Thursday, April 6, 2017

Camino del Madrid - Day 2 - Cercedilla

Long day. Started 7:30 am (breakfast at 7am include). Not much, just some banana/orange, coffee/milk and plastic food (what I call those Magdalena and sweet stuff wrapped in plastic that is so common in Spain). Nice mural of Camino Santiago while leaving Colmenar Viejo. Was a very pleasant walk to Manzanares el Real. Royal Apples? (Apple festival coming next month a castle here). A big embalse (lake) in front and crossed a bridge to get into town. There is something wrong with the distance in one of the guides. It's not 22km like I mentioned yesterday but more like 11km as I only took 3 hours of walking to get here. Followed the arrow and suddenly I am out of the town without even going to the center. Translate: No bar or second coffee of the day here for me!

At this time I am already quite ahead of Mr. Son. The next 7-8 km to Mataelpino was just as nice. Still skirting along the mountain on the right. Cute school kids out hiking with their teachers, streams and bridges. Matealpino is still too short for me (just under 20 km) so another 7-8 km I found myself in Navacerrada. This stretch is not so pleasant with rocky and rough stony path and a bit more up and down than earlier. 

When I got to Navacerrada at 2pm (just in time for lunch again) I found I was really tired and not much appetite. The bar was serving some Fabada (beans and sausage) to two Spaniard regulars so I figured this would be perfect and not too big a meal. Checked with Mr. Son on whatsapp there and found that he was really slow and estimated he would only be in Mataelpino at 3 pm! It's like saying he is 7 km behind after starting together in the morning. Guess he will be staying at the Albergue in Mataelpino today.

Feeling kind of exhausted I thought I might just find a hostal and stay here in Navacerrada instead of another 4 km to Cercedilla completely forgetting that after Cercedilla it is the big climb up/down the mountain and no pueblo for 32 km until Segovia. Staying in Navacerrada will add only 4 km to that making it 36 km tomorrow with big climb! The hostals in town is already full (festival?) and one of the customer in the bar offered to drive me just out of town to another hostal that is also in the guide. As he left me it dawned upon me that if the hostal is full I have to walk another km back to town. As my luck it was full. Arghhh.. Walked back to town thinking that's it, I rather just walk another 4 km hour to Cercedilla despite being very exhausted, especially that's when I realized my mistake of trying to stay here. One of the guys in the bar saw me again and said there is another hostal (not in the guide) 500 meters beyond that hostal that out of town (1.5km?). This time no free transport. No thank you..

Leaving Navacerrada already exhausted it was a steep climb for a few hundred meters. I felt like an old horse wanting to be shot. Then it became a gradual descend all the way to Cercedilla. Phew!

Arriving in Cercerdilla at 4:30 pm (33 km day but feeling like 35 km with extra walking) exhausted with a big climb tomorrow I didn't bother looking for the Albergue which is in the polideportivo (sports hall). At the center, I saw a Alimentacion (provision shop), went in and true enough it was a Chinese lady at the counter. Many of the bazar (general store) and provision shops are run by Chinese from China. Just hope they don't become a problem here as they keep long opening hours. I immediately asked her which of the two hostal here are the closest and she mention hostal El Maya 50 meters ahead, looking at me strangely. Imagine me just barging in and straight away asked her about hostal in mandarin. I just want a room, pronto!

Expect to pay more from yesterday's experience as many madrileƱos drive up north to enjoy staying in spa hotels and hostals. 30 euros? Ok. Not too bad. Hugh bathroom, queen size bed. All smiles. I am not a good pilgrim...

Some washing and personal maintenance later got out to look for a supermarket. Saw a lady smoking outside and instead of asking her where is the supermarket my mouth defies me and I asked her if there a supermarket here instead. Yes, there are three supermarket here she said with pride. Just direct me to the nearest one thanks...

A quick dinner, writing this now, rest my walking muscles and soon will visit the zzzzz monster.

Last thing. I message Mr. Son that he can only walk 13km to Cercedilla from Mataelpino tomorrow and no further. He uses the same map app on his mobile as me and I send him my Madrid Camino overlay to him this morning so he shouldnt be lost even when the arrows fails him. He is already a day behind me just like that. I wish him well and hope he will make it.

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