Plain sailing

Posted by on 5, Jun 2017 in 2017 - Rock to ???, Spain, Tilly the Tandem

Plain sailing

It’s very odd to be cycling in a relatively flat landscape surrounded by corn fields in bright sunshine yet be at around 800m. As you climbed up to the Plains (albeit in a taxi for some of it) you just don’t expect to get to somewhere flat at the top. It’s like a rolling Lincolnshire or the Canadian prairies with almost all the landscape being farm on top of the alps. It’s actually a bit dull, but it does mean when there’s a wind behind you you fly along – easily doing more than 20km each hour on some occasions, which for a fully loaded tandem isn’t bad.

Every now and again you reach small town or village – often deserted (where does everyone go?) And they look like they haven’t changed in centuries. It almost doesn’t matter where you head to, the centres of the towns are beautiful, there’s always a church and a square normally named Plaza Maya or Place de Espagne, and often a castle.

The main city on this section for us was Valadolid – or Vladivostock as Linda kept calling it and sticking to this year’s festival theme there was a medieval fare and fold dancing laid on for us!

Surprisingly we left Vladivistock following the Canal de Castile, an I’ll fated attempt to link the Spanish plains to the bay of Biscay. It stretches 207km northward but was abandoned before completion with the advent of railways and is now used as an irrigation channel with the Locks removed. It was quite different to the rest of our cycling so far, the gravel tow path, trees and very very slow flowing water. We left it after a short while and began another few hundred kilometers of travelling through Lincolnshire. Endless fields, deserted and abandoned villages and a wonderful tail wind saw us rip through the heart of the Spanish farming land.

This isn’t the usual cycke route so accommodation is sparse and we planned our routes by the available stops, the best of which was a little 6 bedroom hotel where the owner had to come from Madrid to open it for us as we we’re the only guests! Beautifully decorated inside and really individual we adjourned to the antique shop like lounge for some local wine. The owner is also the chef and hid his disappointment that we were veggies well after feeling off his menu of various parts of dead animals and fish. He did produce the best salad we’ve ever had, omelette and died potatoes and home made ice cream that was gorgeous and was a real character.

With the wind still at our backs we left him after a very relaxing evening and headed toward Burgos, where we start our climb into the Pyrenees proper.

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