Salamanca - reward for a hard day

Trip Start Apr 18, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2009

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Castile-León,
Sunday, May 10, 2009

I was down for breakfast at 7 am to find the helpful young man who had checked me in the previous day, behind the bar and in conversation with two clearly very drunk young men, each clutching a part-empty bottle of San Miguel! I could see from their T-shirts that they were two of the band that had been serenading me last night - I guess they had crashed out in a corner of the hotel for what remained of the night. We enjoyed an amusing exchange as I sat eating my breakfast and then for them it was off for a very long siesta and for me (after sorting an error in the bill) a very long day in the saddle.

I hit the road before 8 am and made good progress before feeling a few spits of rain. I put on my waterproof jacket and as fate would have it just a few kilometres later the sun broke through and once again I found myself being cooked. So off came the jacket and I continued my climb out of the Duero river valley with the headwind getting stronger the higher I climbed. The colours and contours of the land were lovely and I couldnīt resist a few photos. I kept myself well fed and watered and at one stop a passing cyclist slowed and asked if I was okay - nice gesture. I saw no other cyclists until around midday and then quite a few passed in both directions, no doubt out on their long Sunday training rides. And once again they shouted encouragement.

Today was yet again a real hard slog of a ride and I have decided that it is the wind that makes the going so tough. It is relentless and wears me down physically and psychologically. I actually quite enjoy the challenge of the hills because once at the summit I have achieved a small victory; but with the wind it is almost impossible to win other than to say at the end of the day: "I made it."

The hotel was lovely and I soon had my washing done and was out exploring the beautiful city and taking plenty of photos. Enjoyed some tapas and couple of glasses of wine (and think I was short-changed .... grrrrr!) before strolling around the Plaza Mayor where there was a big literary exhibition taking place. There was also a very loud and clearly entertaining stage show laid on the kids, who were whooping for joy, at what I have no idea!

This city is on the Via de la Plata, the pilgrim route from the south, so I was expecting to see a few on their way north. But saw none just lots of tourists and plenty of international students from the renowned Salamanca University.

I had hoped to update the blog on the hotel computer but it was very slow so gave up and went off to find dinner and buy an ice cream. I stood and listened to a really good orchestra playing in the Plaza Mayor before heading for bed.

TOTAL SO FAR: 1650 km
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