Almería to Santa Fe De Mondújar

Booked into El Olivo y el Naranjo, a Casa Rurale, on Sunday as I decided I’d prefer to stay in town this time rather than to walk past the albergue into town and then back with the key.

Pathetic but I was so chuffed I managed the conversation on the phone with Alba ok in Spanish (tel: 678288143). 👌 Small things can bring great happiness.

Anyhow, I’m happy. I’m booked and it’s €15, not €40. Think I need to go out for my last coffee of the day and then wash some last minute grundies and socks.

Monday 23 May 2018

Who knew! Breakfast at 07:00, warm outside. Good way to start a day. Pack overly full as now has water plus my favourite, batidos, chocolate milk for kids that is 90% milk. The labels say each batido has 30% less sugar now. Less than what or when. Still, they taste wonderful.

Caught a taxi out through the streets and the industrial area again. And again the driver didn’t seem to know where to go outside the very inner urban area and needed guidance.

What do older Spanish guys do? Sit.

The following area is so ugly: lots of stones both big and small; river beds with fine dust; vegetation that is generally ugly, prickly and with narrow leaves; and lots of ruined and deserted houses. Not a lot to recommend it really.

The few small towns between here and Almeria are all much the same. In one I asked to buy an orange to eat, not for juice (the distinction matters here). The woman gave me one and refused. any money. Was really nice to do that and earnt her a 2 kiss reward!

Watch out for dangerous dogs! Perhaps the notice above this dog’s head wasn’t meant for her. She was not peligroso (dangerous).

Started to rain. You could see drops on the ground. The dust almost repels water it’s so fine the drops just sit there for quite a time. My wet weather gear was all deep in my pack of course. Got it on and effectively stopped any more rain falling!

Along the way: caves, hibiscus, a typical bar and him. Spain!

Arrived in Santa Fe De Mondújar and, frankly, wished I’d kept going. Only another 15 km to the next accomodation and here has little to offer. The Casa Rurale has 2 rooms: 1 double and 2 singles and a couch. I’ve NO interest in the couch. Four more people are due and I am hoping there’s no push to move me onto the couch just cos I’m travelling alone. I’ve been moved before to a single in a common area for that reason. Not planning on being cooperative this time. 😇.

Apparently only 1person stayed here last night. Wish I’d known in advance as I’d have kept going. Now I have an hour to lunch and 4 fellow travellers coming and us all in a small house. Clean and has a washing machine but…

Do NOT use dishwashing liquid for clothes. No. Froths up horribly and I suspect I’m going to smell like that’s what I’ve done for days. Had to rinse it all out again and again and hope it’s all gone. Hmmmm…… Big mistake.

Two of my new companions are French. She speaks some Spanish, neither speak english. So we’ll mangle Spanish. I’ve booked us 3 into the next place and know we’ll be sharing a room with 2 sets of bunks. Not sure what the other 2 will do given that it’s apparently full.

Just saw a couple holding hands walking out of the bar. Suspect from their clothes they’ll be the people I’ll be expected to move for.

Wrong! It’s a Canadian couple (english only) and I confess I didn’t offer to move. Landlady didn’t ask me to and I told the Canadians I’d had to do it before. Of more concern, there’s at least one more person expected tonight. Well, she hadn’t booked, is apparently on her way though. Makes me wish I was way back from these guys or, well ahead. May look for a bus to get ahead. Don’t have to worry for today. But, tomorrow I may well try to move well ahead.

Apparently the old albergue has shut and there is no other option here.

Oh hell! Tension in the house. The French couple offended the Canadians. Don’t know how, think they just were unfriendly and didn’t let them in. And I didn’t offer to move to let the Canadians share this room.

Beam me OUT to somewhere with hotels. I don’t want hassle or tension or to feel as though I have to race to get a bed or as though I must take the worse option cos I’m walking alone. That should give me the best bed not the worst!

Even worse, I’ve wasted most of a day here when I could happily have walked the next 15-18km to a town not full of fellow pilgrims. No taxis, no buses from here or the next couple of towns. I do want to see the next town and am happy to race on after that. I’m here to walk, not to get more lessons in patience and tolerance.

If I can find a taxi and a bus route I’m skipping ahead but, no success so far. I just want to walk. Nothing else.

