Spanish pillows are strange long things but lasts night’s was a doozy. I’m not sure how they are supposed to be used but it certainly wasn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep! I put it next to my backpack to give an idea of its size.

spanish pillow
I left the hotel at first light and had breakfast at a bar next to the acqueduct.

There’s a combined bike and pedestrian path for most of the 7km out to the Proserpina dam which you can just see in the distance.

Around here I ran into Ruth who was walking much more slowly than me so we said goodbye and I went on ahead.

What I hadn’t realised until I got to the dam is that it was actually built by the Romans and was from here that the acqueduct fed Mérida . The Romans mastered the use of concrete allowing the building of such long lasting structures.

The path follows the water around past various recreational establishments and then heads off along a bitumin road .

Finally I came to the turn off onto a dirt road though I couldn’t see any yellow signs. There were bike tracks and foot prints and a but further on I picked up the yellow signs .

Turn here ! Luís missed it and it took him 10 hours to finish today’s walk!

This area was rocky  and infertile reminded me a bit of the granite belt area back home.

There were a few beef cattle. 

I saw more cork oaks that had recently  been stripped.

There keen for pilgrims to stop at Aljucén but it was too early in the day.

The town had the usual castle like church.

Passing through town I met Michael from Ireland who told me that this is the 5th time he’s done the Via de la Plata.  He is a speedy walker, about the same as me, but with my swollen leg I stopped for a break and left him to pull off ahead.

The rest of the day was basically tough going along dirt roads with no shade on a reasonably hot day.

Via de  la Plata Alcuescar
The only bit of excitement was when I passed through what looked like a dry creek bed. In fact there was a bit of water and mud there . Two young pigs came running out squealing. I don’t know who got the biggest shock !
Tree art :

After 7 1/2 hours of basically hard and boring slog I arrived at the intersection where I had to make a choice between going to a private hostel outside of town or heading right to stay at a religious establishment just outside of town.

alcuescar via de la plata

I went to the right and had a beer across the road whilst waiting for the place to open as it’s shut between 2.30 and 4.30

Back into olive tree territory

This is a religious house that looks after poor, handicapped and disadvantaged elderly men. They also have a pilgrim’s hostel and I’ll be having dinner with the community tonight .

Luís has turned up after getting lost again and there are also a few of my other friends who have been taking it slowly and didn’t have a rest day in Mérida .

After 33 km my feet hurt – just 28 km tomorrow !