Saturday, 10 May 2014

7 May 2014 – Fontilles

Although the temperatures are rising, and it will soon be too uncomfortable for walking, there was a good turnout for this Green (easy) walk.
We followed a path from Murla to Fontilles which I have never used before.   I thought that we knew most of the walks in this area, and it was interesting to find one that we did not know.
Fontilles was founded in 1902 to offer treatment, and improve the quality of life, to the large number of people suffering from leprosy in the Alicante and Valencia area.   There are still a small number of patients there, but the main purpose now is research and training of field workers at home and abroad
From our house we can see the large wall which surrounds the whole extensive grounds.   Apparently the wall was built to reassure the local population rather than to contain the patients.
It only took us an hour to reach Fontilles, but on such a hot day we were all ready for a short rest and a water stop.   Fortunately there are many shaded areas, and suitable low walls to sit on.
Fontilles is open to the public.   It is a very peaceful and serene place to visit.   We often take our visitors there, as a leprosy hospital is quite rare these days, particularly to anyone from the UK.   There are many little squares with plenty of seating, and the church is always open.   Unfortunately the quaint old cafe is now closed, though there is a vending machine.  All agreed this was not a change for the better.
Gail decided that it was too early to return to Murla, and opted for an extension to Campell instead.    This is a section we have walked many times before as part of our Tormos to Campell walk.  It involves a climb up through the woods, which some found difficult as everyone were not wearing walking boots.
It involves a climb up through the woods, which some found difficult as everyone were not wearing walking boots.   However many enjoyed the views of Campell through the woods.   We were pleased with the extension, as it made it a reasonable three hour walk.   But perhaps it should be regarded as a Red (difficult) walk.
Everyone managed the climb ok, and this group do not seem to be having any great difficulties.
It was an easy, downhill walk back to Murla.   And on the way we passed a small family group of donkeys.   They seemed very pleased to have some human company, and all gathered around the fence.
Gail could not resist the pleading eyes, and fed them her kiwi fruit, which was her mid morning snack.   Perhaps it was previous treats like this which made them so pleased to welcome visitors?
This was another very enjoyable U3A Wednesday Wanderers walk.   A little shorter than our Monday walks, but equally enjoyable.   David and Rosemary joined us again, and seemed to enjoy it just as much as we did.

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