Ruta de la Lana, stage 9, Villarta to Campillo de Altobuey, 32 km


Distance, 32 km
Elevation gain, 394 m
Elevation loss, 220 m
Total distance 267.5 km
Daily average, 29.7 km

We had to wait until 21:00 for the restaurant to open last evening. I don’t think they get many customers asking for food without animal products in Restaurante Los Tubos and the only thing the waitress could offer me was salad.  The standard Spanish salad does not appeal greatly and I asked if I could have a plate of vegetables. That apparently wasn’t possible either, so I gave up on expectations of dinner. But the friendly waitress went off and had a word with the chef and came back with an offer of mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes which I happily agreed to and very much enjoyed.  Unfortunately the restaurant is not open on Mondays, so there was nothing to eat this morning and no shops were open yesterday so our supplies couldn’t be replenished. We each had a satsuma for breakfast and set off.
Consequently we left bright and early, that is we were bright, but the sky was still quite dark. There was a lot of cloud this morning  – what is known as a mackerel sky – very pretty.  The light from the rising sun was spectacular, projecting a deep red onto the hillsides.  Yes!  I said hillsides!  We were walking on gently rolling ground, on paths that were not arrow straight, and suddenly the vineyards took on a whole other persona. No longer the monotonous monoculture, but a beautifully lit theatre of stunning shapes and shadows.  It wasn’t, after all, the vineyards that were so boring, but simply the flat land and straight tracks.
So the culmination of the clouds, the incredible light and the ancient vines made a fairly perfect start to the day.  And at around 6 km we had the added bonus of green crop fields – cereals and lots of peas. Having been starved of variety for so long the landscape this morning was a joy to behold.  The pea field had a few less sprouts after I walked by – they are really tasty and I have been lacking good green nourishment.  My careful pruning will have caused the plant to divide and multiply.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the quality of the arrows on this camino.  They have, for the most part, been excellent. Some towns would have been difficult to navigate without the track I uploaded onto the app ‘maps.me’. And on the rare occasion when we have made an unintentional diversion it is always useful to have the track to refer to, so at least we can see how to get back to where we should have been.

Charming workers retreat

This has been a camino, thus far, of very few animals.  Virtually no farm animals.  We spied a couple of cows many stages back and heard some goats on leaving Alcalá del Júcar, but other than that…zilch. But rabbits abound in the rough scrubland. This morning the earth looked alive with movement – bunnies springing off in all directions – everywhere we looked there was movement.

At 10.5 km we reached the town of Graja de Iniesta. At the entrance we spied a hostal and a cafe, but we thought it would be cosier to walk into the town to find a more intimate establishment. There wasn’t one – not one that was open at 09:00.  So we had to walk back again to the outskirts and opted for the cafe.  Nina ordered a plate of bacon and eggs and I had tostada con tomate.   We thought it was overpriced, but Nina in particular enjoyed her late breakfast.  There were no shops open in the village and no other opportunities to buy food for our journey, so I purchased a big bag of crisps for unhealthy sustenance.

On leaving the town we see hills and trees dotting the landscape. Yay.  More variety.  At 21 km we stop for a rest in the shade of a magnificent hacienda, sparkling white with freshly painted walls (still being painted as we arrived). Boots were removed and crisps were eaten.

The last four or five km were a bit of a slog on asphalt, with a short diversion on a scrubland track that we managed to botch, but after realising our mistake we fought through the undergrowth and found our way back on track.

Campillo de Altobuey is a smallish town with some nice properties. There is accommodation offered by the ayuntamiento in the polideportivo (sports hall).  As we passed by the ayuntamiento we called in to ask for directions and were offered a stamp for our credenciales.  The polideportivo is on the north-west edge of the town. I phoned ahead to warn of our arrival (townhall number 969 337 001 and was given a contact number for the delightful woman who runs the hall 617 792 817).  We are offered the visitors room, basically a shower/changing room plus a couple of yoga mats and one blanket. Beggars can’t be choosers, so we are very grateful for what is generously offered.

 

I do my laundry and hang it to dry on the fence and then we walk back into town in search of food and drink. On a Monday afternoon we are out of luck. We don’t find a bar until we have circumnavigated the town and happen on a bar called (I think) La Tasca with wonderful service and generous tapas.

We give up on finding a restaurant and visit the supermarket to buy supplies. I dream of hummus and fruit, but end up buying a small jar of white beans and mashing them into a dip with lemon juice and my special ingredients. It is definitely an improvement on my last attempt!  Strawberries and satsumas complete the feast.  Back at the polideportivo the hall is buzzing with a five-a-side football match, so we take our supplies up to the stands and watch the game.

When it finally finishes at 21:30 we decide that the deep landing mats in the hall look more comfortable than the changing room. The one blanket can be shared and we arrange ourselves and hope for a good night’s sleep.

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
This entry was posted in Camino de la Lana, Camino de Santiago de Compostela and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Ruta de la Lana, stage 9, Villarta to Campillo de Altobuey, 32 km

  1. Janice Tyler says:

    Goodness Maggie, your sleeping accommodation seems to be much more basic on this Camino. As always, wonderful photos x

    Like

  2. Bob 'Jakke' Abspoel says:

    Interesting and useful. Good photos. Gracias!

    Where could I get tracks of the Lana and instructions for maps.me?

    Jakke

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    • magwood says:

      First download the app ‘maps.me’. You can find and download the tracks from Wikiloc which will be in gpx format. Then find an online conversion facility and convert to kml format. Forward the kml track to yourself via email. In the email click and hold the kml file and you should get the option to open in maps.me.
      If this doesn’t make any sense at all, try YouTube for a demo.

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  3. M3 Mary says:

    Brilliant photos Maggie. It seemed like a long day with very little food but I assume the bottle in the bag had some alcohol in it which may have helped you have a good night’s sleep. Bon camino and much love xx

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  4. David says:

    You bring it all alive, Mags. It makes you want to set off and be there tomorrow! It’s always a wonder how quickly walking a few kms turns into hundreds and hundreds after a week or so. This looks like a big, lonely Camino, where compromises and lateral thinking are needed for everyday basics and luxuries, just my cup of tea and another one for the list. Have fun.

    Like

  5. Maggie Gardner says:

    Not the best couple of days. Little fod and lack of beds, hopefully things will improve today. Love the sunruse photos. There doesn’t appear to be many other pilgrims on this route so far. Fingers crossed for a good meal and bed at the end of todays journey. xx

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  6. George says:

    Well done especially on such a diet. Buen Camino x

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  7. José Antonio Ortega Ruiz says:

    Buen Camino Maggie, es cierto el camino de la lana no aparecen rebaños de ovejas. Yo llegué hasta Cuenca. Me alegro de que contéis aventuras. Saludos.

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  8. Marilyn van Graan says:

    Don’t I love the pic of you sharing your supplies – done in true pilgrim style – free entertainment what more could you ask for – okay I know a couple of mattresses would have been nice!!! Loved the early morning photos – too beautiful – you girls are eating up the Kms – “wish I was there”!!! Love always darling.

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