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Alcala del Jucar


Distance: 96.81km
Total ascent: 499m
Time on the bike: 4hrs
Terrain: rolling hills

So last night, having no supermarket I had to go out and hit the town for dinner. I chose a nice looking place off the main 'drag' that had a nice view over the hills. I somehow managed to order myself the taster menu which at 24€ was a lot more than am used to spending on food but at this point I was too hungry to work it out and change it. But to be fair it was totally worth the 24€..bread (lots which was good as I kept stealing it into my bag), sliced mushrooms with olive oil, viniger and pepper, 5 tapas (3 for me being veggie) two of which I have absolutely no idea what they were..apart from yum. Then the main for which I had a huge tuna steak, then pudding to finish it off. As with any meal larger than a sarnie..I get half way through it then get hit by an urge to fall asleep. I managed to make it through all the masses of food though, helped by the amazing lightning show over the way. You also got wine with this deal though as I am not drinking it was 'solo agua' for me.

Boy did I sleep well that night. Still woke in the middle but slept again after only to sleep through my alarm. Normally it wouldn't matter but the owner was coming at 8 especially for me so I had to leg it downstairs for that if I wanted my coffee.

Unfortunately the coffee didn't seem to work today. I spent the whole if the route in a zombie daze. Not that I needed to be awake..it was just along two very very straight roads which rolled up and down, up and down, up and down and so on. Put it this way.. If I had been in a boat I might have been getting seasick. And no offence to the scenery but it was exactly what I had seen for the last few days. The only moment I woke up was when I saw a huge bull silhouette on the horizon, and that made me smile..it's the epitome of Spain for me. The one perk of zoning out completely was that the ride was over surprisingly quick..also aided by the gods looking kindly on me and giving to route a slight decline and also a tailwind.

And so I arrived at the top of Alcala del Jucar. What hadn't really clicked about Alcala was that it was down in a gorge...like near Sedano all those months ago. So you are riding along what you think is the valley bottom, hills in the distance, then suddenly the valley floor disappears and you have a steep gorge down to the river. It's quite a sight but the best was yet to come. Following the road down along the striata past the castle to the town it comes to the river. Here the Rio Jucar is quite wide and slow moving, surrounded by huge willows and reeds. And as you get near the centre if the town the atmosphere changes..from dusty plain town to an oasis. There is even a beach! It's unbelievably stunning and not just a little random. All my worries of this being a small town with nothing open on a Sunday vanished as this is Spanish Sunday heaven! No supermarket sure but all the restaurants and kiosks are open to cater for the hub of people who have descended in the town for a day at the beach.

I may make it up to the castle later, but this is very much a place where you need to be it to appreciate it not looking down on it.

There is also the Vuelta today which is finishing at my favourite Lagos de Covadonga, so I shall be watching that. I have not seen it for a few days though I caught it yesterday and I have to say the finish was so exciting for the eventual winner and for Froomey, who I had thought was out of the game, that I was actually standing on my bed cheering them on. Quite amusing the stories that had been going on about the winner, Ryder, last week..he had been accused of 'motor doping' ie having a motor in his bike! Absolutely the most ridiculous thing ever. But quite amusing at the same time too..his bike even has it's own Twitter account now because if it. Madness.

Posted by louisebenn 06:44 Archived in Spain

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