Wednesday 13th April El Rebollar to Chera

Mi hija Hannah described me as supertramp in a tweet with reference to my all night walk, slightly double edged to say the least but it did set me thinking. My head teacher at junior school, Miss Gledhill, had a slightly unhealthy obsession with the poet John Masefield, who before George Orwell, hit the road and wrote Diaries of a Supertramp. Perhaps being bombarded with Masefield has lead me to this. In addition as a teenager I had an obsession with the pre-electric Bob Dylan (what a sell-out he proved to be) who of course modelled himself on Woody Guthrie (check the picture on first album cover) who of course, possibly not out of choice, was a famous hobo. It all fits.

To be honest the all night walk has left a bit of mark. Although it was fine at the time the memory of it is disturbing. Particularly this morning I really felt that I needed to get back from Supertramp to well resourced walker. Maybe the totally wrecked sleep pattern has given me a bit of a jet lag sensation, I'm "Lost in Translation" (which for some reason is a favourite film) and quickly need to get from Woody Guthrie to Bill Murray.

Today provided the antidote opportunity, short 20 kilometre walk to Chera with accommodation booked at other end. Had a double breakfast and got a taxi to El Rebollar. There is a public transport option but I wasn't messing about.

Not long after the start I had to cross a railway line. This can't be happening, John Masefield gets his foot stuck on a railway line and looses it and boxcar Guthrie's railway connections are just too obvious to mention. Manage to walk across it safely when just for a few seconds I think the route takes me across the High Speed Route as well, then I see a bridge and start to calm down.

After that things get better. The route takes me across fields of vines which happily are starting to sprout leaves and then through a valley into hillier country. Essentially you're contouring around the Sierra de Tejo which at the top is over 1100 metres. The route is well marked and looks used. All of a sudden in runs into a two metre deer fence. Just to get the message across the deer fence has panels of steel reinforcing laced into it, the stuff they use in concrete.

To the north of El Rebollar

Block Trail

Hidden Waymarks

Approaching Chera

Now I don't want go anywhere if I'm not welcome but after going up and down the fence looking for the please come through gate, I realise that the only way to get to Chera is once again to climb a deer fence. The absence of "welcome walker" signs are reinforced inside when I realise that someone has gone the trouble of painting over all the GR signs. Not sure but I suspect that this has something to do with hunting. Although, given the almost total absence of anyone on the walk so far, the chances of suddenly bumping into a hunter was virtually zero, the clear inference that I wasn't welcome did spoil an otherwise nice walk. I did see three captive deer but they failed to realise that I was on their side and shot up the mountain.

The deer San Quentin must have been 10 kilometres across and finally emerged about 5 kilometres before Chera. There was a open gate across a cattle grid, the gate was open because a satellite dish installer was visiting a house and had to get access. Either side of the gate were turnstiles to let pedestrians through. On the other side the GR signs started again and shortly after there was a sign pointing me down this route to El Rebollar. No idea what's going on.

In Chera the municipal auberge I had a room booked in was closed until tomorrow but fortunately there was another one in this very small town.

Chera is an interesting little town, population about 2,000 I guess. Have seen 5 bars, a baker, 2 little "supermecados" one selling meat as well, and a chemist. Non of the above look prosperous. On the other hand the road to the town has been completely reconstructed, not a dual carriageway, but high quality non-the-less. In addition to the road the immediate approach to the town has a new street lighting scheme, parking bays, bus shelter etc etc. Neither the road or the new facilities seem to get any use.

Missing my water reservoir. Particularly miss the fact that the pipe which goes over your shoulder and connects to a strap on your bag made you look you look like a serious walker and less like a tramp. Also had a certain ghostbuster, Bill Murray, look to it.


  1. Hi John & Happy birthday! Hope that you are enjoying a relaxing day off! Pete rang yesterday & assures you that your blog is being followed in America. He wants me to tell you how proud he is of you, as we are in Ireland, & to include his birthday wishes.
    I have broken a bone in my ankle, which rather precludes me from joining you. Hope you have better luck with long distance than I do with short.
    Perhaps when this is finished, you could have a rest & write a book?
    Take care
    with love kathx

  2. Please get used to rail tracks, John! On the Peloponnesos, the E4 borrows a railway track to cross railway bridges and railway tracks. Before you pass any of them, you call the manager of the moment to find out if a train might surprise you in the tunnel or on the bridge. For better understanding of the answer, you should understand some Greek! Menno