Camino de Levante Photo Journal
Albacete to Toledo

I started to get into the walk on this section. During the first week, the walk tired me a lot. I was strongly tempted to end it soon. Then a hotel clerk in Almanza four days back said as I was leaving to begin my seventh day, "Come back to visit us again soon." Right there I realized that I would never again be back there, that I would never be making this walk again. It gave me renewed determination to continue walking and get over the petty complaints about my aches and lack of motivation. I was going to make my first and last ever walk across La Mancha.

I had my share of wind and rain in this section. On day wind stopped me at noon. Another time rain held me for an extra day. And it was cold all the time, a few times only degrees above freezing,

Is this Albacete windmills one of the windmills Don Quixote tilted at? (8 Apr 12)

Albacete had a number of different walk and cycle paths going through it. This post on the way out of town served several of the them. I was following the yellow one. (8 Apr 12)

There is a lot of solar power in some parts of Spain. This group of collectors was south of La Roda. The top picture is most of the field. The bottom shows detail of the structure holding up the panels. (8 Apr 12)

A colorful La Roda roof. (9 Apr 12)

The weather made life rough at times. This day the wind was blowing hard, very hard. My estimate put it at over 75 mph (120 kph). That's hurricane strength. I made it to Minaya where I stopped in a bar-hostel for lunch around one. An hour passed and the wind only grew stronger. I called it a day and booked a room for the night. I sat in the bar writing my notes and drinking water most of the afternoon. Some days that's all I could do. (10 Apr 12)

After Don Quixote, La Mancha is known for its wine. And these are its hardy grapes trimmed and ready to begin another season, to grow the juice for 2012's batch of wine. (11 Apr 12)

The grapes grow in huge fields here. Day after day I walked past vast fields of grape plants getting ready to sprout the new round of wine. (11 Apr 12)

In San Clamente I stayed in La Posada del Quixote on the city's central square. They gave me a pilgrim's rate so it cost no more than staying on a back street. That happened sometimes as I walked. (11 Apr 12)

The people at Casa Tesorero have set up decorations and a huge vase with a faucet to water weary pilgrims. The Camino was supposed to turn near hear here but the always-present markers (you can see one on each side of the driveway here) were not in the right place that day—at least I didn't see them. I walked far along the road instead of the Camino. In the end the good maps the people in Valencia provided me with found my way again. (12 Apr 12)

After many days waiting for this shot, I finally got a picture showing the extreme order the farmers put into their vineyard fields. (12 Apr 12)

The castle of Santiago de la Torre guarded the river here (to the right along the trees) in its day. Now it is just as much a ruin as the vineyard in the foreground. (12 Apr 12)

Two cyclists from the island of Jersey pedal up the road under the eye of an Osborne Bull. There are 92 of these 14-foot-high, black bulls scattered around Spain. We have seen three or four. They were originally advertisements for the Osborne Sherry Company. Then they were mostly removed because of a ban on all road advertisements. The people protested and they were brought back because they had become a part of the landscape and had "aesthetic or cultural significance." But in the end they had to be painted totally black to remove any sign of advertisement. (Source (13 Apr 12)

A man and his dog. The dog is barking at me, a long way away.(13 Apr 12)

Long obsolete windmills in Mota del Cuervo. (13 Apr 12)

Another Don Quijote route marker, this one just east of El Toboso. It announces a rest area (Descansadero) in 3600 meters (2.2 miles)! (13 Apr 12)

I finally spotted a stork pair on a chimney in Villacañas 17 days into the walk. I have always enjoyed watching storks in Spain. (16 Apr 12)

Don Quixote meets up with his honorable Lady, Dolcinea in El Toboso. These sculptures stand in front of El Sueño de Quijano Taberna, Dulcinea's work place.(14 Apr 12)

The two spellings of "Quijote" and "Quixote" on this page are because they appear spelled both ways all across La Mancha. The "j" was much more prevalent in this area around El Toboso.

As I woke up in the morning in Toboso a terrible racket was going on outside my window. There was a fiberglass awning and it was raining pitch forks and hammer handles. I stayed an extra day catching up on my journal and periodically going out of the bar to check out the weather. It was only late in the afternoon that I could go out and wander the town a bit and find the above sculptures. There were several days with some rain but this one was an all-day downpour, a time to stay put.

A close-up of Don. (14 Apr 12)

A Toboso weathervein. (14 Apr 12)

The winding Camino west of Toboso. (15 Apr 12)

Flowers along road near La Puebla de Almoradiel. (15 Apr 12)

Vineyards forever in La Mancha. ( Apr 12)

The walls of Toledo. (16 Apr 12)

A Toledo entrance. (16 Apr 12)

Rio Tejo and countryside southeast of Toledo. This is the same Rio Tejo that goes into the Atlantic at Lisbon, Potrugal. We walked along it as we walked from Lisbon to Santiago on our way from California to Jerusalem.(16 Apr 12)

Toledo's Cathedral. (16 Apr 12)

Toledo's Cathedral down a street. (16 Apr 12)

A Toledo version of Don Q. (16 Apr 12)

Boys in a Toledo park. (17 Apr 12)

a Toledo park and my hostel, the Centro. (17 Apr 12)

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Changed: January 2018 Copyright © 2018 Mike Metras,