We were a few days in Albalá watching the rain fall. Sometimes sun comes out but the weather forecast does not improve until Sunday, so we relax completely and spent the hours between meals, good wine, conversations, films, trivial, the crochet (Yael is making a blanket of colors and teaches me to make some points) and dinner.
We met with Carlos and Angela, friends of Tebe and Yael, who engage in caring for and training of the dogs. We went to stroll to a beautiful surroundings around Arroyo de la Luz with the dogs.
We were enjoying the groundhog day… but also we wanted to come back to road… and on the seventh day the sun came out and we took our things and we started flying.
Trujillo so close
“Desde que tú no me quieres,
yo quiero a los animales,
y al animal que más quiero,
es al buitre carroñero,
es al buitre carroñero.
Desde que tú no me quieres,
yo todos los días me muero,
y alimento con mi carne
en Monfragüe buitres negros,
en Monfragüe buitres negros.”
The first night we arrived to Monfragüe, a national park of Extremadura that spans the Tajo River. There we saw the famous Black Vulture and the large colony of Griffon Vultures of Monfragüe. We were sleeping in the middle of the bellowing. We could not sleep much because of the noise of deers.
In the morning we dismantled everything quickly (it is forbidden the camping) and finished touring the park with the sound of the bellowing in the background. The biggest male deers were hidden by the claim, but we saw many running through the mountain when they saw us.
After a good breakfast in Plasencia, we continue along the Valle del Jerte. Another incredible area that we will have to return when the cherry tree will be in blossom and when it is full of cherries. The colour of the Valley goes from green to white and then to red.
Nights are more humid and we have to put the flysheet to the store. The dew wet our tent outside and our condensation wet the tent inside. If the day is sunny, the sun dry everything quickly, but if not, we have to wait at lunchtime to dry everything. Also, we have to dry sleeping bags and clothes, because they start it to smell a bit strange.
To say goodbye to the Jerte Valley you have to climb a port, but bodies were tired, it was the end of the day, so we stayed in the last village, Tornavacas. At the entrance of the village, they said that we could sleep on the football field. Following the direction of the finger of a good man, we saw it above, it was true, very high. Zigor could ride up to the entrance, but I could not, the slope was very strong.
The port, the next morning, gave us these views, it was a present for us and after a beautiful descent, we arrived at the north face of Gredos.
In Avila the “Frontons” started to appear, indicating that we are closer to the “North”. They gave us shelter, more than one night.
The cooking gas was empty, so we decided to change a bit the plans we had and went to Ávila, in search of a mountain shop. We could only take any photos and a few walks around the walls. It was impossible buy the gas.
30 km after Ávila we stopped in Blascosancho and we met with Nono. He lives in Madrid, but he took advantage of a business trip to spend the night with his parents and see friends. Nono invited us to a few beers and told us about an almost perfect place to spend the night. Almost perfect because we had not drinking fountain and the water of the town could not drink, but the owner of the bar he gave us a bottle of 8 liters of water.
After dinner, Zigor went with Nono and Kike, a friend of Nono, to the bar of the village to see a football match. I got into the tent, I needed to rest. The body is becoming gradually, the muscles are strengthen, but still they need rest to recover. My knees hurt but the pain will disappear in a few days, when all the forces are compensated and the body adapt to the new situation.
There are large tracts of farmland rotary. Now they sow wheat, although there are still yellow fields without plowing. They will have to wait to plow to the rain to slightly soften the dry land. After they will pick up the wheat, they will return to do the same with barley and then with sunflower.
It begins to change the landscape, with vineyards, pine forests that used to get resin, fields of beets, potatoes and carrots. We will have a free dinner, the market was in the land.
After a few miles and a few endless straights, we arrived to a small “Surprise Valley”, where begin the vineyards of the Ribera del Duero and appear the first green strokes. In Fompedraza, the first village, we have found a place to spend the night in front of a beautiful church and next to the cemetery.
This time two ladies were who advised us where to sleep, we had fun listening about the village and its inhabitants (6 widows, 2 widowers and few families). They arrive there every afternoon, speak among them and they always observe his people and the movement of the road. The woman who is close to me is 94 years old, and together with his cousin is one of the widows of the village. I liked their smiles and how they feel their life.
Good wine…is it?
The sunny weather is still with us, the temperature is perfect for cycling and we enjoyed the roads among the vineyards of the Ribera. The wind also helps us and push us from behind towards the goal today. In Burgos, exactly in Río Pico Orbaneja (way of the Way of Santiago), is Carlos, member of Warmshower, a society of hospitality in the cyclists community. The body needs a rest and a shower, so we prefer to arrive on friday to be saturday resting.
And we arrived, I almost in the limit, spending the last reservation of dates. Esperanza gave us the dates when we left Cordoba… how good is be under the shower, have clean clothes and be lying on a bed in the hope that tomorrow your ass and your legs are not going be close to the bike.
The resting day and some stretching, put the body ready again to ride the bike towards Aretxabaleta (the village of Zigor), where awaits us more resting days, friends and eat well.
I believe more in the theory of Javi, a friend from Jerez, who believes that if we would put very strong in a few minutes we would suffer a pain indescribable, near from collapse… it’s true, Javi. I think that if on 1 of September in a minute the muscles had grown me as I have them now or as I will have in a few months, I would not able to bear all this accumulated pain. But we take it calmly and we want give our bodies the time it needs to.
Again the wind and the way help us, and after meet with “walkers of Santiago” (we hear a lot of times “you have to go in the other direction!”), we are still surrounded by ochre fields and we continue cycling through the strains of la Rioja. We arrived at Trevino. This area is geographically in the Basque country, but for reasons of history, politics and the game (there are several theories), belongs to Burgos. And in Cucho, a small town from the the County, we were to sleep and received the visit of parents and uncles of Zigor, they were close to us coming back at home, with the car. By the way, if you pass near Cucho, go to see him, because it is very nice and is very well preserved and care, a few years ago won an award.
Lake of Landa
Gorbea in front
In the morning, we went up the last port, again without breakfast, because already we had nothing to eat and in Treviño the villages are so small that they has no bar or shop… but worth the reward that awaits us. The Green is predominant color and we breathe the moisture that helps keep the color of the landscape. We cross Vitoria, where we had breakfast and we go through the lake of Landa… What a beautiful place… If we were not expecting a dish of chickpeas of Marije, we would stop to sleep in Landa.
And after the lake we lowered direct to the Valley, family reception and finally the reward… to eat Marije’s chickpeas.
We will be a few weeks here, solving the latest topics that have appeared before leaving the Peninsula, and thus leave nothing outstanding. By the way, Sherpa mountain shop of Granada, has sent us a new and better stove, because the other gave some problems for a different clients and this is more reliable… It’s so good have people like these, around you. Also, Pablo, Mi Burra, sent us another gift to Granada, the fixed power that was lacking to Zigor and mine in black, because when put it me he had only silver colour.