😇😇😇

Madrid to Almería

End of school for now

I probably shouldn’t have used ‘tu’ with the guy where I breakfast but, ‘ustede’. Met a delightful Aussie/Italian, in my discussion class last week. She is at UQ, 3rd year, doing French and Spanish. We discussed when you use ‘tu’, second person, informal. She said that France is pretty formal still and she’d have had to speak to me formally until I gave her permission to use more casual ‘tu’. Just my age, no other reason. Not quite as formal in Madrid in settings I experience but, something to remember.

Hopefully the selfie Kathy took of the discussion group will arrive in my inbox soon. In the meantime, mass, and the crowd keeps getting longer.

Friday night

Washing was dry and I’d purchased enough food to set up a foodbank for a small city! Yes, I know they have food down south in Andalucía too. I just can’t help myself so yes, I have chorizo, cheese, hard boiled eggs, nuts and an apple to take with me. See what I mean? Partly it’s to put off having to eat out most meals and, well, a bad habit.

Me, take a roll and a hard boiled egg from breakfast for later, in some large, international hotels? Seems unlikely…. Anyhow, having the food was a blessing on the train.

Early Saturday

No lights!

No lights inside the building at 7, when I left. Without an iphone the internal stairs would be nasty ++.

Street life

My ‘neighbours’ have upgraded with some nice pot plants in front. Poor buggers. I wonder how often they are hassled and moved on. And, if it’s the same person/people most of the time.

At least it’s not as cold overnight in Madrid now, no longer 3 layers worth. Also, no more gym at 07:00 so my shoulders will be happy I’ve stopped lifting and pushing or pulling things almost daily. Still nothing to see for it although I thought I saw a teres minor last week. 🤓

Train

Within the Atocha station is a mini lagoon with lots and lots of tortoises. Sadly, they are being moved. Hopefully somewhere nice as I’ve always enjoyed seeing them. No, they don’t move a lot but it’s a bright little oasis, just near the loos.And I hope the oasis is staying. Fish maybe?

And, all too soon, the train arrived and I was heading backwards towards Almeria. No choice of seats when I booked but I ended up in the ‘plus’ class. Lucky. Wondered if we’d get fed and watered as it’s 6 hours. Sigh. We weren’t fed but you could buy ‘stuff’.

Swapped seats as lots were empty for the 6 hours, the most uncomfortable seats I’ve experienced. Still, definitely better travelling forwards to Almería and being on a train rather than a bus.

An endless trip all the same. Long flat sections initially, then hills. Many olive trees and gradually high, snow capped, mountains appeared. Snow is down much lower than I saw when in Granada on earlier trips. Guadix, the city with many caves, is near as evidenced by the badlands.

And finally the desolate, bare, stoney and hilly region that is Almería.

Getting out was so nice, into the warmth again. Oh how I’ve missed it.

Almería museum

Three or 4 stories of exhibits covering from the Phonecians, to the Romans and finally the Arabs. What was amazing was how few things there are to see in all those floors! Bet it won an architect award though, for good reason.

So, not my favourite museum in Spain, far from. About the most interesting thing I learnt was that the Romans called this place ‘Bari’ and the sea level was much higher then. I’m guessing the name became something closer to Almeria with the addition in front of ‘Al’ by the Arabs. You guessed it, I’m unlikely to visit that museum again, despite it being good for stair climbing.

Lots of little dogs around town, many on higher floors in behind metal grills. The best was a little pale terrier. Hidden in behind him with his pointy teeth was a cat, just like the eyes of the Cheshire cat. Yup, dog doing all the fierce, tough work and the cat just looking on. Sound familiar?

Castle

The best part of Almería for me remains the amazing ancient Arab fort.

I didn’t walk through it this time, instead, viewed it from an adjacent hill near the statue of..

And on the ground, as usual in Spain, many small, colourful, flowers.

Just near the Cathedral was possibly a practise procession but, with a difference. Don’t know what will eventually be on the cart but the headdresses the boys are wearing are different, more like an Arab one than you’d expect in a usual catholic spain. They were so slow getting going I left.

My room was still not serviced nearly 6 hours later so it was clearly the right time to blog – washing clothes can happen later. I’m still deciding: have coffee in nearby caf before I leave tomorrow or just along the way. Another 1st world issue. Same with when I might leave, at what hour.

And again I’ve decided I’m not walking out through the industrial estate alone and in the dark so, I’ll get a taxi through it. Had I stayed in an albergue I might know how many other walkers are around. Saw one guy with a pack, possibly not leaving today. Who knows what the future will bring? For any of us…..

