We had another good sleep followed by a lazy start as we knew it was a short day. Today’s walk was beautiful, again in oak forest but today we were right in with all the animals. Ardeo had found the pigs intimidating but today they kept their distance, more interested in the ponds where they wallowed and then sunned themselves on the the banks. There were also horses, sheep, goats and a few cows. We also saw a ferret-like animal dart across the path. There were a lot of ups and downs today which kept it interesting. We had a wonderful picnic under the oaks and were glad that the pigs didn’t seem interested in what we were doing (or eating).
The short day meant we arrived in Real de la Jara by 3:00, again staying in a place that Ardeo had recommended. We had time to do laundry on the rooftop terrace and then head out to visit the castle which was fun to explore. Having time and energy at the end of the day is really wonderful, so having a short day can be great. We bumped into our fellow Canadians at the castle so although we were staying at different places it was good to know we were still on the same schedule. They also recommended where they had eaten a late lunch and we had an excellent dinner there (Meson de la Cochera): pistou andalus, chicken, flan for dessert and an excellent glass of red wine. We were stuffed for the rather long walk back to our albergue which was at the other end of the long, thin town.
When we got back to the albergue we had a visit with four Finns who were the other peregrinos. They had done the Mozarabe route from Málaga to Mérida and were now walking back to Sevilla. They had walked many caminos and although in their 70s were in much better shape than us. This was not something that I had expected, that we would meet so many people who had already walked many different caminos and some who had also already walked the Vía de la Plata. In fact, people were surprised that this was our first camino, since it is deemed to be a more challenging one.