Mixture of urban and country roads. Some very quiet. Prison.
Algeciras to Estacion de San Roque. This was a surprisingly pleasant walk avoiding much of the worst industrial and urban excess. So close to urban areas, there were still a few tarmac free routes. Algeciras is a busy port town with industrial and dockland areas. There are a few down-at-heel areas but also lots of work going on to improve the town. Los Barrios was a clean, orderly and prosperous looking suburb. Google Earth was really useful when planning this route. We were able to avoid the big industrial zones and motorways and also find a route with river crossings.
I can see now how I came to leave my Muvo headset behind. It was because on the last holiday I had not typed up all the notes before coming home. This meant having to listen to them in my room which meant removing the headset from the case where it normally lives ready for the next trip. I have now put a second headset in the case to prevent that happening again. I have also resolved to print off all emails about holidays whether they seem necessary or not and I will remember my hot weather undressing protocol which is to put any clothes removed into the large carrier bag always brought for that purpose.
8.35 We arrive at the Algeciras bus station. We turned left out of the bus station. We crossed over the road, passed the front of the railway station and then went along roads keeping as close to the railway line as possible but not crossing it. We think of looking up some train times but decide not to bother as we don’t know where we are going. The disadvantage of Google Earth pictures over maps is that it gives only the most important place names. We have some maps of this area but Neil didn't’t bring them because they are camouflaged in his house.
8.45 We get to a junction. We join up with road on the GPS. Much of the time we are not all that close to the railway line but it’s there to our left as a guide. We now approach a junction. We see a sign for the Panaderia Pastelleria La Dificultosa. I’ve seen this on vans as well. We pass two roundabouts carrying on broadly straight ahead. On the left we can see a level crossing so we are maintaining our route along the railway line.
8.50 We are going under fierce coast motorway. We go straight ahead towards some lovely eucalyptus trees. This is completely the wrong direction but we need to do it to follow the railway line. When we get to it, we turn right and follow it once more. We haven’t yet seen a station where we could get details of possible trains back to Algeciras. It has taken 25 minutes to get out of the built-up area.
9.00 We are now in a village. There are orange groves and meadows and it is quite attractive.
9.05 Our road has deteriorated into non-asphalt. It is going uphill. It is warming up. Earlier it was cold and I had to put on my cagoule.
9.15 Turn left over the bridge. There are some lovely lambs on the right. There are some fierce doggies on this corner but they understand stones. You don’t need to throw them just pick them up and show them. There is a big building ahead with a control tower like an airport. I expect it’s a prison. We now see a sign saying Centro Penitenciario so it is a prison unlike the Centro Juvenil.
A bus has just come by which goes from the Bay of Algeçiras which we may be able to make use of. If not, we’ll have to walk 3 extra kilometres today and tomorrow to pick up the coastal bus. On the left is an amazing cemetery with four-story catacombs and amazing but plastic flowers in each one.
We have some elevenses on some stones by the road side because we’ve been going 53 minutes. I needed to pee there and it was very difficult because although there was very little traffic, the vehicles were nicely spread out and the windows of opportunity were short.
After a five minute break, we carry on past the penitentiary. Outside the penitentiary, there is a roundabout. Straight ahead goes to it. Both left and right go to Algeciras. Left is Algeciras Sur and right is Algeciras Norte. (Road number CAP 2311)
We turn right and go along this road. It is fairly wide and busy. The pylons have storks nests on them and the second one has two storks sitting. There is no pecuaria, just a drainage ditch and a stream in the field.
9.55 Neil’s GPS says we have reached our turning. There is a Zona Militar sign on the left and a big notice board with walking routes on it. The first left goes to the Zona Militar and Puerto del Bujeo Hoyo de Don Pedro. We now see we could have done a yellow and blue walk round the back. We can do that when we are not having to return to base in the evenings.
We have just seen a left turn where we could have come out but we haven’t done it. It would have taken us more than one day and it would have been hard to get back to our house. We don’t know how to get information about these tracks. They are not yet on the Internet. We get to a motel-type building. It has lots of flags up but no name – part of the military installation. Just beyond the motel-type building we are going left along an asphalt road into a parque natural.
10.07 The asphalt comes to an end once more. There are asphodels on our right. There is a gate here which means we could have gone across the meadow wild and free if we had known. We are wild and free anyway now. There are some barbary nuts (cape sorrel), some double barbaries and some blackberries and geese. Earlier I saw some blue flax and Neil photographed a lovely rose. There are some storks on the right disporting themselves. Some of them are klappering. It’s funny how words come back to you from the dim and distant past. These storks are called Klapper Stork in German and I left there in 1968.
We are looking for a place to have a break because we are approaching a fierce main road but there are puddles everywhere. The only remotely suitable location was too close to a storks’ nest and we might have disturbed them. We decided to go a bit further to find some different chairs. We get to the fierce road which has a sign saying Monte de la Torre. There seems to be a lovely dam there, not the one we are going to but another one.
