Castuera to Campanario

The weather forecast had been rain. But when I woke up, the sky was clear. I had determined that since I had already “left” the town, if the weather was good, I might was well walk on. No point sitting isolated in the hotel all day!! The morning forecast indicated rain later in the day. So I decided to head out. Since the hotel didn’t start service till 8.00am, it was about 8.45 before I was on my way.

First I had to walk back from the hotel 1km along the road to the start of the pilgrim trail. Then, the pilgrim trail brought me back again in the reverse direction, a few hundred metres in from the road! So half an hour after starting, and having walked 2 kms, I was a few hundred metres across from the hotel where I had started!!!

At 4.5 km I reached the Rio Guadalefra. I had hoped not to have to take off my boots and wade across as it was too early in the morning to do the boot/sandal changeover. I was lucky. The water was very little. There were stepping stones. With my new-found respect for water-crossings, I was very, very careful! When I made it across unscathed, it was a threefold, heartfelt relief, “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!”

The sky ahead of me was blue. The sky to my left was clouded and threatening rain.

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I hoped that I would be able to walk ahead of the rain! Later, there was a bit of spotting rain, not too much, which was not a problem. When it became a bit heavier, I was considering whether or not to put on my rain jacket as a protection, but then it eased off again, so I kept walking. As the morning went on, my hopes were fulfilled. In fact, around 11.00am, the sun shone brightly, and my (in-)constant companion (my shadow) showed up and walked with me again for an hour or so.

Campanario played a cruel trick on me. I could see housing on the near hillside, besides which the camino path led me. But it did not lead me into the town. I feared I was bypassing the town and heading to a further destination. It was only much later that I realised that the centre of the town was on the far side of the hill, down the slope and out of sight. So even though I was walking past houses, they were sort of “outer suburbs”, and it was actually another 2 – 3kms before I was walking into the town proper.

As I was walking up a street, there was a short, heavy rain, from which I sheltered in a doorway. The housewife opened the door to see out into the street. The householder invited me inside into the hallway. I was there only a couple of minutes when the shower stopped and I continued on my way up the street.

Luckily, I had not read my guide before I set out, which describes the town as follows: “Small town with shops, bars, banks etc but not hostal/hotel accommodation as such.” But another guide had indicated accommodation. So I was not too concerned. I have learned that the local police are very helpful. Sometimes they have the key to pilgrim accommodation. I have also heard that as a last resort, if a pilgrim cannot find accommodation in a town, it is the mayor’s responsibility. I have also heard that if a pilgrim cannot find accommodation in a town, it is the church’s responsibility (but I wonder how a parish priest would react if a hot, sweaty pilgrim came knocking on his door!?).

I went to the police, who indicated either an albergue just out of town, or a pensione on the edge of the town. They said there two Austrian pilgrims were staying in the pensione. I did not like the idea of being on my own out of town, so opted for the latter. The Austrians I had met two days previously when we were all setting out from Monterrubio at the same time.

As I came into the town, I had twice seen a couple of men riding horses down the street, and later say both men and women riding horses. So it was not a great surprise to see a couple of horses tied to a railing outside a bar!!!

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It was a good day for walking. I completed 18kms.

It was a very different kind of Easter Sunday!

In the evening I went for a quick stroll in the town. I managed to arrive at the local parish church as Mass was about to start, so joined the congregation for the Easter Sunday Evening Mass.

I have had my evening meal and off to get a good night’s sleep.

Ultreia!!!

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