Sunday, 18 February 2018

Aljucan to Alcuescar

Sunday lie in, porridge at the simple Albergue, no Hospitalera but back door open ... into the bar for coffee and on the road by 8.15 for traffic free wander through nature reserve ... sporadic gunfire suggesting Sunday sport but mostly peaceful in the Sun ... last night's light reading left half read, since what is not offered is not to be taken, as the Buddhist precept has it ... taken to ritualistic extreme at Theravadan Harnham, where the cook has to literally offer the food to the monks ... a small faux pas when this blogger and sometime cook was not briefed on the ritual, though all was forgiven ... anyway, light reading or not, the book is too heavy for the pack ...

The 20 km seems long towards the end and the first Albergue opportunity arrives swiftly, at the Slaves of the Poor monastery ... friendly Hospitalero explains check-in is 4.30, so time to find wifi, beer, tapa looking optimistically like mushrooms on bread, but turn out to be kidneys ...then explore other options, including the brand new cubist edifice on the hill, with amazing views through huge windows .... well worth a visit when it opens, which is not today ...the other option, without plodding on several kilometres, is the Casa Rural, with price to be determined on arrival ... and differ ... let's see! 

First, lunch ... omelette, salad and chips turn out meat free, though proper ethical eaters will note eggs, not currently on the proscribed list ... the refuelling lifts the energy and interesting wander uncovers Casa Rural, but nobody home ... just phone numbers to ring, which is not much help if you don't have a phone ... of course the monastery is a safety net, and vaguely interesting as a cultural experience, but, being neither poor nor slave, nor Christian and as the doors are locked at 9pm and only opened at 8 am, making an early exit to enable nearly 40k day to Caceres tomorrow tricky, the option is rejected once a sign for the Olivos, 3km west and on the Way for the morning is spotted, it seems simple enough to hit the hard shoulder for half an hour ... and indeed the Olivos offers a simple single room with bed linen, towels, shower and sink, bar and restaurant and WiFi for €18 ... the monastery is donativo but €10 would be fair ... anyway money is not an issue, as long as comfort doesn't decline into decadence ...

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