Spain - Day 8 : Una bolsa por favor
We were happy we had enough food for breakfast. The bread we bought at the gas station was the worst we had eaten on any of our vacations. It didn't taste bad, but you might as well eat styrofoam. It didn't weigh anything. The outside was really hard and brittle and when you took a bite the soft inside crumbled away, making it feel like you were eating raw flour. That was our nutritious breakfast, together with some honey. The bread was exactly the type of bread you would expect to eat if you were sentenced to live on water and bread. We discussed how it was better to be in jail than on a cycling vacation in some aspects. At least then you can eat warm every day, have a bed, and don't need to work so hard.
First, we cycled 40 kilometers through open plains. In the first village all buildings were packed really close together. There were only one-way streets and everything looked like a maze. We didn't find a supermarket, but we did find a bakery. It turned out to be a very luxurious one. After a while someone came over to help us. We ordered two chocolate pastries. They were first put in a nice package and then wrapped in gift paper, the whole thing was then placed in a special plastic bag. We were laughing as we would be ripping everything off 2 minutes later. We were surprised it still only cost 3 euros. Even these fancy breads turned out to be without flavor. Compared to France, the bread in Spain is terrible. They only have dried-up powder. We agreed that we would feast on pastries as soon as we were back in France.
It was 11 o'clock and still about 20 km until the next village. We would have to be fast to reach it before noon. The first part was all downhill. Again we rode along bare rocks, although this time with some pine trees. Just after 12, we arrived in the next village where we found a typical Spanish store. It was about the size of a small living room. They mostly sold cheese, meat, and bread. We again bought 5 liters of water to make it through the rest of the day. We sat down on the curb to eat.
Today's route was hilly, but we still traveled quite fast. We rode over remote roads with only one car an hour. The landscape was already so dry that there were cacti everywhere, sometimes in rows a kilometer long. The temperature was again above 30 degrees, which we were slowly getting used to. In the morning, I again had a sore knee. After lowering my seat some more (it was now 5 cm lower than usual), the pain subsided a little.
Cacti along the road
A village along the way
After all the hills and heat we needed some coolness. We each ate ice cream and shared a 2,2L bottle of cola. Cola was on sale this month because there was some anniversary, the 2,2 liters were only 2 euros. I was so thirsty that I drank my 1,1 liters within 10 minutes. From the gas station we could already see the next city, Carmona. To get there we needed to climb straight up for 5 kilometers. Along the road lay many broken truck tires and empty bottles.
After a loop over the ring road of Carmona we went towards the center, where we found a supermarket run by a Chinese family. It again was a small one. We searched for chocolate spread, our classic cycling staple. They sold giant oranges and bags of freshly picked snails.
We sat down to eat on a bench in the park. This town apparently hid all the beautiful women in Spain. It seemed like an old man sitting on a terrace agreed with that. Every time a lady passed he followed her with his eyes. The oranges we bought weren't the perfect ones we were looking for, maybe we need to buy smaller ones next time.
We also discussed what type of music gets stuck in your head while cycling. It wasn't the type of music I usually listen to. My conclusion was that it is usually music with much repetition of which you don't precisely know the lyrics. That way you keep thinking about it the most. Today for me it was Alane, by Wes, I don't know how I arrived at that song. On other days it was music I did know, like Hey Porter by Johnny Cash. Bram said he sometimes was thinking about movies, which seems harder. On a boring section I also tried visualizing cycling my route to school if I would cycle just as fast as I was doing at that moment. That took too much energy and was even more boring than cycling the section.
Upon leaving the city we took this panorama photo:
We passed a sign saying the road was closed for the next 40 km. Of course, by bike we could still continue. Soon we found out why the road was closed, it was in super bad shape. So bad that it wasn't a road with holes anymore, but holes with some road around it. In some parts, it was easier to cycle on the roadside. After Carmona, the sunflower fields started. In every direction, they stretched as far as we could see. In the middle stood a small castle that wouldn't have been misplaced in Egypt.
The castle between sunflowers
The headwind we had been cycling against the entire day again picked up at night. Hopefully, its direction wouldn't change when we are on our way back. Behind some trees we found a nice place to pitch our tent, between the sunflowers. This was the third day in a row we camped in the wild. Our clothes (and bodies) were starting to get pretty dirty. As far as we could tell we also wouldn't have a campsite tomorrow. To reach the most southern tip of Spain, we expect to cycle the entire day tomorrow and then another 60-100 km the day after.
Camping in between sunflowers
The route of day 8.
Distance cycled : 177.27 km.