We turn left onto the fierce road. I hope we get a break before going along it as we deserve it. We have ten minutes. Now we are going along the fierce road which is leading to a right turn to Los Barrios. We make use of a little track at the side of the road. We see some garlic and some celandine. Neil couldn’t photograph them because some dogs were barking. They were tied but barking.
We approach the bridge under the motorway and the Rio de las Cañas O Palmones. To the left of that is a pecuaria and a green corridor called the Cordel de Algeciras with a rather nice nip (West Highland terrier) on it. We use this pecuaria very briefly. It actually goes along the river but we need to cross it and go into Los Barrios, so we use a little billy goat track to get back to the fierce road and go over the river on the road bridge.
We go into Los Barrios. There is a nice pavement as we are very close to the town. We hope we might get a pizza there. There are two men sitting under a pergola enjoying the warmth. We enter along the rio and then along main paseo into the town centre. There is a lovely church with a stone steeple. On the right up the hill are some aerials and possibly a militar.
We get to the far end of Los Barrios. It’s a very nice little town with civic pride and lots of lovely colourful flower beds. There wasn’t any pizza. We set off up a steep hill on an unmade-up track. It is sweltering. Why does this happen when you are faint with hunger and exhausted. These terrains are not urbanisible and you can’t construct on them. So if you want to buy a plot, you should check at the Office of Urbanism. It must be a green belt. We eventually stop at the top of this rise in a not particularly nice location. The sun has now predictably gone in. Neil would always prefer to carry on to find a better place but sometimes I am too desperate to do this.
Today we think we are under surveillance. Everywhere we stop, there is a car parked with a man in it looking at us. We think there might be an escaped prisoner as there were lots of police in evidence today earlier.
It is one o’clock and now we have finished eating, the sun has come out again. The break was 40 minutes which is how long it takes if you have proper lunch with sandwiches and afters.
On our right, we are passing the Rocks of Gibraltar. When Mini was in hospital (A military hospital in Germany) a nurse said this to her after a particularly successful motion. Since then the expression always makes us laugh.
13.15 Ignore the right turn, go straight ahead. Our path has a gate across the same as the other end to keep the cows in. We get to the fierce road. We turn right on to it. There is a sign post to Jimena de la Frontera and the Estacion de San Roque. A train from there back to Algeciras would be a double bonus as we would get a train trip and would get a shorter walk.
Straight ahead is going to the Complejo Medio Ambiental Sur de Europa. We are going to swing back on ourselves and go back more or less the way we came. We have turned right one road too late. We are now on the CA 512 and 3 kilometres from somewhere.
13.35 We approach the right turn where we would have come out if we had turned right earlier. This has probably cost us about 10 to 15 minutes.
13.45 We are having a little sit down because we aren’t well today because we had a day trip to Gibraltar and it knocked us up. Neil didn’t sleep nicely afterwards. I did sleep nicely but my ankles were all swollen up. I am now emptying out so I’m not well either but we are going along.
Our break is just off the road through an open gate and past a sign saying prohibido el paso. It was the entrance to a quarry. A man came along on his way home for lunch and stopped. We expected he was going to tell us off but all he wanted to to reassure himself himself that we weren’t going to be there long as otherwise we might be locked in. He didn’t mind at all that we were having a little sleep there. Later on in the afternoon on the same road, we saw some militars stretched out having a siesta, so obviously there is nothing untoward about stretching out for a siesta. We don’t get proper siestas on this walk just several lots of 5 or 10 minutes. I have a little drink and a santa.
Why are we having santas in February you ask? This is because they are left over from our Christmas holiday in Gran Canaria. We kept them for this trip. We have done 19.5 km. The first 11 km today seemed quite painless. The next 8.5 km are much more of a struggle for some reason.
It is now 15.05 and have continued down the hill. Down below we can see the industrial estate and the Barrio Residencial.
15.15 We have just turned left on a short cut. We hope it goes through. We have just put up an animal and are wondering if it is a genet. It was dark greyish brown and had a tail. It was quite big and stocky but not as tall as a fox.
We cross the River Guadarranque and approach a T junction. Right is to San Roque 10km and Algeciras 17km and left is Jimena 28km. We go over this fierce road and turn right on a pecuaria parallel with the fierce. Lots of people are using it so we hope it will go all the way through. We are approaching the Estacion de San Roque. We hope it is a RENFE one. I have never met Estacion meaning anything else in Spanish but there is always a first time. As the railway line is just here we stand in hope.
We check the train times and there is nothing suitable either now or for tomorrow morning. We carry on along this road towards the ring road north of Algeciras. We get there at 17.05. The buses seem to go at quarter to and quarter past. I expect we will get one at about half past as we are half way along the route.
On the bus I remember the fare ready for tomorrow so I can ask for it as we do not know the name of the district where we got on.