By 18:00 on Thursday there was nasty rumbling of thunder up on the nearby hills. Missed out on rain today but tomorrow? Weather app says just overnight and sun tomorrow!
My neighbours, a delightful Polish couple, arrived at nearly 19:00. They’d left Guadix at 10:30 and must be very tired as over 8 hours is a long time walking. They said we should leave early tomorrow. Certainly what I was planning. They both understand english but only he speaks it. They are really nice to have here for the night.
I’ve reduced the weight in my pack considerably and, I’m hoping that, with the changes to the track, will make the section to Quentar easier than last time.
Pack weight reduction? Yes, a serious larder reduction. Halved the bread and cheese, finished the tomato, egg and sardines. For tomorrow: just an orange, some bread and cheese, a Coke Zero and a batido. Phew. It’s just there’s truly nothing to eat or drink from start to finish, about 30km later. Will make eating the churros on Thursday worthwhile. And I ate the chocolate too but had to throw out at least half or eat silver paper. 😭
Friday 28 April 2018
Left the albergue alone, just before 07:00. The others were up but show no signs of being morning people so I’m guessing they would have taken a while to get going. Sure enough, no signs of them even across valleys where you could see a few km of track going back.
The fountain in town is unusually popular. In my brief time in La Peza I saw 3 or 4 different people drinking from it. The last was a delivery guy, parked alongside, as I left this morning.
Walking today was so pleasant, hard but good.
The start is up a hill out of town. The temporary bullring from last time is again a carpark just below a bullfighter statue.
The track goes up and up. The small bread shop was open, nothing else on the uphill trek out through the town.
I’m guessing La Peza has an interesting history. On one wall was a plaque about fighting with axes and various other weapons that, when I could figure what they might be, sounded pretty desperate and like hand to hand combat of last resort. Or it was just my imagination was working overtime. 😊
The area up the top of La Peza that was so unpleasant last time with a very cold rain and wind was lovely today. Not warm but good to see the surrounding hills and the valley down below so clearly. And lots of snow on the Sierra Nevadas.
Wild deer broke cover, 4 of them. Later, rocks started falling just in front of me from a steep hillside on my left. Seemed odd until I saw the heads of another group of deer, no stags, just deer.
On and on: along a narrow river bed for a few km then along a winding gravel road. That went up and down the hills it snaked around.
Eventually, a valley and a scout hut. Up the next hill was a number of pine trees being tapped for sap.
Unlike last time, almost all of the bigger trees have now been tapped and the tapered runoff gadgets and collection buckets all replaced. Couldn’t see much beyond water in most buckets. Intriguing. I wonder who is doing it and why. They are clearly serious now.
Walked through the gravel pit up top, just where the really difficult section started previously. The signage was confusing but when I doubled back I noticed red signs about where the earlier washout must be. So, my concerns were assuaged: the track was heaps easier. Can’t see that it cut off much distance though, certainly not the 3km someone suggested.
Walking along the track, through fruit trees I saw a guy searching for something and every now and then picking something off the ground. I asked him and he showed me, a type of fungus I’d never seen before: small, shrivelled up black caps and light coloured stems. He said they use them in paellas.
Along the way I saw a shepherd. Unusually he had sheep and goats. All looked ready for milking.
And then two very fierce dogs barking ferociously at me as they snarled and jumped around behind a fence, at least there was a fence today. Yesterday two nearly got their bit of flesh from me: as they were starting to circle me I was looking for stones. Thankfully their owner saw in time. Scarey!
And then, later in the bar while I was scoffing eggplant and honey (a bit yuk as too greasy), a cute little dog was in checking nothing had been left to waste.
The last section into Quentar was one I remembered as it went on forever last time. I remember Benedo lagged us both badly at this stage. Seems to take forever to get to Quentar from when you first see a town. Problem is, it’s not the right town you see.
Quentar is a small, typical Andalusian town with many small old white houses, crooked streets and a particular type of beauty. Hard to capture. Need that skilled photographer here!
Arriving at the hotel was great. Ah, at last…..
The leg into Granada starts nearby, making it more convenient than the other place to stay. Plus, it’s very close to the only bar that opens. Win win. Even without a towel to have a shower, just having a rest before lunch was a bonus. And yes, I eventually got a towel. I know, I do carry one but why use a pocket hanky version when staying in a hotel that provides a REAL one.
Yup, I’m tired today and my Fitbit seems to indicate I’ve walked about 150km since Monday morning. So it’s hardly surprising.
Yes, the Poles turned up a few hours later having also had a good walk.
Tomorrow. Granada. And then a day or so off as I’m bussing off to see Victoria, my wonderful camino companion from October 2017.