Thursday, April 26, 2012

Alcuescar - Day 12 - April 26th, 2012

It has been a few days since I have had access to Internet, so I will upload the blogs and photos I have been doing offline and date the post as the date the blog was written. Here we go as I post 3 days worth of blogs.

As we left the town of Merida we passed the big Roman aquaduct, which we had not seen during our sightseeing the day before.

 Today it rained steadily all day, so there was no staying dry. Even so, the 17 km walk to Aljucen was quite pleasant as there was no wind and the rain was light.
 The first part of the trail was a really nice bike/walking path for maybe 8 or so kilometers to Embalse de Proserpina, which is a large dam/reservoir with (in season) swimming, concession stands and the like for several kilometers.
 There were also viewing points and interpretive information as this is one of the three original sources of water for the city and part of the World Heritage Site. The dam was built in Roman times to store water which was moved via a gravity powered Aquaduct all the way to Merida.

As we approached Aljucen we learned that taking a break from walking on the trail during rain necessarily means you get wet as you get snacks from your pack and it was a wet walk the rest of the way. The country was beautiful though and the road easy on the feet as it was hard packed sand. We had walked just over 16 km at this point.

Aljucen is a really small town, just a church, a few dozen houses, a restaurant, store and the private Albergue which is the back half of somebody's house. Not so bad really, but Barb wanted to push on and we went to the restaurant to get a meal and figure out what next.  We had great bocadias with cafe con leche and watched daytime Spanish TV while we dried out, rested and decided what to do ... we got to know the hosts of this talk/news show really well by the end of our stay in Spain.

Given that there will be sections of the 1,000 km stretch we need to skip and the steady pouring rain, we decided this was a good day to push forward via autobus the 20 km  to the next town, which is Alcuescar. An hour later we joined 6 other wet Peregrinos on a bus which deposited us just outside the Albergue on the edge of town.


In short order were settled into a dorm room with 14 others on the 3rd floor of the Casa de Beneficiencia de Los Esclavos de Maria y de Los Pobres - a large Monestary which also serves as a residence for the disabled. The place was wonderful and for a donetivo (donation) of 5 EU we got both dinner and a bed.  All  of us were very wet (even inside boots), so we stuffed newspaper in the boots and hoped they would dry enough to wear in the morning.
After a short siesta we took a walk into the village, which is perched up on the side of a mountain. We walked up near the top and enjoyed the wonderful view. Afterwards we found a bar and had a drink of brandy to warm up.

Sorry, for the not so good pic of Barb (eyes shut), but it was a memorable place - and we all watched the spaghetti western dubbed in Spanish for an hour or so as we drank our brandy.

Dinner was simple but plentiful - chicken soup, spaghetti, eggs "rancho" and roast pork. There was an orange for dessert. We were asked to wash the dishes but with 20 helping it was easy work.
We have no Internet here so I will upload and post this blog when I find some wifi.
Adios amigos!

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