Sheep and goats, sorted.

by tim 1. May 2012 16:27
1.5.12 Tuesday.
Yesterday we met a born and bred Gibralterian on Camino. Among the wealth of information he has, is the fact that the weather, having been dry, is now unseasonably wet which accounts for the large quantities of flowers just starting to bloom.
Todays wander is either short or too long. We are still within the Parque Natural Sierra Norte and the track we take within a km of town is undulating through managed cork and oak forest. It is rocky scrub at first but eventually a significant uphill, sorts sheep from goats, both of which are producing milk/cheese from forage acorns and scant grass in these woods. Hoopoes are hooping on either side and these occasionaly cross our path with the newly identified azurewinged magpies. The rough path settles to a good dirt track and descends into Real de la Jara having passed several pig farms of the black Andalusian sort for producing the cured legs the area is famed for. We are within sight of its old castle (to protect the village from Moors or Christians depending on point of view) by 10.30 and as we enter the village we are dragged into a hostal just past the albergue that is not yet open to view rooms. Competition appears fierce in the town for pilgrim custom. It is a Mayday holiday but we find further into town a room at hostal Molinas (which has more than one bathroom for 10-12 potential guests).
We would go further but the next stage to Monasterio over the border in Extramadura is over 20km and Betsy blames last night's poor sleep in the albergue in Almaden for her lack of stamina after a mere 13km (and asked for a coffee free morning to be taken into consideration too!). We are all happy though, to stop early and have a look at the castle (and the storks).
The castle has been restored with an EU grant and was a significant fortification in the 13th C when it defended its strategically important hill against variously, Moors, Christians and the King of Portugal. The views are excellent over into Estramadura just a few km away over a river.
Link to where we are on Google Maps


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