Day 25 (22/Oct/2017): Alcaracejos to Hinojosa del Duque (22km)

Another beautiful walk through fields of Holm Oak trees with fine weather. The distance to cover today was not so great and there were no hills to climb, so Michel and I set off at 8:30am after a relaxed breakfast at the Tic Tac bar. This being Sunday morning, the bar was full of hunters, taking a coffee before going out into the country with their dogs.
We came across many trees whose forms had been twisted and deformed by the elements as they had aged, giving the fields the look of a massive bonsai display.
The low, scrub, vegetation that surrounded the holm oak trees that I saw yesterday was replaced by arable land. Michel explained to me that the holm oaks here weren’t dense enough for large scale farming of pata negra pigs, so we didn’t come across the huge “fincas,” that I will see later on my journey along the Camino. But if these fields aren’t used to raise pigs, what incentive do the farms have for leaving oak trees in them? Don’t they get in the way of the machinery that the farmers use for planting and harvesting crops? Perhaps they’re left there to support the wildlife for hunters?
We passed through two towns, Villanueva del Duque and Fuente la Lancha, whose church spires sported impressive storks’ nests. Sadly, the storks have flown south for the winter. Apparently, these towns were hideouts for notorious bandits in the past.
The two rivers that we had to pass were completely dry, and we had no difficulties on this short walk. We stopped for a bite to eat at 12ish and we reached our destination by 1:30. The walk into Hinojosa Del Duque took us past gipsy houses, where the women seemed eager to get our attention. Much of the town appears to be dominated by agro-industrial warehouse-type buildings. There’s a ham factory in front of the El Calzador hostal where we are staying. This will be my last night in Andalusia on this trip. Tomorrow’s rather longer walk (35km) will take me into Extremadura. I wondered if the name of this region derived from extrema y dura (“extreme and hard”) and found that, although locals joke that this is the case, the true etymology may be that the word Extremadura was used, in general, during the Reconquest to name the lands situated at the furthest frontiers of the country – the extremes.

Categories: 2017 Camino Mozarabe (Almeria to Finisterre)

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