Monday, 23 August 2010


Well, I made it, in one piece and on schedule, to meet up with Pauline in northern Spain. I loved the adventure of getting there, taking a variety of forms of transport, starting by train, then ship then bus. Two and a half days since leaving home I arrived in Logrono bus station and there was Polly. It was great to see her and the feeling was mutual.

My first night in Logrono was in a very dusty, grass-free campsite where Pauline had stayed for two days awaiting my arrival and catching up on chores. This campsite seemed to be the norm for Spain, and I got the impression that Pauline was not as pleased with them as France.
My first day in the saddle saw us cover 70km, about 50 miles, part of which was through the hottest part of the day. Needless to say my arms and legs took on the shade of well done crayfish and despite several vats of water I was somewhat dehydrated. The campsite for this night was hideous. Situated on the outskirts of Santo Domingo it was a privately run camping ground. The majority of pitches were cabins and for caravans, but unlike what you might expect they were all crammed in with inches between each. The ground then left for tents was ridiculous. Hard to describe. Picture 6 foot square, dust covered, hard as concrete, grass-less ground, with the kerb to the road as one edge and chain link fencing separating you from the site´s gas container on the other, then that pretty much does it. To cap it all this was the most expensive campsite so far! Neither of us was very pleased.

The following morning we were up at 5am and on the road at very first light at 7am in order to miss the heat of the day. It was literally freezing first thing and an absolute joy. Our destination for the day was Burgos, the financial capital of Spain, and one which had been recomended to me by friends Willie and Moira, and lived up to its recomendation. Once again though we found ourselves still on the road during the hottest part of the day and the traffic was pretty scary as the draft from trucks would wobble both mine and Pauline´s bikes.

The campsite this night was run by the local government and was both cheap and excellent. We picked a quiet, grassy, very shady area and settled down to a well earned day off the road. We dozed for the afternoon waiting for it to cool off, while I adapted a t-shirt with extra material to create more cover for my arms whilst cycling. A scary journey along a major road in busy traffic was then taken to a suggested out-of-town shopping precinct as we had to find a map of the next section of the journey. We had no luck and despite trying several petrol stations we didn´t find our map. We did however spot it in a local book shop the following day, but being a Sunday everything was closed. The cathedral in the centre is very impressive, if not a little over the top. Parts of its architecture seemed to differ vastly in date and some even had an Islamic look about it. The shady tree lined walkways along the river bank were great and led all the way back to the campsite. It was a great place to be and made up for the disappointment of the route from Logrono so far.

And so to today, the cycle to Castrojeriz. We had hoped to start every day at 7am but we didn´t leave Burgos until 10.15am as we had to buy the much needed map from the city book shop. It was a great cycling day as a strong breeze had picked up which helped to keep us cool. It built to quite a strong head wind as the day went on, but we both preferred to have it than not. We were now cycling through open farmland with giant fields of sunflowers and past tiny little isolated villages with vast crumbly churches. It was fab. We were out there, doing it, and I was loving every minute of sharing it with Pauline.

Lunch was taken in this small concrete bus shelter on the summit of a hill in the middle of nowhere. Quite surreal but a welcome shade from the sun. I then put on my newly adapted "t-shirt-sleeve-lengthiners" (which I intend to patent) to protect me from the sun, and a while later changed from shorts into thin, long trousers. Honestly, there´s Pauline in shorts and t-shirt and me covered head to toe! I´d be as well to cycle the Camino in a burka!

Maybe that´s a good title for the book!?

Some snaps you might enjoy:
Graham´s Flickr
Better pictures from Pauline:

No comments: