How annoying! I wrote my blog last night but couldn’t post it due to no signal in the apartment, and this morning there it was, gone.
So here goes again…
Distance, 32 km
Elevation gain, 463 m
Elevation loss, 279 m
As usual at the beginning of a camino, I forgot to turn on Wikiloc until we had walked a couple of kms.
The Ruta de la Lana commences at the Basílica de Santa María, the Church we visited yesterday to get our initial stamp in our credenciales. We returned to the church square later in the day for a glass of wine. So, having walked back and forth a couple of times, we didn’t feel the need to do it again this morning, so just started from our accommodation.
The walk out of Alicante was much the same as any other large city, endless streets of high rise buildings. The sky was a very threatening dark grey and there was a significant wind. All as predicted by the weather forecast.
After around 5 km we reached the edge of the city and entered a very dismal industrial area, which had been used at regular intervals for fly tipping and in the stregthening wind there was all sorts of rubbish whooshing around. The only highlight was a wild boar (could have been a pot bellied pig) roaming free in the streets looking for anything useful amongst the myriad of rubbish. She must have had some piglets waiting for her back at home as her teats we almost dragging on the ground.
Even when we got to the ‘countryside’ it was still very dingy with rubbish flying around in the high wind. We are walking on a quiet (on a Sunday morning) road with little or no shoulder for a few kms and it is not until 8-9 km that we step on our first track, but it is very stony and alongside a railway track and only serves to lead us to another road. The sun has finally broken through, but the wind is getting continually stronger.
At around 18 km we are at last on an interesting track through scrubland and occasional stands of pine trees. High above us, atop a ridge, I see what is probably a chapel clinging onto the rock face. And then I make out a huge statue towering above us in the form of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer, but is apparently San Pascual. We come to an option to climb a bit higher to get up close and personal with the saint, but don’t find it too difficult to turn in the opposite direction and head instead downhill towards the first town on this stage – Orito at 24 km. On looking up to the statue from this angle I can see another giant form of San Pascual etched into the hillside.
We had planned to stop at Orito for the night, but we have heard good things about the albergue in Novelda and reckon we have another eight km in our legs, so after stopping for a beer, we continue the 4 km through Montfort del Cid, and the final 4 to Novelda where I phone the hospitalero (Paco Serra, ideally phone the day before on 629668829 or 965600842). Paco is a star and arrives on his bicycle within five minutes. The albergue is in an apartment block, three bedrooms each with two singles, two bathrooms, sitting room and fully functioning kitchen, central terrace with washing machine. Donativo. Thank you Paco and Novelda.
We wandered around the sprawling town, mostly newly built, but with some interesting older buildings and churches and a very pretty main square. Definitely worth the extra effort which also gives us a shorter day tomorrow.