September 15 – Friday

Every time I woke up during the night I thought it was pouring rain, and in the morning when it started getting light I had no idea what time it was as I’d left both of my ‘clocks’ in the campervan. The church bells were no help at all – the ones I did hear ding-donged 32 times – not sure what time it was supposed to signify.

When I did get out of the tent I found it hadn’t rained at all – everything including the ground was dry – it must have just been that the wind was so bad. It was just before 8:00 when I went into the campervan to make tea – Colin wasn’t up yet so I made my tea and took it up to the cafe to access the wi-fi. The signal wasn’t great, so I finished my tea and went back for breakfast – leftover lamb on a bun. Found out it had gotten down to 2 degrees in the night – glad I have a decent sleeping bag and my black blankie.

Hung out the clothes again to finish drying, then went for another ride on the Camino, which once again was just metres away from the campground. Gabriel had given me a local map and tried to tell me that I must go west for my ride, but I headed east into a fierce head-wind instead – I figured go out with the head-wind and come back with a tail-wind. I mention ‘fierce wind’ a lot in this area, because it is just that – I don’t think I could live here, although it does power a lot of wind turbines, which is great.

I rode for a few km, passed an old convent, then when the path left the road and turned into dirt I followed it, which I regretted a little later but didn’t want to turn around and go back.

I could see the road not far to the right, but there was no way to get to it for several kms. Most people were very nice and friendly, but one unhappy-looking bag had to say ‘you are going to wrong way’ which made me wonder – where did she see the rule that said you could only follow the Camino from east to west? And where was the sign that said anything about bikes not being allowed on this stretch? She was full of crap and I knew it so I just kept going.

I finally found a side lane that went in the direction of the road, and followed it. Eventually arrived at the town of Hontanas, another major stopping place for walkers – lots of hostels and cafes. It was only about 9 km from where I started, but because I’d stopped a few times, and followed the dirt trail for quite a ways, not to mention the head-wind, it had taken me almost an hour.
I turned around and stopped for a few minutes to eat some peanuts and have a bit of wine in front of a mural of a pilgrim and the Camino route, then headed back to the campground.
I thought it would now be warm enough to ride with my rain jacket instead of the hoodie, but after a very short time I pulled over and put the hoodie back on – it was very chilly.
Got back and Gabriel asked where I’d gone – he was disappointed I hadn’t taken his suggestion to go west, and seemed to think I was a bit of a wimp for not going further than I had.
Colin and I decided to get on the road again rather than stay another night – this is a nice campground and the people are great but we wanted to move on and get going back to France.

We followed quiet back roads so took a bit longer, but got to see some nice countryside – the road, for once, didn’t parallel the new motorway the whole way. At one hilltop there were wind turbines on all sides – we were surrounded by the turbines, and a network of electric lines going in every direction, but to me it’s a lot better site than seeing oil wells and pumps all over. I must also mention Spanish roads in general – there are new highways everywhere, even when the existing older, slightly more winding ones are still in good shape – lots of viaducts and tunnels. We figure that it must have been a large infrastructure/make work project funded by the EU a few years ago.

We drove as far as Fuermayor, near Logrono before stopping – the campground was ok but the office didn’t give Colin the discount he should have gotten for having his ACIS card so it seemed a little expensive.

The electric still doesn’t work in the campervan as we didn’t go to the dealership in Logrono, but that’s ok until we get back to Mansle. The gas for the stove still works, as does the fridge when on battery and the phone/ipad charger so we can manage.

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