|Taken by flash as we headed out at 07.30 in the dark - it's|
hard to believe that I started in Valencia, almost
It was lovely to wake up in a big comfortable bed with tea and breakfast in the room before leaving. I packed provisions in my water and map pouch and left the rucksack behind for the day. I knew it would be hard going and I had already promised myself the walk only without the additional burden of the weight. Just over 18 months ago, I had been so sore in my hips walking while still in South Africa that I wondered if I would ever do long walks again and it was always worse on hills, even small slopes. I had already managed some tough and steep hills without struggling, so was very proud of the achievement and so glad I had managed to do it - but I did not want to push my luck and not be able to complete the walk. So taking the bare minimum but making sure I had basic first aid and the provisions, map, phone and protective gear, Akina and I set off in the dark.
|The lights just being turned on one by one as the|
town below woke up
We made our way through the dark streets that were just coming to life, past the church and to the slope that would take us up above the town. An icy wind cut through us and we passed another lone dog walker in the shadows. I could just make out the first arrow on a pylon ahead and we started the climb. Amazingly it was not too bad and soon I could turn to look down upon the lights just waking up in the houses below.
|Slowly the morning light flooded the valley below|
us and still we climbed
|The hidden spring|
|The sunrise that greeted us at the hidden spring|
|The Medieval Road - still in existence|
The astonishing thing was that in the end I reached the meeting point ahead of the car! I had made really good going and we laughed about it being a bit like a "Top Gear" challenge - will the pilgrim on foot or the car win? I was amazed that it was not as hard as the "firebreak" day but then it was nowhere near as hot and a cool breeze met us in the shade. As we reached the top of this section, where the car would meet us (with wonderful coffee and bocadillos!) Akina and I sat in the sun and read the sign "Arrebatacapas - 1068m. This wonderful name apparently refers to the winds that all but blew off the capes of pilgrims! As a few friends said to me "hold onto your hat"!
After enjoying a wonderful coffee - most welcome - and tucking into some breakfast, we set off again, this time I was with Cressa and Kaishi together. The section was high up on a plateau mostly with various climbs in sections but nothing like we had just completed. Every now and again the road would wind and snake below us and we could just see hills stretching out behind us. The area was mainly one of cattle and breeding horses and it was lovely to see the herds running wild across the hillsides. Occasionally, when we came close to one of these, I put on the leashes despite the dogs being equine friendly and trained to horses, the owners wouldn't know that and the horses themselves were quite wild. I met with various hillbilly gates again which were impossible to open and so I squeezed through between the wire edges - fortunately I didn't have my pack or else I would have had to keep taking it on and off to throw over the fences, not that there were many. Kaishi and Cressa would wait patiently and then be invited through the gap to follow me. Cressa was great and loved her time exploring and running at 100 kmph in a multitude of directions! Sometimes it seemed all at once!
|The Mala that has traveled with me from|
Valencia - these four beads were threaded
by Kevin whose message was
"A Brave Way - Enjoy the Practice"
and, as always, it fitted the day's walk
|Akina at the first flat point above|
Cebreros before we started our
upward climb again to the
|The road appeared winding below us and the hills|
stretched out behind
|Ndzilo at the stone marker|
|Skull at rest by the GR route marker|
|Landscape heading down into San Bartolmé|
|El Patio where we had lunch|
and stayed the night
|Akina above the steep decent into San Bartolomé de Pinares|
|Portable Bullring in El Herradón|