Today’s distance 32 km
Elevation gain 425 m
Elevation loss 385 m
Total distance from Almería 977 km
We leave this charming walled city via the Roman bridge, meeting up with Aurelio along the way. 2.5 km from the city centre we reach a quiet country lane and at 5 km it changes to a gravel track. We are walking between vast fields of cattle, black to one side of the track and tan and white on the other. We remain on this track until we reach the village of Gallegos de Argañan where we stop for a drink.
There is significant cloud cover today, and the air feels humid. Although it isn’t sunny, it is quite warm.
On leaving Gallegos we are on asphalt until 23.5 km where we stop in the village of La Alameda de Gardón and we find a plaza with benches where we eat lunch from our supplies.
Up to this point this stage has been the least interesting and least beautiful of the Torres thus far, but during the last quarter of our walk both the track and scenery improve with narrow paths and heavily wooded hillsides.
We then passed over a cattle grid and as might be expected found ourselves in a field full of cattle, large ones, and baby ones and big daddy bull ones. Once again Aurelio and I positioned ourselves either side of Marilyn , and even with our protection she was very anxious. But soon enough we were exiting over another cattle grid. Personally I find the cattle grids more frightening than the cattle!
Finally we find ourselves walking alongside a river and have to cross a very long field of very long grass. This is quite slow-going as it is necessary to lift our feet quite high to make our way through the field, and it is also quite hard work! And it also fills our shoes and socks with grass seeds which are the devil to remove!
At 30 km we arrive at the village of Castillejo de Dos Casas and now have only a further 2 km to our destination. But this includes a rather tricky manoeuvre on some granite block stepping stones over a river. I do my usual trick of letting the others go first whilst I video their antics. Aurelio makes it across safely but not so Marilyn. She has relatively short legs and the stones are spaced far apart and as her foot rests on a smaller stone, it wobbles and throws her off balance (easily done when carrying a big pack) and she lands with both feet in the fairly shallow water. As her shoes are now soaked she takes the easier route through the water to the other side. Then it’s my turn to try my luck and it really isn’t that easy, but I manage to maintain my balance and make to the other side with dry feet.
The small town of Aldea del Obispo (translates as Bishop’s village – the second pueblo with this name we have stayed the night, the other being on the Variante por Trujillo) has a municipal albergue. We have been trying to contact them by phone for a couple of days as Aurelio had heard that the albergue had closed. We received no answer from a variety of numbers that we found, so held no great hope of being able to stay here tonight. But the helpful villagers directed us to the albergue building next to the church and a young man was sent to find the hospitalera who arrived quite quickly. There are three rooms, one with one bunk bed, and two with two bunks, plus a few extra mattresses. There are four showers, two loos and each dorm has a basin. Add to that a fully functioning kitchen and dining table, a rather scruffy back yard and a grassed area to the front and we are all very impressed with the well thought out facility. 15€ with towel but no bedding, 20€ if you need bedding. There is a good shop in the village so you can buy food to cook, and of course there is a bar where you can order a meal. Website and telephone number for the hospitalera Rosi 0034 628 549 912.
Aldea del Obispo is only a couple of km from the Portuguese border and we are all rather excited to be crossing to a different country tomorrow morning.