moclín – alcala la real

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Day 14: 21.8 km (at least)

Today’s reflection: Dont get cocky!

“But, you are walking alone?” count: 0

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❤️ it is the end of the day, and i am in a strange mood that i cant quite identify. is it good? bad?

tonight i am in a hostal in the centre of alcala la real, in the spanish province of jaen. this is an uninspiring mid sized spanish town spread around the base and up the sides of a mountain upon which there is a 13/14th century castle/fort called castillo de alcala la real/fortaleza de la mota. this is one of many towns in andalucia that has grown up on the remains of the reconquista. Al-Qal`a means “the fort”-so, beyond architectural traces, in its name I also see the arabic language peeking through-just one of the many threads that lead us back to the impact of 700 years of moorish culture. walking the camino mozarabe is a reminder of just how layered the histories of spain are, and sometimes hearing the language and looking at the architecture in this country feels like stumbling over left over bits of difference that got swallowed up across time and churned back out again, forming a part of this thing that we now call “spain”.

blessed by endless blue skies and the winter crispness of andalucia in december, most of the walk today is wonderful. asphalt, dirt, leaves, pebbles, cars whooshing past, mud, gravel, water rushing past,  town fountains, gnarled olive tree trunks, the pungent stench of shit as we walk into a small town, barking dogs, jittery rabbits darting across paths, elderly spanish blokes out for a walk………all of this and more packed into a day that starts off brilliantly but then gets complicated when the schizophrenic arrows escape from the asylum and start wreaking havoc again. things start to head south when not five minutes after loudly announcing that it has been a good arrow day, we get lost. you just knew that was coming! dont get cocky! we arent lost but we have to eat a few kms. its no big deal (really) but i am feeling disillusioned with the arrows. a few days ago, they were my faithful friends, cheerfully leading the way- now, they have become unreliable. i want this to be easy but i have grown distrustful. being distrustful means being more alert, mindful, keeping my eyes open. this seems to be a big theme for me on this walk so far-perhaps i need to listen more carefully.

doing the last slog up a hill, just before getting to alcala, i am over it. i notice, however, that my body has gotten stronger. the knees are doing well. the holy blister trinity has left town (rubbing vaseline on my feet seems to be working-hopefully not famous last words!). i can do these slopes and these hills and these kms and the energy is good. but when i get into a negative headspace, the energy just drains away. this is where i am at as we walk into town……………………so, beer! food! splash around in a hot shower for a while, and eat chocolate whilst tucked up in a clean bed!!! these will be the medicines i turn to tonight so i can banish the weird feeling that i cant seem to put my finger on. tomorrow will be another day………..❤️

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