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day 32 Leon

normal service is resumed

sunny

istance: 136km
Elevation: 613m
Hours in the saddle: 5hrs 30min
Terrain: Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Before I go on, I wanted to say I did actually like Zamora. I don't want to give the impression I didn't. I headed out for a beer in the new town last night. It was much more lively, and because of the lack of tourists much less pretentious. Just the whole lack of people for most of the day really took me by surprise, and it added a strange feeling to the day.

Really though, last night I had a real urge to be able to stay in and watch a movie. Not possible of course but I miss just being able to do that. I miss also having more control over what I eat. Little things you know. I don't actually miss being at home, I wouldn't swap being here for the world, although am sure if you asked me on bad day the answer might be different, then again perhaps not..you can't have the good days without the bad after all.

So anyway today...was a much more civilised day. It was a Goldilocks day..not to long, not too short; not too hot, not too cold; not too windy, not too still..it was just right. Even knowing that it was a rolling day, the distance gave it something. I have an unofficial rule that came about near the start of this trip..
>100km long or > 1000m up is a good day in the office.
A few weeks later it was extended to include:
>2000m up is a freaking awesome day.
So today fit into the former even though it was rolling. I think because if over a certain distance it is easier to zone out. And today I zoned out pretty much as soon as I hit the saddle. If I was being a ponse I could say I got 'into the zone' but am not sure that really fits. When I zone out, its more that my head and my legs just go their separate ways. Not literally, obviously or that would cause problems, more that my legs go on autopilot and my head goes...well off with the fairies I guess. Its the best way to be, your head in control can be your worst enemy. For the last few days I have kept my garmin on just elevation..no speed, distance or times, and that makes for a more relaxing ride. I get there when I get there. I trust my autopilot legs to go at a good speed.

I saw some 'hobbit houses' today, little doors into grassy mounds with chimneys poking out the top. Quite bizarre but cute..I think perhaps they are smoking houses, I'll look it up later.

My road merged with the motorway at one point and it always amuses me the signs for motorways..a big old not allowed sign..which has the standard images..no pedestrians, no cyclists, then it gets more local..no tractors, nor riding horses and definitely no horse and carts. Love it.

The roads in general are good here..I think I've mentioned the big hard shoulders and generally good nick of the roads (though that is variable). But there are other things that are good too...say you are on a single carriage way road.. One each way that is..and you want to turn left is across the oncoming traffic, at home you would just wait and block the road til you can turn. But here they take you off the road to the right on a bend til you are basically perpendicular to the road you came from, them you cross from there. It's a great idea! No blocking traffic or anything like that. It is slightly confusing as the signposts point in one direction when you know the place is the other. It also gets confusing when it's used at a cross road..it looks like a roundabout, it starts out like a roundabout but then you suddenly have to give way. That takes a little getting used to..a couple of near misses at the start of the trip due to that.

The other good thing about the roads here are the signs saying to look out for cyclists. There are a lot. And over the last couple of weeks they have changed to the from the generic 'watch out for them' to the 'be 1.5m away from them' type. Which is great, not always followed but drivers on the whole are good here with regards to cyclists. When it gets amusing is when they put those signs on a single track road, especially ones going up a mountain. Basically then being 1.5m away from me would mean they were off the road and down the mountains.
Brilliant intentions but perhaps a little more thought on where and how to apply it.

Oh and I was back on the Camino de Santiago again today..I have been on and off it since Seville..it goes more directly north where as I headed east on occasions. This surprised me at first as I thought the Camino was just across the north but there actually about 5 or 6 different routes, the north one is just the most famous. I was even taken for a pilgrim on several occasions. A pilgrim in Lycra..what a thought. But I guess it does happen, the Camino interweaves with many of the roads I have taken, and on it on occasions. You do see quite a few walkers, more than I thought. Many solo travellers too. Lots of respect for those guys and gals, it cannot be easy and the north south is a long old route.

I am in Leon tonight and tomorrow night. My last break for a while so I am going to try to make the most of it. It seems a really laid back city so I don't think it will be too hard.

Posted by louisebenn 10:52 Archived in Spain

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