3. The Angel and The Uninspired

No one can tell me,
Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.

It’s flying from somewhere
As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it
Even if I ran!

Today we set the alarm for 5.45… again.  It’s hot in southern Spain and we thought if we started early we could make good time before the sun rose too high.

Finding our way out of the city was hard. Walking away from the city was harder. There was mile after mile of uninspiring industrial units.  There was very little to do or see… just keep walking north away from Seville.

 We stopped after an hour for coffee and toast.  We met a few other pilgrims… the Dutch trekkers and the Serious Pilgrims… we said hello and then they set off… at a pace! They followed the river path… but we’d heard there were wild dogs a plenty so we opted to carry on with the industrial outskirts.

We did a boots off stop after another hour and half. .. at an aptly named First Stop tyre garage.  Then on we walked more and more until finally reached some relief in Santiponce.

There were two very good reasons for stopping here…  the San Isidoro Del Campo Monastery, which has recently opened after a major renovation… and Italica, a major Roman archaeological site.

The monastery was worth the visit.  It was built in 1301 and the interior walls and ceilings are covered in beautiful art.  The buildings are a mix of Moorish  and Spanish architecture and it was a wonderfully cool retreat after the industrial wastelands we’d been walking through.

 Italica was founded in 206 BC and was the birth place of Hadrian. .. who went on to become emperor and build that wall on the Scottish borders.  There were acres to wander around but we could only spare an hour so we meandered around the amphitheatre, recited lines from The Life of Brian and made use of the facilities before moving on.  I didn’t have to pay… because it’s free if you’re European!  My fellow pilgrims had to part with €1.50.

So we left Santiponce happy with the distractions and keen to leave the roads and go off into the countryside.  But it’s hot… too hot really to be out walking … mad dogs and English pilgrims go out in the midday sun.

We faced a long straight path that cut across the landscape.  No trees and no features… just long and hot.  And the air is so still… what we would do for a breeze or even a large cool gust of wind!  I am loving my UV umbrella and I’m so glad I decided to bring this. I might look silly with my silver brolly but who cares!

After a while we spotted some trees in the distance.  That spurred us to walk on faster.  We aired our feet in a dried up river bed and broke into my emergency rations… a bag of peanuts and 2 Kelloggs breakfast bars… and then we had 3 werthers each before setting off again.

We could see the town on the distant horizon… a little too distant if you ask me!  The landscape became more interesting though with orange and olive groves and the fields of cotton… ripe for the picking.  Branden tried to get one of the farmers to drive us into town but he was having none of it.

Eventually we made it.  But Guillena is bigger than we anticipated so we then faced more walking to find the hostel.

We had no water and we were so so hot… we passed a row of houses and an old lady called to us… agua agua?  Si Si por favor we replied and she returned with a huge bottle of cold water.  Then a chair and then another chair and then another.  And so we sat outside her house, in the shade, drinking water, while she chatted away to us in Spanish.   I have no idea what she said but I loved her.

She left us with directions to the hostel and a little card each, a bit like a cigarette card from a collection only these have pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.  She wants us to say a prayer for her in Santiago… and I intend to.

Anyway we arrived… washed and ate and shopped for tomorrow… now we’re ready for bed… in fact as soon as I finish this its lights out for me.

We walked almost 28 kms today… and it was pushing 36c this afternoon. Welcome to the Via de la Plata!

Ps I have a blister… my own fault so I hope it’s nothing serious.

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