Monday, April 13, 2009

Castilleblanco to Zafra.

Since the last posting, Luiza has walked as far as Zafra, where she is taking a day of today. There has been no internet access so she has asked me to transcribe her SMS messages over the last week.

I have listed them in chronological order and her replies are in blue.

The refuge at Castillblanco

7th April 11:37

Now we are 4.2kms in El Berrocal sitting at a stream on a break. Fernando/Barcelona fell on a cattle grid yesterday, broke his arm, had a cast pt on, returned to Castillblanco and we are walking together with his wife, Alicia.

The entrance to El Berrocal

There is a ridge before reaching Almaden such that you cannot see the village:-

7th April 16:18

Enjoying hot celery soup and coffee before at the base of steep climb. Sunny, few clouds, strong cold wind. Last night 32 pilgrims in town.

The ridge before Almaden

Luiza has a camping stove with her to make hot drinks because there are no bars during the day.

Then later:-

What a climb and down, like Alto del Perdon and down to Zubiri. Saw buzzards, grouse, pigs. Cold wind made for a nice walk on a cloudless day.

The refuge at Almaden

I then asked Luiza if she had stayed in the refuge in Almaden and she said no. Some of her new companions (that she has met on the way) were staying there and apparently the upstairs roms have been sadly neglected. But downstairs was fine.


8th April 12:08

Am 5kms from El Real de la Jara having picnic lunch. It is a journey!

El Real De La Jara

I asked her more about the refuge state in Almaden and she replied:-

I did not go in but Siginde said the upstairs room was horrible. She was happy to be downstairs. Pork last night was delicious.

I reminded her that the best restaurant in El Real was called La Cochera and was around the corner from the private refuge at No 70.

8th April 15:52

Eating at restaurant, La Cochera now. Seems to be excellent. Fernando made a reservation at Alojamiento Turisticos "M" Carmen. Albergue was closed when I walked by.

C/70 is clean and good but I knew Fernando was making a reservation at below. C/Cordobaa 2 is very good 20 Euros per person. Bano Privado.

I mentioned about internet in a back strret of Monasterio the next day and Luiza replied:-

I will look but probably Merida before I get internet opportunity. Will report along the way. SMS messages arrive even when blackberry is turned off. Let's me know when I am in range. :)

The next day was a walk to Monasterio which goes through countryside at first but then crosses over the N630 where they have been doing rebuilding work for the new motorway for years and the route markings are confusing there.

9th April 13:10

Sitting amonst the mess now at tienda for meat factory. 11kms down, 10 to go. Now in Extremadura. Thanks for the info.

Then shortly afterwards:

3km to Monasterio. It is hot with cool breeze at my back. Kim's Irish wish works!

She didnt elaborate about what Kim's wish was! I mentioned the steep climb up to a picnic area just before Monasterio.

9th April 17:07

Yep, a wee steep climb. Now enjoying Mejihones mussels and a Cuba Libre. Well deserved. :)

Being told about the Spanish player with The Lakers and also about the Houston Rockets. :)

Hotel Moya, Monasterio is 19 Euros for one. Menus Diarios 7.80 Euros. Clean and comfy.

The refuge at Monasterio in the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) Building

The next day was a long walk to a place called Fuente De Cantos.

10th April 18:25

A long hard slog, walking injured. Started with rain then a frigid wind from the NW lasted ALL day. Many steep hills on the flat Extremadura.

I asked her if she had left a note in the video box at the pilgrim cross:-

I was too full of self pity to see the cross let alone a little cassette box. I also think we got a liittle lost. Left at 8:30 arrived La Fabrica at 16:30.

The pilgrim cross on the way to Fuente De Cantos

La Fabrica was a hotel I recommended. I have stayed there several times now even though there is a new refuge there. I thought that 8 hours was probably quite normal for that particular section and said so.

The Hotel - La Fabrica

10th April 18:54

BTW it is my problematic right knee causing problems becuase of the cold. Supposed to be hot in Extremadura.

