Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday, Zamora to Tobara

We were told on Tuesday afternoon that our long lost suitcases would arrive at the hotel at noon on Wednesday.
This morning, not being really sure if we should get on the road and let the hotel staff take care of a taxi to ship them to our next stay, we went back to the room after breakfast. We both went back to sleep. We both woke to the rooms phone ringing. Yes the bags had arrived!
Mine had been opened, but nothing was missing.
We went back to the room and got the needed things for the road and brought the bags to the front desk and the taxi driver.
Barbara thinks we have saved a couple hundred dollars by not having them come along each night. Something we may plan to do on future trips. Slip a few nights by having the bags sent ahead.
After a walk around town and a stop for a quick lunch, we finally hit the road around 1:30. Very late for the length of today's ride. Instead of taking any chances of coming too late, we hoped on the pavement and with heads down got to our next evenings stay as quickly as possible.
Perfect riding weather with a tail wind to start. Heading out of the big city's are always tricky but today went smoothly.
We got our first look at the mountains in our future. The don't look small.
The highway was very lite in traffic. Mostly trucks that gave us the whole lane when they passed. Only one every 3 minuets or so.
We got to our evenings stay around 5:30. The women,host at the hotel was happy to see us and gave us all the info we needed regarding dinner and breakfast. She also aranged the taxi for the morning to get the bags to our next stop.
Here are some photos from today's ride:

A Cigarette Machine for Bicycle Racers!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday, Siete Inglasies to Zamora

Another great day in Spain! Cool to start then sunny and warm the rest of the day,

We started off the day with a fantastic breakfast at the bar of our "Truck Stop" Hotel. My favorite, potato's and eggs! Toast and coffee. Ready to ride!
After a look around the very quiet town of Siete Inglasisi,(Seven Church's), we headed out of town on the trail. Up hill and hard packed gravel road. Loose rock bigger then an egg at times, every rock fun to look at as well as avoid. Noisy as all get out with the bicycle rolling over loose stone. Great views of the road ahead and behind at our short stops to catch our breath.
After about 7 miles, the trail turned to deep white sand. We could see that someone on a bike was just in front of us by the track they had left in the sand and was having a problem riding as well. Crash marks and footprints. Sometimes it was as deep as six inches. Impossible to ride, but fun being out anyway.
Marks in the sand of someone falling on their bike, I found burred, a new "Multitool" A bicycle tool with everything you might need for a quick repair on the trail. We asked two riders up the road if it was theirs but both said no.
We came across our fist Fig Tree on this journey. What a pleasure. Some were ripe enough to eat. Figs picked from a tree are about as good as it gets of tree ripened fruit! A must to stop and eat at least one!
We came along a little village along the route. Lots of folks were out shopping and the cafe's were already filled. Some of the men were already drinking beer.
Heading out of town we decided to get onto the pavement and head to our next stop, the town of Torro. Faster moving with traffic we were able to get to lunch as things were starting to happen. We also wanted to get to the Tourist Office before it closed to get the stamp for the Passports.
Looking around town we found the best spot, parked the bike where we could see it and had lunch.
Rice and mushrooms, called "Zamora Rice" for me and a Salad with Tuna for Barbara.
Back on the road we headed off on the pavement again toward Zamora.
Zamora is a huge city and entering city's are always tough. Hard to find our way around town to the Hotel. We also wanted to find the big bike shop so we could get a stronger replacement tire then the one we bought and have been carrying on the back of the bike.
All worked out well. We found what we needed and located the Hotel quickly with the help of Barbra's "Gizmo."

Our hotel is very nice. A bit upscale from the Truck Stop we were at last night.