And

I’ve committed to a booking for tomorrow night in the next town with accomodation, Santa Fe de Mondújar. And thank heavens again for the time I’ve spent learning Spanish. I understood her and she me.

Hooray…..

Remembering San Isidro and his successors

San Isidro? The patron saint of Madrid. Celebrated 12-15 May.

No pasarán exhibition

Saw a long line waiting in Plaza Mayor last weekend. Discovered yesterday that it was for a very moving exhibition, on the defence of Madrid by locals, the International Brigade and the Russians against Franco’s troops.

From initially unsuccessful attacks in mid 1936 by Franco’s soldiers, to their eventual success 3 years later, Madrid was a city under siege. Add to the siege aerial bombing by the German airforce. Photos of bombed buildings near my present apartment helped bring it home a little but more so the interviews with a set of oldies who lived through it and the various photos. Very moving.

The Madrilenos co-opted one of those beautiful little snappy mottos : aimed at the fascists (Franco’s lot), ‘they will not pass’ (no pasarán). But, eventually they did and, Franco ruled as a dictator until he died over 30 years later.

Lunch

I needed consolation after the exhibition. Had lunch at Gingers, one of the best here yet: fish soup and then salmon fingers. Sounds and looks mundane but not so. And yeasty bread. Hmmm.

It was then time to go home to tackle prepositions again.

Student life

I’m moving to level B2 next week, the higher of the two intermediate levels of Spanish. Hooray! But only one week in school to go. 😭. More time would be good so l know I’ll be back sometime, after the school moves to a bigger place next month.

However, except for one student on one occasion last week, all my fellow students in my 3 hour morning class come late everyday. From 5’ to 40’ late. Must be hard for Mario, the teacher, to have to identify the page we’re working on again and again. We remain pretty diverse: Russian, Norwegian and Romanian. Very occasionally 1 or 2 Chinese students come too.

Back to some history

As you’ve probably guessed, the past lives everywhere here if you know where to look. During an excursion on Friday we visited a house, an apparently nothing house on a street not far from the Plaza Mayor. But, inside, you can see sections of the Madrid city wall, the Christian wall, extant in about the 15th or 16th century. The current house has it as a support. True!

Visited another museum, one focussed on San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid. Don’t ask. However, what was most impressive was the bones of an auroch and of an elephant found around Madrid. I was especially impressed by the huge size of the auroch skull. Just look at it.

Forget your little woolly mammoths! Tough life being on hunting duty as a Neanderthal in auroch season.

Paco the philosopher

Paco is a poetry loving philosopher. As a hairdresser, he’s interesting. Told him my hair was very thick and needed cutting. Yes, my Spanish is good enough for that. Some outcomes are that I now: won’t need the brush from the kit Emirates distributed on the flight here, know my scalp is pink and, I’ll need a hat even if the sun doesn’t ever shine again. 😏

A hairdresser-come-poetry-loving-philosopher, perhaps more than regular hairdressers, needs to talk. With 40’ of conversation to deliver he clearly felt obliged to keep cutting, and cutting for that time. And some more cutting. Note that I don’t know how to ask in Spanish for a crew cut to test if my ears stick out. Nor could I ask for a cut that means I won’t need to use hairwax for weeks to come.

Sigh. Despite hearing his stories for the second time I still can’t work out why he keeps sharing with the very depressed guy whose kids live in Scotland nor where his own 12 year old son lives. And his sciatica still precludes him distance walking but he’s doing Pilates. Sigh. Perhaps another hairdresser next time! If my hair ever regrows enough.

About town.

On a Sunday the road, Paso Del Prado is shut to traffic for hours. Dancers filled one section today.

Other areas have constant entertainment too. From kids teasing a ‘goat’ to a band (?Salvos) to the guys who, while constantly one step in front of the police, are trying to sell things from the central sections of major pedestrian thoroughfares.

If you are hungry there are so many options everywhere. From the San Miguel market to cafes and restaurants. Everywhere. Snacks and more.

if you still can’t find something to interest you, what about the following: some fancy dress and some new decorations; another reminder that the past is all around is the plaque high up on a modern wall showing the location of the Gate of Guadalajara through the city walls in the Middle Ages; a snack that, as it’s permitted on the Atkins diet, is well, going to be tasty and um fatty; and a beautiful living green wall.

Then there are the pedestrian walk lights around here. Different.