I suggested a long hot bath to relax and to help the knee.

11th April 00:32

A long hot bath. An excellent dinner at La Fabrica and a late start tomorrow. Thinking about walking 7km to Calzadilla. OK or no? Blackberry off till morning.

She obviously did walk only to Calzadilla De Los Barros:-

11 April 15:18

Enjoy lunch (?) Tripe, Ensalada y pan, vino blanco at only bar open in Calzadilla. Woman at bar is getting key for albergue. Everything shut for Easter. Did get pan y bisoltos at Panaderia.

11 April 17:00

Finally in albergue juvenil. Happy easter all. Spanish family with dog in other room.

The Albergue Juvenil at Calzadilla

11 April 19:16

Washing done and dry on this sunny and windy day. Have provisions for dinner and a camping stove.

The next day was an even longer walk to Zafra but walking to Calzadilla shortened it somewhat. Still it was a long way.

12th April 18:07

Stayed Albergue Juvenile in Calzadilla, a long way out of town. Only pilgrms there. Hotel Rodriguez looked very closed. In Zafra now and am shattered (she used another word, but I don't want to use it here).

I was telling her about the nice refuge there and the parador and the shops. I had mentioned that I often stay there two days, as it is a good place to have a rest day.

12th April 20:17

We will stay here 2 days. We have not had a rest day. I will look for internet tomorrow. Shower then dinner. Was so hungry coming into Zafra had pizza and melocoton - was exhausted.

13th April 15:25

Rest day is beautiful. Walked all over Zafra did not see internet. Oh well, Merida.

I asked her how it felt to have no access to the internet where she was staying and her reply was:-

Actually it is OK being internet free. I am lucky I have you and Blackberry is easy to type on. Hotel Victoria, Plaza de Espana, with restaurant Gabi directly accross street.

For non vegetarians restaurant Gabi has the BEST jamon in Spain! A delicious presa (steak and fries) last night and for lunch today. Torta de Casa whch turned out to be a cooked cheese, oh it was wonderful. Highly recommended.

Great rest day. Reiki on the knee and then kept it warm like friend, Nurse Katie, suggested.

Which brings us up to date to Monday night.



  1. Anonymous8:17 AM CDT

    Dear Luiza: One learns to take the "bad" with the good! Nevertheless, an experience of a lifetime. We follow you closely, and until Caroline posted for you, we were bewildered -- where did Luiza go???? No internet, now understood. Prayer exchange, please. We always need them. May God bless your journey. Love, Dawnie, Danny, Lisa & Hannah Dog P.S. Talked just a short bit with Missie Tanya. They had been away to Wales for holiday. Jeff trashed house whilst they were gone. Gwen/Dave/Sofia had gone to Clacton. Tanya stayed back for work (and was cleaning the mess Jeff left). Everyone ok.

  2. Happy walking, Luiza! I hope the next stages are easier! Thank you, Caroline, for keeping us up to date -- these SMS updates are much enjoyed and appreciated. Thanks also for the photos, a nice touch! Best wishes, Andrée

  3. Anonymous10:25 AM CDT

    Awaiting next installment. Loved the photos. Thank you, Caroline, for keeping us all informed. Enjoying every comment. Keep safe, and well, and continued happy walking.....
    Andree, are you ready? Love, Dawn

  4. Dawnie, God Bless exchnages .... Shame about Jeff. I might call Tanya today.

    Andree, not to scare you but read about my pack from today, it must be lighter.

    To all, I am sure that I will not have Internet available until Salamanca now.

  5. WEEEEEZA.... have enjoyed our communiKATEions
    good girl with only one blister and walking thru the pain of knee....remember WARMTH.... ah to be walking with you...maybe some year...
    sending healing vibes and luv to both you and tadmina.....

  6. Hi K8, warmth, yes, warmth ... always have my hands on my knees. I am a split personality? Weeeeeza and Tad ... thanks for healing vibes ... seems to be working. Love; Tad