The days pass by and the walk continues!
Eighteen days! What a walk and really with two dogs: Chica and Merlin!
It’s a fascinating journey and one that many people will be keen to read about.
Day 18: Villenueva de Cauche to Riogrande 22k
By Tom and Chica, 14th February, 2020.
Written by Tom’s wife
After good night’s sleep under the crag, we woke to find ourselves in thick cloud so didn’t rush to get going.
To save water, I brewed a small coffee, gave Chica her quota and had a muesli bar for breakfast. I packed up between bouts of light rain and we set off at 10am with almost a spring in our step, down to the road and heading east.
We passed a strange group of buildings which turned out to be a circus school, complete with mini castle. Which was slightly surreal!
Beautiful scenery as we were walking on the northern edge of El Torcal nature park. We have visited here before and the small park has an amazing and unique karst limestone landscape straight out of a cowboy movie. If you find yourself near Antequera, it’s well worth a visit. Lobo Park is nearby too, where they are trying to preserve the last of the almost extinct wolves in Spain. You can go on a ‘howl night’ which Chica thought sounded fun.
After a short break for Chica to catch some rays, a very long stretch of road walking followed and it was getting hot. I started to get a bit concerned about the shortage of water. I intended to knock on a door and ask but all the gates were padlocked and there was no sign of life. I began to feel really anxious – we were both thirsty and the route was about to leave the road and head across county where there would be much less chance of getting water. Then I saw a chap and his dog at the bottom of his driveway. He saw me and waited to speak to us. After mumbling in my extremely basic Spanish, it turned out he was Belgian and spoke excellent English. He fetched water for us and a very welcome apple for me.
Newly energised and very relieved, we left the road and headed steadily downhill enjoying the great views all round. Chica met lots of friendly mutts including a very snivelly Welsh border collie.
Eventually, we made it to Riogordo at around 5:45, There were a lot of workman and road reconstruction going on. Despite the diversions to avoid newly-laid concrete, the farmer on his mule drove his sheep and goats straight over it.
Exploring the town, I bought sardines for Cheeks and chocolate for me. It seemed very pleasant and I looked out for sneaky camp spots but I got diverted into Bar Molina for Iberian steak and chips, goats ice cream and honey, and quantities of beer.
At 9:30 we headed off in the dark and made camp on a piece of waste ground. This turned out to be slightly sloping so I had to use Chica as a wedge to stop me slipping down it. She appeared to rather like it. What a good girl! But maybe it’s best to suss out the camping place before the beer in future.
I hope this gets turned into a book! It’s such a good story and one, I’m sure, that would inspire many others to copy.
Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s episode!