Coastal tracks and quietish roads.
We got the 7am Costa Azul bus from Alicante to Cartagena. We went as far as La Union where we caught the narrow gauge train to Los Nietos. From there we walked in cool mostly cloudy conditions to Alcázares. There we got the same bus back to Alicante. Today we spent more time in buses and trains than walking. The route included paved beach paths, dirt tracks, the beach itself and some quiet roads. Just south of Alcázares, there is a military base where we had to leave the beach and use the main road for about 1km. In Alcázares we were able to use quiet back streets. The Mar Menor has very little tidal movement but under some conditions, parts of our route might be flooded. There are always inland alternatives.
We get up at 5.30 so as to be ready to catch the 7am bus. There are dark clouds as predicted in the English teletext weather forecast before departure. The temperature is 10 degrees by 9am. It is a 2 hour 45 minutes bus ride to La Union. We had 30 minutes to walk to the station to catch our train to Los Nietos. This should be plenty of time as the station is not far away. In the event we get there in plenty of time to nip up the hill beyond to some scrub land to relieve ourselves. On the way back down, we spot a flattened snake on the road.
When we get in the train and sit down, improbably once again we are right by the man with broken leg and horrible catarrh. Perhaps he has it permanently or he snorts cocaine or he has a second cold.
Our walk is along the coast of El Mar Menor. There are lovely tracks nearly all the way and when they fail, the beach (dark sand with lots of seashells) is there at hand to take over. So it's not hard to walk on. Occasionally the available strip is very narrow and requires care to avoid wet feet. There were additionally two river crossings requiring paddling. We had to cross some salt pans where we were aware of the danger of quicksand. After extracting ourselves from one particularly tricky section, we emerged to find that, once again, we had been in a prohibited military area. We don't feel too bad because there was no indication that this was the case at the other end where we had entered.
We continue along past a derelict house where Neil decides to stick to the seashore and I decide to go through the grounds. After 5 minutes we converge once more and there is no way through either at beach level or beyond the grounds. We make our way inland back past the house through the scrub (no doubt full of adders) until we pick up a track heading inland which I had seen previously. We continue along here until we get to the road. By now it is hot and we pause to take of our hellies. Once more we come face to face with a Militar sign. The second trespass in one day.
We eventually get to Los Alcázares and catch the15.55 bus back to Alicante. At second lunch Neil has another øg. He never offers me any of it. It is very windy and, in the early morning almost not warm enough. By the afternoon it is sunny and we were able take off our hellies. At the bus stop in Los Alcázares it was very warm. Once on the bus, I saw on a thermometer on a pharmacy and noticed that it was 22.5oC. That was a big change from the morning. We had done 16.5 kilometres (a short leg because it was our first day and the transfer times were very long (3 hours 30 minutes in the morning and 2 hours 30 minutes in the evening.) We seem to walk 30 minutes of bus journey a day or about 1 euro in fare. This means we spent about 100 euros on fares during the week. This is a lot but still much cheaper than finding accommodation each night where we have reached. Neil will say how many miles he did to the gallon (of pivo) on his bike. As our transfer time is 30 minutes less each day, we have one hour more for walking.