Still some more weekend to go. My last in Madrid for a little while. Next weekend I’m heading down to coastal spain to start walking. Another blogger suggested I check facebook for the Almeria Friends of the Mozarabe. Phew: the washout i had to jump last time when with Benedo and Manolo is currently being filled. Now to get going before it rains down there!

For the week

And finally, as a heretic visiting a local church this week that had a very long line waiting for the Friday mass, being amazed again at some of the edifices we humans construct. And thinking how astounding our commitment is that we support a huge group of related workers after the building phase, providing their institutions a tax free existence and supporting their efforts in many ways over the centuries. What impels us humans to do this now and since time immemorial?

Guadix to La Peza

Rain fell for most of the night. We planned to be up and at breakfast at 07:00. By 06:30, my alarm had had its say and the only sign of life from the caballeros at that stage was a soft purring from a mattress on the floor 5m away. 

Not fun starting in the rain but mostly I was disappointed as I wouldn’t see the town of Guadix, and its caves, any better today than yesterday. Oh well, I’d been lucky with the weather so far and my near-new rain jacket needed a workout to justify its existence and my carrying the extra weight. 

Breakfast in the dark

By the time we’d had breakfast in a nice trendy bar nearby (very unusually, it had women and kids in it soon after 07:00) and we headed out it’d stopped raining.


 Guadix to La Peza was a day of caves of all types. From housing in a couple of the towns we walked through to caves dug for the storage of food or farm equipment. All types.





We had a day of almonds, then olives, a mix and then some types of fruit trees. It’s obviously a lot cooler and damper in this part of the world, closer to the snowy Sierra Nevadas. In a couple of places maize and various vegetables were growing. But really, a day of caves, caves and caves. And chimneys! Strange shapes at times. 

At one stage B and I were heading off into a sunset definitely not meant to be seen from the Camino. M rescued us. We’d walked over a ford discussing the amount of water around today blithely ignoring a yellow arrow. In our defence, it wasn’t at all easy to see. Like one in an earlier town where you had to approach from the wrong direction to see it. Yes, one of the puzzles of a Camino!


I ran out of energy about an hour before we arrived. Today was hard, not so much the walking as the hills aren’t high, but somehow I had no energy. I had to fight myself and just move into automatic, step by step and then I could finally forget how hard I was finding it. 

Yes, we’d stopped for coffee/coke/beer by then. A few Werthers toffees and I just had to keep going. B and I found 3 more ripe, but small, figs on a tree overhanging the road just after walking through a natural rocky arch over the road. 


During this last section I was planning how I’d catch a bus, a taxi, get Scottie to beam me out….anything to avoid the walk tomorrow. It will be long, 27km. About 7km, maybe even 15km, more than I want to walk. I’m tired and things hurt that don’t normally. However, the one thing I have learnt is that it may be ok tomorrow afterall. 

Having rung the number for the person with the albergue key we waited, in the sun, near the communal fountain.  Tired? Yup! Even the caballeros looked tired sitting in the sun.

As usual, I had no idea what we’d find it this town, La Peza. We discovered that it was having a running of the bulls yesterday but cancelled it until Saturday because of the rain. Phew. We’ll be gone by then. Looks as though the bulls will end their day here, in a temporary ring after a quick, terrified run up the main street . Thank god we’ll be gone. 


We were lucky to find anywhere to eat after we’d left our gear in the albergue, at about 15:00. A large lunch of salad, meat of some sort with chips, calamari and then fish and we were very ready to leave for showers. 

This albergue has at least 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs, various locked rooms and an open area downstairs used for adult education until about 20:00. Plus, an adjacent commercial kitchen. So, it’s big and I would really not like to be here alone. 

Being with the caballeros has made this walk so much better than being alone. I’ve walked with one or other most of the past few days, mainly B, and expect to for the last two. M works as we walk, taking calls, making decisions and giving advice. 

Dinner

As usual, we shared a picnic at about 20:30. Last night it was bits of one and two day old bread two of us had bought when fresh and carried since, sausage carried for days, a can of black olives, a little box of strawberry milk for me (90% milk, 10%?), and two bottles of red wine. By that hour my capacity to understand spanish has almost gone. Two telling me something at the same time forces my remaining neurones into hibernation. Truly, I can barely understand anything simple even. I escaped after 22:00. 

