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Day 9, Villafranca de los Barros to Torremejía, Oct 29

Rosemary under an olive tree.
Body paragraph

I didn’t sleep much and with a 27 kilometre day ahead of us, we were glad to find coffee across the street having had fruit and juice before leaving our place. We were right in the middle of the school drop off zone with throngs of parents (and grandparents), kids and traffic police. We loved watching that busy morning scene as we enjoyed our coffee.

Our hostel was right on the route and near the edge of town, so we were quickly away. All the guides (and some of the folks we’d talked to) said that today’s section was long, straight, flat and monotonous. And they weren’t really wrong. But still it had its own beauty. We came to an area with very rich and fertile looking soil, where grape vines and olive trees were interspersed. There were some clouds in the morning but in the end there was no rain and it got very hot in the afternoon.

Unlike earlier days where stone or wire fences predominated, here the fields were open and that made it a bit easier to duck into the groves to pee—a necessity on days with no towns along the route. It turns out that olive trees proved particularly good cover with their low, drooping branches.

We saw lots of tractors, cyclists and quite surprisingly, runners. We stopped to chat with a farmer who shared some delicious grapes with us. Grape harvest was back in September, so these were just some leftover ones, and some of them were drying and turning into raisins on the bunch. He shared both some racist views (which we tried to counter) as well as some insight into the excellent soil and unseasonable fall temperatures. It was about 5 degrees hotter than it should have been at the end of October, he told us, and also the rains had not yet arrived.

Staright road.
The long, straight road.

While we were chatting a young man approached coming from the north. He was a doppelgänger for Ardeo’s friend Teagan and I half expected Ardeo to jump out from behind. But no, just a young Dutch man who was walking south after having done the camino norte. He was two months in and going strong.

The last few kilometres were a little tough and we were very glad to find our hotel. It was another funky old-fashioned one with a very friendly man at the front desk. After wandering the rather desolate town and finding there would be no food options before 8:30 (and even then not so brilliant looking) we opted for snacks instead making a supper of cheese and crackers, apples and finishing up with two flan each. Thanks, Ardeo, for the flan four-pack tip! Lights out by 9:00.