There was no rush to get up this morning, as we were fairly sure our washing wouldn’t be dry too early. And sure enough most of it was still fairly damp when we collected it. Luckily my shorts and sleeveless t-shirt were dry enough and I had a spare pair of socks to walk in. So it was past 09:00 when we set off. Right from the start the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was shining bright, no clouds, and an occasional puff of welcome cooling breeze.
And then we popped up to the top of town to see the castle (in reality we followed the Don Quixote route instead of looking out for arrows, so we retraced our steps to Plaza de España and exited town from there.
So it was another day of ups and downs. One almighty up and down right at the start. Then a walk through pine forrest for around 4 km, partly nice soft sand track and partly horrible loose stones, but very little flooding – it has mostly dried up now.
We reach Romanillos de Atienza at 11 km and were very happy to find a bar in this pretty stone village – an ice cold Fanta never tasted so good.
After the village we are once again walking through the flatlands with a bank of wind turbines – their blades barely turning. We can see snow on the tops of distant mountains.
Then we were on the road for way too long, probably 2 km, before reaching the next village, Miedes de Atienza at 18.25 km, where there is another bar below the ayuntamiento with some handy picnic tables close by. I eat quinoa, avocado and tomatoes from my supplies. Our Swiss friends Marianne and Ruedi join us. They are planning to walk only another two days.
It’s poling day today for the spanish general election. There are signs in every village directing people where to vote. Consequently there are probably more people around than we would normally expect to see on a Sunday.
The track out of the village is steep and rocky on a goat track winding up the mountain side. Up and up we went 230 m in 3 km over very rough ground. At the peak we were at 1,380 m and were directed across a road back onto rough ground and indiscernible track. Quite soon we were directed back onto the road at a point where the Armco barrier was rather high, even for those of us with long legs. It would have been preferable to either stay on the road from the high point, or stay on the rough ground for longer where the barrier disappears for a awhile.
After around 1.5 km on the road we drop down on a very steep concrete track towards our final destination. As we pass a farm yard we hear the plaintiff bleating on a baby lamb. We look over the gate and see a newborn with its head stuck between railings. The gate is too high for us to climb and we are relieved when a car approaches and we flag it down. The guy told us that the owner was called Jesús and we should try to get a message to him at the bar when we arrived. There wasn’t anything else we could do, but duly reported it at the bar and hope that the poor creature was released from its torture sooner rather than later.
The bar/restaurant/hostal La Muralla has built an albergue a few metres down the road. It is one of the nicest albergues I have had the pleasure to stay in. 18 or 20 places in bunks, paper sheets, cosy duvets and pillows. Really well thought out, separate bathrooms each with two basins, two showers and a loo, very good kitchen. Plenty of space for washing to dry in the sunny courtyard. 15 euros, 975 345 053. There is no shop open on a Sunday so we can’t make use of the kitchen (not actually sure if there is a shop in the village), but there is plenty of equipment, a ceramic hob, microwave and toaster. We ate in the restaurant and I took leftover salad for the next day.
It was a shortish day that felt quite long, due to tired legs from yesterday, the elevation and the heat. I promise, I am NOT complaining about the heat (yet!)