Abla to Abolodoy – Day Seven 19.5 miles, 2-13-17
We left the gorgeous albergue in Abla and admired the view of snow covered mountains as we headed down the hill towards a bar for breakfast and the ayuntamiento, (town hall), to drop off the key.
Breakfast is usually strong coffee with milk and a toasted baguette with fresh tomato sauce and drizzled olive oil. Next a quick visit to the grocery store to get yogurt, olives, mandarin oranges, cheese and bread for lunch.
We returned to the road in the river bed and walked on. Each day the countryside has changed despite the short distances we’re traveling; today the landscape became more arid and rocky and the hills were covered by dying prickly pear cacti, ( they’ve been infected by a cochinilla bug).
Entering the manicured village of Nacimiento we saw their mirador, (viewpoint with benches), town center and church. I talked briefly with an older woman and commented on the beauty of her town. “Very pretty but there are no people” she sadly responded. We’ve heard this fairly often and have learned that many people own homes but have had to leave for bigger cities to find work. They come back with their children during the summer.
The river bed continued and we walked though reed tunnels until coming to a small road. We went up this by chance and met a couple of shepherds with their herd. As usual they greeted us with warmth then said we needed to head up the mountain or we’d get stuck. We said we’d be fine going forward but when they shook their heads and said it was 5 hours in a water-filled river bed or an hour by the road we caved and went up the mountain. I do wonder what people think of hikers touring through their land.
The road was closer to two hours, (we’re learning walking times are often longer than encouragingly suggested) but we did eventually arrive.
I called for the albergue key and our host for the Casa Rural came. He spoke very good English and had previously worked as a rural agricultural development agent in the area. He was incredibly generous with his time and answered a myriad of questions.
We learned that there are agricultural subsidies helping many small farmers hold on to their land and trees but the local market network has been undermined by globalization. Olives are still profitable but most other crops are not.
It’s been cold at night so we piled on the blankets and slept deeply.