Today’s distance 32 km
Elevation gain 260 m
Elevation loss 258 m
Total distance from Almería 525 km
Of course I was carrying extra weight by way of my food stash. I reluctantly left behind half a pack of quinoa and a fair portion of hummus. It was definitely a case of eyes being bigger than my backpack and now I was paying the price. But I had a cunning plan…to move the weight from my back to my stomach as I walked – and I didn’t have too much trouble achieving my target.
First to change places as I walked along was a hummus and marmite roll (in my humble, but educated, opinion hummus and marmite is right up there with peanut butter and marmite. Next came a sit down, boots off break during which period I transferred an avocado and mango salad. And finally the second H&M roll magicked its way outside-in during a break before we hit the homeward slog on asphalt.
So that was my day in terms of food. And here comes a description of the track…
We exited from Hinojosa del Duque and were immediately directed onto a grassy track. Even though there wasn’t much dew it was sufficient to quickly get my boots wet, and so I opted to walk on the road alongside the track. Not for long though as very soon a wide dirt track showed us the way.
There was similar scenery to yesterday’s splendour and most of the first 19 km were on comfortable track, with some narrow grassy paths through cereal crops and a few minor waterways to negotiate.
A tractor chugged by at one point and I took a photo of it. I questioned myself…why on earth did you take a photo of a passing tractor? And then I realised it was a great opportunity to share with you one of the two jokes that I always remember. Here goes…What do you call someone who used to like tractors? An extractor fan, of course! Boom, boom!
At 17 km we come across a ruined train station, situated in the very middle of nowhere. I can’t imagine who would have got off the train here. The track looks well maintained, but the station building is definitely past it’s sell-by date.
At 19 km we come to a junction with a road. Normally (as I did a few years ago) I would cross the road and continue on the track until reaching a river crossing. Last time it flowed just below my knees and was rather wide and a bit of an adventure. However at the albergue last night we had a visit from a woman from the Camino Association from Córdoba who came specially to advise us that the river was swollen from recent rainfall and was currently upper thigh depth. Of course that would depend on your height!
Said woman advised us not to cross the river but to take the road from the 19 km point. There was in any case a long haul on the road even if we had tackled the river, but we had it for about 13 km instead of 10 km. The scenery from the road was much the same as it had been from the track, but somehow it’s not quite so appealing when walking along asphalt.
It is a quiet road with no shoulder to walk on. Probably no more than thirty cars passed on our side during at 13 km and without fail they all gave me plenty of room. But it was hot, not a cloud in the sky, not even one spec of shade. and just an occasional breeze to help us along.
There is a new albergue in town. I was the first to reach it and called the hospitalera 0034 684 457 681. It’s a fab albergue, and as the first arrival I was allocated a small room with just one bunk bed, all to myself. Upstairs there is a large room with six bunks. On the ground floor there is a lovely bathroom (just the one) a full kitchen with washing machine complete with powder and conditioner, there are sheets and duvets on the beds and I was handed a towel. Calle Nueva 34, 8 euros. The only problem with this place is that it was very cold even on a very hot day and there is almost no natural light. But top marks nevertheless.
We were all rather alarmed to find no means of buying a drink when I sallied forth from the albergue at around 16:00. Absolutely nowhere was open, no bar, no shop – and this is a Friday afternoon. We had to asuage our thirst until 18:00, but made up for it at opening time!