What a different albergue. The guy who signed me into the church albergue was not welcoming and seemed pissed off that I’d already got a stamp for tonight from the town’s tourist information place. He charged me €5, very reasonable, before showing me around and giving me 3 keys.
The bathroom is across an open courtyard, through a locked door, and along a passage. It had a wonderful shower, and the usual other facilities. I have a key to the bathroom, one for the bunk room and one to the gate into the courtyard.
The bedroom has two bunks (4 beds) and is an enlarged storage closet with no natural light and no power points. Not one! I’ve scoured under the beds, checked the whole room very carefully and thanked heavens for my solar charger and sunny days. Without the electronic map on my phone accessible I could end up in Timbuktu or Outer Mongolia. Charging on…
A number of small family groups are now in the courtyard, speaking individually with someone who works here. I suspect they are asking for help and that she runs a regular clinic as they all arrived at the same time.
Had lunch at a nice place, made some nuns happy at a shop purporting to sell nun-made sweets, walked around a bit and came back to do my washing and to shower.
Three days in and I’m tired. Today wasn’t long, only about 18km but the heat, coming down El Torcal, and anticipating the descent, made it seem longer. I left Villanueva de Concepcion at about 07:30 and arrived in Antequera at about 12:30. Not bad.
Trail shoes was the right choice with the current hot, dry weather. So was getting my pack very light for the extra water (and a Pepsi light plus a little box of chocolate milk 🤓).
Antequera is a beautiful town with its castle and a residual wall section and the white Andalucían houses. Definitely worth a visit although I’ve just used it as a transit point I know there’s more here than I’ll see this trip. Same with Almogia. I’d give Villanueva de Concepción a miss though if I was to revisit this area.
Why no photos? I can’t find a bar with effective wifi. Even my expensive lunch restaurant had very borderline wifi. Kept going off and was slow when on. Maybe tomorrow, a longer walk and hopefully a bar that is ok.
The very walls and floor of the building containing the broom-closet-with-bunks are shaking. The church bell is being rung again. I’m guessing for a 19:30 mass. I should go but I’m stationery, promising all musculoskeletal bits that tomorrow will be fine, walk further but hopefully very pleasant and no extended downhill like today. Whoops, no need to go. I can hear all the service through the door to my side 😇. Luxury. Church from my bunk bed.
Early morning, leaving Antequera
Ah, memorable, the changing views of the Indian Head Mountain this morning. From a clear shape with the lights of a nearby town as I left Antequera to it being a background to irrigated asparagus a few km further on. Very impressive and such a distinct shape. More so than the dead woman (near Segovia), resting man (Tuscany). Etc. This one needed no imagination.
Anyhow, despite feeling full of energy, I obviously looked old and tired as I left the town! An old guy on a bike was heading in the same direction and pulled over for a chat. An early question was my age! He was much older at 74. And, with his accent and lack of teeth we were never going to get a good conversation going. I understood a bit but no more. He was curious as to where I’d been, was going etc. I thought he might be with me for life and was relieved when he stopped at a farm a bit further on. Phew.
By 10.30 I thought I was about half way. But, the guy who recorded the GPS points I’m using skipped the town I’m heading to so I was not sure where I’d end up, whether I’d find the turnoff or not. You can’t always assume arrows or signs will be where you need them.
By 12.30 I was wondering if I’d ever get through the interminable olive groves. Young, old, laden, not laden, they cover almost every surface between towns in this region. Everywhere.
The three km down rough tractor tracks wasn’t easy but better today in the dry weather. On and on. The track was well marked but it was so hot. It had to be well over 30C out in those open areas with just olive trees for company.
A few hours later, possibly about 2pm, I arrived in Villanueva de Algaidas. This was about 24km, further than I’d expected, and on a much warmer day. I was so pleased to arrive. If I’d found a hotel first I’d have stayed there. Yes, I’d have taken any opportunity to stop. The towns I’m walking through are generally too small to have hotels so an albergue is important.
Finding the albergue was the usual trial. Arrows stopped early in the town and so i was on my own despite having an address.
Three people’s answers later I found it, rang the number of the local police listed on the door. A local policeman drove straight over, copied details from my passport, and left. I was so pleased to be there, to have a (cold) shower, and to do my washing. And to start plugging in devices! Cost, nothing. Doubt they get a lot of pilgrims most of the year so it’s a wonderful option.
The albergue is in the back of the post office, upstairs and has 24 beds. So tonight I have 23 spare beds above or beside me. Well, I don’t expect to see another peregrino/a. Who knows… I’m getting to count on being the only one in a large room. And I love never having to have the top bunk!
Lunch was at the bar just along the street. They had the essential pilgrim stamp plus, food. A nice mixed salad, prawns and bacon on skewers with chips and almond flan. The bar dog arrived, sat quietly beside me and shared my chips. Soon after we jointly finished them he gave himself away and was shown the door.
Then three, or four, generations of a family arrived for lunch. I understand why. Food is good in Bar Pedro. And cheap. €7.50 for a 3 course meal with bread and a drink. Coffee was extra.
No photos again because again there is no wifi! The bar had none and even the 3G reception is very slow. Whenever I get wifi again I’ll do a blog showing scenes over time. Apologies, it’s most unexpected. But, the area is hilly. I don’t know about here but the area around Almogia was hilly and isolated enough that it is the butt of jokes about inbreeding. I suspect many parts of this region might be!