Guillena to Castilblanco de los Arroyos

Apr 12 – Having walked 13 miles yesterday, I figured that today’s 12 mile trek would be a snap.  It is another beautiful day, cool enough in the early morning for a sweatshirt.  We walked confidently out of Guillena, following our yellow arrows.  Just out of town, we saw a pond, with trees reflected perfectly in its calm surface.

After a bit of highway walking, we found the trail, which looked like it might provide more shade than yesterday.  

Once again, plenty of spring wildflowers in bloom.

We passed a castle in a farmer’s field.

We saw a local family out for a walk, and were passed by a singing cyclist, but otherwise we had the day to ourselves.  Except for some burros.

As we approached our destination, we encountered a sign meant to encourage us.  Of the original 1000 km trek, only 927 left to go!

Unfortunately, as the afternoon heated up, my pace slowed down and we made it to town about two hours later than planned.  When I removed my socks, we surveyed the bloody damage to one of the toes on my right foot.  Jim proclaimed tomorrow a rest day.  Hallelujah!

Apr 13 – I am very much enjoying my rest day.  This is a nice little town, very clean and friendly. We walked down the street to a bar for coffee, and over to a bakery for some bread and ham for breakfast.  Looking at the map of our next segment, it will require an 18 mile walk along a roadway, with no towns in between. After my poor performance yesterday, Jim doesn’t think I’m ready for that (and I agree!), so he suggested we look for a bus to take us at least part of the way.  We asked around and found the central square and a man with information about buses.  There are several buses that go back to Sevilla, but only one that goes north, and it runs only once a day in the late afternoon.  “What time tomorrow?”, we asked in blissful ignorance.  “¿Mañana!?  No! Es impossible!”  Turns out that tomorrow, Good Friday, is the biggest fiesta of the whole year.  No buses run tomorrow!  Crap.

We had our main meal at lunchtime (ham soup with hard boiled eggs in it, and chicken with couscous).  We walked around in the afternoon and waited until after siesta time (2 – 6pm) for the stores to reopen so we could buy some supper, but it turns out that tonight the fiesta begins, and the supermarket and all the shops are closed.  Thanks to our experience last Sunday in Sevilla, we knew what happens next.  We walked down the block to the church, and watched the men decking out the pasos with flowers.  We saw Jesus carrying his cross, dead Jesus in a glass coffin, and two sorrowful Marys.

Every man, woman and bambino was out in front of the church by 7pm.  Fewer penitents in pointy capriotes, but a very credible brass band and lots of swaggering costaleros ready to do their part in lifting the heavy floats.  We are told they each weigh about a ton.

This time we were able to see the pasos leaving the church door and being negotiated down the steps.  The townsfolk applauded when the men reached the street and turned them 90 degrees for its walk down the block.

It took about half an hour to move each of the pasos down the street. We didn’t stay to the conclusion of the festivities, so I can’t tell you how it all turned out.  The music, drums and tolling of the church bells continued until well after midnight.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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