Lorca to Villamayor de Monjardin
Enjoyed the albergue at Lorca very much- Hose was such a friendly and hard-working hospitalero with a wonderful sense of humour. He cooked us a great walkers' menu in the evening and there were four Italian cyclists at the table. Communication became much easier when we realized French was a common second language.
Saw the same cyclists again this morning when I was taking a break on a seat at the far end of Estella. I'd walked a good ten km by then as I'd left at 6am to avoid the heat. I think they were surprised to see me, but we passed some friendly greetings.
I pulled into the Bodegas Irache fountain at the same time as two French tourists in a van. They were surprised to see me fill up my water bottle instead of using the wine tap. But then a group of cyclists came along and they all went big time for the water tap as well!
I knew the next 9 km to Villamayor would be harder in the heat, but it wasn't too bad as some sections were shaded by bush. And even the final climb in the open wasn't too bad as I knew it was the end for the day. Earliest albergue arrival yet at around 12.30, but it's another day of 32C. At least it's a dry heat. The locals say it isn't usually this hot yet. There is supposed to be a storm later tomorrow then a bit cooler on Sunday. I hope so!
Am in the albergue at Villamayor run by some very friendly people. It's jumping with Italian voices again. I think their guidebooks must aim for in-between places like I am. It's the first place I've been to where people were pouring in at lunchtime, but I think quite a few people are doing shorter stages in the heat.
There used to be a parish albergue here too but it closed two years ago when part of a roof collapsed, so if you want to stay here if is probably best not to arrive too late in the day.
An exhausted looking man has just arrived (4.30pm) to find it completo. He can sleep on the terrace here but he was still thinking about going on to Los Arcos. 'I can handle it' he said. One of the bar staff and I seem to have talked him out of it in English. He has already walked 30km in today's heat, and the man at the bar just told him it would be dangerous to continue: there is no shade and no houses etc in next 13km or so. His desperation for a shower seemed to be driving him- and I think he was already affected by the heat as well as very sunburned.
So, what do you do in the afternoon in this heat? You can siesta. Or you can go visit the very old church: its thick walls make it the coolest place in town!
Oh and I realize I have been so busy talking about the heat I haven't told you that this is a very beautiful stage again- lots of hills and mountains to view, and plenty of vineyards. And nothing beats walking in the early morning with the birdsong, and then the sun gradually spreading its light over the plants and the landscape.
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