Castuera to Don Benito to Mérida

Leaving Castuera

I liked the Hotel Los Naranjos in Castuera. Got what I’d paid for and it had a nice Canadian, John, as well as the parrot.

John and I have ended up at a couple of places on the same day. He is the guy with the opposite schedule to me: me, early, him, well, let’s say he was finishing breakfast at 09:00 to 10:00, when I’d usually be long gone.

You’ll notice that the parrot cage door was open so I’m guessing it wandered out in that area, in front of the window, to do its loud screeching.

The fierce little dog was townie, and not a hotel resident. But so so brave up on the balcony above me I just admired it. Yup, I kept going.

And then, a few streets after, I had to figure why such a small town needed a policeman at an apparently insignificant intersection. But, there he was. I turned the corner and he called out to me. Quick mental search: caught at last??

Peregrina? He asked. I said yes and that nice kind policeman was about to tell me the route was in the opposite direction. In many towns here the locals just watch as you and your heavy pet backpack blithely head off up the wrong way. For amusement, as the tv programs are mostly pretty awful unless you have a soapie addiction. Or is it like watching a rat in a Skinner box, to see how quickly it might learn? I’m sure it’s better entertainment watching peregrinos than both these options in some small towns. 😏

The last time I was here was on a Saturday and the bar was full, at about 07:00, of hunters in cammo. Some looked a little new with their very clean, very well pressed clothes. Very impressive. And somewhat funny. 🤣. And this time, a horseman in the main street. So, an interesting town with a frontier image perhaps?

Anyhow I was really impressed with the policeman. I was wandering, filling in time until I could catch the train to Don Benito. Hoped to walk the next 3 days from there into Merida.

Knew cheese was important in Castuera. Saw a sign on the way to the station and made the silliest purchase I’ve made for a while. I’m a sucker for sheep cheese but, this much?

I’m blaming the fact that I was confused as someone had put bamboo skewers under the nail of my right toe 5. Too painful to walk more than the couple of km to the station in Castuera. Even in skinners (like a sock with a sole) walking was still not easy and so I’d had to change my plans already. Train to Don Benito. Figure out what to do along the way. Still hoping to walk to the very impressive town of Medellin with its Roman ruins.

Don Benito

just a half hour by train to Don Benito, a prosperous looking city. Many new buildings and shops.

It’s the one where the well arranged bullfighter in pink was working recently. Really, nothing to recommend this town in my eyes, not even the many coffee shops up the main street .

interesting that it had the very trendy walk signs that flash male/female.

Has many modern chain stores, some upmarket, lots of trendy coffee shops but, if it wasn’t for my foot, I wouldn’t stop here. Not just because I can’t buy a newspaper. But it does have one of the best supermarkets I’ve seen in rural Spain, with the best fruit and veg, Mercadona.

I stayed at the Hostal Galicia in Don Benito. Not my favourite and not the cheapest. The worst pillow I’ve had in Spain, not an easy competition to win. The wifi was almost dead, momentarily spluttered to life for a few slow minutes in the morning. And the noises from the next door shower, near midnight of course, were a bit like a thundering waterfall. No, it’s not on my list of places to stay again. In fact, I’m planning to avoid that town in future, except maybe for its Mercadona supermarket. Oh wow. Best fruit and veg I’ve seen for ages.

And the round of sheep cheese? I left it in the hotel and just hope someone appreciated it plus the can of Red Bull and heap of Werthers toffees as my walking is over for now. Toe #5 this morning felt as though just the one skewer was still under the nail. So, better. Sooner the nail is off and out, the better yet. I want to explore the places I’m visiting for my last week in spain this May.

With 3 hours to walk about 1km to the train station I stopped off for another coffee. Not really, it was for the waiter with such an impressive haircut. I had to see it up close. Nice guy.

Still more coffee at the cafeteria next to the station. Better still, tapas served with the cokes. Greasy but very tasty.

Finally caught the train. A mere hour or so from Castuera to Merida by train but, days on foot. And I’d have preferred that option.

Merida, Friday 11 May 2018

I like this city. Once again I’m staying in the hotel overlooking Plaza España. Even better, I have a balcony directly over the entrance. Not very busy at 16:30 but getting busy at 21:30. Busier still later.

Headed off looking for a decent dinner, one with veg. Oh yes. Look at what I found, below, in my own hotel. 😁

Forget dinner, my feet are now in sandals that don’t rub my various blisters or push the bamboo stake further in under the nail on toe 5. Aggghhh. Yes, you probably heard the sigh of relief. I just need to figure why it happened, how come I walked with no issues for a week. And then the left toe 5 packed it in and later the right! Odd! And no, my laces were done up properly.

Moving on

Four nights in Merida then a bus to Plasencia, another walled city I’m looking forward to seeing.

In the meantime I love hearing the clacking of the many storks busy nesting above us lot. All around this area.

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