Back to the country
Hours in the saddle: 4hrs 36min
Terrain: undulating with an upward bias.
Out into the country once more..sad to leave behind Jerez and Seville but quite keen to start the northward trek up country.
Before I left the city though I was chatting to a German guy at my hostel and he was saying that the population of Seville is normally about 700,000. But that over the last week, the Semana Santa, there had been an estimated 1 million tourists descending on the city. I don't know if it was correct but it certainly felt like it! We then talked about my bike and what I was doing, he then dashed off and came back with his harmonica. He wanted to play me the song that he always played when he was leaving a place. It was really sweet....a little awkward...but sweet all the same. Put a smile on my face for the first few miles anyway..until I took the scenic route in Seville that is.
Now Seville is actually really great for bikes, lots of bike (and wheelchair and old biddie walking according to the pictures) lanes, bike traffic lights, lots of hire bikes etc etc. But if you don't know where you are it gets confusing. The lanes take you to the opposite side of the road so you can't always see the road signs, and they can also take you off the main road so you have no idea where you are anyway! On the plus side I saw a side of Seville I hadn't before and even made it out to the bull ring.
Oh and to make it more stressful was all the revelers from the night before, trying to make their way home..all thousands of them, all walking over all over the place.
45 mins later finally made it out of town onto the plains. A cool and misty morning again. Pretty non descript ride until the road started heading upwards, it was undulating but most definitely in an upwards fashion. The terrain is quite different to what I had seen before, definite hills rather than mountains or plains, lots of small trees, and olives/vines made way for cows. Very beautiful even with what felt a continual uphill battle and a headwind.
Aside from that it was pretty uneventful. Saw a couple of Team Sky fan boys separately in the full kit. First was working behind a moped so I had to look twice to check if it was a faux or real Sky boy. Can't say for certain but will err on the side of fan boy.
The last section was quite sadistic..up up up, little down, more up up...little down..and repeat. Quite relentless. But finally Cazalla de la Sierra popped out from behind a hill. I am staying in a massive old house near the outskirts of town, lovely building and decor, garden and even a pool. The town itself is mid size but proper country town, the hours are different here..things don't start moving until about 9am or so if that, lunch about 3/4ish, siesta ends 6, dinner half 8 ish. Being Good Friday doesn't help either as pretty much everything was shut. The only shop that was open was a cake shop..so I HAD to have cake. I love that in Spain take away cake is normal, they wrap it up all nice for you. Mine didn't make it past the end of the street.
There was a little cafe bar that I stopped in for a beer on the way back to the hotel..ordered myself a wee tumbler of beer (weirdly I am getting used to these small sized beers..am not sure that's a good thing). There was no one else there aside from the girl behind the bar, and an old fella who looked like he had sunk quite a few. Beer ordered, he then took the opportunity to talk at me..most I didn't understand but I got that he wanted me to come closer to him*..I eyed the bar lady and she kind of shrugged...he thought I was from Germany.. I didn't correct him as I am sure it would have made no difference to our level of understanding and communication. After a bit more talking and grabbing on to my arm from him, and eye rolling from her. He grabed my arm once more and said 'guapa' a few times. I had to laugh and wonder how many beers he really had had. Bless him.
The hotel has an apparently very good restaurant so will eat here tonight (swayed also by the fact that they do rice pudding). Hanging out in it's cafe at the moment with a beer watching James Bond (Brosnan) in Spanish. This is how they should teach languages...
- am still trying to get used to the body language of the Spanish. The 'come here' motion always confuses me as it is more like our dismissive downward wave/flick rather than our upward finger/hand beckon. so there is always that moment of 'you want me to go? Come? Go? What??' And hope they have enough patience until I work it out.