A bridge too far!

I hope everyone who reads this blog has enjoyed the Christmas festivities (or whatever alternative name you have for this season) and that 2019 will bring you health, contentment and some adventure.

But I know some people will have had a heartbreaking time and will find it hard to imagine that life will ever be joyful again. Hold tight, there are many people who love you and hold you in their hearts.

I spent eight days of Christmas with my youngest daughter and family where I ate and drank way too much and was woken early every morning, surprisingly not by indigestion but by one or both of my grandchildren for a cuddle. I’m making the most of these times as all too soon I expect my virtually eight year old grandson will decide that snuggling up to Nana isn’t really very cool. I didn’t see my older daughter as she spent a full week over Christmas volunteering for Crisis at Christmas, running the kitchen which served three meals a day to homeless people in London, a total of 2,000 meals over seven days. What a star!

We returned to Spain just in time to celebrate the new year with wonderful friends at a local restaurant (El Pámpano) where we were treated like family with good food (they were happy to cater for my vegan diet), more drink than any of us could do justice to, and party bags including the traditional twelve grapes to pop into the mouth one at each chime of the clock at midnight (try it – not as easy as you might think, especially as they always have seeds which you don’t have time to spit out!).

New year’s day was spent rather lazily (well, it is a public holiday after all) but today I set off for one of my favourite shortish walks alongside the Rio Cajula. Early bright sunshine shone from a clear blue sky and it was warm enough to walk without a jacket. Perfect. Roly and I set off along the track that zig-zags from one side of the stream to the other, never requiring more than two or three strides across strategically placed stepping stones to reach the other side. Unless of course there has been a lot of rain in which case there can be a fair bit of mud on either side and maybe an extra step is required. It’s fun and adds to the magic of walking alongside the running water. But maybe it isn’t so much fun for the farmers who need to negotiate the track to reach their land to harvest their avocados, olives and citrus fruit that grow along the way.

The changes I saw today weren’t a surprise as my walking pal had sent me some photos a few days ago, but nevertheless I was taken aback by the rather substantial structures that I found on my walk. All bright new wood, very secure and solid underfoot, but all rather unnecessary. Roly was very suspicious and I couldn’t persuade him to walk over the bridges at all, he preferred to cross the old fashion way and stop for a drink as he went. I did tempt him once by throwing a biscuit onto the middle of bridge number three, but as soon as he picked it up he scooted off and was back in the water. I came across some fellow dog walkers at bridge four who had stopped for a chat, just because they could. All that was missing was a kiosk serving hot drinks!

Bridge number five was still under construction and so I hopped across the water as I have always done in the past. There were buckets of tools on either side of the stream but no workmen in sight. However as I made my way from the bottom of the valley to the access track several hundred metres beyond I passed four guys carrying great chunks of wood along the very narrow, winding and sometimes quite steep and rocky footpath. Good men, and of course I thanked them for their work. The truck at the top displayed a sign for the Gran Senda de Málaga, also known as the GR249 (660 kms, 35 stages, 9 regions, 51 municipalities). My Rio Cajula walk is not part of the 249, although it does pass through the villages of Cómpeta and Canillas de Albaida.

But apart from all this bridge building excitement the day itself was the star of the show. The leaves of the olive trees swaying in the light breeze were glinting silver. Oranges at their peak of ripeness were weighing down the branches with the brightest of colours. Almond trees are coming into full bloom and look stunning standing against the blue sky with butterflies flitting and bees buzzing.

I heard loud voices and looked down into the valley where some farmers were spreading nets on the ground to catch the olives that they would knock from the trees. Roly finds shrivelled olives from last year’s crop and munches as he goes, spitting out the stones.

Wild lavendar and alyssum are blooming, and early broom is attracting the bees. This chap is absolutely laden with pollen and the pollen baskets on his back legs look to be bulging. He must be due to return to the hive to deposit his load any minute.

It has been a glorious start to the new year. A perfect day for a lovely walk.

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 http://www.magwood.me
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35 Responses to A bridge too far!

  1. Colleen says:

    Look at those hills 😀 ❤


  2. David Wolfe says:

    A lovely story well told illustrated with beautiful pictures. David xx


  3. Susan says:

    I had the pleasure of walking 17km around Zafarraya the other day & the scenery just now is stunning! Almond blossom & Olive harvesting all along the route. One more walk from Canillas on Sunday before I fly back to UK on Monday morning🥺
    Feliz año nuevo!


