Day 10: Dig! Dig! Dig!


Merida to Cruce de Las Herrerias

Friday, April 29, 2022

On the way out, just outside the town center, we come across the Merida Acqueduct. It is pretty awe inspiring to see this towering, Roman structure in the middle of the city. For once, I take a lot of pictures.

By 9 am we reach Prosperina, about 7 km outside Merida. It’s a little lake formed by a dam. We’re hoping to stop for breakfast and, while there are several restaurants around the lake, none are open this early on Saturday morning. We trudge on.

Prosperina

Another 7 km and we reach El Carrascalejo. Maybe, here, we can get something to eat. Initially, it doesn’t look promising but on the way out of the village, we come across an albergue. The associated cafe is open. We get our usual and continue our discussion from last night – how far to got today. We could stop here, which would make 14 km for the day – very short. Plus it was too early to check-in and there was absolutely nothing to do or see. It was a tiny village. We could stop in the next village, which was another 3 km. Still not too many miles for the day. Based on online reviews, the albergue in that village wasn’t that good but there was a hotel, also. But that would still be only 17 km and we’d be sitting around, doing nothing for a very long time.

But the next option would make this a 36 km day. However, we felt pretty good. Not tired at all. The day was beautiful and we decided we’d do the 36 km. Besides this would be good practice when in a few days, because of albergue closures due to COVID, we would have to do a 40+ km day. We trudged on.

El Carrascalejo
Free Range Chickens
Aljucen in the distance – 17 km from start
Cornalvo Natural Park

It gets warmer as the days goes on and it feels like a very long day – longer than 36 km. Kay slows down significantly The last km or so is really tough for Kay. I reach down deep where my inner coach is doing dog paddles, yank him out and put him to work.

C’mon. Dig! Dig! Dig deep! We are almost there. You can do this. Let’s go!!!

We make it. Before checking in, we sit down and have a celebratory coke. Kay is limping slightly.

The room is about as bad as what you would expect from a hotel that looks like this on the outside. The water in the bathroom is brown. There is no toilet paper. There are two hotels at what basically amounts to the intersection of two highways. Both had bad reviews but this was less bad. Good thing, it’s only for one night.

Hotel Los Olivos

After showering, I head down to the bar for a beer. Kay decides that she is going to rest. Typical late afternoon scene – old men playing cards or some game while carrying on what sounds like a momentous debate on the ills of the world and ways to fix them. I review plans for the next day. Later I head to the gas station, next door to get some bottle water, for tonight as well as for tomorrow. Not drinking the brown water that they have.

I return to the room. Kay’s leg hurts but this is normal after an especially long day. I remember how badly my legs hurt after a long day on my first pass-thru hike. It was so bad that even the bottoms of my feet hurt and I had trouble sleeping. But the next morning I was ready to go. It’ll be alright.

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