Going upstairs, again, I was so aware how happy I am to have the company of B and M. They don’t seem to mind me tagging alone in my childlike way as I truly can’t enter most conversations as a full adult. So much I’d like to say, to ask and to discuss and I’m muzzled by my lack of spanish dammit. Oh well. 

Almeria to Santa Fe de Mondújar

I am so thankful I got a taxi from the hotel out through the suburbs this morning. The industrial area was as I’d expected. Extended, boring, lots of dark streets. I know, if I’d left later it would be light but I really don’t want to walk that part of any town again.

Today I will have roommates! Yes. Two Spanish guys with large packs. We met in Rioja, a small town along the way today. They started by apologising. They’d seen me keep continuing down a riverbed after I should have turned right. I was daydreaming. I’d seen them way behind me but couldn’t tell if they were carrying packs or were just local walkers. We have a signal now if it happens again. Packs generally have a very shrill whistle built in and so they’ll whistle!!

Anyhow, an interesting change after nights spent alone in albergues. And yes, all chat has to be in Spanish and I’m guessing we’ll see a lot of each other over the next few days.

The landscape today is very different, moonscape with hills and dry river beds. I wonder if they have dry river boat races here? 


Citrus trees everywhere and some amazingly large buildings with hydroponically grown tomatoes. And the tomatoes I could see were astounding. Beautiful. 

I could wish they grew similarly nice lettuces. Lunch in Santa Fe de Mondujar was the usual mixed salad with lots of white lettuce stems followed today by fish, chips and a fried egg. And then coffee. All with wifi that works! I am so happy. One of the first times on the Camino Mozárabe. 

I’ve asked for two hard boiled eggs for takeaway.  It’s 1km back to the albergue so I don’t want to walk back here for dinner as well. That is despite here having a fiesta tonight and over the weekend for the virgen of somewhere. Presumably the patron saint of Santa Fe, the small town where I am now, in the midst of the moonscape. 

Saw a number of older houses built into hillsides and a series of strange holes on one particular one. Too far away to investigate.


Could the bull with red pouring down one shoulder be a political statement? I doubt it as the Andalucíanos tend to be keen on bullfights. But seeing a flawed version of the bull was unusual. Apparently the company that used it for an advertisement, alcohol of some type, was asked to leave them after the campaign ended as they were so popular. 

Tomorrow is up! Up hill!

Almería 

Oh Scottie! Beam me out or show me the charms of Almería quickly, before I decide it’s a boring dump. Mostly buildings are relatively new, like those in the cities of Lucena and Cabra I described so unkindly earlier. Newish, uninteresting but built on a very extended and fascinating history, dating back beyond who knows when. Today I see what exists now, not what may have existed. So I’m not excited. 

Well, some houses do look pretty good in their landscape. Despite how I felt about them. Have I been in Andalucía too many times and for too long?

The prevalence of Arab script on the way from the bus station to the hotel puzzled me. Like a bit of ‘our glorious past’ long ago disappeared and unresurrectable. Sigh.
Ugh. I’ve just moved tables in an outside cafe to avoid cigarette smoke. 😑 

Camino Mozárabe next leg

The Granada to Almería section of the bus route was close to the camino at times. So I’ve got some idea of the different terrains I’ll walk through.  

This end is like a moonscape, mine tailings, or the ecologically devastated area around Queenstown, Tasmania, 50 years ago. 

You can see it in a few photos in this blog chapter. Barren. And yet there are some green gullies in the apparent disaster zone. So, interesting too. Heading closer to Granada I expect huge green houses full of small (I don’t know what) plants and then acres of trees, almonds and more olives. 

A new day in Almería

Ugh! I should move tables to avoid the smoke again. Different day, cafe and meal. Almost impossible in a country of smokers. The cars and bikes racing past displace the smoke and leave diesel fumes. So nah. Can’t be bothered.

I’ve done what I wanted, checked both spanish SIM cards have €. Oh, and had another coffee and an orange juice. And I’ve been served by the best camarero in Spain. His capacity to remember orders, calculate bills etc has to be behind this cafe having more local people in it for their first coffee of the day than in any others here abouts. A very impressive guy.

Market here has some of the best fruit and vegetables I’ve seen anywhere. Variety and very fresh. 

Almería Alcázar 

One of the most impressive I’ve seen. Definitely worth visiting. Definitely. Oh wow. Essentially dating back a thousand years. High upon a rocky hill overlooking the city. Big. Very big. 



