If I wasn't on a schedule, than Antequera is worth a stop over. The GR7 brings you in through the new part of town and takes you out of the old and, because I couldn't find the way out, I saw a bit more of the old part than I had planned to and it was well worth it.
Antequera is another Andalucian towns is clambering up around a rock, although because of the town's size it's harder to spot the rock at the core. The towers of the Moorish fortress (the Alcazaba) still dominate the skyline along with a number of well preserved Gothic churches. To the north of the fortress, the well preserved remains of Roman baths have been excavated, and Antequera is also home to the site one of the largest bronze age mass tombs in Europe.
I saw more of Antequera than I had planned because I had the wrong track on my GPS. I could see the route on the ground, although it wasn't well signed, but the GPS was showing something different. Most of my tracks are based on Wikilocs, which is really well used in Spain, but occasionally, when I couldn't find a Wikiloc route and I plotted it myself from the map. This was one of those times and my plotting was wrong.
To make matters worse and because it was raining so hard I wasn't even using my GPS as much as I would have liked to. It is an iPod application, the iPod isn't waterproof and I was trying to avoid using it and getting it wet. As it was it started to turn itself of in a really worrying way.
I guess you could say it's my own fault for being too dependent on a GPS but this is the first time I've used it and I'm a total convert. Part of the reason I'm flying along is that for 90 per cent of the time I know exactly where I am.
As it was I was quite pleased when I saw my first GR sign and my route met up with the E4 proper. This was at 11 o'clock and about 2 hours after I had left Antequera. Being on the right route made no difference to the weather and it continued to rain hard. I was actually walking through the El Torcal Natural Park, centred around the peak of El Torcal which reaches 1336 metres. The picture below is included to prove to sceptics that I didn't catch the bus.
As if to taunt me for using GPS, the GR signs suddenly become reliable, took me arrow like towards Villanueva del Cauche, shot me underneath the motorway and on towards Villanueva del Rosario. At one point they teased me by threatening to take me down a slip road onto the motorway only at the last minute revealing another turning. It wasn't the sign's fault that the route wasn't very nice, going underneath the motorway another two times, or that I missed the sign which would have let me cover the last 2 kilometres across country rather than on the side of the road.
Despite everything I finished the walk in good time. Left the hotel in Antequera at 8.45, walked 28 kilometres, and arrived at Hotel las Delicias at about 3. 30.
A particular pleasure the last two nights has been watching the football in the bar with the Spanish. The Barcelona game on Tuesday and the Valencia game last night. I did not see the mighty Spurs continue their European triumph but was getting regular updates from Christine on progress. I must say I get no pleasure out of seeing Arsenal leave the competition and like many Spurs fans was looking for a north London final (although technically Arsenal are from Woolwich). I have many Arsenal friends, know some of them read this blog, and do not want to add to their misery. In truth of course, their real pain came not with defeat by Barcelona, when they were down to 9 men(Fabragas already in the pay of Barcelona), but with the defeat by Birmingham and the failure to reach the season's strategic objective and win the Carling Cup.
By the way I am now starting northern variant of the GR7. It's a bit lower than the southern variant and the weather should be better this time of year. Have know walked 278 kilometres in 9 days. Christine joins me in Rute on Saturday which is 80 kilometres away, I hope it stops raining.