Camino Mozárabe stage 23, Castuera to Magacela 35 km

Today’s distance 35 km
Elevation gain 325 m
Elevation loss 461 m
Total distance from Almería 579 km

Today marks the parting of the ways. Marilyn and I are walking a longer stage to prepare for our new direction. We bade the others a fond farewell at the albergue this morning, and then all bumped into each other at the cafe where we stopped from a hot drink. More hugs and farewells ensued.

Poor shot – blame the photographer (not me)

The morning after the night before!

All walking today was on wide comfortable track with similar scenery to days past. Marilyn and I stopped at 14 km for a trackside snack and then continued towards Campanario. On the way we had to dodge an army of minuscule froglets that were hopping across the path – it was necessary to always keep our eyes on the track to ensure no nasty accidents occurred – we don’t want to deprive the storks of their future meals.

Very sadly we passed by the very opposite extreme of the piggy heaven we witnessed a few days ago when we saw hundreds of happy porkers trotting around pristine oaklands. Today it was piggy concentration camp. A filthy, stinking concrete barn with separate filthy, stinking pens where the poor animals had given up all hope of salvation and were huddled together in their own filth, listlessly awaiting a very sad end. The happy pigs are destined for top quality jamon, whereas these sad, miserable creatures would turn up as really cheap cuts of pork in the supermarket. Take a close look at these photos and think hard when you next visit the supermarket to buy cheap meat.

It was rather cloudy and dull this morning which is excellent weather for walking, if not for photos.

We bumped into Nina again at her end point in Campanario at 20 km. I had stayed here three years ago and was quite happy not to repeat the experience. Although it was rather fun watching all the mums and dads, grannies and grandads, aunties and uncles and of course the children, all dressed up in their very, very best for a group confirmation at the church. There were young women in ridiculously tight skirts and high heels hobling along the cobbled streets, young men in their smartest of smart suits, and the children all scrubbed and shiny. Most entertaining.

Then team M set off for the next section of this walk which is an absolute delight. Although by now the cloud has broken up into pretty fluffy puffs in a blue sky with the sun belting down upon us. Marilyn reminded me that I have an umbrella for just such an occasion and up it went, and down came my temperature. I’ve got the hands-free tethering all sorted now and as the day was very still, it stayed put with no drag factor.

We are walking on a fine gravel track, bright off-white in colour that reflects and sun and heat back at us. The path snakes its way across a huge landscape of cereal crops and the occasional olive grove and vineyard. There are a couple of large water courses/lakes that attract the storks and we can see our destination from more than 10 km away.

Magacela sits atop a hill and is crowned by the ruins of a castle. We have both walked this way before but not after already having walked 20 km. it seems long, but oh so beautiful.

We stop to admire a couple of majestic grey horses that have just been gifted a pile of bright green grass, although they are standing in a field overflowing with the stuff. As we stand there, their owner pulls up beside us and shows us photos on his phone of him and his daughter riding said horses at local fiestas, dressed up and coiffed (both father and daughter and horses) and looking very smart. It is a treat to witness such well looked after beasts that are obviously much prized.

At 27.5 km we find a very welcome shady granite seat, the only comfortable place to stop and certainly the only shade on this section. There is an archeological dig alongside that can be visited on weekdays.

We finally reach the bottom of the steep incline up to Magacela. We stop at a fountain and I soak my scarf in cold water and place it on my neck. Pure bliss! I phone the accommodation that I have reserved to enquire about its whereabouts. I only have the name of the hostess and her phone number, but no address. She tells me the address but I can’t make it out. I send a text asking her to message me the address, and we start our ascent. We have reached the impressive granite church on the way up to the village when she phones me back and again tells me the address. This time I ask her to spell it and she tells me that it is situated below the village, so we about turn and completely retrace our steps back down to the outskirts of the town. If only I had known the name we could have found it immediately and easily on entering the town as it is well signed. So for the benefit of others, it is called Casa Rural el Cercón de Candelo, telephone Isabel 651 670 413. I can highly recommend it, situated around a beautiful peaceful courtyard, there are two bedrooms and a bathroom. There may be more beds that I am unaware of. Dinner can be provided. The property boasts an acrobatic turtle that managed somehow to climb onto a full-sized dustbin with no visible means of assistance. Cost 15 euros including breakfast and 10 euros for dinner (the turtle show was free).

Team M have opted to eat all the leftovers from our packs rather than have dinner. One of the Frenchmen is here and when we asked where his friend was, he indicated that they were no longer friends! Not sure what happened there! But I was very pleased when he donated his bowl of salmorejo to me – a very kind gesture.

We probably walked two km further than we needed today, but at least we have comfy beds to rest our heads. Thunder has been rumbling in the distance for a few hours although it is still clear and bright. Tomorrow might be a different story!

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
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7 Responses to Camino Mozárabe stage 23, Castuera to Magacela 35 km

  1. gosh, it all sounds so amazing. the albergue likewise. I feel so sad for those poor tragic pigs. how horrid to live in such appalling conditions just waiting to die. how is it that humans have become so cruel. I have gone almost 100% vegan now and only eat eggs from chickens that I can actually see…. really are free range, but meat on my plate is an absolute no no. the way animals are treated while alive and how they die is beyond horror. I hope a lot of people get to read this post and see the reality of cheap meat and hopefully be persuaded to give up eating these poor creatures. I always say to people when they argue the merits of farming; no demand = no supply = no cruelty. Meanwhile, Buen Camino and enjoy your journey.


  2. Maggie Gardner says:

    Oh those were the days ridiculously tight skirts and high heels!!


  3. M3 Mary says:

    Another great day Maggie. I loved the shots as you approached Magacela. Gorgeous accommodation at a very reasonable price. Like David, I adore Spanish pork but your photos would make me think twice. You seem to be getting stronger and stronger as the days go by.
    Much love and buen camino xx


  4. Looks like a great trip. Funny to imagine you seeing Spanish best dressed with such picturesque background, but I guess even in the countryside on Sunday it’s best to look the part. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip. Have fun.

    Barry O’Leary


  5. Carel says:

    Now you are entering new Camino territory. Good luck!


  6. Michele Collett says:

    Hi Maggie, well I have finally had time to read your entire blog today. It is a wonderful, interesting and informative, continuing story of your walk. I loved every word. You sound like you are getting stronger and stronger as the days go on. Glad you are not having any trouble with your feet and toes. Your pictures are fab, loved today’s picture of the silouette wave, stunning, and the wild flowers are glorious. Keep strong and continue to enjoy your trip, stay safe, so look forward to following you daily now, sending lots of love and a big hug, xx


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