Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day Nine- San Martin de Valdeiglesias to Avila- Hill Madness!!

We woke up this morning feeling pretty average. The heat and dehydration from yesterday had taken its toll so we were looking forward to (what we thought would be) a relatively easy day of 54km. Leaving San Martin de Valdeiglesias our book suggested that we should take the road instead of the camino and we soon found out why! The camino in these parts is a true hiking track, complete with boulders and deep sand. It would have been hike a bike all the way to Cebreros (17.2km). So instead we took the backroad of the AV-502. Although I was disappointed not to be taking the dirt roads we were following the same route closely and the views that we were rewarded with were spectacular! Those who know me know I am not the greatest fan of either bitumen or hill climbing. Well I had both today! The most I have ever done! It just kept going up and up and up forever! As soon as we got round one corner thinking that would be the top we would see a never ending road snaking is way up further and around the horizon. It was then that we decided there was no way we would be able to cover this terrain on the dirt and decided that the whole day was going to have to be on the road.


Early morning trepidation
Never ending climbs

Chug chug chug
After a stop in Cebreros for a coffee and an ensaimada the hill climbing continued! I found that as long as I went at my own pace and didn't try to keep up with Ben (I'm not insane!) it was ok....just keep turning the pedals, keep a good momentum and try to control my breathing. It was starting to get hot, but I knew we just had to get to Avila, so I just kept going. When we reached San Bartolome de Pinares we happened apon another cyclist. A Spaniard from Lorca who was also doing the camino but a different route. Our routes were the same for this stage so he joined us to Avila. It was nice to have some company and for Ben to have someone else to ride with. It kinda made me keep going too as I didn't want to make them both wait for me all the time. We took to the camino for a short section but quickly went back to the road, taking the wrong one for a bit and having to backtrack, eventually joining up with the AV- 503. Turned out to be another ever winding upwards road! Incredible views, but bloody difficult! The highest point was El Boqueron which was over 1300m.

Break time in San Bartolome de Pinares

More views

Our Spanish friend
More winding roads

Getting better at it!!
We arrived in Avila, 75km in 7hrs. Another tough day on the bike! We said goodbye to our Spanish friend as he headed off to the Albergue. We are fancy and needed a bed for the night :-D we found an awesome hostal for only 30 euros a night! Best of all, they have a restaurant downstairs so we quickly showered and then hoed down on the best meal ever! Salad, peas with Jamon, roast lamb, and a beef cazuela, all washed down with a bottle of the local red. We finished the day with a walk around Avila and the city walls which date to 1090! Great day!!!! :)

Happy pilgrim


The restaurant

Cathedral Avila

Las murallas


1 comment:

  1. What a great blog, looks like you guys are having a real adventure, I have to admit I am a little envious ;) take care!