During our many days walking the Camino since starting in St Jean in April 2013, some days turn out to be more memorable than others. Today is one we will not forget.

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Just a few Kilometres from Marida we discovered the origins of the towns natural Romanesque fresh water supply.

The fascinating ancient conduction system emanating from the reservoir dam, passed through a deep tank which fed the towns water at 150 litres per second. Quite incredible that the Romans constructed the sloped water Chanel so accurately with a 1m drop for every 2Km distance.

Circumnavigating the reservoir we exited to the North and carried on through the sandy paths towards the small village of Aljucen.
On entering the village we were astonished to discover ‘Aqualibra’ a faithfully recreated Roman Villa with baths. Built by a local archaeologist, it included authentic structures and the three classic baths with Cold, Tepid and Hot water.

The note on the door offered a discount to Pilgrims or anyone dressed as Romans. Well we had no Roman clothes or even swimming trunks for that matter , but we were pilgrims so booked the full 8 euro bathing experience.

Excited about the prospect of this unexpected treat and chatting quite loudly as we walked towards the Albergue we were spotted by fellow pilgrims Octalana (from Holland) and her partner Eric.

” I just love the English” she shouted as they made a bee line straight for us.

Before we could say “Budgie Smugglers” they had invited themselves to our private bathing session, insisting that even the prudish English must be naked when taking an authentic Roman bath … oh dear , what have we let ourselves in for !

The local Albergue was a real find. Eric offered to cook us French crepes if we could find an egg. As you might expect, Richard stepped up to the challenge and used his silvery tongue to paloin said egg from the local bar.

Crepes despatched , we all made our way back to the Roman baths and were ‘inducted’ by our friendly Spanish bathing host into the etiquette and procedures of Roman bathing.

Octalana, we soon discovered was the most experienced of our group in these matters – insisting that the ‘Cold plunge pool’ and ‘Birch twig’ experience was a delight not to be missed.

On a bit of a roll now after the egg challenge, Richard bravely volunteered to be the subject of the Birch twig demonstration. How he managed to keep focused and in control we will never know.

Anyway as a result of this unexpected Camino experienced, good fun was had by all and more importantly, Richard was now able to tick off number 17 on his ‘bucket list’
…to be thrashed with Birch twigs by a naked Dutch women.

Buen Camino!