Stage 5, Cáceres - Galisteo
To leave the city we start in Plaza Mayor, from the door of City Hall we cross the square longitudinally to get to Gabriel street, from there to Galan street, Duque square and then turn left at San Spirito street, go to General Margalo street, cross Ángel square and finally we take the road of Casar de Cáceres. We follow the road for approximately 5 km to find a track on the left which, after a zigzag, goes around the road, passes under the highway and goes up to a gas station, entering the city of Casar de Cáceres through a nice avenue.
CASAR DE CÁCERES
When leaving the hostel, we take a long street downhill, to get out of town we go to the Ermita de Santiago and pass through it. We arrive at a wide track that rises to a plateau (from there we can enjoy a splendid view of the plain, if time permits it). At the exit of the town we can see an information milestone. For a dozen of kilometers signalization is good and we will find several loopholes. This is the stretch where you will find the largest number of milestones. About 10 km away from Cáceres on the left side of the track, in a field behind a fence, you can see a warehouse of milestones. This place is called Lomo de la Plata. At the end of the plateau we will get to a gate built by a masonry pillar on the right side and by a metal stake on the left. A few meters before reaching the gate there are 2 milestones, 1 with a green square slightly oriented to the right and then just after it another milestone with a yellow square on the gate shaft. On top of the pillar of masonry an arrow indicates to go straight. At the pillar there are two yellow arrows, one that proposes to go straight and other telling us to turn right. We have to go straight on the track and join the N-630 (the option on the right is an old, poorly signalized path also getting to the N-630, with a difficult end). Before reaching the N-630 we will get to a wicket. We take the track on the right and join the road more or less at km 525 of the N-630.
Once on the N-630 we move towards Alcantara reservoir. We pass the bridge over Almonte river and once past this bridge, 1.5km away from it, we find a road on the left, which descends through the shore of the reservoir to reach:
DAM OF ALCÁNTARA RESERVOIR.
This is a small detour to get to the hostel of the Alcántara swamp. It is one of the few supply points in the area. We access here along the railway to the north and taking the path back to the N-630 in the first tunnel, where this detour ends.
If we make this detour through the station, we will need to follow the N-630. At the beginning of a track to the left we find a panel indicating access to a water sports center. Going through that track we get to the restaurant called Lindamar.
From the restaurant Lindamar, located at Km 519.5 on the N-630, we go through the track on our left, where there is an indication that says "Hostel at 750 m", where you can eventually end the stage. At the right, just after crossing the national road, we find an informative milestone. On the national road yellow arrows point us to the hill at the beginning of a path that rises to reach a plateau. We pedal across this arid and treeless plateau, full of cattle, to head to Cañaveral. The section of the plateau is made on the Roman road (Calzada).
When we have pedaled for about 10 Km, we reach a fork in the road, one path encourages us to continue in the direction of Grimaldo, the other makes a detour to Cañaveral, where we can supply if necessary.
Two possible choices: going through the town of Cañaveral or pass by the gas station of Cañaveral, which is 2 km away from the town. The two routes join at Grimaldo. To take the route that passes through the village, turn left and go down the small valley, passing the Roman bridge of San Benito and, after a short climb, we will reach the N-630, which crosses Cañaveral. To get back to the Camino, at the end of the village we take a path, parallel to the N-630, that joins the other path, just in the national road N-630.
If the choice is to go through the gas station, we keep pedaling straight on and go down to get to a level crossing barrier, we cross the railroad and then we get into a road that leads us to the gas station. We just have to continue through this road to get to the N-630 and join the other route coming from Cañaveral.
Once in the national road 630, we follow the arrows and go up through the track going toward the Ermita de San Cristobal. Midway between the N-630 and the Ermita de San Cristobal, we take a track to the right (indicated by arrows). This track goes around several stone walls and after some changes of direction poorly signposted, we take an old road before going up through a quite hard hill to cross the mountain pass of Castaños. The road reaches a tarred road in which we pedal for about 600 m, then we continue going right to get to the road connecting the N-630 in Torrejoncillo. Once on this road turn right up to a hotel in the direction of the N-630. At this point you have two options: head to Grimaldo, in which case we take the N-630 and pedal until we reach the village (it is 3 km away from there), or not stopping at Grimaldo and follow the path across the place known as Valle de los Muertos on a stretch of 4 km.
Attention! The path through Valle de los Muertos is a bit dubious as it is poorly signposted, in some areas you will not even see any signal. Instead of yellow arrows we find signs of other colors, which will surely lead to confusion.
Arriving at the hotel mentioned above, we enter the car park and cross it to go to an exit where we see an electrical transformer. Then we enter a splendid oak grove where we have to pay attention to the signs. We have to always move parallel to the N-630 and the highway, which we can see above us. We get to the N-630 at the moment it has a turn to the right to pass under the highway and reach Grimaldo. At this point the path goes straight and we find some doors. After passing a stream, we pass by an informative milestone and cross a stile, we immediately find another informative milestone and finally we get to the road to Holguera, which we cross to go straight.
From this point we could call this stage the Way of the Gates as we will open and close many barriers along this stretch. Remember that it is necessary to leave the gates as we find them (closed if they were closed and open if they were open). We will move forward with a very particular attention to closing stakes, as they are the only place where it is possible to paint the yellow arrows. This closing stakes will be present for kilometers both on the right and left sides of the road until the road leading to Riolobos, ie about 12 km. About 2 km after taking the path and after leaving the road to Holguera we can see, from the hill on our left, farm buildings and grain silos. Be careful because in the next 6 Km we are only going to find 2 informative milestones, that indicate us to turn 90° to the right, and since they are on a wicket it is easy to pass by them without observing the information milestone. The yellow arrows are on the pins of the closure. We turn to right with determination and then the path runs through wide meadows where we can find livestock grazing on freedom.
12 Km after leaving the road to Holguera we pass under a high voltage line, and 1 km before passing a gate we cross a stream from the reservoir of El Boqueron, to reach a paved road. We turn left on this road, going through it for about 200 m, and then leaving it to climb a slope that gets us directly to the road connecting the N-630 in Riolobos. Once on this road, we turn right and continue about 800 m in a climb up the hill. We reach the entrance of a property whose name is inscribed on the wall on the left "Valparaiso" while on the right wall a yellow arrow is painted. Between the road and this entry we find a yellow informative milestone.
We have to take this entry and go through the track that rises on the slopes. Be careful because this track is divided into two: the trail on the left goes directly to the property and the right one, the direction we should take and which is less obvious that leads to the house. It is indicated by a yellow arrow on a cement post in the vicinity of a cattle grid. The rest of the way down this path is done without any difficulty. We will have to wait a long time to see Galisteo because this is a long detour. Hay que coger esta entrada y a tomar la pista que se eleva sobre la ladera. Tener cuidado ya que esta pista se divide en dos: a la izquierda una pista que va directa a la propiedad y a la derecha la dirección que debemos tomar y que es menos evidente que la que conduce a la casa. Está indicada por una ﬂecha sobre un poste de cemento en la proximidad de un paso "canadiense". El resto del recorrido por este camino se hace sin diﬁcultad. Se tarda en ver Galisteo por que se hace un largo rodeo.
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