Camino Mozárabe stage 19, Villaharta to Alcaracejos 37 km

Today’s distance 37 km
Elevation gain 613 m
Elevation loss 574 m
Total distance from Almería 470.5 km

Last night I had to make do with a supper of lettuce, tomatoes and chips – it seems there were no fresh vegetables to be seen in the village on the Mayday holiday!

Marilyn’s Apple Watch told her it was 4° when I left this morning so I quickly put on my raincoat for the first time. The problem with wrapping up warm is that my back gets really hot which makes me glow (ladies glow, men perspire, horses sweat) so I often find myself needing to strip off layers quite soon.

I was the only pilgrim in the village walking the full route today. A few took a ride half way and walked slightly less than half the distance. Others took the bus to the end stage. So it was a solitary walk for me. Not that there is a problem for me with that. I very much appreciate the company of my camigas, but walking alone makes for more of an adventure. As you probably know, I have walked this stage before and I remembered how beautiful a walk it is, but it was somehow more special wandering along entirely at my own pace, stopping regularly to play with my camera and admire the scenery, whilst involuntarily ooh-ing and aah-ing every few metres.

There were lots of photo opportunities this morning with thick fog down in the valleys – it looked very ephemeral

A 2.6 km uphill slog on the road started the way, but fortunately there was almost no passing traffic. After that it was track all the way. Beginning with a very narrow path through long very wet grass and even a bit of frost. It seemed prudent to put on my gaiters in an attempt to keep my feet as dry as possible. Very soon the track widened, but as I appreciated the extra warmth the gaiters provided, I kept them on for a while.

There was a huge variety of surfaces to walk on during this very long stage, wide and sandy (fab), stony (not so), slate (so-so), steep up and down and extremely wet!

There was much birdsong and distant chiming of cowbells.

8.7 km I encountered a river that needed to be crossed. Maybe 20 metres wide and upper-calf level in depth. I knew it was coming and was prepared to swap boots for crocs securely fastened with elastic straps. I popped my iPad and phone into ziplock bags, just in case of mishap, and tip-toed through the freezing water. Safely on the other side I dried my feet and clumsily attempted to put on my toe socks whilst standing on one leg…quite a feat (yay, a pun!).  In fact it can be quite an effort to get each toe into its corresponding pocket even when sitting down in the comfort of one’s own home.

I had planned to take three or four breaks over the 38 km, the first scheduled for around 10 km. But it was difficult to find somewhere dry to sit because of all the dew and/or rain on the grass. I eventually found a well-placed rock and sat down to a portion of the quinoa I had cooked last evening. What a beautiful place to eat breakfast – quinoa never tasted so good as I looked out on hillsides covered in oak trees as far as the eye could see.

Somewhere around 17 km is a small holding in the absolute middle of nowhere. When I walked past three years ago the owner engaged me in conversation, let a couple of his pigs out of the field to introduce them to me and seemed reluctant to let me leave, but I was walking with George and didn’t feel any concern for his behaviour. I have heard from others that he was equally friendly with them. I guess he takes his opportunities for conversation when they arise. But I have since heard from a solo woman walker that he tried to be amorous and frightened her.

As I walked, past his dogs alerted him to my presence and he hurried across his yard towards me. He tried to engage me, asking if I wanted water and then saying something about the river being high. I called back that I needed to keep walking but thanked him for his help. I felt a bit mean, but better safe than sorry.

My second stop was as 22.5 km for food and rest – more quinoa, an orange and a couple of biscuits, and I finished the quinoa and my final two biscuits at my final stop at 32 km at the granite picnic benches by the ermita. Then it was just about 4 or 5 km on asphalt and gravel road into Alcaracejos.

It was a stunning walk in perfect weather conditions, but I was very pleased to arrive at around 16:30

The four of us stayed in Hostal Las Tres Jotas. We had a huge room with six beds and paid 15 euros each, wonderful hot shower, but no cooking facilities, so for supper I ate a bowl of salmorejo in the bar across the road and bought supplies from the shop for the next day.

Apparently there is now a municipal albergue in Alcaracejos and I wished I had taken a look. It only opened recently so hopefully it will have good facilities.

