Distance, 23 km
Elevation gain, 382 m
Elevation loss, 432 m
Total distance, 513.5 km
Daily average, 28.5 km
This morning we bade a sad farewell to our spanish friends Javier and Pablo. Family matters dictate that they need to return home immediately, but they will return to complete the camino.
As we left the Las Vegas Hostal and walked through the adjacent village of Masegoso de Tajuña, which we had only skirted when arriving yesterday, we realised that it is a really pretty village, well laid out with impressive houses and an attractive bar. In finer weather it would be a good place to relax.
Although we had wandered off-camino, there is a well marked track all the way to rejoining the official route about 8 km further on. It all started well – some blue sky amongst the grey clouds, a bit of sunshine from time to time and a track that is sandy and not muddy. We walk through woodland, and between crop fields, there is no rain and the wind is very mild. But all good things come to an end and after a few kms the red sticky stuff rises up to greet us. Not quite as bad as we have experienced in days gone by, but slowing our pace to 4 km per hour whilst we criss-cross the track to take avoiding action and pause to boot scrape at regular intervals.
We climb to the first village, Las Inviernas, at 8 km. My info says there is a bar. We find it, but there is heavy building work going on outside and within. We are urged to go in and are accosted by the loudest voiced woman I have ever come across. Even without the work it would have left something to be desired, so we decided to leave the noise of the hostess and the tools behind and move on without a drink.
There is a steep climb out of Las Inviernas until we reach a plateau of completely flat land stretching as far as the eye can see. Green fields with crops swaying in the increasing wind and lots of beautiful stone ruins along the way.
The tracks are drying and are not too difficult to negotiate, but the strengthening wind, which has nothing to divert it for miles around, blows us off course now and then. We cross over a train line and eventually reach a short stretch on road at 16 km and find a cafe alongside a petrol station half a km further. I am delighted to learn that they have soy milk, and so order a cola cao, which I enjoy so much that immediately on finishing I order another.
Then we are back out into the even stronger wind on road to the village of Mirabueno, and we are surprised to see why this village earns its name. A stunning vista of a huge basin of fertile land 200 metres below us. It is a really unexpected and beautiful sight. A narrow single file path leads us down into the valley just the sort of path that I love, that I long for on any walk. Winding through scrubby woodland and even accompanied by the occasional burst of sunshine.
Those of you who have only joined my blog during this camino will be excused for thinking that I am a bit of a whingeing pom (as I believe the Australians refer to us Brits). But it doesn’t take much to make me happy. A narrow, winding track, a bit of sunshine and I am in seventh heaven. I took a rare selfie showing my camino happy face.
When we were only a couple of minutes from our destination the sky opened and spewed hail stones upon us. We darted into bar Agustin, and left our dripping belongings in a corner. I asked our host Agustin if he knew about accommodation for pilgrims. He made a couple of phone calls and soon enough a charming woman from the Ayuntamiento came to meet us and showed us across the road to a property next to the Caixa bank. Upstairs is a hall with stage, used for meetings, theatre and dancing. They have four inflatable mattresses, but only one blanket and no pillows. But there are a bank of air conditioning heaters so the large room is soon cosy and we start to plan this evening’s performance! There are two rooms with loo/basin and hot water, but no shower.
We are then taken to the ayuntamiento by Ana, where we are registered and given a sello for our credenciales. Ana tells me that the number to ring to give advance warning of your arrival is 949 305 002, and gives me permission to share her personal number 649 721 552. Such kindness, and so much appreciated. She even rings ahead to advise our next albergue of our arrival tomorrow. Thank you Ana, and Augustin, and Mandayona Ayuntamiento for providing this acogida free of charge.
We eat an early supper in Bar Milagros. Lentils for me and chicken and chips for Nina.
So we have enjoyed a practically rain-free day, and although it has been chilly, we have actually seen a bit of blue sky and sunshine, so things are really looking up.
And just after we finished our performance (including Swiss Marianne) there was a loud clap (not from an appreciative audience, but from the sky) and another hail storm ensued. What on earth is going on?