Day 2 May 15th…Guillena to Castilblanco de Los Arryos


Day 2…May14th. A “short walk” (19km) today… are we getting cocky despite the struggle in the heat yesterday ?!! You can’t beat a good night’s sleep so we have recovered quite well.
We are away at 7.30am (learning fast). It’s a beautiful morning, nice and quiet and not much action in town as we head off for breakfast about 3km ahead at a little village called Venta la Casa de Pradera.
The cafe here is ideally placed right at the exit from our dirt(y) track from Guillena. They obviously never heard of the “Leave No Trace Ethic” around these parts ! There are plenty of “early locals” in the cafe/barra knocking back heavy coffee hits…you know, having their batteries charged up for the “day” ahead. Of course, they then call “time out” (siesta) at around 2.00pm and don’t show up again until 6pm to feed the hungry foreign tourists! We have our standard “boccadillo a jamon Y queso” ( a short chunky Spanish baguette with Iberico cured ham and cheese in the middle) …washed down with the obligatory and more familiar cafe con leche. The locals at the counter throw smiling looks our way and one young fellow chats with me. He knows a lot about Ireland, having learned his very good English in Dublin. He assures me that he will also walk the Via de la Plata “someday”.

Now, fully charged up, we set off to see whatever bit of Spain lies ahead of us today.
We soon leave the dreaded tarmac and find ourselves on another clay path ( nice and clean, this time ) and walking through our first experience of beautiful mature olive groves that fan out as far as anyone’s eye could wish to see.

Olive groves over the Horizon near Guillena

Olive groves stretch over the Horizon near Guillena

We are played along with a chorus of bird-song until some guy spoils it all in his noisy and irritating hang-glider in the clear air above us…o.k, so maybe he is inspecting his olive trees. Good luck to him !

Hanglider buzzes about overhead..near Guillena

Hanglider buzzes about overhead..near Guillena

Away, on a hill to our right is what looks like an old ruined fortified castle. I try to imagine what everyday life might have been like for the people who once resided there so long ago…what they were like, what they did for a living, why they abandoned their castle and where their descendants might be now….. ah, If those ruins could speak!

Ruined Castle near Guillena

Ruined Castle near Guillena

We soon enter an estate called Cortijo del Chaparral…this reminds me of a great old Western T.V. series of the late 60’s called “The High Chapperral”.

Cortijo del Chaparral Map

Cortijo del Chaparral Map

Now, this is one magical place. We wind our way around olive trees, over mystical undulating paths with birds quietly flitting about and lots of healthy rabbits hopping in and out of swathes of multi-coloured wild flowers and shrubbery. Further on we meet a roughly made sign pointing to our right…it reads “Agua, Water, Boaa, Wasser, and Eau. This is the first time I have noticed any offer of drinkable water ( Agua potable ) at a Fuente, so far. We have plenty of water with us today so, we walk on.

UISCE ( Water in five tongues ! )

UISCE ( Water in five tongues ! )

Close to Castilblanco we hear the crunch of bike wheels coming up fast behind us…it is a gaggle of Spanish “Bikigrinos” ( pilgrims on bikes ! ). They hop off close to us for some water and shade. Of course, I can’t resist having a chat with them, so, I take a chance and declare  “Viva Real Madrid” !. That brings howls of “no no no…Barcelona, Barcelona” !  However, there is one “Real” man among them and he gives me that great proud Spanish smile and a genuine hand-shake. I now have yet another one of those  “friends for life”…… whom I will never meet again !
The sight of pretty nice accommodation to our right attracts the attention of our tiring limbs and so we waste no time and check in. A few local farmers are in the shade out front and engrossed in their Domino Game.The panoramic views from our balcony room are wonderful and pan out over the lovely hazy countryside that we have traversed earlier in the day.
After a nice refreshing shower we take a short walk to the village centre where we enjoy cool drinks and tappas. Soon it’s time to head for the “leaba” (bed) and we are now drifting to the close of a much happier day than our awful experience on Day 1

So, off to “noddy-land” where our body-batteries will be fully re-charged for tomorrow.