Vía de la Plata – Day 10: Cáceres to Cañaveral

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45 kilometers, about 9 hours. Through Casar de Cáceres, past large lake (the Embalse de José María Oriol), and over two large bridges. Also crossed over the new high-speed rail system being built to/from Portugal.

After I made the summit of the last ridge before my destination for the night, Cañaveral, I could just see a conglomerate of white and red on a distant hillside. The trail before me meandered, and the winding double track that few vehicles ever travel brought me closer to a shower and a bed for the night.

As I covered the distance, buildings took shape. Red roofs became less of the matte, more distinct. I could judge distance in this way, and I watched as shapes formed and the ubiquitous church tower poked out from the tableau.

But not too quick. The trail dropped down into one last drainage and rose over another small Roman bridge before it ramped upwards to the smallish village.

The route from Cáceres started out on a two-lane highway for very many—too many—kilometers before it diverted onto a new gravel path into Casar de Cáceres, a suburb of Cáceres. A mix of old and new. The promenade paralleled the highway as you entered the newer part of town; it was at least a kilometer long and beautiful. Very clean and well maintained. Something the town should be very proud of. I imagined it full of strolling people during warm evenings. Must be a sight.

For slideshow, click on imagine.

From there, the route headed off into ranch lands on farm tracks for what seemed like forever. Occasional detours took the path over or under a high-speed rail line that was being constructed. The high-speed trains will be quite the sight from the old town square of Cañaveral only a few kilometers away.

A few more kilometers along the highway and then back to the rugged double track over ancient Roman roads. The countryside was vast, dry, and beautiful. Much like desert portions of the Pacific Crest Trail in southern California, south of the Sierras.

Spring was high season on the Via, summer was brutally hot, winter was cold, and fall was nice, though the countryside tended to be brown and dried out after the long, hot summer. The couple of weeks prior to my Camino had brought some rain to the region and then hints of green.

Saw my first snake this day. My new Spanish friends called them vipers. Throughout that day, lots of cattle and sheep—and the required fences with a lot of gates to pass through.

Costs: €3 for a breakfast of café con leche (espresso with steamed milk) and toast; €18 for the albergue (hostel), including the next morning’s breakfast; and €2 for a beer for dinner (it was too late to eat by the time Eric and I headed out to find something).