Hueneja to Aquife 13miles 8hours (including lunch) and about 500m up and down.
Progress so far has been up the river valley of the Andarax and its tributaries the Nascimiento and the Izafalada. We have gained about 1100 m in altitude , although undulated up and down a lot more. This we have learned is the old Royal road with staging posts that connected Almeria on the coast with Granada and the caliphates further inland. Also the route up which the Catholic Kings forces travelled during the final reconquista of Moorish Southern Spain.
The town we have stayed in last night, in the first alburgue donativo of the trip, is Hueneja, at 1100m it is situated at the end of the valley that has led us around to the north of the massif of the Sierra Nevada and to within five days march of Granada. Reviewing yesterdays photos Betsy has seen and recorded a Woodchat Shrike a blackbird sized predatory bird of the orchards and scrub we have passed through.
Today we pass over the watershed of the Andrax tributaries round the north of the Sierra and into flatter but high (3000ft +) country. This is covered with almond groves and mostly within sight of the eternal snows of the Sierra. Even round here where it is definitely a bit less arid the locals are complaining about the lack of rain or snow. We walk on past several holes in the ground some small some bigger and some , after 800years of mining iron ore very large indeed with large pools of water at least on the map in the bottom.These have left some serious fenced off scars on the landscape.
The rain promised by the Norwegian weather service never quite arrives though it is cloudy all day and quite cold in the wind off the eternal snows.
There are small towns each with a bar and alcazar or citadel and a claimed set of moorish baths, often used for different purposes and sometimes only recognisable by the filled porticos and the tourist office sign. At length after a good lunch of bean stew, we need a warm wind from somewhere, we reach our resting place in Alquife. We start to cast about for the lodging in the guide, the top floor of a house as an alburgue. Betsy asks a couple in the street ” Ahh you want Manollo” Pulls out phone he will be here in 2 minutes!! Sure enough a battered Ford pulls up we are introduced and pile in. A short drive up the hill and our host shows us a great suite of rooms above his house.
He will take us into town for beer and food tonight.
Link to where we are on Google Maps