Castilblanco de los Arroyos - The twelfth step ... Three months in Spain - CycleBlaze

April 12, 2022

Castilblanco de los Arroyos

It rained quite a bit last night and rain was forecast for much of today.  However, it was dry when we woke up and we had hopes of pushing on through two stages of the Via de la Plata to the town of Almadén de la Plata just over fifty kilometers away.  The fact that we had to be out of the hostel by eight thirty meant we would have lots of time to get there.

The leg from Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos was largely on walking paths through a nature reserve.  We had been warned by the staff at the hostel as well as a gentleman we met as we were leaving town that the route via the nature reserve should be avoided when traveling on a loaded bicycle and that we should rather follow the tarred road which is just a few kilometers longer.  About seven kilometers out of town we got to an intersection so we stopped to check the map.  Google suggested that it was the best way to go by bicycle and we took it at its word.  After four kilometers the road ended but in front of us was a gate through which we could access the nature reserve.  At this point it started to rain.  After a kilometer or so on the rough track through the nature reserve we were too far in to turn back.  At this point it started to pour.  The rough track now became a mud bath.   By now pushing on to Almadén de la Plata had slipped from our minds.

Eventually we arrived back on the tarred road three and a half kilometers out of Castilblanco.  We headed for the albergue run by the local municipality.  Pilgrims can stay free of charge but it seemed churlish not to give a donation similar to what one would normally pay.

My first task was to try and wash the mud off the bicycles.  It had got in everywhere and they were making the most terrible noises.  In drips and drabs the various other pilgrims from Guillena also arrived, some of them soaking wet. 

The first rough bit we encountered. It got worse.
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Lots of mud.
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Time to cheer up, if we are to believe the sign.
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The rain showers continued intermittently through the afternoon.  So after we had cleaned ourselves up, had some lunch and a bit of a rest we wandered off into town during a sunny spell.  We found an open pub and enjoyed a second lunch and a couple of drinks - all a lot more affordable than in the bigger cities we have been through - and by the time we got back to the albergue the heavens opened once again

Squalls have passed through all afternoon.
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The weather is set to improve from tomorrow so we hope to get a double shift in and skip one of the standard stops along the Via de la Plata.

Today's ride: 24 km (15 miles)
Total: 540 km (335 miles)

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