Cycling in Spain
No, this wasn't yet Latin America, but cycling in Spain is also fun. In July 2012 I cycled from Santander to Segovia, and then via a different route back to Santander. It was fun, and although it wasn't yet Latin America, I had some amazing landscapes.
1 July 2012
I took the train to Plymouth, and though it was sunny earlier when I cycled to Paddington station, it later started to rain outside.
The bike space of the train was almost full - not that difficult, as there is only space for six bikes. And that someone wasn't able to take off their paneers didn't help.
With the rain outside, I was really glad to get away.
Plymouth is ugly, but I managed to find a cafe where I could sit outside and have a hot chocolate and a baguette. Not the nicest place, but something.
Check-in for the ferry was as usual painless, and luckily it didn't rain (waiting outside), but the wind was really strong.
2 July 2012
Getting out of Santander was really not nice - basically almost the first 20km. But after Solares going into the mountains was nice, but I would have enjoyed it more if I wouldn't have been so tired. The mountains really look nice, and there was almost no traffic on the road, which made it even better.
I took a break in El Mercadillo, and had a mixed salad in a cafe, sitting outside in the sun. After the break, cycling got a bit harder, as I started to get more into the mountains. From time to time I noticed "No fracking" graffiti on the road, and started to wonder what that was about...
I got to Camping Lunada pretty tired, but the camping was really nice. I had a beer first, before doing anything else, and then put up my tent and took a shower. I then took a brief walk to explore the area, but I was too exhausted for a proper exploration. As there was nothing much else, and I hadn't done shopping yet, I had dinner at the camping, with a little bit of wine (or more), and then talked a bit with the people running the camping - also about fracking (they had some info on fracking at the camping). And there really are plans for lots of fracking all over Cantabria - and there is some resistance. Info available (in Spanish) here.
3 July 2012
The next day was my first real climb. The Portillo de la Lunada is with 1350m not that high, but then on the day before I started of a sea level. So in real terms it was quite a climb, and as this was just the second day of my cycling trip, and was a bit more than I had bargained for. But it was worth it. The views are amazing, and there are very few cars on the road, so cycling is really fun.
I didn't really take much of a break on the top - there isn't much there, besides the views - so I went down immediately up to Espinoza de los Monteros. I got there before the market finished, so I could get some fresh tomatoes and nectarines, which together with the bread and cheese I still had made for a nice lunch. And I also had a small beer in one of the bars next to the market.
I took probably about 2 hours break, before I continued my journey to Villarcayo, where I camped on the municipal campsite next to the public swimming pool. In Villarcayo I also did some shopping, and had a beer in a bar on the central square, and then went back to the camping to have some dinner. I think I had an early night, as I was pretty exhausted from the climb.
4 July 2012
The next day I cycled from Villarcayo to Tubilla del Agua, where I visited friends. There was quite a climb again after a few kilometres, which I hadn't thought would be that hard. And once on the top you feel a bit cheated - it doesn't really go down again. I took a break in Pesadas de Burgos - there isn't really anything there, but I needed a break - and then set of in the direction of Sedano. This was now going down a bit into a valley, followed by a climb, but then going down into the valley of Sedano was amazing - until I noticed I had a flat tyre.
I had another break (and a beer) in Covanera, before I tackled the last (brief) climb to Tubilla del Agua.
5 July 2012
I did a rest day, and that meant really not doing much. I did read a lot, but that was probably it...
6 July 2012
There was not really a nice way to get from Tubilla del Agua to Burgos, and as my hosts were going to Barcelona, the offered to take me and my bike for a bit - the best place seemed to be Poza de la Sal, which didn't really mean a shorter ride to Burgos, but a nicer ride. There was only one downside: departure was at 5am.
I probably left from Poza de la Sal before 6am, and it was still dark, so that I had to cycle the first 45min or so with light (dynamo).On the one hand it was really nice, cycling so early, before daybreak. On the other hand it was fucking cold, and only got warmer when I got to Burgos.
The landscape was nice - especially so early in the morning, but towards the end I couldn't enjoy it any more, and just wanted to arrive and get some breakfast...
I arrived in Burgos for a late and urgently needed breakfast, which I had in a cafe in the old town. The campsite Fuentes Blancas is in a park east of the centre of Burgos, and you can get there all the way on cycle routes.
As I got there really early, I put up my tent and went in search of a shop, to buy some food for lunch and dinner. I then had lunch at the camping, with a small bottle of wine that I was carrying since Villarcayo, and had a bit of a siesta, given that I got up at 4:30am.
In the afternoon, I again went to the old town centre, to explore and look around a bit. It's a beautiful old town, and I don't mean the cathedral, which is nice, but not my kind of thing. I prefer to just walk or cycle around, and have a coffee here and there.
