Dep 9.00 am. Arr 3.00 pm.
My first day of walking on the Via de la Plata Camino. The gods must be smiling on me, as the weather has been warm and sunny - a perfect day for hiking anywhere! It was 5 degrees when I left M and its 17 now at 4.30 pm.
Two pilgrims passed me early on. A German and a Spaniard, then I saw no-one else till the afternoon, when a large group of Germans with only daypacks went by. I asked them where they were staying, as I thought they'd take up all the beds in Aljucen, but they said a bus was picking them up and transporting them elsewhere. They were surprised I could speak German and thought I might be Swiss!
My first stop at about 11 am was at the Proserpina Dam, built by the Romans to supply water to Merida via an aqueduct. There were several nice-looking waterside cafes, but all closed, so no coffee for me. Had to make do with a banana.
Wildflowers lined the route all day, but my old iPhone doesn't do close ups well. They were drifts of pink and yellow, with a few tiny white star shaped flowers and a couple of poppies in one stop. After 10 kms, where the Camino turned off the country road onto a sandy track, someone had deposited 4 or 5 mattresses. I was able to eat my lunch reclining, Roman style, and have short siesta before pressing on. Another pilgrim passed me. He seemed to have picked up a stray dog on the trail, too.
Merida Aqueduct early this morning.
Official direction marker for Via de la Plata: these are square stones which the locals call "cubes" with the logo on top
Church at Aljucen