My feet are still behaving well, the toe socks are doing their business and I am no longer using any of the gel toe caps. I am coping with the weight of my extra heavy backpack (due to my diet) although when I am carrying extra food and water for a long day without facilities my shoulders ache a bit. But all things considered, all is well with my camino.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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21 Responses to Camino Mozárabe stage 19, Villaharta to Alcaracejos 37 km

  1. Sally says:

    That was a long one today, Maggie. Glad to hear your feet are up to the task and to see that the toe nail polish is surviving x

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  2. Georgie Day says:

    I have done three sections of the Camino Francis and from Porto to Santiago in different years. I long to get back and complete (a middle section ) of the Camino Francis and then on to Finesterre. Currently I am suffering a longstanding knee problem which cramps my walking so I cannot even begin to plan for another hike which frustrates me greatly. So I am enjoying your blog so much and I can visualize what you describe – the sounds, the smells – and my knee aches at the elevations!
    I long to be out on a trail putting one foot in front of the other and covering distances I would never think of doing here at home and then falling in to a bed for a real sleep at the end of the day and a simple meal. Thank you for letting me tag along through your blogs. I look forward to them.
    Georgie

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  3. Aurélio Simões says:

    If the shoulder is hurt because the bag is not properly adjusted. The weight of the backpack should be in the hips.

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  4. David Wolfe says:

    What a great post just like previous Camino’s well done a super day xx

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  5. Alan says:

    Delighted all is going well Maggie. I had a good chuckle about the socks. It is tricky enough sat down ,for me the small toes are the problem. Great pics and good story.x

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  6. M3 Mary says:

    My admiration for you just grows and grows Maggie. Well done on a wonderful day’s walking.Gorgeous photos as usual. Much love and buen camino xx

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  7. Enjoying reading your accounts Maggie. All the best ..

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  8. Pia McInerney says:

    Hi Maggie, I stayed at the municipal in Alcaracejos and it was very nice, though small – 6 beds in 2 rooms – and a kitchen with fridge and microwave. It was managed by a very nice mother and daughter team when I was there.

    I loved that stage. It felt like a real adventure, wading across the rivers, though the last 5 km or so from the Ermita to the town centre in the hot afternoon sun were challenging to say the least!

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  9. Hui Ong says:

    I LOVE your blog!!
    Please keep blogging!
    You are my hero!!
    Wish I could walk the Camino on my own!!

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    • magwood says:

      Walking alone is not a problem if you walk a popular route. When there are others walking the same stages you will soon find your camino your special ‘family’. Go on, you can do it!

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  10. lynharrison4wind says:

    Lovely post, Maggie. Noticing your ladylike pose for the first quinoa-break photo I giggled at how many attempts it may have taken to maintain modesty and dignity for that shot. But do I also see a nasty long scrape on your left shin? Do be careful out there. Can’t have you coming home beaten and battered (and in that vein, it was sensible to talk to the friendly smallholder over your retreating shoulder; can’t be too careful).

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  11. Katherine Paterson says:

    Well done on your long day Maggie, I’m tired just reading about and the elevation!
    Would you have another rest day please so I can recover 🙂 :-)!!

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  12. I can see a Camino cookbook in the making here or Vital Vegan Vacation Vittels! I am interested in what you are consuming as I am hoping to eat similarly when I walk in Italy in August. Do you add any flavour to your quinoa? Take care, Mel

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  13. Love the Pics …and those lovely pink toes – wow that many km’s and still holding out on the nail polish – well done! http://www.mycaminosresolve is up and running and I’m counting the days until departure

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Danielle says:

    I really enjoyed this post Maggie, this one is a « true »Maggie post, interesting, well written and gorgeous photos!! Welcome back!!

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  15. hannas123 says:

    i am really enjoying this blog on the Mozarabe Maggie .Especially this last one .I can smell the damp, the flowers, the mist and i heard that dog bark too ! When I walked the M i smelled dust and heat (can you smell it ? i did anyway as my skin wilted like the cactuses on the mountains .It was stunning ,but your photos have conveyed the beauty and green and flower possibilities .Great photos .Thanks so much ,and what camera do you use ? you are inspiring and renew my sense of adventure and curiosity .

    Like

  16. dougyharry says:

    Interesting account and very inspiring – 37k in a day on your own – una mujer muy impresionante. We did the Almeria to Cordoba leg in 2016 in June and it was very hot – did not see a single other peregrino. April May seems the right time and your blog makes me want to do it again. Love reading your account – interested in your reflections on the experience of redoing a camino.

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    • magwood says:

      Only redoing 9 stages. Looking forward to walking the variant through Trujillo starting tomorrow. I couldn’t consider walking in June. April/May is hot enough for me!

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  17. Kristina Wilkening says:

    Hi Maggie,
    Sorry I have not been commenting. I am enjoying all your posts. You really are a complete and total
    ‘I can do it girl’. Good for you. No ‘no’s in your vocabulary! You do inspire with your positive attitude! Your family must be really proud of you…I know your fellow blog readers are! One foot in front of the other through thick and thin…and strong head winds…buen camino my friend.
    Kristina from Washington (state).

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