Day 15 (12/Oct/2017) Moclin to Alcalá la Real (22km)

Another comfortable walk through farmland with occasional stretches along the side of a fast highway. I left Moclin on an empty stomach because the local store was not open in the evening yesterday – much to the dismay of a group of retirees from Northern Europe who are doing a minibus tour of Camino sites.
On the way out if Moclin, I read a sign that described the fortifications that were built there during the Spanish civil war. It looks like an area that would naturally lend itself to ambushes and attacks from the surrounding hills. Today, the area is dedicated to the cultivation of olives. More olives than you can shake a toothpick at. A few fruit and nut trees. A couple of oaks. And olives. Did i mention that they grow olives here?
I found the walking to be relatively easy, thanks to the cloud cover. I don’t think the temperature rose above the mid-twenties, whereas it was above thirty yesterday. (And even at 8pm last night, it was still 27).
I picked up some bread, ham, and yoghurt at the supermarket in Ermita Nueva. It’s handy that even smallest communities tend to have a bar and a well stocked store.
On my way out of Ermita Nueva, I caught my first glimpses of the castle that dominates Alcalá la Real, where I will spend this evening. I searched for a shady spot outside the pueblo to eat and rest. When I found a small clump of trees that seemed ideal, I found that I was sharing that idyllic spot with a guy who was dumping construction waste in the river. From his single axle trailer, he heaved a heavy cement bag and a large, white, paint tub full of rubble into the riverbed, and drove off in his shiny new SUV. Although he seemed unbothered by my arrival, I thought better of photographing him in case of repercussions. It angered me to see someone so brazen and casual about despoiling the countryside of its beauty, when the people that I have met here have worked so hard to open it up to me and others like me. It also brought to mind the contrast between the humane attitudes of many Spanish people toward animals – in Granada, for example, I encountered an old man who brought tins of fish to feed the cats in the park behind the convent – and the thoughtlessness of others. On my way into Oliveras yesterday, I witnessed an old man pulling a small dog behind his moped on a taut length of string. The bike was travelling at a faster pace than I could ever sustain if I were running, on a stony track. And, then, there are many neglected dogs whose purpose in life is to bark at anything that approaches the livestock that they are guarding…
I was surprised to find that I made it to Alcalá la Real by 2:30 – Spanish lunch time. It really has been a day when the walking felt easy. Rather than heading straight to my accommodation, I decided to sit down for a slow lunch. So many items on the menu that I don’t understand – but I decided to try Flamenquin, a deep fried pork dish from Córdoba. I wanted a side salad with it, but the waiter explained that Casa Pedro doesn’t do small salads. So I ended up with the most ridonculous, family-sized, “everything,” salad; lettuce, tomatoes, tuna, kiwi, pineapple, persimmon, apple, gummi bears. (Okay, I’m lying about the gummi bears).

Categories: 2017 Camino Mozarabe (Almeria to Finisterre)

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