Brain was a little on the futz after the ride yesterday. Anything that went in went directly out again, and so creative writing for the day had to be put on hold. Hmm creative writing is maybe not the right term..although perhaps it is now time to come clean and say that actually I am in the south still on the beach, cocktail in hand, making these up as I go along?
Anyway.. yesterday turned out to be a pretty cool day. Perhaps strangely, I really enjoyed it, especially the second half. It was hard, don't get me wrong, that's a lot of ups and alongs to do, especially with panniers and in hot conditions but still. First thing was the hardest, having to leave without coffee as it was before any of the cafes opened, and also knowing that in the first 30km there were 2 noticible ups, and then one big up to Puerto de San Vicente. After that I was in Castille-La Mancha, and the terrain changed to moor-like, with wild lavender all about. All the while those snowy mountains in view. First lunch (breakfast?) was had down in the valley, then straight back up again into the hills ..a big up then more undulating.
It was turning into a hot day but I kept my arm warmers on to prevent them from frying (my legs could be in front of the suns supernova and they still wouldn't react at all ). In hindsight I should have perhaps put on my new arm covers that the owner of the hostal in Caceres gave me, they were much thinner, but they were a little big also a very vibrant green (and one must colour coordinate, darling!). But mine seemed fine amd I didn't didn't over heat. At one point when it went to about 32° and the wind disappeared, I poured some water down my back. Just like a pro eh? My reaction however wasn't. A very girlie eek emerged. So glad there was no one there to hear it.
2nd stop for more coffee and fanta, at what was meant to be the end of big ups, then undulating all the way to Toledo. There were a few big up undulations in the last 10km which I thought were a little unnecessary. But then over the last one and got a view of the old city. Totally stunning. Had no idea what to expect. I had picked Toledo as it was practical...close to Madrid to day trip there, I could have a jaunt to the windmills in the south, and also on the right side to ride on after. So no real thought as to what it was like itself. As always, old bridge across the river, that pretty much surrounds the old city. Then the cathedral and alcalazar outlines above a mass of grey and brown, misty old urban buildings with other spires and turrets poking up. And surrounding areas, new city spiralled out along the rivers.
I made my way to the hostal via the ice cream stand, dumped my stuff, did some washing (apparently the city is quite controlled, there is no laundnrwtte alloqerd in the old city was, same with supermarkets). Then headed out for a quick wander. Maze as usual, and narrowness makes the houses seem quite high so you cannot see any spires etc as guides. Which is how I stumbled on the cathedral, so huge it was impossible to see how you can not see it coming but I didn't, and then a wander to the main plaza and the Judaria. My hostal has a roof terrace that overlooks the whole city..fantastic spot. Still much more I want to see but will have to wait for another day...as will looking into the cities obsession with swords and knives, and marzepan.
Today..after lots of coffee..Madrid...