Days 21-23

  •  Day 21

After a much enjoyed Christams and New Year break with my family in the UK, it was time to fly back to Faro, Portugal, and collect my bike. I’d left it at the hostel, it was a last minute decision to fly back to England. The owner picked me up from the airport (20 bucks down already) for a fair price. It was straight back to the hostel, quickly do some food shopping and then sleep. I’d got fifty one miles to ride the next day and my belly was full of Mom’s home-made delights that I’d eaten over the festive season.

My destination for the day was Lepe in Spain. When I woke, it was saddening not to be with my family, but there was no time for dealing with ’emotional botional.’ I’d got a big ride ahead of me and that had to be my focus.

My first pit-stop was after twenty seven miles. I could have stayed a while longer than the half an hour, but I wanted to get the first days ride completed relatively quickly.

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Stage two of the day had got under way. I had to cross by ferry into Spain. I was hoping for a bridge, but after just ten miles I arrived at the port. The ferry wasn’t due for thirty minutes. I didn’t need a stop, but what could I do apart from jumping on the spot, nothing? I had to wait and so it was time for more pics. One stone carving, two images and two thoughts, or one if your just down-right greedy! It’s funny what we think of, especially when there is time to kill. Are you a bum or boobs man?

The harbour and the promenade was quite spectacular. I doubt I’ll ever return to Portugal. I have no reason to. And so, I didn’t look back!

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Thirty minutes had passed and I was three euros down and bound for Spain. Magic! I couldn’t believe the size of the passenger foot ferry.

The concept of the question of the stone carving must have remained with me. It sort of ties in with the next metaphor that follows.

I’d arrived, I was in Spain and I couldn’t believe what an amazing feeling I had to be home. Portugal was less than one mile away. The colour of the skies wouldn’t have been different, but my mood must have changed because I was now thinking… The sky is so blue in Spain, bluer than ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ and that’s ‘blue’ to say the very least.

The final stage, stage three was a breeze, pure excitement. The hotel was easy to find and 18e for a two star with breakfast was good value. Just before the hotel was a supermarket. I stocked up for dinner with packet filled spaghetti  with cheese and spinach, brown cobs, tinned sardines, fruit and Greek yoghurt.

After checking in and unpacking a few things it was time for a bath. Whilst the water was running the bathroom was going to twin as a kitchen. In the bathroom now was my stove and packet spaghetti. I filled the pan with hot water from the bath and placed it to boil. After the water had come to the boil it was time to empty the contents of the packet into the pan and jump in the bath. Two minutes later my food was cooked. Unfortunately I’d no cutlery, I had to use my hands to eat, and that was after I had drained the greeny coloured water from the pan and back into the bath. Before long I was in bed with the iPad at the ready, along with some bread and sardines. I was careful not to spill the fish on the bedding. The little buggers might be dead, but they’re a swine to eat with your fingers.

 Day 22. Lepe-Huelva-Mazagon 36 miles

I had a brilliant ride to Huelva. The morning was bright and as the day unfolded it got brighter and warmer. Almost hot! When I got to Huelva it was 20C, January! The terrain was mixed and fifteen of the twenty miles to Huelva was off road.

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It never stops and I never tire of this terrain.

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I stopped for a while and had lunch. I hung around a while,I’d planned to get to Amelia’s house for sometime around 4pm. It was quite the same in terms of terrain, so much off road. After fifteen miles I was on Amelia’s road. She was my host for the evening. I knew her house had see views but this was better than I’d hoped for by a long way. I literally jumped off the bike and for the first time, I didn’t look for somewhere to prop it up. It was straight on the floor and photo time.

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I got to Amelia’s and was welcomed with a warm smile by her and a bark from The White Terrier. He was going to be boss. After being showed to my room it was time for dinner. We sat on the patio eating and drinking and watching the sun go down. I’ve seen some sunsets before, but this one was going to take some beating.

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The day was wrapped up around 9pm, for me anyway. It was time to say goodnight.

Day 23 Mazagon – Almonte – Aznalcazár 40 miles

I woke early and after coffee and two apples, I was on the road for 09:30h. My first stop was Almonte, twenty five miles away. What a ride it was too. Both images below show how great the terrain was for me. It’s slower than tarmac but I’d take it anyday.

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Almonte has a huge Morrocon influence, there were so many cafes owned by them and all the punters were were of this persuasion too. I had two of their pancake type things, which were very nice and a large coffee. After about an hour I set off for Aznalcázar.

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This is where things don’t go to plan and I get frustrated. To start with I couldn’t find the accommodation, it was hidden down a dirt track. So I’m forty five minutes down already. I get to the house and the Spanish guy tells me that he is only there to water the garden and that it’s his daughters property and she’s in Morroco. I couldn’t believe it, I’d booked in advance too. She obviously thought she wasn’t going to get any bookings in January and therefore didn’t bother telling the booking website. 

Now I have to find alternative accomodation and make a complaint to the online booking company so I don’t get charged. What a drag! The only other accomodation in the village was set behind huge gates. I knew it was going to cost an arm leg but I had no choice. The main residence was to the left then around a huge patio area and a swimming pool were two storied, two bedroom apartments. It was gorgeous. Forty two euros for one night I was told. Shit! I told the guy of my problem and I also showed him the cycling Jersey I was wearing. It reads, ‘cycling for epilepsy research UK.’ I offered thirty euros and he didn’t blink. Get this! He says, ‘of course, no problem and thank you for raising money for charity.’ Boom, I’m in. Expensive still for me, but a good discount nonetheless. 

I settled in and then went to the supermarket for food. Apples, bananas, plums, dates, raisins, cashew nuts, muesli, Greek yoghurt, bread, sardines and chorizo. I was still a bit ‘unsteady’ I guess, after the hassle I’d had. Back at the room I thought… I’ve  got to channel this energy into something positive. I’d got it! The next day was going to be a big ride. I started to prepare for it before I’d even plotted the route. I started to eat, and I didn’t stop. Even through the night I woke twice and ate more fruit, three pieces. More energy for tomorrow. 

I’d got my route planned, fifty seven miles to Levrija. I was excited at the thought of the finish line. 

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