Semi urban cycle and foot paths bypassed to autovia. Roads becoming busier. Very long walk. Home on the last bus after 10pm.
El Puerto de Santa Maria to Chiclana de la Frontera. We expected this to be a horrible walk alongside major roads. In fact the local authorities had done a fantastic job building alternative routes for pedestrians and cyclists. These followed the estuary and woodland reserves. Some of the route was along roads but much less than we expected.
Today we anticipate that the walk will be fairly horrible because it is mostly on surfaced roads. There is no way round it as we have to cross the marshes and saltings. In fact, there is one section where we may not even be able to get across at all as it is a motorway. If that is so we shall treat it like an estuary and take a train or bus over it for the minimum distance necessary. We are not sticking to Nick Crane's rule of no transport at all for the duration of the walk but neither are we doing as Bill Bryson did in the US when he left sections out.
On the bus to Santa Maria, the diver's bus seat is bouncing up and down although he isn't yet in it. He let us wait in the bus with the engine turned on while he went off for a coffee etc. There was no one on the bus except for us at the start so the driver had a chat with us. He remembered us from the day before when we had gone to Rota and asked us where else we had been. We listed the places and he said we should go to Jerez to see the horses and the bodegas, the botanical gardens and other things. I tried to explain what we were doing but the concept was obviously too alien.
Rude bus names Belizano and Comes (said the English way). I hadn't spotted that one and had thought only Belizane and Rodigues was rude. Anne has forgotten the Erex Buses seen at Cartaya.
From the bull ring we headed down towards the river aiming south east. When we got to the river we turned left and then, at the bridge, right. Just over the River Guadalete, there is a Parque Forestal on our right. We hope we can go in it eventually but there is no way in here. There must be one eventually as we have seen signs saying this is a periurbano and it would be odd to have a periurbano with no entrance to it.
Today Neil called Ryanair about his confirmation number. He explained that the check-in lady had failed to return his paperwork. The person at the other end was bemused as she thought he had said chicken lady This caused a hiatus as she was convinced he had the wrong number. Neil apologised for his accent and repeated all his details. We were regiven our number. We now have it in more than one location Congo-style. We made the call today because yesterday, when we had intended to do it, I was a bird and had left my maps on the back of which was Ryanair's phone number behind along with the Muvo. I'll try and do better in future by setting up fool-proof systems. Ha Ha. Explain origin of expression I’m a bird. It's Greek. Bird brain I think.
Today it has actually been possible to have one of my apples sitting down rather than on the hoof puddings as we had yesterday. We had had a forced march and didn't have time to eat apples sitting down. We also had to go to Mercadona to get some more apples and cheese because Mini had eaten us out of house and home and there was nothing left in the full ridgerator.
I was quite cheerful because we have just got about one kilometer beyond the roundabout with the boat on it, and there is a foresty place which we are now going into. This is nice as the path is unmade-up. There was a way in after all. There are piles of salina in the middle of the road - not real an artefax and a man scraping it up into pyramids.
Here there is a sendero going to the poligono universidad. This is brilliant . The road is surfaced but still a great improvement on the fierce motorway. It covers the first section which we had thought we might have to do by train or bus. There may yet be a be a bit like this.
We now cross the Rio San Pedro. The track we could see from the bus window including a section with a wooden walkway is accessible from the road. We thought it might not have egress at both ends but actually it does because there is a sign saying it goes to the poligono universidad. It also means we can have elevenses in a nice place and not on the stinken fiercen.
Having got across the river, we see that there is a T junction through the salinas with no indication of which way to go so we decide to go left and keep as close as possible to the main road as we should like to turn left before the university if possible. We can see the university in the distance. That is an advantage of having done the trip by bus first - you recognise some of the significant landmarks.
We have wandered all round the salinas and have joined up with the other branch of the T - just the thing to have a wander round the salinas when the walk is already ever so long, but it was a lovely place to wander in. We have a drink at the junction. We are going to run out of drinks today as it is ever so hot. We might buy some more chilled if we can later on the route.
Neil has just said he might put some apples in the top of his mustang so that they are more accessible. I say surely today is the last of the forced marches where we don't even sit down to have our food.
