Friday 27 April
My Guadix hotel (GIT Abentofail) was great. Comfortable, restful and only €49 for such a nice place and a great shower. Yes, albergues in Guadix are about €15 and everyone raves about the sculptor’s place but, give me that particular hotel anytime! Oh, and its wifi: download speed of 56Mb/sec and upload of 51.3Mb/sec. Excellent. Yes.
The cathedral in Guadix remains impressive.
As do many of the partial and complete cave houses. Not all houses are well kempt, or probably occupied, but those that are really do look interesting.
The sun was out most of the morning. No rain despite the forecast. So, it was really enjoyable walking through the rural areas between the surrounding badlands and through the three small towns along the way.
The track starts along a river bed and quickly moves up and away.
Lots of badlands. Lots. A few empty, one room, cave entrances and the most unusual telegraph pole, hanging freely. Heaven knows what and why!
Each area has caves dug in the surrounding hills in which some still live, and others used to live. My especial favourite remains the town of Marchal, with the pink church and, to me, the most impressive cave houses.
A verdant area, especially now. And so different from down south in Andalucía, the prior areas I’ve walked through this trip.
Saw a wild goat way up on top of the surrounding hills. How do I know it was wild? The woman outside the cemetery in Marchal stopped me, pointed it out and said it was a wild one.
Before you ask, I’ve really enjoyed walking the past few days. Stretching out along the tracks and roads, and stopping in different places than last time, has been liberating. Plus I’ve enjoyed the higher milages. Just doing 20km, even if you don’t start until after 07:00, stop a few times for drinks, just gets you to the next place too soon.
I like the walking part of the camino. Even the floods and risks yesterday didn’t diminish that. Reminds me: only one toe nail will fall off so far. Nice change that that’s my biggest foot problem to date. 🤞 And I’m sure my incipient shin splints are slowly resolving. Slowly.
Despite leaving a bit after 07:00, stopping for breakfast on the way out of Guadix, and later for a hot chocolate and a huge plate of freshly fried churros, I’d covered the 25 or so km to La Peza by about 13:00.
No-one else in the albergue yet but two, possibly French, are expected. And I’m surprised they aren’t here yet as it’s after 17:00, unless they are lost. Given the updated markings for this camino that seems unlikely. Hmm, even Benedo and I couldn’t have missed one turn today, the one we sailed past last time. Thank heavens for our rescuer, Manolo. No wonder I was much more tired last time.
The later parts of this section still seem more tiring. Interesting. Lots of snow, yes, in the distance. You crouch down to get through a drain in another riverbed and then walk up on the road and later through a road tunnel. Soon after you can see a long stretch with a low gradient that goes up and up and around a few corners, all heading up. Finally you walk down a steep hill into the town of La Peza, nestled along the riverbanks.
What is surprising is how much changes over time in towns that had appeared unchanging to me as an outsider. 18 months ago the only cafe this side of the bridge was the one up the hill, near what was a temporary bullring the day I was here with the boys. Now, that has closed, the owner having retired and, a new cafe down this end of town has opened.
The meals now are very different, mainly pizza and bocadillos (bread rolls with cheese, jamón etc). Plus a standard mixed salad. Yes, with tuna on top but, the usual mixed salad with wedges of tomato, a bit of corn and iceberg (ugh) lettuce. The cafe had 4 or 5 very noisy men in it. I did not feel welcome and got out as soon as I’d scoffed a coffee and the salad. I find the way some of them stare surprising given the number of walkers through this region nowadays. Oh well.
Tomorrow: Quentar. Last time it was a long tiring day. No coffee, no food, rain and a nasty washout to jump. 🤞 the weather is ok. My personal larder is still ridiculous and has to be emptied before Granada, and there have been track works so you skirt around the washout somehow. Promises to be interesting all the same. I’m booked into a hotel in Quentar this year, I hope the one we ate at last time.