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day 37 Comillas

'I must go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and sky...'

overcast

distance: 116km
Total wave: 1846m
Hours in the saddle: 5hrs 35min
Terrain: one mountain, and then undulating

Well by morning, I still was none the wiser as what route to go... I was thinking it would be unlikely to do the original plan of hoiking back round the Pico's..if it was a lovely day and the wind and weather were favourable and I had my legs, then yes it was doable but otherwise..not a chance. New thought was to go pretty much directly to the next stop, I had been doing my homework on it and it sounded like good place to explore. And..a big and...it was by the sea!!!!

So this was in my head as I went down to breakie..and then, when in was eating, I googled the Lagos climb. I hadn't realised it was such a famous climb! Numerous times in the Vuelta and was quite an hefty one to do. I looked out the window and it was a bit misty but otherwise good...new plan - hit the Lagos climb (sans panniers) then head to the coast. I got changed and headed back down, told the woman at reception what I was doing so she didn't think I was legging it. She looked worried and spouted fast Spanish at me. I managed to get her to slow down and the gist was was that she wanted the room back by 12. Hmm this made me waver for a second then I realised that was three hours away! It was a 12km climb and I had checked the gradient.. so 2 1/2 hours max, I was sure. I said this, and she looked at me dubiously and said no no it is very steep, you won't do it.

Oh...lady..oh...there really are things not to say to me, and that was one. Challenge accepted!!! I would make it there and back as quickly as I could just to prove her wrong. I hate it when people underestimate me, though I have to say it is very good for the motivation. So off I sped. Cor what a climb! It didn't pull any punches as it swung between 10 and 14% for what seemed like most of it. But wow it was a good'un. Fantastic views far down the valley, mist up ahead. One of the things I had read this morning was that it was similar to Alps d'Huez. Its not at all. Personally I think Huez is slightly overrated, it is also very..manicured. And the top is a maze of a huge ski resort. This climb was rough around the edges and rustic and I have to say tougher but better for it. It had character. So onwards and upwards, avoiding cows in the road and the few tourist busses and cars. The road still had reminants from the last time it was used in the Vuelta..messages for Contador, Rodriges and Chava still visable. The Lagos aren't really the top of anywhere..they are just the end of the road up that bit of mountain so there was no real climatic end as such..except for rolling over a cattle grid and onto the most in cyclist friendly surface ever invented, into a hovel of tourists. Few snaps of the beautiful lakes and the misty mountains then a careful trip back down..the road is just over single track, and visibility of the corners is poor. Tourist cars were staying in the middle of the road which of course is not great for those going the other way. Plus of course the pesky cows.

I made it up in 1hr 15, and back down in 1hr 50 (stopping for snaps along the way). Take that receptionist woman you!! She didn't bat an eyelid. Oh well. I was quite impressed with it anyway..and I still had my 1kg lock on the back of the bike plus my hefty ole back wheel. Job done, so glad I decided to do that.

Then with the panniers back on it was time to head back to Panes, along the road that had caused me so much pain yesterday. God how different!!! It sped past and I actually got to look at the scenery rather than head down swearing away as I was yesterday. At Panes, I looked over toward the mountains and Potes and they were barely visible for the dark clouds over them. I think I made the right choice. Then from Panes to the coast.

As I was climbing a hill before San Vicente, I looked back to my right at the mountains again..admiring the view over the smaller hills and the dark shadows behind. I looked left, and lo and behold the sea had sneaked up on me! Lots of things do that to me these days. Going down the other side of that climb, I caught sight of San Vicente town..wow..truely and utterly wow. It straddles over two estuaries, with its church and castle on a mound in between. A couple of bridges and some fantastic little beaches. I was tempted to stay and explore for a while but I wasn't sure my legs would like it, so I carried on to Comillas.

The first thing you see with Comillas is several huge great stonking buildings just up to the side. I had read that the architecture is what you come here for..it's bonkers. These three mansions were examples of that. Apparently many moons ago some guys build one of these completely eccentric palaces..and that opened the door to their people wanting to come do something random and unique too. And that is what shapes Comillas today. Its a crazy contrast..all these mad buildings of various sizes and shapes, and then in the centre it still has its medieval cobbles, plazas, churches and buildings. Near the top of the town on the cliff there is the cemetery, it's in an old ruined church and it's yard, and on one of the interior wall there is a man-sized sword wielding angel there to protect the dead. That side of the coast is rocks and cliffs, but around the corner there is a small port and then a beautiful golden sanded beach.

There is something about the sea that makes you relax. I could stop here for days quite happily. There is no sun today, but that doesn't matter. Most of the town is still shut as its out of season but again, that really doesn't make any difference. Quite a strangely feeling also to have made it to the opposite coast at last..via a very indirect route. Seems quite mad to have made it this far, its very hard idea to grasp.

Posted by louisebenn 11:06 Archived in Spain

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