The day started as usual, in a bar: toast and tomato and, coffee, for us both. Local men hunched over the bar chatting.
We walked about 23km. The weather was very pleasant. Sunny, and, for quite a while the camino was in the shade. As per many days walking here, olive groves are ever present. Ahead, behind and on every side.
After about 12km we, happily, arrived in a small village with an open bar. While Benedo got drinks organised I crossed over to a small shop. Best of all, the woman there was selling locally dried figs. Didn’t look totally exciting but I bought 2 handfuls. Literally, she grabbed a handful, then another. No gloves, no pretence at such an option. Hands.
The figs were so nice that 5 minutes later I thought I’d better race back and get another 2 handfuls. I now know why all the trees we see have none. Locals collect and dry them. Not with sugar, just open them and dry them. And they are really nice. Not as desiccated like the commercial ones at home, just dried. Perfect.
Again we walked past one of the old public clothes washing places. Most towns here still have one, clearly long unused.
Finally arrived in Alcaudete. Benedo had tried, unsuccessfully, ringing to reserve a place in the albergue since last night. In the end I got a hostel via booking.com. We had to ring to get someone to come and open up for us. Two small beds in a small room. And it’s what we needed. He would have preferred something more basic. I had suggested a hair shirt to him earlier as an option to too much comfort. He laughed.
A good lunch outside, in a small cafe. Small fish (boquerones) with olives (tapas) followed by salad, soup and fried eggplant with honey. Was good.
As a self respecting town that is part of the old tracks across Andalucía, Alcaudete has a castle. Of course.
We walked up there. Up one old street, down another, along another, and the castle was visible at times and we just couldn’t find it. Eventually did. Dates back to the 16th century but is built on something much older. And trust me, if you wanted to invade the tortuous streets make it hard.
The castle was shut this afternoon. Oh well. So was the adjacent old church.
So, we repaired to a bar. Found the 4 Spanish guys whose paths we keep crossing. One, at least, was very unhappy with the albergue in Pinos Puente, the one I didn’t like. His complaints were similar to mine plus, he said it was dirty (it was) and there was dog shit just near it (I assumed it would have been hosed away). Clearly not. And he contacted someone and it will apparently be delisted this coming week. What a good idea. This is only the second time I’ve come across a place I really didn’t like. The other was such that I walked 10 more km (after 30), to avoid it. And two hostales but, they didn’t claim to be albergues.
As the day goes on my facility with it drops. Like a stone. 😸
Two problems: my lack of Spanish and Benedo’s accent and obvious enjoyment in relating a story. My lack? Better than it was 2 years ago but….
Him? When he is really wanting to get something through his dropping of word endings and problems with some important sounds means I end up hearing a blur of words at times, distinguishing the odd one or, finally, just shutting down. Trust me, red wine makes my comprehension much worse as it speeds up his motor bits! Oral, that is, and words blur totally.
We rub along pretty well. All day and all night together and no signs of homicide yet. Our paces are much the same and his determination is always high. And we both are happy to be quiet in the evening and go to bed at children’s hours.
After Córdoba there are about 3 days I don’t plan on walking. Each is about 40km. However, I’ll see how I feel. Manolo will have joined us by then and they’ll leave about 06:00 for 8 to 10 hour days. I may need to find options. On this section of the route there aren’t bars every 10 km (ideal). No. So I don’t expect them then. However, I’ll be fitter by then and sure of my feet so, I don’t know.