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 much ground. Our only problem was again finding a store. At one point, we thought we had entered a village, but it turned out to be a bungalow park. In the entire park, only one house was occupied, and the supermarket had yet to open. Ten kilometers further, we found a tiny store. We wondered what the people working there were doing the entire day, as there were virtually no customers.
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 our 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 hot, and the road climbed up in hairpin turns through a pine forest. Fortunately, it was less steep. After two hours, we reached the summit.
The Puerto de Navacerrada.
On top of the col.
There we sat down on a terrace to drink and eat our oranges. Every day 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.
The GSP pointed us into a side road during the descent. 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 bit later we fortunately ended up on a better gravel road which we followed to a decent road.
After the descent, we stopped pretty early. We had camped in the bushes twice now and there wouldn't be another campsite for a long while. We had to pull a number at the entrance, 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 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 that 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 that we had to show him our receipt. He also made clear that 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.
The layout of the enormous campsite, it had about 1000 spots.
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 our first dinner, we went to have dinner at the local restaurant. There was nobody there yet because the Spanish ate 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 once, but I didn't remember anything else. When I looked it up on youtube, I realized it would have been an excellent addition to the CD of our bus drivers Wim and Kees. After two dinners, we were ready to go to bed.
The route of day 5.
Distance cycled : 138.22 km.