Day 5 – Walking on to Monesterio!

Day 5 saw us get up at sparrow’s fart and start walking the 22 kilometres to Monesterio.

I didn’t write much in the diary about this leg as I was fairly exhausted I think.  However I commented on the animals I met along the way.  So I’ll go more with photos for this post – and ask for your patience.

I was missing my dog tremendously – she was safe in the hands of the local kennels which I trusted but still, having her as my wallpaper on the smart phone every time I used it certainly didn’t help me miss her any less.  Perhaps I wouldn’t do that next time – but have her image locked away in the photos section!

All along the way from Seville to about Zafra it’s mainly free-range animals – black pigs (Jamon is king in Spain!), cattle, goats shepherded by dogs, horses, some sheep – I found interactions with animals to be highlights of each day and got as close to them as they would tolerate.  Walking through grazing cattle was a common occurrence throughout that first half of the Camino.

just leaving El Real de la Jara
just leaving El Real de la Jara

There were castle ruins at the northern end of El Real de la Jara – Jara according to Google Translate is a rockrose – a shrubby plant that looks like roses.  So this town’s name refers to a royal place of roses.  Very roughly!

there were plenty of bicyclists - they had to haul their bikes up those mountains!  But they got to glide along the smooth roads.
there were plenty of bicyclists – they had to haul their bikes up those mountains! But they got to glide along the smooth roads.

On talking eventually with bicyclists along the way, I was constantly surprised when they said their goal for the evening stop was some 60 ks away or even more!  The walking of every one of the 20 ks a day was enough for me.  Cyclists are a different creature altogether – lean, driven.  No time for photos along the way without having to stop.  A different type of Camino.

you can just see the back of a pig at the fence - I was trying to get him/her to look up but NO!
you can just see the back of a pig at the fence – I was trying to get him/her to look up but NO!

These pigs live among the oak trees which you can see from the plane as small bushes peppering the Spanish plains below.  The bounty from the oaks are acorns which pigs LERVE!  Hence, the jamon hanging up in the bars and shops are flavoured with acorns and it is one of main symbols around Spain.  A truly agricultural icon.

pequaria translates to livestock (el torro!)
via pequaria means the way of livestock

A lot of the old Roman road, the Camino, intersects with the old agricultural routes for animals, the droving routes.  Further ahead these would diverge then intersect again and again.  Throw into the mix the National Park Routes and you end up with a choice of Caminos – naturally the pilgrim route is the one you have to suss out.

after 22 ks I arrive in Monesterio and begin to look for the albergue called the Monastery – naturally, it is at the FAR end of town!  BTW – that town monument is a giant Ham Leg – see the hoof at the top?

By now I was getting the hang of walking around 20 ks a day and it was also this night in Monesterio that I would make the big blunder of my trip.  I had blisters forming!  But more on that in a couple of pix.

hear no evil etc
hear no evil etc – mucking around with Ton and Ralph

Before the biggest blunder – out and about after 22 kilometres, washed, in a change of clothes and ready for FOOD and some bino tinto!

the monastery, the moon and NOT WALKING
the monastery, the moon and NOT WALKING

As I recall, I was once again in a dormitory with 2 other women for this night, both veterans of the Camino.  One of them advised me on dressing my blisters and I ignored her!  I did exactly what she advised NOT TO!  Don’t worry – my stupidity in this would bite me horrendously in the bum a few days later.  (If I’m getting my days mixed up re events around the blisters it really doesn’t matter – because the worst day is so clear in my head that this is just the build-up!)

What this woman kindly told me not to do was to put Compeed onto an actual blister.

Compeed is a contained fatty substance that acts like a second skin.  It is excellent for PREVENTING blisters.  It is excellent on healthy skin.  It is total crap on blisters that have formed and if you are an idiot like me then you will find that out for yourself!

So I put compeed onto the blisters forming on my heels.  Just like that.  If she saw me she must have shaken her head slowly.

And that was that!  Sorted.  The blisters were covered.  I was happy about that and naïve and foolish and rebellious at being told what to do and just plain stupid.  BUT I wasn’t to know that for another 40 ks or so!  (Looking back on it, I have only myself to blame for being a complete TWAT!)

But more on that in the next post!

Buen Camino,









About Nancy Liddle

In 2014 I walked from Seville to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, some 800 ks I walked, aged 56. I learnt that no matter what age we are, our bodies are strong work-horses. Ageing doesn't have to be the nightmare that our culture feeds us. We can be strong and vital and energetic! And meditation exercises our minds. Clearly these discoveries have impacted my life deeply.

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