Day 4 GR 48 - Almaden de la Plata to Cazalla de la Sierra

There is nowhere to stop between Almaden de la Plata and Cazalla de la Sierra and Juan's original plan involved walking for 40 kilometres and then getting a taxi for the last 10 or so in time to catch the bus or train to Seville.   In the end we walked 30, got to the town early, and had a splendid late lunch - good decision and the perfect way to end a such a lovely walk.
Leaving Almaden de la Plata

After brilliant walking along ancient caminos for the first three days, today's trail was just a bit boring following an un-metalled open road all the way.  Not unpleasant, just a bit monotonous.

Early morning mist

After two coffees in a noisy bar we left Almaden de la Plata at about 8.15, just after sunrise, and met the first of several vehicles which kicked up the dust.  One stopped to tell us we going in the wrong direction if we wanted to go to Santiago de Compostela, reminding us that we were on one of the ever growing number of tributaries to the famous trail.

The trail takes you along a valley, and apart from a very gentle ascent/descent, it's a very easy walk all the way to the Embalse de Malonares Reservoir.  At times we get quite close to a small river and see more heron but gradually the valley widens out and gives way to large scale cattle grazing, although given how dry it is there is not much grass for the animals to eat.  Approaching the reservoir we see our first Griffon vulture spiralling high above us - numbers grow to about fifty birds all working together to try and spot some carrion - we keep moving to avoid any confusion.

Pine trees and a view back to the Reservoir
Sore feet but on the way home
After walking the bridge over the reservoir it's then an gentle climb through pines trees up onto the top of the plain.  Great views back down to reservoir and up the valley towards Alamaden de la Plata.  After a while the pines trees give way to the Holm oaks and we pass by another large cattle farm with some very happy looking animals basking in the sun.  We then disturb some little black Iberian pigs, about forty of them, and, on an enclosed trail, they run ahead of us for the next four or five kilometres.  Not sure if it was the prospect of driving the little pigs all the way to Cazalla, or the monotony of the trail itself, but Juan suggests that as soon as we hit a metalled piece of road we call for a taxi.  Given the state of my feet I don't argue.  Not sure what happened to the little pigs.

Ancient Church at Cazalla de la Sierra
We then follow the trail from inside the taxi, passing through more cattle grazing country and it did look a little boring - would have been good for a trip on a bike.  Still Cazalla de la Sierra is a lovely little town centred around a very splendid church built, as many of them are around here, on the remains of a mosque.  Given our early arrival we had time to have lunch and sat outside to feast on an oily egg, gambas mushroom starter followed by an ox-tail stew (called bull's tail around here) lubricated with a glass of beer, a lovely white sherry followed by an amazingly rich, almost chocolate, red sherry.
A lot of bull's tail

Bus back to Seville and found a hotel near the station where I said goodbye to Juan who then caught the train to Madrid.  Wonderful four days walking, I'm now set up for my trip to Nepal next week.

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