Encinas Reales to Lucena

I spent the night in the Encina Reales albergue alone, again. Did you guess? Early on in the evening a clutch of noisy women, all speaking loudly and concurrently, sat outside my little area. Come 21:00, they disappeared, presumably to eat and feed their troops. Older boys briefly appeared but soon left. My next visitor was the garbage removal truck as some large town bins were near the fence outside my corner of the churchyard. 
All was then quiet until traffic, very light, started at about 06:00. A quiet and a good night with a good shower and no bunk above or beside me. Cost? As the previous night =€0. So accommodation has cost: €10+5+5+0+0 =€20 and could have been less but I appreciate a town’s providing accommodation so I chose what to give. (Lead photo shows houses in Encinas Reales. Nothing to do with where I stayed!)

The police chief in Encinas Reales took my albergue keys about 07:50. So not overly delayed but the best time is early, before the sun is up and hot. 

As usual, to leave a town you seen to have to walk up hill. This time most of the walk straight after the obligatory hill was along the river, a bit above it and through olives. Again. I was lucky as most was in the shade for the first couple of hours after I started. Made such a difference. The one river crossing I’d been expecting was on formed concrete stepping stones and easy. The water level is low at present. Phew. The concrete can grow a very slippery green slime I remember too well from my walk in 2013 from Sevilla. 

The GPS points on my map and the camino signs differed after the river crossing. I chose the camino signs and got to Lucena but the other way was probably as good. 

Well, the book spoke of an extended climb of about 3km into the outer limits of Lucena. It was right. And i got to the top and the outer industrial area was as uninteresting as most, except as a possible indicator of the wealth of the town. As most industrial sites there have a building and most appear to be operating I’m guessing it’s generally ok here. Except for one thing: most businesses are factories manufacturing furniture. I can’t believe they are all prospering, especially given this is not the only town I’ve walked through with so many furniture manufacturers on the outskirts.

Getting from there through an infinite number of roundabouts to a possible hotel seemed impossible. I should have stopped, had a drink and then got going. But I didnt…… 🙄

So, where to stay? I’d talked myself into two nights in Lucena in a nice hotel. Decided to spend up if I got the hotel of my choice. 

Vespa riders

Gazumped by the Vespa riders! It’s their big weekend out and they’ve booked up all the good accommodation in Lucena. So I got a bed for €25 in a hostal that advertises it has free wifi etc. Sounded good, I liked the photos. Let me assure you: it’s a one night only stop in place that might have free wifi but you can’t download on it, not even a remote control for channel surfing. The sheets could double as sandpaper. But, it should be ok. For one night. 

What next

I’ve had trouble deciding what to do next. One thing I don’t want is 40km days and there is one coming up. There is a two stage option but I’m not keen on that either. So, I’ve been looking for options in the next few one-horse towns. I need a break from the type of albergue I’ve been staying in. Forget the horrible hostal Sara in Lucena.  It was horrible.

So, I started. After an hour or so I realised I was going around in circles, looking at booking services and the websites of the different towns. Getting nowhere at all. So I restarted, with the end, Córdoba. Tomorrow night I’m staying in Córdoba in an Airbnb. With wifi and a washing machine!  

How will I get there? I’ll walk the 13 or so km to Cabra (I couldn’t miss a town with a name meaning ‘goat’) and catch a bus from there to Córdoba. Fixes my need for different accommodation and means I avoid one of the 40km days. The last time I walked 40+km, on the Camino Levante, it was not as hot and I still didn’t enjoy it. So early exit from here, walk to Cabra, catch a bus and that’s sorted a few questions. 

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