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Thursday, April 21, 2016

More about the route to Antequera.

A few more notes about today's walk. It did not feel like 20k to me. Maybe 18? Getting up and out of the village was strenuous. The people who live in these beautiful villages must have buns of steel! I have a photo of the map of the village if anyone wants it. I stopped into a small place for coffee and tostada con tomate. They also have wifi so I took screen shots of the wikilog route since Maggie mentioned the waymarks were so poor last year.  
However, I found I did not need to consult the maps at all. The Amigos must have gotten wind of Maggie's blog because I found every twist and turn was well marked with one exception. As I entered the Natural Park area the road made a hairpin turn to the left. There was a working farm on the right and a dirt path going alongside the farm fence. I stood there a moment looking around. There was a large Boulder up high to my left and I could barely make out a yellow "x" -- then a farmer came out and I pointed to the dirt track and asked "el Camino a Santiago?" And he indicated yes. So I continued OFF the main road and onto the track. Backing up to the beginning . . . Once I left the village I walked up through farmland, olive groves, deserted old farms, and just some of the most beautiful countryside I've seen. Everything was fresh and green and the windflowers are beginning to pop.  
 
There were about 2 kilometers of that darned sticky mud but I managed to avoid a lot of it by just watching my step and walking in the median or the grass. Up, up, and up the track went, a slow gentle ascent with a few places that were difficult for me. I'd have to stop every now and then and catch my breath. There is a point when you can clearly see the main road off to the left and soon after, the path curves around and heads to a farm. Here, you go off the main track and LEFT into a pasture-like track. But again, if you turn around and look, there is a clear waymark. You just have to keep your eyes open on this route. The pasture track goes through a field and dead ends on a gravel road, where you turn RIGHT and the track is wide and sandy and good walking. You are still steadily but gently climbing.   At one point I reached a fence with no apparent gate  I tossed my pack over and climbed the darn thing only to find this latch on the other side  doh!  
The ground was a sea of purple wild flowers    
I kept watching the rugged mountains to my right, wondering how the heck I was going to manage THAT! Lol. But luckily, the path took me through a beautiful pass and soon I was at the top, and I could see Antequera! Then began the craziest steepest rockiest descent ever. The path has been concreted over which is a nice gesture, except it is studded with all shapes of pointy (not flat) rocks. I had to really watch my feet, stopping every few minutes to snap photos and see the scenery.  
 
 
It seemed to go on forever, and was quite tiring. My feet feel like they took a beating and again, I think this is a route where you may want to consider boots.
Halfway down I could see 6 pilgrims on the road a couple of k ahead of me and I figured getting a bed was probably not in the cards. I didn't care. I went slow and soaked in the beauty. A HUGE ruckus of bells below, and I saw these pilgrims pushed off the path by hundreds of goats!! I took a video so as to remember the sound, once they got below me. Once you are over El Torcal it is easy walking. I passed a couple of grouchy farm dogs. One actually lunged at me but I stood tall and pointed my umbrella at him and he backed off. The others ran off when I used Rebecca's trick of bending down and picking up a rock. Man, they know what that means and they skidaddled!   One of the cool things to see was this rock formation that looks like an Indian Head  
 
 
 
You come into Antequera at the top of the village (of course) and it's a long walk down to the church. Directions: 1.Enter at Calle Jesus 2. Continue down Cuesta de Calderos 3. It turns into Cuesta del Viento 4. Right at Calle del Rio., 5. Left at Cuesta de Los Rojas 6. Right on Calle Fresca, past a school (lots of parents waiting today) 7. Past Callejon de Los Urbana 8. Left on Calle Belen 9. Right at Plaza Santiago and into the church yard. I believe they had to ring the bell for the priest. 2 bunk beds, very close together. A bit too claustrophobic for me, but looked clean and well kept.  
The bar next door has good wifi and that is how I got on booking.com to find a room. But I believe the others just asked around. Ok. That's it. I've eaten, I've washed my stinky stuff. I'm too tired to go exploring. Maybe tomorrow. I'd really like this wave of pilgrims to get ahead of me. Annie
 

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