Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Castilblanco to Almaden de la Plata

Today was a challenging day due to distance and conditions.

It was an 18 mile (30km) hike.  The first 9 miles were asphalt road which everyone uniformly agrees is the worst. What I remember most is that it was all uphill and behind every turn in the road was another hill.

The etiquette rule is that people get to walk at their own speed.  No one had to go slower or faster than they want.

I left with 2 other men but by 2 miles out they were ahead of me. I did my remaining 7 miles of pavement solo.  You talk to yourself, sing songs, swear and generally do what it takes to get into and stay in the zone.

The last 9 miles were in a national park so the scenery was much better. The sun was out in full force and it reached the mid-80's by that point.  The was almost no shade. Although I would occasionally pass or be passed by other peregrinos, the park was solo also.

The final 3 km was a 200 meter steep climb and descent of Calvary Hill. It was brutal. I think I rested 5 or 6 times. Amy place that I could find a shade tree. And that was few. This Hill is aptly named.

We started at 7:00 am and I reached the albergue at around 4:30 pm, chafed,  blistered and sunburned.

Kept crossing paths with Ushi and Bruno, a wonderful couple from Switzerland with whom I had dinner on Monday night.

After resting a bit,  at La Casa Concha, I had an incredible pilgrim's dinner of slamming pasta, lightly breaded and fried calamari, tinto verano (wine and tonic water drink) and custard with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

The Road to Almaden

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