    • magwood says:

      Hello Susan. Aren’t we lucky to have these beautiful walking trails on our doorstep. Hope the UK weather wasn’t too much of a shock to the system.


  4. Susan Harris says:

    A lovely uplifting blog Maggie.
    Beautiful words and super pictures.
    I will look forward to reading more throughout the year. Thank you. X


  5. Jeannette says:

    Happy new year dear Maggi!
    What are your plans for 2019?, a big hug from Canada.


    • magwood says:

      Thanks Jeanette. Feeling your hug – are you keeping warm? This year will be a trio of camino setting out from Alicante. More info to follow.


      • Jeannette Burgos-Rigó says:

        Hello dear Maggi, today is very cold here, feeling like minus twenty, however I love winter!
        Last year I met my brother in Madrid and together we walked Camino Inglés and Fineterre-Muxía. My plan changed because my brother got problem with one of his legs in the plane, luckily he got better but I didn’t want to take chances with the Camino Primitivo. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. Before that I volunteered at the office in Santiago, it was my second time, I love to meet the pilgrims at the office and to present them with their Compostela.
        Looking forward for your next Camino and your wonderful descriptions and pictures!
        Another big hug for you and I hope to meet you one day in person😘


      • magwood says:

        Hi Jeannette. Lovely to hear from you. How nice to walk with your brother. And..you still get to look forward to walking the Primitivo in the future. Thanks for your volunteering, it must be wonderful to issue compostellas, although I suspect that not every pilgrim is easy to deal with.
        Stay warm, we still have glorious weather in southern Spain.


  6. renatevangalen says:

    i see you have spend your day well!RX


  7. Alan says:

    Happy New Year Maggie and congratulations to your daughter. So much colour around already! Various shades of grey here in Manchester. Take care. Ultreia


  8. All the very best to you and your. Martinez


  9. A lovely start to 2019, you always have a magical way with words. x


  10. OzAnnie says:

    A well timed post Maggie. A motivator for me. Makes me realise I need lengthen my walks and exercise a little more in preparation for spring Vdlp. The humidity and recent heat have succeeded in keeping me ‘holed up’ indoors. I need to take a page out of your book.
    Happy new year and Buen Camino


    • magwood says:

      Hey Annie. Hope you are keeping well and that your weather cools and freshens soon. When do you start your camino? Wouldn’t it be great if we could coincide in Santiago? I loved the VdlP. Are you taking the Sanábres option? Happy planning and buen camino!


  11. Mary says:

    Happy New Year Maggie I too look forward to your beautiful stories and photos. Like OzAnnie I too am holed up indoors due to the heat of our Aussie summer onslaught, as well as having another broken bone in my ankle, if anyone has got any good tips for fast healing I’d be grateful. I wish everyone a healthy and exciting year and hope your walking dreams come to fruition
    Buen Camino


    • magwood says:

      What a lovely comment Mary, thank you. I can’t do anything when it really heats up here – I hardly leave the house for six weeks. I don’t understand how or why anyone walks the camino in July and August. Wishing you a speedy recovery.


  12. Oh what a glorious way to celebrate New Year, Maggie. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos. Quite different to our ‘sunny’ Christmas in NZ. Cheers, Grace


  13. M3 Mary says:

    Thanks for the gorgeous photos and the beautiful words Maggie. Happy new year to you and yours and I look forward to tales from the Camino. Much love xx


  14. J Marshall says:

    So nice to read. Thank you. It has been awhile.


  15. Tony Rice says:

    No one stops and smells the Rose’s like you do Maggie, no one. A belated merry Christmas and a continuing happy new year.

    Happy Trails

    On Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 12:46 Trepidatious traveller – camino blog magwood posted: “I hope everyone who reads this blog has enjoyed the > Christmas festivities (or whatever alternative name you have for this > season) and that 2019 will bring you health, contentment and some > adventure. But I know some people will have had a heartbreaking ” >


  16. Katherine Paterson says:

    I love that walk, not sure about the bridges though!


  17. Marilyn van Graan says:

    Only saw this one now as I start to clean up my laptop – Oh Mags you do have a way with words and capturing the moment – one of the reasons I so enjoy being with you on the caminos – mind I said one – there are many more – thanks for sharing and the glorious photos and and and – love and happiness to you for 2019 – may it be very special as you are!!


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