Who can resist a route with a name like this? We’re landing in Madrid, spending a few days there, then taking a train to Toledo and Cordoba where the walking will start. (I am posting the outline of the trip then will fill in with more photos and details as we go.)
La Ruta del Califato runs from Cordoba to Granada and is also known as the Camino Mozarabe de Santiago. It is a path that “en definitiva, que nos hará, sin duda, un poco más sabios” (a road that will make us without doubt, a little wiser).
In January the average temperature is predicted to be around 60 during the day and 38 at night. We may do some camping but are aiming to stay in town most evenings.
- Day one: Cordoba to Castro del Rio – 39 km.
Cordoba was founded in 152 BC by the Romans who made it the capitol of Hispania. The famous philosopher Seneca is from this city. Conquered by the Muslims in the 8th century they made it the capitol of their Islamic Emirate and it became a center for learning. The city was captured by King Ferdinand III in 1236 and has been under Spanish rule since.
Castro del Rio is an ancient town on the banks of the Guadajoz river.
- Day two: Castro del Rio to Baena – 20 km.
Baena is on the Marbella river and is renowned for olive oil and linens. It too was a Roman then Muslim city captured by King Ferdinand. It was on the historic border with the Muslim kingdom of Granada and is famous for its old town and castle.
- Day three: Baena to Alcaudete – 24.6 km.
- Day four: Alcaudete to Alcala Real – 23.7 km.
Alcala Real is thought to be one of the last places lived in by Neanderthal man. It was also a Roman city and ruled by Muslims. Watchtowers were built against Normans and Vikings. During the Napoleonic Peninsular War in the early 1800’s the upper city was burned. (Setting of part of the Netflix series Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.)
- Day five: Alcala Real to Moclin – 21 km.
Moclin was the site of a famous battle between Muslims and Christians in 1280.
- Day six: Moclin to Pinos Puenta – 16 km.
Pinos Puenta is the home of the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca: “Three hundred dark roses stain your white shirtfront”.
The town is also well known for dishes such as migas, gazpacho, bean stews and noodle casseroles or fideos a la cazuela (even “noodle casserole” sounds more delicious in Spanish).
- Day seven: Pinos Puenta to Granada – 19 km.
Granada is home to the Alhambra and will get its very own post.