Monday, April 24, 2017

Camino Mozarabe - Day 7 - Cuevas Bajas (back towards Malaga)

Had a quick talk with the English speaking couple staying in Pension Sara in the morning. They mentioned they will start walking today but I didn't quite catch where or whether it's on the Camino Mozarabe.

The first leg was a long 20 km to Encinas Reales. Weather was nice, 3 straight cloudy day (sun still glaring for some reason). Was in my own element until 11 am when someone decided to turn up the heat on the route. Stopped 5 km before Encinas to have a break for food on a ledge above a stream.

Thought that if I were to meet any pilgrims walking it would be around then considering the timing and their walking up distances from the other end. True enough a km later saw a guy with a backpack walking towards me. He didn't even stop as he had his headphones on and just grunted 'hola'. Next a couple followed by another couple. It's hard to stop for a conversation especially when both parties are walking opposite directions. Only enough time to say hi and to mention that I am walking back to Malaga/Antequera (somehow compelled to say that) and Buen Camino. Then I had to cross a stream with no way to avoid getting shoes wet (with boots probably ok). With 8 more km on wrt shoes, why not...

20 km to Encinas Reales and had ice cream (sudden sweet tooth)  and coffee before finishing the last 5.7 km before 2 pm to Cuevas Bajas, a nice small town on the edge of a hill. Both the small towns are almost the same size.

The Spanish website says that there is a municipal albergue in Cuevas Bajas. First things first, stopped at the bar (actually three bars in centro) most convenient for me for a drink. Just my luck, the Bar Coyetano I was at is also the official keeper of the keys to the albergue on the next street. I had my drink and my credencial stamped right there too. Striked up a conversation with a Spanish and English guy who were drinking outside the bar. The Spanish guy works in London and is on a home visit while the English guy just relocated here (reverse situation). Like my friend Michael the Brits are moving up north. There are estimated 1 million Brits residing/retiring in Spain, mostly in the South near Malaga. Asked the English guy where's the best place to eat later and he said the same bar. I'll hold him to his words.

The albergue is modern and nice. Donation. Two level, beds and couch on top and dining (only microwave) and bathroom below. My shoes is starting to fall apart. A hole is developing on the right shoe and getting bigger. Hang in there buddy. Just one more day....

Thought I would be alone again today until just before 5 pm and a French couple opened the albergue door. At least I will have some company and conversation tonight as he speaks English.

Turns out to be not much of a conversation later. The couple are hardcore hikers. They started in Tarifa hiking to Ronda (non-Camino), and once they hit Antequera, followed the Camino Mozarabe from there. Retired with 2 months of walking this year, they can go almost anywhere they like using another Frenchman's personal GPS route as a reference when the Camino's route gets too boring or easy. Always chasing after beautiful vantage point rather than just following the arrows.

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