Two large white herons are doing a display, a crested grebe in on the river and a black winged stilt a curlew and gaviotas.
The crabs are coming up by the thousand. I suppose that is because the tide is out and they are going to hide in their holes and wait for it to come back again. Neil says he saw this in Santander but there they were black. Here they are brown.
We now turn off the walkway as we can see a crossing over the motorway ahead and we would rather like to go over it. We have a look to see if it is possible. It isn't.
We decide to go along the walkway a bit further as there is no desvio to cross the motorway. Crossing motorways is not a good idea even for us.
We have seen small valerian, ornithogallum, snowflake.
Since 9-11 the quality of knives on aeroplanes has deteriorated but I must have brought along an old one as it is lasting well and surviving even the cutting and peeling of oranges. The same goes for plastic bags which now they are biodegradable are no longer safe places to store your valuables.
We have seen muscaris and snowflakes.
Easter is early and the winter was very cold. It's nice to see them.
Now there are large alliums and large asphodels.
We have seen a little track to the left so, to avoid going all the way to the university, we are going to take it in the hope that there is a point here where we can cross the motorway.
Sure enough at the point of the desvio (slip road) there was a hole in the fence and there is a host of golden daffodils ahead only they are white and now we've gone through the hole, and over the crash barrier and turned left to go over the motorway so we are on the correct side for finding our road to Chiclana. Then today's walk can start in earnest.
We cross the motorway and go along the road parallel with it on the far side and turn left to go over the vlak on a new bridge.
Perhaps we would have done better to go one stage further and use the next bridge along. Having crossed over the railway on the new bridge we are going to turn left and then immediately right towards a football stadium and some houses. We want to keep between the fierce road on our left and the railway line on our right to head for Chiclana. There is no road to them from here so there must be one from beyond which we should pick up.
We are now working our way under the next motorway. This road is going in the right direction but as it's a motorway, we can't use it. We hope there is another road or track beyond it which we can use. Having gone under the motorway, there is a second road running more or less parallel with it which we turn left onto. We see tall iris and purple scabies. We shall continue along here until we get to a big junction where we will turn right.
Our road has a track alongside it bordered with lavender, white cistus and pink cistus. This is pinar (pine wood) which we could have used as a short cut if we had known where to head for. As it was we went round three sides of it.
We went along the road beyond the motorway to Las Canteras and at the roundabout we are turning left.
We have just reached a crossing - Parque de las Cañadas. We think this one is too soon.
Now, a couple of km further on we think this is our right turn and so we turn right off the asphalt on to the unsurfaced Camino Anche which should take us to Chiclana (11.7km to go).
We have just come to a junction and at the moment we are on the Tramo Alternativo, coredor verde dos Bayas and the Canada Real. It goes on for 1.8km and then links up with the route for Chiclana
When we reached the asphalt, we joined the Chiclana coredor, there was a T junction and no indication which way we should go. Luckily there was a man in his garden and he gave us some excellent directions in his best Pidgin. We must turn left and then keep going straight ahead.
The road now to Chiclana has become fierce but luckily it has a pecuaria next to it and we have just seen some Peruvian sillas which is very nice.
When we got off the bus today, even Neil had sad felties and he was walking ahead of me in a very funny way, so funny that I was at risk of wetting myself. The next morning when we told Mini about it, he said he had to walk that way because he had nappy rash.
Even though Neil was walking in a funny way, I was quite incapable of keeping up with him. Luckily no one was behind me to see what I looked like. Mini is rocking with laughter as I dictate this on the way to the bus stop.
Today we did 33 km. It was quite hot and too far. I have blisters on my left heel in places where no one ever had blisters before. My right foot has repetitive strain injury on the sole as well as blisters and my left arm has started swelling up like a balloon. This is not good news but I will wait until tomorrow before divulging this information. If it goes down by the morning I can keep it to myself. It does go down - we agree to keep walks to under 30k in future especially if it is hot.
We have seen star geranium, small geranium, kinky geranium, flax, small asphodel, large asphodel, and euphorbia.