It turned out to be a good one, but it was touch and go for a time! Last night it was really warm and we were both tired and grumpy. At midnight I changed the alarm time from 5am to 5:30am but it was still horrible to have to get up then, and it was still dark!
Happily we were efficient though and packed up quickly and quietly, had a delicious breakfast of fruit and yoghurt and hit the road as the sky was turning red in the east. Over the river we went, the dawn light making the river and reed beds look particularly beautiful. The castle had a pink glow and as we rode around the town the red sun came up straight ahead of us.
It was lovely and cool and we rode up and down the gentle inclines past fields and orchards. The blonde grasses were shining beautifully in the early light and the roadsides were scattered with delicate flowers in purple, poppy red and lemon yellow.
After 20km we stopped for a quick snack in a town square then pushed on for another 15km before we found a petrol station with public toilets. I was starting to feel the fatigue in my legs and felt that 5 hours of disturbed sleep is not enough to repair a day of hard riding. Dave suggested we do another 10km before stopping again so that we’d be halfway done for the day when we had lunch. I thought I could probably make it so off we went again.
We were in prairie land now, surrounded by miles and miles of fields of crops, trees and cows with only very gently rolling hills. It was nice for an hour but it wasn’t particularly inspiring! The storks still seem to be thriving though and they love the tractors, following them around when they’re ploughing or bailing. (Imagine, making hay bails in May! It’s very dry here.)
With another 10km under our belts we started looking around for a suitable lunch spot, but no spot was forthcoming. After a minor tiff about the suitability of one spot, we continued towards the next village, which I said was only 200m off the road. We got to the sign for the village and started heading down the road, 500m, 1km, 1.5km… oh, there it is, at the top of that hill! We rode up to the church in search of salvation in the form of a bench and a fountain, but all we found were closed up windows and doors. Oh dear. This not a happy Dave did make.
So we ate and argued a bit in front of a nice view then got back on the road. I was feeling tired and unrejuvenated after the disappointing lunch stop and Dave was getting annoyed that I’d slowed down. I dropped back a bit and we chugged along quietly. Then… what’s this in my rear view mirror? A fellow touring cyclist?!
Bruce caught up with me and we had a chat and I cheered up a lot and we caught up with Dave and the kilometres flew by as we shared tales of our travels. He’s from New Zealand taking time off post-university to do some travelling in Europe.
We arrived into Salamanca around 1pm with 92km done (a full 4 of those were unnecessary lunchtime kilometres). Bruce guided us to the library via a pastry shop and we sat outside eating and chatting until the sun encroached on our bench. Then we were parting ways and we waved Bruce off with a cheery Bon Voyage!
Dave and I set off to find a supermarket and the train station to get tickets for tomorrow. The only train to Madrid with room for 2 bikes tomorrow is at 7:40am, damn! Another early start then. Then 5km out of town to our campsite where we had the evening to set up, do chores and chill out, ahhh. We made friends with our English neighbours who told us there’s a cycle route to the station, hurrah! So we’ll take that in tomorrow.