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