The day ahead.
To the left, above the trees in the foreground and just beyond the further tree-line, is the village of Trujiillanos (6kms). 10 kms beyond that, in the distance, the city of Merida, capital of the autonomous region of Extremadura, spreads out across the valley.
The weather ahead was fine and clear, though behind me there were clouds gathering and I could see some rain falling in the distance. But I was heading West, while the prevailing winds pushed the weather to the South-East, so it was not a problem.
I left San Pedro di Merida around 8.15am (I missed out on my early night because I was up late composing the previous blog on the spirituality of walking!). The first section of today’s path was again on the service road adjacent to the Motorway (shown in the photo above), so was easy walking, no worries about arrow directions, though rather uninteresting.
I pushed on steadily to the village then continued without stopping. The second section took me along a dirt road, through the country, 1 km or so away from the Motorway. It was through olive orchards, then cereal crops, a vineyard, and near some houses, past a vegetable patch. So it was a more pleasant walk through the rural setting. The sun was shining and the wind was fresh.
I arrived in Merida late morning. My first priority in this city, bigger than all the towns and villages I have either stayed in or passed through recently, was to check out some late in the day swelling I had noticed over the last couple of days in my left leg. It was not related to muscle or ligament as it did not impede my walking at all, so it was more an irritation than a hindrance, but I wanted to get it resolved as soon as possible lest it became a bigger problem later. I went to the first Centro di Salud (Health Centre) that I came across. Negotiating the language barrier was a challenge, but I was able to show them my leg which spoke for itself! I was able to see a doctor and was given a prescription which hopefully will settle the problem quickly.
Then I had a leisurely lunch and booked into the Municipal albergue – very austere in contrast to the luxury of the hostals of the past nights! But to my accountant’s relief, it is only a quarter of the cost!!
After a rest with my leg up as instructed, I wandered through some of the city to orient myself. I had a quick snack then attended 8.30pm Mass in the Basilica of St Eulalia, Patroness of Merida.
In the last 12 days I have walked some 233 kms (plus a rest day), so am averaging just under 20kms per day. In the 7 walking days prior to that (again, plus a rest day), I completed some 165 kms (about 50km of that assisted). Combining the two, from the beginning to now, from Granada to Merida, a total of some 400 kms in three weeks. This completes the “Mozarabe” section of the “camino”, though the full title is the Camino Mozarabe di Santiago, so in fact this camino continues on to Santiago, another 750 kms to go (as I wrote these same figures in an e-mail, I realised that I have now completed a third of the journey!!!). However, the next major section of the journey coincides with another camino, the Via de la Plata, coming from Seville, which it joins here in Merida.
I will take a rest day here tomorrow and have a look at Merida. Then I will resume my pilgrim journey on the Via de la Plata the following day.