October 1, 19km
This morning: A hot pink sun rising over the furrows while the nearly full moon sets behind in the dark blue morning sky. Olive groves to one side and orange orchards to the other. The track is bordered with wild fennel and it smells like Freo and makes me so happy I can`t stop crushing and smelling the seeds. A mechanic is playing loud music hall tunes out of his open door. The first taste of the real natural landscape of Andalucìa: cork trees and shrubs, orangey-brown gravelly soil, birdsong in the distance, a couple of flies and … silence.
Today’s been warm. Really quite warm, and though it was a shorter stage, it felt harder. Possibly that’s also due to day 1 adrenaline and muscle aches kicking in too. There are heaps more pilgrims on the track than I was expecting. Probably already 25 at this refugio. Mostly Spanish, also German, Italian, French, South African… I made the mistake of using my best German accent with Gunter and Emmy, saying the handful of words I know, and they are now rattling out long incomprehensible sentences to me. This afternoon I though Emmy was waxing lyrical about how lovely it was to have the breeze coming in the open door, I was smiling and nodding, when actually she was asking me to please close it. Oh well, we’ll get there!
It’s a good, honest refugio tonight, with a 22-bed room and another smaller one, 2 showers / toilets, no sink in the kitchen, 5 Euro donation box and a sign saying “hospitable happens at 7pm.” Nice! I’ll make sure I’m there. Actually, this means the hospitalero will be arriving then to stamp our credenciales. I had a nap this afternoon on my happy bottom bunk, and the room was strangely empty but for a small handful of other nappers. Where the others have gone during siesta time I did not know. Everything shuts in the afternoon. Anyway, there was a harmony of two different snorers, which doesn’t bode too well for tonight! Engage earplugs and eye mask.
I’m writing this from an adult education centre where the room is full of people learning how to do computer stuff. It’s a great vibe. No photos yet because no WiFi (pronounced whiffy, in Spanish, heh heh) to upload them from my tablet. There is an Android ap for the Via de la Plata! It works offline as well (luckily) and on my GPS-enabled device, even shows me on the map how close I am to arriving, or indeed, if I have gone off the track. I think that’s bloody marvellous.
Off to have a tinto de verano, chilled sweet red wine and soda, before being back at the refuigo for the hospitable happening.