Santa Fe de Mondújar to Alboloduy

Talking to my two fellow pilgrims is not easy. They are from the Canary Islands and I’m not sure if it’s their accent or what. Manuel Angel is easier to understand than Benedicto. They are such nice guys. Kind and thoughtful. I’m lucky. 

These guys will be my mates for days probably. Should sharpen up my Spanish or drive me into a silent world! Nah. It’s good for me. 

They are experts and have walked so many camino kms over the past 10+ years. Wow. I was impressed when they recited their list.

Late in the day the three of us sat on one side of the narrow road in front of our albergue watching our washing drying. You had to see it. Behind and downhill from us a citrus grove. Behind the chain supporting our washing another citrus grove and between the groves: us and a narrow bit of sealed road. 

When a neighbour returned B asked him about the caves we could see over on the hill from here. He said they are Bronze Age. I didn’t understand what he was saying about another cave up to the left of them. 

Tonight felt expensive: €23.50 for lunch, two hard boiled eggs (for dinner tonight), and accommodation in an albergue for the night. I know, I paid about €60 or a bit more per night for accommodation in Almeria, forget food for nearly two meals. Easy to lose perspective. As there were three of us and 3 bedrooms I left the guys to their own room. What luxury. At least one snores. No, I’m awake. It’s him next door. 🤓 Truly!

I wondered what the guys’d do for dinner. They walked back to a shop in town to buy bits for their dinner. I’ve got mine: eggs, some bread and a chocolate milk (90% milk, hmm the missing 10% is sugar perhaps?). Now they’re back and M came in and on his third try I understood him to say that when he’s 70, 80 or 100 he wants to be like me. Like me? What? Still alive or walking or what? Does he think I’m 70? Heaven knows what he was wanting to say. Agggg. 

My Spanish is not enough for us to chat and neither understands how to modify language for a non-fluent speaker. The woman in the bar does. She said it was commonsense when I thanked her. It’s not! Listen to english speakers: same problem, many get faster, louder, add more words in case… Agh! No! Doesn’t help!

M and B are really kind. For our ‘party’ last night, unasked, they brought me back a vanilla milk. As the night wore on I was able to understand more, and then less, Spanish. Honestly B’s accent is almost impenetrable for me and I understand so little of what he says and then the sun breaks through. Briefly! Come 23:15 and my head was reeling. Still, we’d covered a lot of history of Spain, including the Canary Islands, by then! Bed, and silence, was wonderful. 

Santa Fe de Mondújar to Alboloduy

We three left together after a very nice toast and coffee breakfast in Santa Fe de Monjudar. Up, up and more up. Sooner or later up becomes down. I was scared going down some sections today. Steep, slippery slopes, the sort I find hard. By this time we’d stopped once for a coffee refill for me, beer for them, and separated. I did a longer stretch on a road to avoid a nasty scree slope that they chose. I still caught them. 

What makes this part so special is the numerous small towns you see along the way:  flat roofs, white or a similarly light coloured walls and all comgregated in valleys with green patches, usually citrus trees up here. Lower down even some vegetables, including the best patch of eggplants I’ve seen anywhere. Also capsicum and other types of veggies.

And all is made possible by the efficient exploitation of aquifers. The first to do this was the Moores, over 1,000 years ago. The system is still used with allocations being announced, in Alboloduy at least, over the town’s loud speaker system.

Everywhere above the valleys:  dry.

Again, a green valley among arid hills. 

And again the unexpected luscious bits along the river valley. You can see the grey river bed through the middle, dry, very dry.

Anyhow, I left the small town of Alhabia first. I tried to pay for all our drinks but either it was astoundingly cheap or, more likely, the barkeeper listened to M who I’d heard ask to tell me it was very cheap. The guys really are very nice. 

Some interesting architecture in Alhabia.

I arrived in Alboloduy hot, tired, and exasperated. No phone signal so I couldn’t contact Jose, the casa rural owner. Locals told me to walk onto the bridge. Got a signal and could see, up on a hill in front of a white (yup) house, a guy waving to me. Jose drove down immediately to collect me and I am happy. As the only female I have 4 bunks and my own facilities. For €15.00. I’m not sure why the gender segregation.  

Also, Jose will drive me a little north of here tomorrow so I can avoid the hill described in one source as the most technically challenging on this camino and, reduce the distance from 27-30km down to a more comfortable less than 20km. 

Good lunch but the promised wifi wasn’t enough to download anything but small emails so, no way of uploading a blog. I was disappointed. But, life moves on….

Happiness is: having had a good lunch after a fascinating walk, albeit with some scary bits. We are staying in a casa rural, not an albergue. Relatively new, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The numbers are increasing every year according to Jose, the owner. Not hard to see why. 

His place is comfortable, has the best views over the town any hotel or casa rural could and, wonder of wonders, even has a kettle. I optimistically brought a little coffee with me that I’d bought in Córdoba, hoping, hoping, I’d get to use it. My day has come.

And, I’m changing tomorrow’s walk. Jose will drive me a little north of here so I can avoid the hill described in one source as the most technically challenging on this camino and, reduce the distance from 27-30km down to a more comfortable walk. I’m not in this to win but to enjoy it. 😊 

I knew B and M were younger than me. But i didn’t realise B, the older one, is 21 years younger! No wonder they no qualms about the first section tomorrow and we’re laughing at the ‘joke’ when I said I wasn’t that fast. 

The wonderful Jose will collect me at 07:30 tomorrow morning. 


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