Villanueva de Concepción Albergue
Another night alone in an albergue with 5 empty bunks beside me. A difference tonight was that I couldn’t lock the front door. The gate outside had long ago become unlockable and although i was able to unlock the front door when I arrived, no matter how many times I tried I couldn’t get the key to function ever again. So, a line of three chairs against the door was the best I could do.
It was a donativo again but with no hot water, no soap and a key that didn’t work I thought €5 sufficient.
I have hopes of breakfast tomorrow as my erstwhile landlady, the barkeeper who had the albergue key, said she opens at five! Very early.
Villanueva de Concepción to Antequera
Reasonable sleep. Today promised to be very hard, steep ups and downs and rocky. By 07:23 I was having my second coffee. No toast despite the baker 3 shops along doing a roaring trade. I finished off the last of the dark bread the ants didn’t find yesterday and bought a loaf that I might use under me as a skid if the slope down is as bad as reported. The bread has a crust that defies all teeth. Opening it required a knife forcibly plunged into it! Wonderful tasting bread though. And it lasts for days. ☺️
All advice, both my current sources, said today would be very tough with a really awful downhill section. My contour map confirmed how steep the downhill section would be. Horrible. As I didn’t expect to see anyone else on the trail I made sure I had the emergency number if needed. Yeah yeah, fractures, whatever.
Up, always walking uphill to leave town. More up and then gradually the track became a nice unsealed series of narrow little roads. Farm tracks go off along the way.
From the start the beautiful rocky El Torcal mountain with its steep rocky slopes loomed above the town, and me. Quite scary actually as I wasn’t sure how much climbing up its rocky sides I’d be doing. After the warnings I expected quite a bit and wasn’t looking forward to it, especially knowing down comes after up.
And then, sooner or later I was inevitably going to get to the scary bit, the down hill bit. About 10km after starting out and gradually going up I arrived at the top of the drop. The good thing was the weather is very dry. And the first section had that rough cement you often find on tracks in Spain. Must stop the washout. Anyhow, it’s a lot easier to deal with than loose stones going down. Lots of switchbacks below, some with loose stones and some more concreted sections. Certainly steep and never easy. My sources were right.
I was concentrating so hard I didn’t even see a guy with a small daypack coming up, around a large column of rock on my left, until we were almost side by side.
Eventually I was down, and happy about that. The last section of the walk includes across the edge of someone’s paddocks, along farm tracks and a main road into town. I stopped off at the information place, got a town stamp, and headed off to the Plaza De Santiago with its 18th century church and albergue.
Antequera is a beautiful looking town, typically with a castle and white houses. Wow!