Today was set to be one of the most challenging days we had experienced. After a 6:30 am alarm call and little or no breakfast (everything was closed) we set off in the dark .

Ahead of us, eight or so hours of gruelling walking with no facilities, bars or shops for 20 miles. The extra 3 litres of water we each had to carry being essential – with the temperature rising to 30 plus by midday we knew it would be a life saver.

The first 16Km of road was better  than expected with no traffic to speak of. We rested at the ‘Park Natural’ entrance and ate a homemade lunch of Manchego chees rolls with juicy tomatoes and crisp onions – delicious.

The final 10 miles through the park was a real contrast to the road, as the temperature  began to rise previously dormant blisters began to develop. The final climb before reaching the village would best be described as a 300m ‘Scramble’ up some loose Shale followed by a steep assent on a narrowing path to the top.

At the peak we were rewarded with spectacular views before picking our way down through the rocky footpath  on our decent into Amaden .

This was another day where we saw very few pilgrims until we reached the village – some less able  had arrived much earlier as they chose a taxi for this leg of the trek as advised by ‘ Kent’ our host the night before.

We fell into the first Albergue we came across , giving in to the sales patter of the local owner without a fight.

The facilities were good and we had our first hot shower  of the journey – heaven.

As we headed into the village for food we met a friendly Irish group. Paul had been on Camino’s before whilst the three ladies with him had not – one had twisted her ankle and was looking for a Farmacia. We left them to it and went off to find a bar (true pilgrim spirit!)

We soon found a local bar and were greeted by the elderly keeper who had a somewhat gruff manner and a face that looked like he had done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. From the cups in the glass cabinet and gloves hanging up we thought he may have been a boxer in earlier years.

The 3 course pilgrims menu was most welcome and great value at just 10 euros each incudibg wine and bread.

It was early to bed as we we were all shattered.

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