We left Merida before the sun rose in order to arrive at our destination before it became too hot. Once we were past the Roman Reservoir, we traversed rolling hills of deep multi-colored grasses sprinkled with rich dark violet Spanish lavender and yellow broom. The oak trees grew among huge sculpted groups of rocks.
Deep blue streams snaked through the rocky outcroppings, reflecting the changing colors of the sky. The air was cool and many Pilgrims were walking early. It was an enchanting, colorful walk with cool temperatures and good company. We are trekking along with Alan and Judy, so full of life and good cheer.
We walked into the tiny town of Aljucen at 11:30 to find the Albergue in chaos. It was under construction, and every bit of furniture was stacked outside. There were men with ladders building walls and painting. Everything was covered in dust and draped with plastico. Undaunted, we threw our packs and sleeping bags on some bunks, showered, and hung out our laundry to be permeated with plaster dust. The young woman who runs the Albergue, Ana, is very friendly. She has great dramatic body language because she speaks no English. With a smile on her face, she cleaned and put all of the furniture back in place . She was tireless, and did not stop working until 8:00 PM, when she was satisfied that her Albergue was once again a home.
This will be such a cute Albergue when it is finished. The walls outside are bright orange-yellow with nicely detailed trim painted in dark blue. The walls inside of the main room are a bright green and there is a purple couch. The kitchen will be cobalt blue. There is a little terrace out front with a view of the valley, and a patio in back. But most of all it is the welcoming spirit of Ana that makes this a special place.
We spent several hours at the spa, then lounged on the patio of the local bar. We laughed as we ate and visited in the sunshine. I so enjoyed the easy camaraderie as people from Holland, Germany, Paraguay, England, Australia, Norway, America, Canada, and other far-flung places around the globe, came and went from our table. Today was just about as perfect a day as one could ask for on the Camino.
Distance from Merida to Aljucen=10.5 Miles / 17 Kilometers
Actual Distance Walked= 12.3 Miles / 20 Kilometers
Accommodations= Municipal Albergue, 10 Euro per person per night. 18 places. Kitchen, common area. Small friendly town.
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