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.
OMG… I could feel Marilyn’s pain, whilst remembering my VdlP bull encounter. It looks a beautiful walk! We stayed in Rodrigo a couple of years ago and they were building the bull ring in the Plaza Mayor… I didn’t approve of its purpose but wow it was a sight to see watching 100s of men working together.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Lovely smiles beaming in gorgeous weather and beautiful countryside.
Please say g’day to Ellie from a compatriot pilgrim!
I buy that brown rice and quinoa mix all the time and it’s the perfect base for making fried rice. Delicious!
Maggie, this is the first time I’ve commented, but rest assured, I continue to follow you every year when you venture out. As usual your photos are fabulous and your accounting of each days adventure is spot on. Congratulations for keeping to your specific diet – not easy to do while traveling. Thank you for blogging again. You are my entertainment! So nice you’ve hooked up with some fellow walkers from the past. Poor Marilynne with the bull. My last Camino (del Norte) we were spooked with a wild pig and pushed on ahead with sticks in hand. Didn’t need them but I can understand how M felt with meeting a bull. And loved her comment about avoiding eye contact – gave me quite a giggle. More happy and safe travels to you and your Camino mates.
We leave next week for our first European Peace Walk. Can hardly wait to pick up the rhythm again of walking each day. Those that have never tried it are missing out, but then many would think the walkers are just plain crazy. Walk on crazy woman!!👍
Hi Sandy. Good to hear from you. Eli did the Peace Walk last year – she loved it I think.
I’ve always enjoyed following you journeys and this time is no different:). Your blog was the inspiration for me when I did my first camino, had no idea how to put together a blog and was looking for a good example which yours certainly is! I’ve continued to blog on my journey’s including last October when I walked from Porto to Fatima and experienced the centennial celebration in Fatima. So thanks for sharing as I am always dreaming of future camino’s and thanks for providing such a good blog example for me to learn from:)…
Great to hear from you again David. We enter Portugal tomorrow.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yikes! I would have reacted just like Marilyn! That fence doesn’t look like much of a barrier – sort of like the fence that we watched a sheep dog leap over and back.
Beautiful photos. Looks like a gorgeous walk you were on today. Also a good result ‘re room and supermarket. Glad foot much improved. Such an adventure with the bull! X
Great post and pics Maggie. Loving your journey.x
Maggie I loved todays post. Super stories 🙂
You are an expert at creating your meals on-the-go. Perhaps a ‘vegan pilgrim recipe book’ is in the wind. hehehe
For some reason I simply cracked up over this dry comment: 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 . So Spanish! The poor bull looked very sad. I do hope you spoke an encouraging word or two to him.