Pinch and a punch – 1st day of June….
I love booking in to a new (to me) hotel. Once in my room, I check out the bathroom to see what freebies I’ve got – it varies lots – sometimes there’s nothing, just a soap dispenser on the wall, and another in the shower; usually there’s a couple of tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and little wrapped cakes of soap – and sometimes, if you’re really lucky there’s other stuff; a small sewing kit, for example. In the Hotel Belaire I also scored a shrink-wrapped toothbrush with a little tube of colgate toothpaste, and a shoe cleaning kit. That’s pretty useless for me, but I’ve kept the little cloth that came with it as a chain cleaner. Handy 🙂
I used to collect the shampoo and conditioner bottles; after my last trip I had hundreds of the damn things when I got back home. Now I use them immediately; strip off my (very) sweaty road gear, fill the wash basin with hot water, add a bottle of shampoo, and wash the grime away. Gloves, in particular, get disgusting very quickly. I’ve brought two pairs this time. Bike knicks ditto – I’m going through a tube of groin grease a week – nothing worse than chapped bits when you’re riding, but while the grease does a great job, and also keeps my leather saddle nicely lubed, it means I have to wash the knicks every day. Again, I’ve got three pairs with me – each with a differently shaped padded section, to help keep friction and chafing to a minimum.
Drying stuff is not a problem – it’s as hot as buggery here currently. A cold shower is always on the agenda too, once I’ve got the chores done.
Dinner last night was in L’Alpina, a restaurant attached to the hotel. Spaghetti marinara in a cream sauce, and two glasses of house red. Awesome – the red was a very light, almost floral wine – chilled and refreshing. Maybe a pinot? 10 Euro, A cheap meal; a dollar in Aus buys what a Euro in Spain does – no point converting; that way madness lies. So 10 bucks is a good price for a decent feed and two glasses of red.
Breakfast, however, was another shocker. OJ and coffee; a few breadrolls, already sliced and filled with ham and pepperoni; no cereal, and a few croissants, all sugary, jammy, or chocolatey. I had three croissanty things, two glasses of OJ, and a coffee. There was a cold bottle of water in a fridge, so I used that to fill my camelback.
Out the door, into another sunny day – already warm at just after 9:00 am. My route was simple; straight up the CV-230, past the bull
to the pass at the top of Mount Marianet,
down to Azuebar, and on to Segorbe. Easy. I’d review matters once at Segorbe – one of the problems in using backroads is the need to plan stops. For example, Azuebar has a Casa Rural and a Hostal; both supposedly offer B and B, but neither was open – the Hostal looked like it hadn’t been open for a couple of years, too.
CV-230 is a quiet back road; I saw more bicycles than vehicles. It’s also geared to foot and four-legged traffic from back in the day, when it was a main route North. So it was steep, but grindable. I settled into bottom gear, and just pushed the pedals round for an hour and a half; didn’t need to get off and push, or to rest; just good, solid cycling; legs and lungs finding a rhythm and getting on with it without any intervention from me, leaving me free to sing to myself, admire the view, think deep thoughts, etc.
A long downhill – gently so – to Azuebar. Along the way, in the middle of nowhere, there was this castle on top of a hill. Lord knows what it was built to protect – the locals grow great crops of rock and gravel, with the occasional olive tree for luck – but this is a really serious castle; must have taken forever to build – and now it’s an abandoned ruin.
There’s got to be a moral, or a meta-thingy about this, but I’m not up to defining it. I can’t even find it on any map.
I got to Segorbe after around three hours, soaked in sweat. I’d stopped once at Azuebar, to buy a cold bottle of fanta, and to refill the camelback, and was fairly weary, and it’s hot. Segorbe is a hill town, and the tourist office is at the top, so a slow grind up. They gave me a map, pointed me to the only 3 star hotel in town – Hotel de Maria de Luna; I grabbed a cold beer,
found the hotel and booked in.
Did the chores, showered, and set off to explore. It’s another bull-running town – some time in September they try to clean up the gene pool a bit by letting bulls chase young people (men, mainly) who strive to do dumb things, like touch their horns…… It’s a Spanish thing.
There’s the remnants of a magnificent aqueduct, a couple of old churches – both locked, and, as it was now around 2:00 pm, everything was shut. I eventually found a bar, and had another cold beer – hot, and lots of walking – then back to the hotel. It has a restaurant, so I’ll eat in-house.
My plan tomorrow is to head on towards Teruel, about 120 km North; I’ve booked into Hostal Los Manos in Albentosa, about half way. It’s too hot to try to make a bigger mile.
See you down the road.