Vía de la Plata – Day 3: Almadén de la Plata to Monesterio

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36 kilometers, 8 hours and 30 minutes. Through El Real de la Jara.

Stopped in a small pueblo, El Real de la Jara, had café con leche, and ordered a bocadillo (sandwich) to go. Eric and I stopped later to eat along the path. I paid €3 for the bocadillo. Was large and filled with pork steak, Spanish ham, roast peppers, and olive oil. We heard the barkeep cooking it all up—for €3. That’s like $3.30!!! I loved Spain.

Before breakfast, as I left the albergue, I recorded a short video with my phone in the dark streets as roosters woke the town for a new day. Surreal. We had checked out the Café Reloj the previous evening, and I immediately decided to have breakfast there. When I entered from the street that morning, there was a woman behind the bar and couple of men in for coffee before the start of their day. TV blared out a nature show of some sort, and all the folks were in rapt attention.

As usual, I was an anomaly and received quiet glances, but there was no ill feeling. They knew of peregrinos (Camino pilgrims), and they quickly returned to the show. The café had seen many days; pictures adorned the walls of days past. It was pleasant outside and warm inside, and I was quickly setting my mind back toward a comfy bed. The café con leche helped with that.

I left Almadén early after I had my breakfast of toast and eggs with the café con leche. I met Eric as I headed out of town, and we walked together most of the day. Very interesting guy. He started his own company, then sold it to The Daily Mail in England, and retired at 43. He was 60 now and had traveled much of the world. He and his wife also had a place on Mallorca.

For slideshow, click on imagine.

Relatively short day in terms of distance, but we gained 1,000 meters (as Fernando’s GPS watch revealed that evening), approximately 3,300 feet. Most of that at the end of the day. Legs felt it. Very open country with oaks and cork trees, cattle, sheep, many black pigs, and goats. Mostly on gravel roads. Passed under and walked near a major freeway as we climbed to Monesterio, a bigger town than Almadén but with much the same feel.

The usual routine: Checked into the municipal albergue, a nice municipal run by volunteers Angel (when we checked in) and Rosia (later). Showered, washed clothes, and then got on Wi-Fi so we could check on the rest of the world.

Later, off to store to buy lunch stuff for the next day. There were five of us that went to the store, then off in different directions. Later, I found Café La Rambla and had an awesome ensalada mixta (mixed salad) and glass of wine, and I asked for a bocadillo for the next day, all for €7.

Much fun. Next day would be either 22 kilometers or 47 kilometers. We all decided to have an easy day.

Costs: €3 for lunch, €7 for dinner and the next day’s lunch, and €10 for the albergue.