A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

To Torrevieja, and Beyond

After a night with Maite and Ignacio, I spent another night in Cartagena at the apartment of Pako, from Mexico. I had a good trek the next day on something rare since Almeria, flat ground. I passed many farms and spoke to a few Moroccan workers along the way. In San Javier I parked for the night in front of a church, and while none of the church members seemed very interested in the walk, three Moroccan immigrants spoke to me about it, and one signed a petition.
The next morning I bought some fruit in an open market, and true to the generosity of the Moroccan people, a vendor from that country gave me twice as much fruit as I had purchased, 'for peace'. I kept the walk short that day, and stopped in a park by the marina in Dehesa de Campoamor to enjoy the sun and finish reading 'Moby Dick', a gift from couchsurfing host Hugo in Almeria. I'm not sure which character in the story I identify with more; Ishmael the outsider and observer, Ahab the monomaniac, or Starbuck the Quaker. Analyze that!
 I slept in the park, then moved on the next day to Torrevieja, where I've just had a great time enjoying the hospitality of Graham and Tana, two English expats who once lived on a cruising sailboat in Greece but now live in Spain. They are getting ready to go to Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands. Graham and Tana are no mere tourists, but true travellers; adventurers who hiked for 22 days in the Himalayas, once more humbling me in regards to my own walking feat, which is a stroll in the park (literally at times) in comparison.
Today I'm on my way to Guardamar del Segura, then Elche and Alicante.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Northeast to Cartagena


A good part of South Spain's agricultural work force are from Morocco

In Calnegre I enquired as to the price of water in a little bar; the brothers who own it gave me a free bottle, a salami sandwich and signed a petition for peace in the Middle East

Puerto de Mazarron gave me a bed and a shower with the sprinkler system.


My first night's very compassionate hosts, Maite and Ignacio,

Friday, February 24, 2012

On to Cartagena

The hospitality in Antas rejuvenated me, and I had a day on a quiet road along the cliffs over the Mediterranean that lifted my spirits even further. I camped on a cliff with a nearby island full of raucous seagulls to keep me company, and the next day passed through a nice little city called Aguilas, which was preparing its Carnival festivities. I camped again in a solitary spot near Garrobillo. The next day had me feeling sorry for myself at times, as I couldn't find the road that was going to be my shortcut after getting through Sierra del Contar, and my knees hurt. But just as I was ready to throw a tantrum, like a madman in the desert, I came across the little beach village of Calnegre. I asked for water in a cafe, and the brothers that ran the place gave me not only water but salami sandwiches as well. It wasn't long before I was cursing again, however, as I couldn't find that other shortcut to Bolnuevo either, and when I did find it, after making some of my own shortcuts through greenhouse farms, it was a winding, rocky, up and down dirt road that, while beautiful so near the sea, was also arduous. When I reached Bolnuevo I continued walking in the dark through wealthy neighborhoods to Puerto de Mazarron, where I was hoping for my next couchsurfing host. Instead, the city hosted me with a parkbench and a 4 a.m. shower with its sprinkler system. In the early morning hours I had a revelation: that when I have reached Egypt, I will go home and devote my life to helping the homeless. There is a reason for our difficult times in life, I am convinced.
The next day I was happy again, walking along the coast, then through Sierra de la Muela to within ten kilometers or so of Cartagena, where I camped again, overlooking the city and the vast, populated plain to its north. Yesterday I arrived in the ancient town, and last night stayed with two very kind people, Maite and Ignacio.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Very Big Village of Antas

With my host in Antas, Diego Garcia

Carnival in Antas

Diego hard at work at Cafeteria Leo

In Cafeteria Leo, two customers before...

and after donning their Carnival costumes

More of Carnival

Diego's parents, who treated me and others to a wholesome paella lunch

Later, at a birthday party

The birthday boy in the middle, Pedro

Guests enjoying the party

Diego and his sister in the middle.
Thank you, Antas!

Almeria, Tomatoes, Clint Eastwood, Mountains and Mediterranean Beaches

Part of my road east of Almeria

What they grow east of Almeria

Where they grow them

After a frosty 'desert' night

The site of one or two Eastwood gunfights, in the village of Albaricoques

A road worthy of a Western

Second campsite out of Almeria

The view from the living room

Around Cabo de Gato and back to the sea

...only to be faced with another cape to go over, not around this time

...and the view from the top

My hotel upon reaching the sea again

My hotel room; no running water or electricity, but free, and warm

Sunrise the next day

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In Antas

After talking the ears off of my hosts Hugo and Kelly, then enjoying the hospitality of Indira, her friends and family from Mexico, and finally enjoying the company of fellow peacemaker Antonio, I set out from Almeria. Having passed kilometers of tomato greenhouses I camped in an arroyo and tossed and turned all night in the cold. The next day I chanced upon a village called Albaricoques, and learned from an English expat that some Clint Eastwood gunfight scenes were filmed there back in the sixties. I camped again that night, and returned to the coast at Carboneras. The road from Carboneras to Mojacar was an intolerable climb, but the view was grand. Still, I was nostalgic for the flat Florida coast of my boyhood. Having got over the point, I was back at the coast and I had a free room in an abandoned tower. Today I walked through Mojacar, a resort town, and I am now enjoying yet more couchsurfing hospitality at the hands of Diego Garcia and his family in the village of Antas, where Carnival is underway, and where I've already wolfed down paella and lingered in a hot shower.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hosts, and now Friends in Almeria

Hugo, from Almeria, and Kelly, from Kansas signing the petitions

Hugo and Kelly cheerfully advertise the pilgrimage

Indira signs a petition

Not including the perritos, all from Puebla, Mexico, from l to r; Indira; her son, Carlos; Veronica, and Javier

Antonio with his mode of transport

...and with his own sign from 'Occupy Almeria'