Last night in Merida
Silly but, I feel more tired tonight than when we first arrived in Merida. It’s as though when you walk day after day your adrenaline levels rise and stay high. They take a day to drop and then go right down. Feels that way to me tonight. I’m finding it hard to get any energy to even pack. Also, unusually for the last two weeks, I’m not hungry.
The chocolate and churros this morning were nice but heavy. And left me disinterested in food for the day. Thankfully we’d bought some fruit at the local market today, the wonderful peaches plus bananas, kiwi fruit and oranges. I’ve stuffed in what I can as not eating before a day of walking isn’t smart. We should get breakfast at a cafe on the way out tomorrow plus, we’re not leaving early so that makes it even more likely.
I was surprised at how little english I’ve heard in Merida this trip. I heard two guides speaking in english to their groups but almost all the tourists I’ve seen and heard are Spanish. Anyhow, a very different experience from my last trip to Merida when many tourists were english speakers. Quite possibly just the time of year as it was April last time.
Aqueduct in Merida
Today I visited the main aqueduct. Last time I only learnt about it when leaving town and walking north. Early in the morning then it was a ghostly shadow. Seeing it later afternoon, today, was better. And of course, we saw it again this morning.
A poor solitary, and perhaps confused, stork was standing in one of the nests above the support structures. Most odd as it was alone and the others have all disappeared to wherever storks go for the winter. Has it lost its partner? Who knows but it looked to be searching for something.
Breakfast in Merida
Should read: breakfast with the bulls. The cafe was a veritable shrine to toreadors and bulls. From the two bulls’ heads hanging on the wall to the multitudinous photos and newspaper cuttings it was a shrine. Nothing less. More later but, our lunchtime restaurant had a similar theme, bulls and handsome bullfighters. This time with the family as well.
We’d had to spend time in our chosen breakfast bar as V had forgotten to collect Benedo’s torch from the albergue. He’d very kindly lent it to her as hers is weak, one you wind up as you go. His is very focussed and ideal for finding yellow arrows in the dark. So we left later as the albergue opened at 09:00 plus, we didn’t need to hurry today.
My first day in the rain this camino. It’s cooler and I was able to try out my new, lightweight, montbell rain jacket. One unused item less in my pack. The other two are bits of cold weather gear and I’m happy not to need them yet.
Didn’t rain heavily and as it lasted only an hour or two, not a good test for the jacket. The forecast suggests daily opportunities for more serious testing lie ahead.
The section leaving Merida seemed to take forever, mainly because it’s the usual uninteresting suburban stuff. Finally reached the Prosperina Embalse, a dam constructed by the Romans about 2,000 years ago. Yes, it’s been fixed over the centuries and used more or less at different times.
To me it looks very sad and uninteresting, as it did last time I walked here. The difference is, walking with a Spaniard I learnt a bit more about it. Victoria pointed out it’s very popular in the summer when local temperatures can be in the 40s and, we are currently a long way from the ocean. It has river sand and alongside are many bars and cafes, all shut at present. Anyhow, there is also a Red Cross building that I now know is really a first aid station which supports the idea of many people coming here in the summer.
And I noticed the new signs showing you where you can fish but, the fish are not to be killed. 😏
Later the track changed to a gravel one, undulating, and finally a village. One of the very few with not even one bar! Very unusual. Kept going to our destination, Aljucen. A small town it at least has bars and restaurants, possibly surviving only because of us peregrinos passing through most days.
And, it’s the first time this walk I’ve seen so many grape vines, another change as I move across and now ‘up’ Spain.
Ok. To say the restaurant Sergio’s, in Aljucen, is unusual is an understatement. Go back to the 50s or 60s, imagine how a Spanish bar may have looked then. Not quite the 3 flying ducks on the wall but, the equivalent. Along with a strong focus on bulls and toreadors, again.
And lunch? No choices, or virtually none. Soup, a nice thick chicken based soup with chick peas and small noodles followed by salad (tomato and lettuce) and a fish based tortilla.
She also cooked 4 slices of eggplant for us plus we had a large bottle of homemade lemonade (sugar, water, lemon). Desert was fruit. Given everything, I’d expected lunch to cost about €8 or 9 each but no, €11 so quite expensive. But, the food was fine.
This is a family run albergue, €10 per person per night for a bunk. One of those places where it’s €1 extra for this, €3 for that…. But, it will do us. The bonus: wifi and power points near our beds.
We have company tonight, a French woman about my age. She speaks French, Spanish and english and, she is probably watching costs as she picnics only and isn’t sharing accommodation with her friend who is staying in a nearby hotel. I did notice it was more expensive as we walked past it but, considerably cheaper than in many places.
There were 15 in the albergue two days ago. Not the one big group but a series of small ones. I’m very pleased we are behind them, apparently an unusually large number for the Via de la Plata in October, usually a slower time than March and April. (I previously walked through here from Sevilla in April 2013. I didn’t stay here and don’t even remember the town even).
Now, a few hours after lunch, it’s time for a quick sleep.
Didn’t happen! Blogging and trying to get some photos of the owner’s hobby took time. Honestly, the most amazing little panorama made of acorns, 7 pigs and the Spanish shepherd with his crook! They are so cute. Truly.
Surprisingly, no bulls!