we are back on the road and the approach to the city of Guadix, famous for its cave houses.
We are staying in the most wonderful accommodation in the centre of the city ‘La Escultora’ an ancient property that has been beautifully restored with authentic furnishings, internal patio, beautiful lounging areas and large kitchen – 15 euros.
We five have met up with Canadian Clare who I met briefly two years ago and who started from Almeria the day before us. She will be a valued addition to our caravan of peregrinas. We cooked up a storm of quinoa, bean and veg casserole for dinner which is my first really healthy food since night one, helped down by a couple of bottles of cava. This year I have found my perfect camino partner and fellow cava lover – but I won’t tell you which one of the six she is!
I have been asked to introduce my fellow peregrinas and they are all happy to say hello, so here we are after a very pleasant lunch in Guadix…