Today’s distance 26 km
Elevation gain 147 m
Elevation loss 282 m
Total distance from Almería 945 km
We were on the road for 7.5 km this morning – all the way to the village of Bocacara. A quiet road with little but fast traffic and as usual they all gave us plenty of clearance. We arrived in the village square looking for the bar – unfortunately it was closed. We asked a couple of guys what time it opened and one guy told us that the other guy was the owner. He duly opened up for us and as soon as we left he closed it again .
Once we left Bocacara we were immediately on track walking through open parkland of cork oaks. It is already hot by 09:00 but there is a light breeze to help us along. The sky is completely clear and very blue. Recent days have all started with very clear sky but by mid day or early afternoon it becomes dotted with white fluffy clouds and often there is a breeze to help keep us cooler.
We move onto a long long track between fields of oak trees – not many animals on this stretch, but oh such beautiful surroundings and flowers. The track becomes bordered by cistus and although it is still only in bud, the scent is lovely. In a couple of weeks this track will be an arcade of white blossom.
Just after we have set off from our breakfast break a cyclist comes along in the opposite direction and stops to speak to Aurelio who is out in front. As Marilyn and I approach we are informed that there is a bull loose on the track ahead. Cycle man says it is a few hundred metres away. Marilyn is instantly anxious to put it very mildly. The three of us walk along quietly wondering all the time how we will deal with the situation when the time comes. We had walked quite a way, more like a km, and I was beginning to think it was the cyclist’s idea of a joke. But then Aurelio spied the beast standing amongst some bushes at the side of the track. Large indeed, tan coloured, and most definitely a bull. I was game to walk past, but Marilyn was so scared that we decided to retrace our steps until we could find a place to cross the barbed wire fence into the field alongside the track. I found a section of fence that was broken and passable – maybe where the bull had escaped from. Marilyn and I crossed into the field whilst Aurelio waited for Eli who was taking her time behind us.
Soon enough we were alongside the bull and he was definitely interested in us. I took some photos as we passed whilst Marilyn urged me to keep moving and not make eye contact.
After quite some distance of walking by the fence (in a field that had unseen and unknown occupants – but I didn’t mention any of my thoughts to Marilyn who’s heart was already racing) we found a section of the fence that we could scramble under after removing our packs. I went first, trying to crawl commando style, but my bum stuck up way too high and I had to flip over to complete the exercise. Marilyn learned from my mistake and shuffled under, then we brushed ourselves down and waited for the others so that we could show them where to pass under the fence.
On reflection I felt really sorry for the bull, who may have been out of place for days and it could be days more before he was missed and looked for. We saw no one but the cyclist all day and we could see from footprints in the dirt that the poor chap (bull, not cyclist) had been wandering up and down the track for some time.
Shortly after the bull incident we came to a beautiful path through shady woodland protecting us from the heat from the mid day sun. It was glorious, the flowers were stunning and path comfortable – absolutely perfect walking. When walking on a road you are always hoping for it to end as soon as possible, but when walking on a track like this I was wishing for it to never end.
We eventually came out onto a wide track past a few farms and stopped for a lunch break.
This track varied from smooth sand to rough stone. Stone that is embedded in the dirt is uncomfortable but not too difficult to walk on, Whereas stone that is loose on the surface is very uncomfortable and can twist and turn your feet in all directions. Talking of feet, my left foot is virtually recovered now – just a bit stiff when I first rise in the morning but for the last couple of days has been fine all day.
We could see the impressive outline of our stage end from quite a distance and we could tell we were in for a treat.
There were only about 2 km of hard surface through the suburbs until we passed through one of the gates to the walled city of Ciudad Rodrigo. Impressive stone buildings abound in every direction and walking through the narrow streets we soon found ourselves in the Plaza Mayor. We had booked into a private albergue outside the city walls where beds were 15€, but when we arrived we were told that there were no dormitory beds remaining and we would have to pay 23€ each for a triple room. We gals thought we could source better accommodation for that price and returned to the centre of town where we found a set of rooms in the Hospederia Castillo Plaza Mayor for 75€. It took us no time at all to turn our lovely bedroom into a wash house and then we set off to find my favourite supermarket at the edge of town.
I manage to overbuy again so will be carrying a horrible amount of weight tomorrow until I manage to transfer it from my pack to my stomach again. But I did have a lovely supper. Mercadona sell pots of pre-cooked rice and quinoa and I mixed this with avocado, cherry tomatoes, red pepper and kiwi fruit. It’s surprising what can be prepared whilst sitting on a bed! And I have more of the same for tomorrow, plus some hummus and seeded rolls. I should be sorted for the next few meals.