In the end, I also had a (for Spanish standards) relatively early dinner in town, and went back to the camping for an early night.
7 July 2012
I decided to stay another day in Burgos, so I went to the town centre for breakfast, and to read a newspaper.
8 July 2012
From Burgos I went to Covarrubias. The way out of Burgos was fine, as it was possible to cycle on a small and quiet road, but later there was no other option than the main and busy road for quite some stretch. Only about 10km before Covarrubias could I again turn off the main road and cycle on a small road, which meant a bit of up and down, but not only was it more quiet, it also had much nice views.
When I arrived in Covarrubias, a medieval market was under way, and the town squares were full with people. I pushed my bike through the crowds to the first square, to have some beer and tapas, but then I decided to first head for the camping of Covarrubias. The camping wasn't the nicest I have seen, but people were friendly, and I got a reasonable spot. And it has free Wifi, which I discovered in the evening.
I went back to Covarrubias later (without bike - it was only 5 minutes walk), for more tapas and beer and wine, and to have a look at the market. In the afternoon/evening it was much more quiet, as this was a Sunday, and day or weekend visitors were probably gone by then.
9 July 2012
The next day I left early, to avoid the worst heat. The downside of that was that I couldn't find a cafe open in Covarrubias to get some breakfast, so I made do with some bread and cheese near the river and set off. There was a climb pretty much directly after I left the village, but then I went down into a vallley, again with amazing views. However, there was another minor pass to come later...
I got to Aranda de Duero pretty easily, and had a second late breakfast, and later headed for a campsite that was marked on OpenStreetMap.org - but while it was there, it was no linger public. So back to Aranda, and then to the tourist information, to not make the same mistake again. Unfortunately, to get to the camping I had to climb a little on the main road to Burgos, which was a bit of a downside, but the camping itself was nice and friendly. I had some rest at the camping, and went back into Aranda for some drinks and dinner- I found a place which did a nice vegetarian Lasagne, and also splashed out for Tiramisu as dessert. Back at the camping, I finished the day with a glass of red wine or two.
10 July 2012
From Aranda, I went to Cantalejo. All the 56km were on the same relatively big road, which wasn't as busy as I feared, but cars (and lorries) were quite fast, as the road was 'good'. And then there was a strong wind - obviously, as always with wind, it came from the front.
The camping in Cantalejo was on the Eastern end of the town, and was very quiet. I had some lunch (salad) and a bit of a siesta, and the went shopping for some dinner - I couldn't afford to go out every day, and it didn't look like I would find that much in the town.
11 July 2012
From Cantalejo I went to Segovia. First, I had to continue on the same road as before, but I got off it as soon as made sense, and from the on it got more quiet, although also more up and down.
Getting into Segovia is impressive, with a view of the aqueduct, and I first stopped near the aqueduct for some brunch/sandwich, before I headed to the camping. Getting there is not the nicest route - it's up, up, up, and then on a big road out of Segovia. But the camping itself was fine, but the bar/cafe didn't seem to be open much, and a shop also didn't seem to exist.
Anyway, after some break I went back into Segovia, to explore the town a bit more, but then I was caught by quite some heavy rain shower, which also meant it got considerably colder.
I sat out most of the rain in a cafe (with Wifi), and then just about managed to buy a cheap tourist t-shirt, as I hadn't taken any coat or sweater with me into town, and was now really cold. I then had some dinner in town, and went back to the camping, and had a last glass of wine in a quite posh restaurant next to the camping.
12 July 2012
Rest day in Segovia
13 July 2012
After a rest day in Segovia, I started my journey back to Santandar. On the first day I went to Lastras de Cuellar, and after I was out of Segovia, it was a nice ride. The camping was even a few kilometres before Lastras, near a river, but it also had a swimming pool. As this was a short day, I got to the camping very early, which gave me time not only for a rest, but even to use the swimming pool.
The only downside of the day was that I had my second flat tyre, and I discovered a cut in the tyre, and so decided that it needed replacing. There was no way I could find anything in the villages I was passing through on that day - it would need to wait until Palencia.
14 July 2012
From Lastras I went to Penafiel, and again it was a nice ride. The last kilometres were especially nice, as I went down into the valley of the river Duero. The camping was easy to find and was just on the edge of the town.
There was again a medieval market going on in Penafiel, and so I decided to go into town in the evening. However - I made the mistake to take my bycicle, and once it got crowded, and decided to leave, as otherwise it would have been a pain to get with the bike through the masses of people.
15 July 2012
16 July 2012
17 July 2012
18 July 2012
19 July 2012
20 July 2012
Rest day in San Vincente
21 July 2012
22 July 2012
Rest day in Santander
23 July 2012
24 July 2012
Getting back home