We are currently enjoying a rest day at the Hemingway Hostel here in Pamplona. The past two weeks have been quite different to the first two weeks and time is not always of the essence to sit down with wifi and laptop. Routine has now kicked in and our priorities lie in finding the most reasonably priced accommodation, resting up and eating as healthily as possible!! We have now managed to get to Pamplona safely without any injuries or major problems and approximately 1,100km of our journey is complete.
however, here is a little re-cap of how we´ve been getting on so far…
Days 12 – 14
We rested well in Gredos and it was great having such space to cook for ourselves. On Monday, the 14th, Brendan went to Ávila to collect a new tyre after that small episode. Staff in AviBike were very helpful. Thanks José for the advice! Whilst there, he also managed to call into SEUR and collect cycle kit. Thank you again to Antonio and Manolo in Ciclos Cabello for their help with designs.
Day 15 Stage 11
70km: Navarredonda de Gredos – Calzada de Béjar
On Tuesday August 15th (Day 15), we mounted our bikes again. Refreshed and ready to go after some rest. At this stage we were eager to get back on the road.
We crossed into Béjar where Brendan picked up a puncture, again! Tim went to check accommodation but in the end our best option for accommodation was about 20km outside the town.
With a population of about 50, we were received well by Manuela and fellow peregrino Javi in the albergue municipal of¨Calzada de Béjar¨.
Day 16 – Stage 12
77km: Calzada de Béjar – Salamanca
Day 17 – Rest day in Salamanca
We shared a room with some really nice people. Come, the artist! John, Sara, Arnaud etc and joined them for tapas and a walk around the city. Spectacular views from the cathedral and tower.
Day 18- Stage 13
63.2km: Salamanca – Zamora
This was a tough day for Brendan. He mistakenly took wrong turn onto a motorway and got stuck. The cars we beeping and so, to avoid risk of any trouble, he took the bike apart and climbed up the underpass on to the national road to escape danger.
Only a few minutes down the road did he pick up a puncture. Whilst sitting in a small bar, he bumped into this nice man Santiago, who helped him with the puncture. Tim later came to the rescue with a new tube when he picked up his second puncture of the day! We were received by a very generous Canadian couple in the albergue municipal and grabbed a bite with Paolo from Portugal before the 10pm curfew. He had just walked from Lourdes. We got a good night´s sleep before waking up to a nice breakfast the next morning.
Day 19 – Stage 14
101.2km Zamora – Valladolid
This was one of our longest stretches of the whole trip so far. Late start. Brendan went to buy a wash bag and new tubes. We didn´t depart until at least 11am. Manolo and Laura were some of the nicest police officers you could ever meet. Brendan even told them about the mistake he made taking turning onto the motorway the day before. He wasn´t arrested.
We stopped for lunch and olives in Tordesillas. When we eventually arrived, we were taken in by some very friendly couchsurfers. Marlon and Samuel even had lasagna prepared for us that evening before taking us into around the city and of course, they took us to an Irish bar! We found ourselves tired very quickly as we didn´t get in until 7pm… Some very friendly people joined our table and started conversation with us. Long day. I don´t think we were too full of conversation. Tim discovered his first puncture the next morning…
Day 20 – Stage 15
56.3km: Valladolid – Peñafiel
The town of the floating castle. Very quiet. Difficult to find a place to eat a proper substantial meal.
Day 21 – Stage 16
45km Peñafiel – Aranda del Duero
We lay in the shade in the park by the river Duero before being greeted by Roberto. He took us in. An interesting character. He reminded us how important it is to keep doing strectches!
Day 22 – Stage 17
45km: Aranda del Duero – Santo Domingo de Silos
Brendan picked up another puncture. The tyre tore but he was saved on the road by some peregrinos heading in the opposite direction. Pepe helped him with some tape on the torn tyre. His cleats were also discovered to be worn. Tim made it to the next village first. The next rest day was well deserved.
Day 23 – Rest day in Santo Domingo de Silos
Lounging. Washing. Lazy day. Nati, the mother of the hotel ran the show from her dinner table! This small hotel had a pool but we failed to make use of it. Our bodies had enough sun and we were happy to stay in out of the heat.
Day 24 – Stage 18
53km: Santo Domingo de Silos – Canales de la Sierra
A day of climbing. Lots of rocks! Canales de la Sierra is a tiny town. The friendly locals were very surprised to see two ´extranjeros´ roll into town. They even quizzed us as to why we had chosen to visit this village! A stroll around after dinner, we discovered some villagers enjoying a bonfire in the middle of the street! Empty in winter time, the town comes alive in summer as the ´casa rurales´ fill up. Photo doesn´t come out too clearly but an interesting insight to their way of life all the same.
Day 25 – Stage 19
83km: Canales de la Sierra – Logroño
Today we crossed a big milestone. The Ebro guided us almost all of the way.
The views from the dam were very impressive. We struck it lucky again meeting such nice couch-surfers. Thank you Jésus and Patri! They really made us feel at home, made us some yummy gazpacho and pasta. Home-made food is always a treat for us! That was followed by a tour of the city and some pinchos!
Day 26 Stage 20
49km: Logroño – Estella
We departed later than anticipated as a pit-stop was required at Decathlon where Brendan picked up his new ´cleats´ and where Tim got a spare tyre.
Day 27 Stage 21
48km: Estella – Pamplona
Fran and his team let us stay at Albergue las Anfas. We got a really nice Spaghetti dish in a nearby restaurant. That meal kept us going well into the next day.
The descent into Pamplona was special. Difficult. As dangerous as it was with several curves, it was thrilling all the same. Here is a quick glance of the views from above. If you look closely enough, you can spot the wind turbines in the distance.
The next few days see us reaching the coastline in San Sebastian and then crossing the border into France. The weather is starting to change and fatigue becomes an issue at times. We have had rain in Estella and Pamplona and the week ahead isn´t looking too positive weather wise so we will have to be careful when we decide to cycle… Slippy roads can be a threat.
It´s almost time to say farewell to Spain.