Spain - Day 4 : The expedition
We had slept well, considering the conditions. We had breakfast on a rock by the side of the road. There were no cars. We did see four women walking by. I don't know where they were headed, the road continued for another 10 kilometers without any exits. After eating, I nearly left my pocket knife again, which I had done too often during our previous vacations. After the climb, we arrived at a plateau where we could cycle fast. The road was deserted. For twenty kilometers, it meandered uphill through a forest. Two times we passed people working on the road. We hadn't seen any cars or villages. After the meandering road we reached another plain, this one had many windmills.
The plain with windmills
There was not a house in sight
Meanwhile it was already 11 o'clock and we had yet to see a single village or store. Yesterday we read that most stores in Spain close between noon and 5, so we needed to find a place to buy food soon. We weren't sure how far the next city was exactly, but we knew that if we raced we might be able to reach it in time. We passed some villages but none with a supermarket. Just past noon, we reached the city of Soria. Fortunately, there was still an open bakery where we bought bread, pastries, and water. They sold 5 liters of water for one euro, which we just managed to finish between the two of us.
Lunch in Soria.
After Soria, we reached a large road with a 100 km/h speed limit. First, that didn't seem nice, but the road was wide with an emergency lane and few cars. It was much nicer than a narrow, crowded road with an 80 km/h speed limit. The bigger roads are usually also flatter. That was now also the case; we cycled the 60 km to the next town in 2,5 hours.
After the big city we were again on gravel roads
Geen huis te zien.
Bart on the gravel road
The gravel road continued until a river with a bridge, according to the GPS. There was only a weir and no bridge in sight. We checked our paper maps and realized we had to take a detour. After finding the route again, we continued over a path of loose rocks. It was pretty hot today. With all those rocks and only dried trees, it looked like we were on an expedition in Africa.
On an expedition with our tropical hats.
The road we were on.
After those poor roads we were happy to be able to follow a real, asphalted one. It was around 4 in the afternoon when it was usually the hottest. Along the road we saw a shopping cart. Nearby sat a man in between rocks. He looked like some wild animal and sawing a piece of metal with his back toward us. The sun had bleached his hair and browned his back. He looked like he had been sitting there for over a decade.
The last town we visited today was Ayllon, where we wanted to buy food for tomorrow morning. There was no supermarket to be found. Our backup plan was to go out to dinner somewhere and hope we find a place to buy food sometime tomorrow morning. All restaurants told us we could only start eating after 9. That was really late. Luckily we found a gate that let us into the village's hidden center.
The center of Ayllon.
In the center we found a bakery. After asking for a 'supermercado' we found one in an alley. We went there first and then returned to the bakery which, of course, had closed in the 10 minutes we had been in the supermarket. Fortunately, we found a second one in another alley. When we had gathered enough food for dinner and breakfast we left in search of a place to camp. There was a campsite 20 km away, but we had already cycled quite far. Just outside of Ayllon we found a nice meadow.
Our 'hotel' for the night
There were cars on the road that might be able to see us, but it was the best we could find. We went to bed early, around 10. During the first hour it was way too warm to sleep. We also heard two animals call each other. It sounded like "hurrrrrrrrrr hurrrrrrrrrrrrr" a mix between a peacock and a hog.
The route of day 4.
Distance cycled : 171.85 km.