Friday 22nd of April Vistabella de Maestrazgo to Benasal

Last night we lay in bed and listened to the rain pour down. The weather forecast was bad and it seemed unlikely that Christine, without full waterproofs would be able to do today's walk to Benasal. We started thinking about alternatives when we saw the sky start lightening from the South. By half past nine it looked good enough to set off, especially as a kind fellow guest in the Casa Rural had let Christine have her spare poncho mack.

Cloud clinging to the hills

The first part of the walk was a continuation of the upland plain which we had walked through in the rain yesterday afternoon. A strange feature, perhaps the bottom of an ancient glacial lake. Along the track a local farmer had found a new use for empty coke bottles. After about 3 kilometres we turned east and contoured along the side of a pretty gorge gradually gaining height.

Noisy fence

We were walking quickly because we didn't trust the weather and wanted to get to Culla for a late lunch. Despite this we enjoyed a quick sandwich break at the abandoned Ermita de San Bartolome. After more contouring the path dropped down, through some beautiful ancient pasture, to a dried out river bed.

Ermita de San Bartolome

Abandoned village - Casa del Capote

The last stage before lunch involved a 500 metre climb up to Culla. The smell of pigs as you approached from the southwest was sickening and we were thinking we had made a mistake to rush. As usual when you arrive you can't see anyone and you can't believe there will be a bar, never mind somewhere to eat. Actually there were two and we dived into the first as the clouds gathered.

Climbing up to Culla

The restaurant was full of young Spaniards with their children and Christine, who is expecting two grandchildren in the next few months, couldn't stop staring at them. Had a great meal and didn't notice that it was pouring with rain outside until the postres arrived. Tried to stretch things out with extra coffee but in the end we had to go, another hour or two's walking to get to Benasal.

Just as we had finished climbing into our waterproofs the owner of the restaurant asks where we are going and offers us a lift. Seemed unfair to put Christine through 90 minutes of torrential rain on her last day on the GR7 so we accepted and he kindly took us directly to the door at the Hotel la Piqueta.


  1. From Benasal to Morella is a 35 km walk for tomorrow. In Benasal I stayed in the Hostal la Piqueta, the place is a thermal bath balneario.

  2. I hope that Christine is finding this a relief from the challenges of Consumer Focus and that you John are appreciating her periodic trips out to join you.

  3. Hi Roger
    think actually John was quite looking forward to getting his ipod back on by Saturday! I was slowing him down.
    Now back in Hove and have been swimming in the sea; not often it's 20 degrees warmer in England than in Spain.