La Vuelta from Casa Angel in Espinedo

Even with the duvet on top of my sleeping bag I was a bit chilly in the early morning. It hadn’t rained but everything needed a bit of drying out. Luckily we weren’t in a hurry to leave, and even watched the day’s stage on tv at the campground’s bar. There was actually a bit of a crowd watching with us – the owner was kept busy.
Once the race on tv was over we headed out, going east a bit, then north to get on a side road. Traffic marshalls were already out controlling who could go where up the one road – we were directed to parking area 8, which is a farmer’s field several km up the mountain.

We were happy to pull in and pay the small fee, and after getting settled we walked back down the road a few hundred meters to the cafe/bar we’d passed. They had an excellent Rioja that went down very smoothly.

Scrambled eggs with bacon and onion for dinner, then an early night.
The morning was a bit grey, but it hadn’t rained. After our morning tea and a bit of breakfast we walked down to the little village again, and someone hailed us. It was a fellow that had been at the same lovely campground we’d been at near Foz last week! It really is a small world – he and his wife live in a house right up the hill from the bar.
We sat down at an outside table at the Casa Angel bar/restaurant and soaked in the sun and the atmosphere. As the afternoon progressed it became more and more busy, and cyclists by the dozens were going by us up the mountain.
At some point we decided to just stay put for the race – it was so nice where we were, and the gathering crowd was great. They had the race on tv in the bar so we knew the exact progress and when they were getting near.
There was no caravan today, as I don’t think there’s any room for them to park at the top, which is about 23 km of brutal climbing above us.
The small breakaway reached us at 4:48, followed by another small group, then the peloton. A few stragglers passed just after 5:00.
Once the riders had all passed the crowd moved indoors to watch the last bit on tv . The bar was extremely crowded so we checked out the restaurant, which had much more room – we even got a table.
I must say that the bar staff was just excellent – I’m not sure they realized quite how busy they would get, but they and the kitchen staff hustled their butts off and it was great. I think that several of the locals also pitched in from time to time when things were especially hectic so it was really nice to see.

We didn’t stay too long afterwards, but went back to the now deserted farmer’s field and had hamburgers for dinner. Not wanting to drive down the narrow road at night we were the only ones left in the field until morning.

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