Built, bits rebuilt as circumstances and leaders changed, and so on throughout all that time. Archaeologists in earlier periods made a bit of a mess as they removed items for museums. I am always a sucker for the Arab water features and their use of vegetation. Makes an area look and feel good.



Irrespective of what’s been done over time, what you see now is impressive. The northern wall is about 3m thick and 5m high. The southern wall around the town no longer exists, now replaced by a green belt visible on local maps.  It completed the encircling of the town, passing from the castle down along the waterfront.  

This castle was fired on. A few stone cannon balls are on show up top. Well, I assume they were ‘received’ and not just leftover stock. Hmmm, maybe not. Maybe they are ready to go. 


Oh yes, the Catholics were at it on the adjacent hill, a church. ‘Mine’s bigger/taller than yours!  And there is a connecting wall.

The statue of Jesus is no doubt more recent and from a distance looks better than the one in Cuzco, Peru. Didn’t need to go closer. Being blessed by one in a lifetime is enough 😏. Yes?

From above in the Alcazar you can see another castle on a high rock down the coast to the west of here.  Saw a few perched on hills between Córdoba and here. Andalucía has a fascinating history. Not necessarily a place you’d have chosen to be born in earlier times as  the prevalence of castles suggest contested land and many tumultuous centuries to me.

Nearby, subterranean dwellings are just visible in the hills surrounding the basin in which Almería sits. 

I’ve read mentions of trogdylites on the camino and from the bus yesterday saw quite a few houses built into the compressed dirt and shale hillsides. Now I understand! 

Remember my photos from the Via de la Plata when I first saw this type of storage and later housing in Granada (and prior to that in Coober Pedy, Australia).

Almería Cathedral 

Interesting. Apparently used as a fortress at times in the past, offensively, interestingly, as well as defensively. Pirates from the Barbary Coast were real and needed slaves. I’d have joined the church too if it guaranteed me access to its inner sanctum and safety rather than a life as a slave in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia or Libya. Not much evidence of this from the tourist level: some blocked arrow slots and small turrets up top. 


I was going to describe the cathedral as impressive but I got so sick of listening to the handheld english-language device that describes everything in excruciating detail. Frankly I don’t care about the detail in the virgen Mary’s robes or who gave the pesos a hundred and three years ago to build what etc.  So, no photos of the inner bits. And I turned the device off quickly. 

And after a while I passed into a semi-fugue state wondering which Spanish cathedral I was in. The speaker seemed to be saying what I’d heard in 20 other cathedrals and I remembered I’d vowed never to visit any ever again. Worse, it cost me €4.50 to break my vow. Last time…. I promise. Well, except that a cathedral that defended itself is pretty unusual and worth checking out. Briefly. But all I could see was evident outside for free. Oh well. 

Lunch

Another day, another mixed salad just like mum used to make (ugh) except she missed the tuna, added egg and her tomatoes were usually nicer. I only order them to get some vegetable intake that’s relatively salt free, not as you may think, so I can complain to you again!  

The calamari had long departed the sea and the amount of grease on the chips was an achievement of note. I suspected yesterday there might be reason why the cafe wasn’t busy but its menu offered what I wanted. Quality? Discover once you’ve committed. Remember that one near the castle in Almodovar Del Río – exceptionally nice and unexpected.  So, appearances and the lack of crowds can be unreliable.

Moving on 

I started coughing again this morning. If it’s not bronchiolitis (5 decades too old), lung cancer (I shouldn’t watch Breaking Bad again) then maybe it’s excitement or nervousness again??

Tomorrow I’m restarting walking. I’m planning on a taxi for the first 5km to get past the nearby industrial area. They are soul destroying and the thought of walking through another in the not-quite-dawn light does not warm the cockles of my ❤️ . 

Industrial areas exaggerate their own isolation. Large buildings, deserted or unused, few parked cars and very few or no people. Often the buildings are interspaced with empty blocks needing maintenance. Doing this will help me avoid the worst of the day’s heat too. Won’t be possible for future longer stages, starting with stage 3. But I’ll be higher up then and it may not be so hot in the early afternoon.

Fascinating the variability in camino information. I have estimates of tomorrow’s distance ranging from 23km to 27km. For exactly the same route. 

Male haircuts in Spain again….

Very different topic I just remembered. Back in the Córdoba bus station this nice young guy allowed me to photograph his very impressive haircut.  I think he acquiesced as he was so shocked to be asked.