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Spain - Day 5 : Puerto de Navacerrada

Bram also heard strange sounds at night, but we had slept well nonetheless. We started cycling wearing long trousers, half an hour later that already felt too warm.

 

During the morning we covered a lot of ground, the only problem was again finding a store. At one point we thought we entered a village, but it turned out to be a bungalow park. In the entire park only one house was occupied and the supermarket hadn't opened yet. Ten kilometers further we found a tiny store. We wondered what the people working their were doing the entire day, there were virtually never customers. Because stores close from 12 to 5 they would also be busy with work from 7:00 to 21:00.

We didn't pass any huge cities, but found a fountain in a small village to refill our water bottles. The men there kept looking at us. In France there are many tourists, but not here. During the entire journey south we wouldn't see a single Dutch person, not even a Dutch license plate.

 

In the afternoon we started another climb. I had expected the entire route to be pretty flat, except the Pyrenees and Pico Veleta, but we had climbed quite a bit already. Today's climb looked a bit like the Mont Ventoux. It was very warm and the road climbed up in hairpin turns through a pine forest. Fortunately it was less steep. After two hours we reached the summit.

puerto de navacerrade ature

The Puerto de Navacerrada.

puerto de navacerrada altura

On top of the col.
 

There we sat down on a terrace to drink and eat our oranges. Everyday we ate at least one. Spain was the ideal country to test Bram's theory that oranges get better farther south. When we wanted to continue a loose bull walked by. I quickly took a picture while Bram took off his cycling jacket. It was red and he waved it nicely through the air. 

Bull in spain

The bull
 

In the descent the GSP pointed us into a side road. It seemed shorter so we followed it. After a while the asphalt road turned into loose rocks nearly impossible to cycle over. Going back wasn't really an option as it would involve half an hour of climbing. We continued. The road was so bad that climbing back uphill was likely just as fast as going down. It was fun for a while, but we really couldn't afford to break our bikes in the middle of Spain with another 2000 km to go. A while later we fortunately ended up on a better gravel road which we followed to a decent road.

 

After the descent we stopped quite early. We had camped in the bushes twice now and there wouldn't be another campsite for a long while. At the entrance we had to pull a number, depending on if we came with a mobile home, tent, or wanted to rent a bungalow. There were six counters.The man behind ours was one of the few Spanish people who spoke English. This was by far the largest campsite we had ever visited. When the man asked how many tents we had I told him one. He looked surprised. In hindsight that wasn't very smart because if they found out we actually had two we might have gotten in trouble. If you count a bivy bag as a tent that is. After paying we entered the campsite. There was someone letting people on. He said something in Spanish which we didn't understand. He then asked if we spoke English. Bram said yes, after which the man looked like 'oh shit I don't'. Eventually it became clear we had to show him our receipt. He also made clear we had to always carry that with us.

We cycled a full kilometer over the campsite before pitching our tent at exit number ten. We found a nice spot in the shade of a tree.

el escorial

The layout of the campsite, it had about 1000 spots.

el escorial

At the campsite
 

Next we set out to buy groceries at the campsite's supermarket. First we had to visit another store where they sold foam mats. I needed one because my self-inflatable one kept deflating every night. The supermarket there was literally twice as large as any supermarket we had thus far seen in Spain.

After fist dinner we went out to dinner at the local restaurant. There was nobody there yet because the Spanish eat super late. I had fries with half a chicken and Bram fries with schnitzel. This time I could finally say 'dos cervezas, por favor'. I had heard that in a song one time, I didn't remember anything else. When I looked it up on youtube I realized it would have been a nice addition to the CD of our bus drivers Wim and Kees. After two dinners we were ready to go to bed.

route5-2.jpg

The route of day 5.
 

Distance cycled : 138.22 km