DAY 10 10 September 2018
A cooler, cloudy day and so I set off to find the aqueduct about 10am with hat and water this time. I meet no cars at all on the road, only a few tractors and rotivators.
My rudimentary map doesn’t show a footpath so I miss the turning and walk on the road instead; a long winding and undulating route on an un-metalled surface through olive groves. No trickling water here; only the wind and cicadas.
It feels a long way and I realise I’m back in Camino walking mode; slow, measured and without expectation. I’m relieved to see road signs though and realise I’m nearly there when I see two ruined ashlar arches in a olive grove.
I’m the only person there when I arrive at the aqueduct; it’s stunning with the added thrill of no handrails and huge drops on either side.
It dates from the mid C1-2 first AD; its source was probably a Roman dam on the Tuejar River and it served the major town of Lliria.
The aqueduct, although modified through the ages is still in use as the "acequia madre" (main water conduct) of Chelva. That I must see!
However, I’m not alone for long. A Spanish family turn up and can’t resist the urge to yodel and make Formula 1 noises, but they soon move on.
Walking on, I come to a very deep and dramatic gash in the rock- El Peña Cortada. It was a quarry, but also acted as a channel to feed the aqueduct. Followed by a series of tunnels with hewn ‘windows’ looking down into the valley below. Stunning, but it would have needed hundreds of slaves to build it.
There’s a circular route to walk, but I will tackle that another day. On the way back I see a footpath marked and follow that; it’s a much shorter and easier route home!
After a siesta, I go into town about 7.30pm. There’s a huge queue of schoolchildren in the stationary shop-it must be the start of term. I enjoy a good fuddle in shops abroad; it’s interesting to see what you can and cannot buy. I found bleach and sponge-backed pan-scourers, but no surface cleaner anywhere. I smile to discover condoms are displayed in the stand with the rubber gloves.
A trip to the Chinese store is an especial delight- like giant Pound Shops they sell everything. I found a selection of hogs hair round calligraphy brushes. Just the thing and I buy one.
A quick beer in the Plaza Mayor and then home.