Tuesday March 15th Alcala la Real to Frailes

Sort of rest day today, just a 9 kilometre walk to Frailes. Chance to stay in bed, have a leisurely breakfast and then take a look around Alcala la Real. Strangely the first time I've really felt tired since leaving the UK was this morning, maybe because I had time to notice, or maybe it was the bottle of wine demolished over dinner last night.

Christine is reading the Jan Morris book Spain, and although I'm sure this is really out of date now, it does talk about how poor this part of Spain is. It is difficult to understand how well people are doing just by walking through the countryside but looking from an English perspective there are some conflicting clues. Investment in public infrastructure looks high, public facilities look great compared to many places in the UK, but private sector facilities, shops, restuarants etc, feel old fashioned and in short supply.

Alcala la Real is a good illustration of this. As well as the brand new hospital and sports stadium there is a huge investment taking place In the restoration of the castle and abbey, impressively located on the hill which overlooks the rest of the town. Potentially a huge draw for tourists the facilities you would expect in a town with this at its heart don't seem to exist and we struggled to find somewhere to have lunch. I suspect that growing olives is not a lucrative activity, that this area is still a poor place, and there is not enough money going around locally to sustain the restaurants and other facilities you might expect.

The six tourists, and party of school children, going around the Castle and Abbey got a real treat. Although Napoleon had destroyed most of the building in 1812 the restoration is recreating all the layers of history left by the different occupants of the site from the before the Roman period. Really interesting morning.

After lunch we made the short and leisurely walk to Frailes where we are staying at the Meson Hostal la Posa. Frailes is really base camp for what is a very long walk tomorrow - 35 kilometres and 1300 metres of climb - one of the toughest walks yet.

1 comment:

  1. A well-deserved day of quasi-rest, I would say. Menno