Saterday Nov. 1st Merida to Aljucen 17 km.

Routemarkeringen naar Santiago in Aljucen

Route signs to Santiago in Aljucen

Aljucen albergue de peregrinos yellow building


Aljucen bar “kiosk”


Buurvrouw poezenlover, dus geen geblaf

The cats of the house nextdoor

Last night I made a little tour into Merida. There, on a terrace, while enjoying a beer, I worked at my blog. Back at the inn Molino, I groomed my animals and then in the evening I went back into the town to look for a place for a meal. I finished everything, all the oil that was in the bowl of olives, with all the bread, to give my meager corpus a little allure.
In the albergue I met a Belgian pelgrim lady, who was constantly talking on the phone. Also a nice Belgian young man with long dreadlocks who was on his way to a hippy beach in the south of Spain. I told him that I doubted, if in winter anything would be going on there. He planned to continue travelling through Spain until the next fee that he will get from social wellfare will be all spent. This morning he was the only one who shook hands with me and who wished me a good trip, so please no prejudices against vagrants seeking adventures.
Last night, after taking care of the animals, with the help of Vincencio who emigrated from Italy to Spain and whom I always happen to meet again, I went looking for pienzo, food, to feed Tosca. I asked permission from the group of overnighters, if Tosca, against the rules, was allowed to spend the night in the kitchen . Einverstanden. (There was also a couple of German cyclists with whom I exchanged some information). And because of my animals I decided not to have a day of rest, I continued to walk this morning to Aljugen, a white hamlet with a small Roman church, magnificent in his / her simplicity. Behind the albergue was even a shelter for horse Leon. I could even wash him. Tosca was supposed to stay outside , but because the landlady does not live in the hostel, I smuggled her (Tosca, not the landlady!) tonight inside anyway. My back hurts of my Icelander horse Leon’s sudden jerks, with all his weight , to the side of the road to graze. From now on I’m going to hold him with my other arm, in order to balance the muscle strain.
Beautiful, rolling countryside with lots of oak groves, green grass in between and quiet. I took a brake at the most famous lake ever made by the Romans, lake Proserpina, 5 km. from Merida. Again vultures, I got a call from Elly of Eperhei, home, wishing me strength. After a short stage of 15 km. I arrived at my day target, Aljucen.  I think I’ll pause here for a day. I’m ahead of my schedule anyway, the animals have a good life here and in about 6 days I’ll get two Dutch visiters who’ll join me from Caceres and that’s only about three days walking from here. The always phoning Belgian lady (during the day I overtook her as she was about to call again) entered the tavern a little later and immediately started calling with her cellphone again. I think she, Yerma, has problems. A little later I got back to Sicilian Vincencio who moved to Spain 3 years ago. I’m going to quit my pilgrimage, he says. Blisters. I say, what blisters! I’ve been having blisters for more than 2 weeks, so what. Don’t make a fuzz, man. Why don’t you also take a day of rest, then I’ll tape your blisters. So he got some new hope. I showered, did some laundry, dried myself with toilet paper again (clean toilet paper though) because I didn’t have a towel and I went to look for my first meal today only at 3.30 p.m. It’s time to relax in the local bar to consume their  menu of the day. The ground is littered with spit out olive pits, napkins, toothpicks, half sugar bags. And the store now is stuffed with all kind of villagers, the way I like it, like in cafetaria the Pintje, at Hub and Toos in Mechelen-Nl. Actually, I would like to describe them, because I have nothing better to do anyway, but that takes too much paper (?). A 40+ lady with long, loose, bleached and very washed hair, tight pants, hoping everyone is paying attention to her good looks; a small, ruddy fellow with uncombed, somewhat long hair and beard and shaggy clothing, laughing a lot, probably to be liked anyway in spite of his appearance; a bored child on a bar stool stared at me open-mouthed, still three others at the bar, whom I absolutely can not understand; a woman with her cell phone under the noisy television (football); My inn landlady and her sprouting daughter. Here I do feel at home. Too bad I do not speak better Spanish. But funny is that several times that I met people for the first time, they had heard about some strange guy with a horse and a dog … food is getting cold. Stop.
At the same local pub I had a 2nd meal today. A mega burger, of which the manager proudly said that nowhere else you can get them bigger. But they never had had that Dutchman yet. I finished it right away. Then I asked the locals for oats for Leon. Within five minutes I had a bag of 10 kilos. Too much. I’ve taken out a few kilos. Costs? Just a smile for the good donator and his three friends was anough pay. Thanks a lot, handshakes, pats on the back, a passionate farewell to the barkeeper and “homeward” bound to the albergue.
Everything okay with Leon? Yesterday evening it turned out that Leon had pulled down the shaky wall of his mini meadow behind the albergue and Leon was happy to eat in the neighboring pasture. At the neighbor’s the grass is always greener. Vincencio and I built up the wall again in the dark, but at the first breath of wind it undoubtedly will crumble again.
The last few days I also filmed a few times with Rudi’s camera . So Rudi, now you know I’m working at your movie report , but it’s probably mediocre quality , with two animals pulling me aside, which moves the camera and the sun sometimes reflecting in the camara. Maybe tomorrow , on my day off , I can do some filming with Vincencio’s help. I brought dog Tosca illegally into the kitchen for the night, but she already barked a couple of times, owing to that bloody police training , making sure our Belgian , ringing girlfriend , was disturbed in her sleep. Well, it’s impossible to be everbody’s friend, for people and animals. Sometimes you have to choose for yourself. What’s that saying again? In order to survive one needs some healthy egoism . We went to bed early, because except for café Kiosk there is little to do in this village. Illustrative of the tranquility here is that you always hear only one dog at a time. Never 15 at once , but never none.

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