Tomorrow we head back into the mountains and the final stretch of hills before Santiago. The land and woods will be very beautiful in the next week. We have ridden this part of the trail once before in 2010. It will be interesting to see how much we remember.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, Arevalo to Siete Iglesias

We had a lovely stay at our Hotel for the evening. More friendly folk, making sure everything we perfect for us at all times.
I finished the evening in the Bar watching the UCI Elite Men's Wold Championship. Funny watching a Pro Bicycle race from the USA while in Europe! At first, we were not sure where the race was, until we noticed wooden houses and US style license plates on the cars and motorcycles.
Beautiful day for a ride. A cool and crisp start. soon warmed up to perfect riding weather.
Light wisps of clouds in the sky and hard packed road under foot.
We walked out of town, stopping for water for the bike and to check out the sights.
The Castle in town was closed for Monday as are a lot of things on Monday here in Spain.
Thundering along most of the day.e have seen our first mile marker telling us how far we are from Santiago. 467 kms to go, less now.
On route we were to be passing a Bicycle Shop. We located it with lot of help from Barb and her Smart Phone that Im calling her "Gizmo". The front tire is now starting to signs of wear and I wanted to have an extra in case it lets go. One of the sealed bearings on the front hub is having a problem too. Adjusting it seems to have no effect. The folks at the bicycle shop were super helpful. They are the 2 folks in the photograph. Mother and Son run shop. The son gave us a hand full of power bars for free as a gift for the road. So Nice!
Things are starting to turn greener along the trail. Riding yesterday late afternoon the trail reminded me of home. We will see how long that lasts.
Tomorrow we will be riding into Zamora. A town we have once ridden into from the South on the Via Della Plata. We will pick up that trail and continue onto Santiago on roads and paths we were on in 2010. We will see how much we remember!

The Biggest Birds nest we have EVER seen!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday, Avila to Arevalo

We had a late start to a beautiful Sunday morning. Walking around town, getting photographs of this amazing walled city!
We wanted to go to the Convent of Saint Teresa, the Patron Saint of Gastronomy and maybe get a stamp for our Pilgrim Passports. I was hoping to get a medal for my favorite frying pan to guide me through tough times at the stove. (They have Saint Christopher medals for you bike, why not a Saint Teresa medal for your pots and pans?
Anyway, we pushed tandem through town, looking for the Convent, making stops to check the map and one stop for water to carry on the bike for the road.
The bike, by the way is getting heavier day by day, because everything we buy goes on the bike now rather in the bags that have not yet shown up.
Barbara needed new clothing and shoes and me a charger for this computer I'm writing on now.

We finally hit the road around 1:30. The route was very well marked and even though we are now out of the mountains, we started riding all up hill.
Beautiful views of Avila over our shoulders and then, like magic,it was gone!

The Camino has become mostly flat now with a slightly downward slope. A great change to say the least. Not too hot and few fly's.

We met another Pilgrim on the road today. His name, Alfreddo. He was walking all alone on a route that has joined our route for Saint Teresa. The trail goes from where she was born to the town where she died. Some of the nicest parts of our full trail. The shot of the tile was a marker along the trails way.
Alfreddo is the sweetest man and was very happy to take a moment to chat with fellow Pilgrims. We exchanged cards and wished him a good hike. As we rode off he shouted, "God Bless You and God Bless America!" How sweet is that!

One of our shade breaks was at the little church with the Storks nest. The Storks nests are a common sight at churches like these, Usually one on both sides, they are looked at as good luck. This is the first we have seen over the years of traveling in Spain that any kind of action, Barbara was sure tat the wing hanging out was one of a dead bird, but I was sure it was moving.
After a while, he or she pulled it in and out of our sight. We were then sure that something was going on.

We came to a huge cultivated Pine forest that they had tapped the trees for sap. We could only imagine what they would be using it for, but to me, these trees did not look happy.

Deep sand and swarms of flys made the last part of the day extra tough. Long stretches of un-ridable road. We would get on and pedal for about 20 feet, come to a complete stop.
The flys, sometimes two at a time landing on your face as you try to balance in sand that was more like sledding then riding a bike.

Lucky for us, the trail crossed a paved road that lead us into town on the last 5km of today's ride.

Here are some photos from today: