We had a good breakfast in the hostel, and after a group photo we said goodbye to the mini-golf
and set of up the hill to rejoin the Hospitales route.
We very quickly came across vast areas of burnt gorse,trees and fences, a recurring theme for the day.
We had been told that the route had been closed recently due to forest fires, but we hadn't realised
the extent- most of the hillside for 15km was devastated.
we quickly climbed into the mist, catching glimpses of wild horses moving silently in the mist,
and joined the hilltop route we had started on yesterday.
(We had had to descend to find the Albergue we stayed in last night.)
The way passes several ruined hospices, and you can imagine how strenuous the
path must have been back then, although at least one of the hospices had a large
field wall and a fresh water supply so must have been quite impressive in its day.
At one point when the rain got increasingly heavy, we sheltered in an old stone shed,
where an enterprising taxi firm had put their contact details on the lintel, hoping no doubt
for a call from dispirited pilgrims.
We came across various pools of water, one labelled on Google as the mystic circle,
and one with a sign explaining that the Romans had built it as a water supply
for their gold and tin mining operations, as well as waterlogged paths.
The cloud lifted briefly at lunchtime, so we sat on a rock to eat and admired the views.
The clouds came down again and we crossed the pass road at 1105m and then continued climbing
upwards again to find a burnt outlook point with blackened benches and the remains
of an information sign explaining that the whole area had been extensively mined in roman times.
From there we crossed the moorland until an eerily deserted picnic site and car park loomed out of the mists.
This was the highest point of the day, and from there we started steeply down.
We passed a farm and chapel that looked how we imagined the old hospices must have looked,
complete with guard dog, cattle and chickens, and beehives protected by a high wall to keep out bears!
It was a long trudge downhill to descend into the town, where we found
an Albergue Casa Marques which seemed to be basically a converted garage with showers with flooded floors,
went to a more pleasant looking Albergue Camino Primitivo to eat a large pilgrims supper consisting of filling minestrone soup,
piles meat and chips and desert, and returned to our albergue for a restless night.