Day 53 – Mora de Rubielos to Allepuz

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I went down to dinner at the Hotel Jaime 1 at 9:00 pm – nothing open nearby except bars that did snacks, and the few restaurants also opened at 9:00 pm. I’ve no idea why the Spanish eat so late – going to bed with a belly full of food can’t be that good for y ou. It also means that I’m not ready for breakfast – it feels as if I’ve just eaten. However – had to eat; breakfast was 13 hours back, and I’d burned a few calories.

The receptionist was now the maitre D, assisted by the barmaid as waitress. There were several people already seated when I arrived, including a family group – mum, dad, and three children, ranging from around seven to thirteen. The Maitre D gave me a hand with the menu – I ordered cod, potato, black olive and roe for an entree, salmon and asparagus for a main, and rice pudding with cinnamon for dessert. Two glasses of red  through the meal – and they were generous glasses….

The cod entree was magnificent. I could have eaten three serves and not bothered with a main, but… The salmon wasn’t salmon; it looked like ling fillets to me, served in a mushroom sauce, and asparagus. Maybe it’s a translation error – dunno, but it was well cooked and very tasty. Rice pudding with cinnamon is my goto dessert now. Love it 🙂

Got to bed around 10:30 pm – dinner was leisurely – and slept till 7:30. Checked the weather – thunderstorms and showers due in the afternoon, so I showered, packed up and went down for breakfast. It was served to me – no choices. Two small croissants, two bread rolls, a pot of jam, OJ, and a plate of sliced cheese and ham. There was a coffee machine, and it made a decent cup for a change. I ate the croissants, had a jam filled bread roll, made a cheese roll which I put in my pocket for ‘ron, and had the OJ and a cup of coffee.

I paid the bill – dinner, bed and breakfast was 62 Euro – the four star pub up the road wanted 118 Euro for bed and breakfast. I just don’t see the value. I had an en suite room, TV, wifi, the shower was hot, the room was clean and quiet. What the four star offered for more than double the price I have no idea.

I’d planned my route, but about a Kilometre into it I spotted a sign saying I was on the A-232 when I was expecting to be on the A-228 heading North. I backtracked, found the right road, and carried on. The road was flattish for the first couple of Km, then went uphill. Just to help, the thunderstorms hit early, and it started to rain, hard….. Put on my rain jacket, and pedaled on, averaging 5 Km up the slope, which was relentless. Into the cloud bank, or maybe it was just mist – cold, wet and gloomy.  The road peaked at the San Rafael pass – 1566 metres.

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There was a rapid descent from there to La Vergin de la Vega, but half way down the hill before it was this place  –

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all the houses were built identically, I couldn’t see any shops, and the road in had a big sign saying “Do Not Enter”. No idea what it was. Ahh – a bit of research tells me it’s a ski village; shut for the rest of the year……

The rain was still coming down hard, so I tried for a pub in La Vergin de la Vega – I know; wimp – it was just noon, and I’d done 19 km…. But the hotel I tried – nice big open fire going in a pleasant bar/restaurant area – was full. I put on my big boys pants, and cycled on.

About 1 km past that hotel the road turns North, and there was another climb. The A-228 was also getting narrower, and was in much worse condition. It peaked at the Gudar Pass – a mere 1532 metres – and the rain stopped. The wind picked up, but was a good tail wind, and I didn’t touch the pedals until I hit the junction with the A226 at Allepuz. About ten Km. A fantastic ride. The rain had started, and big black clouds were gathering again; at the junction is the Hostal Venta Liara – I booked in. Got an en suite room looking across the Sierra de Gudar

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There’s a restaurant too, so I’ll eat here – I negotiated an 8:00 pm time with the woman running the place.

Facebook gave me a memory of two years ago today – I cycled from San Remo to Villeneuve; 108 Km. that’s about what I’ve managed for the past three days 🙂 Old age, or just hills against a coast track? Discuss.

Regardless of distance, or weather, today was another great day in the saddle. Hard yacka and filthy weather for the main part, but even that’s a satisfying achievement; and the glorious downhill run from Gudar to Allepuz will bring a smile to my face whenever I recall it.

See you down the road.

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