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Day 7, Fuente de Cantos to Zafra, Oct 27

Interspersed olive trees and grape vines.
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After our night on the town we had an excellent sleep in our extremely comfy beds. And with the time change we were actually up and going early and with a wonderful cup of tea to start the day. We were on the road at 8:00, feeling really good and looking forward to a town in six kilometres for a cup of coffee. But since it was Sunday morning, when we got there everything was shut up tight. It would take us a while to remember this about Saturday evenings and Sundays, especially in small towns.

The early part of the day was delightful and after we realized there would be no coffee we stopped for fruit and snacks in a beautiful little spot near a creek. Soon, however, the overcast skies cleared and the day heated up considerably. As we moved on we were on a road with zero shade. Eventually we stopped for a second snack break under the scant shade of an olive tree. We took a wrong turn as we attempted an alternate route, luckily after we had found cold drinks at a little store so at least we were somewhat refreshed. This gave us a close up view of Zafra’s polonia industrial as we entered along a highway and became our running joke on whether we’d like to detour in other places to not miss these outstanding industrial parks on the outskirts of towns.

Zafra itself is a beautiful town and the largest place we’d come to since leaving Sevilla. A number of plazas graced its centre and our delightful hotel was right on the palm-lined Plaza Grande. Nedjo wondered if we’d just blown the kids’ inheritance when we entered our spacious room, but at €43 it was just a great deal and part of my plan to find us more luxurious lodgings in the cities we stayed in while walking. It also marked the end of our first week of walking and that seemed like a milestone worth celebrating.

Hanging geraniums against a white wall.
Beautiful geranium-filled balcony in Zafra.

After much needed showers, we explored more of the old town, found excellent ice cream for a late afternoon snack, then settled in to do some people watching over a glass of tinto de verano on the main plaza. Sunday lunches, as we would soon learn, were quite the thing and even late in the afternoon the plaza was still filled with families and large groups just finishing up. Or moving on to merienda (afternoon coffee and cake) or drinks. Sometimes not being able to get food when one wanted it was hard, adjusting to these very different mealtimes. But it also provided opportunities to adopt new routines. Nedjo doesn’t generally drink much so going for a drink isn’t something we do. But in Spain, that became something we’d do in the later afternoon or early evening, enjoying the convivíality around us.

Finally at 8:30 the tapas places on the Plaza Chica around the corner started opening and as the day had cooled we ate inside. It was a gorgeous place, with a lovely server and exquisite food: pistou with egg on top and artichokes in almond sauce. A perfect end to the day.