Where am I? What is going on? Hopefully from reading this blog you have so far come to some conclusions such as – ‘what is this pillock up too? He obviously has no idea about cycle touring!’
It’s probably even worse than you think! I had always planned to spend a bit of time here, but not 6 weeks! Almost left a few weeks ago, but after a sleepless night in the caravan, I thought better of it. The blog promised to friends back home – still just a thought, the route plan – just a rough idea of how to get to the Spanish boarder. I had successfully procrastinated away weeks with gardening and odd jobs. Not a total waste, as they needed doing, and I have picked up some obscure skills that will take pride of place on my CV, such as removing the plow from an antique tractor (Massey-Harris Ferguson Pony made we think in 1954), and re-coiling the starter spring on a Echo SRM-160ae trimmer (you don’t want to know but incase that inadvertently shows up on a google search – 2 nails in a bench vice and a few Youtube self-help videos).
There has been several encounters with the local wildlife:
- 3 Aesculapian Snakes – 1 the best part of 2 meters in length
- 1 Viper – My mum excitedly called me over to see, then unexpectedly decapitated it with a massive pick axe
- 3 Toads – 2 of which had a very near miss with the Echo SRM-160ae
- 1 Frog – lovingly named Javi
- 1 Owl – Spotted it the first couple of nights but not since. I hear it every night and sure its having a laugh watching me stumbling blindly through the dark to the caravan
Probably my most ridiculous accomplishment has been to pimp the caravan – certainly put a few smiles on faces in nothing else.
The experience of life on my parents semi functional small holding has been unique. Young turkeys have been purchased to be fattened up for Christmas and a rabbit has produced 6 very cute bunnies which will be exchanged with locals for moonshine no doubt.
There has even been a little bit of route planning. Hours of it. Making it to Santiago is of the highest importance. Not the epic I had envisioned, but still, a distance to be proud of. From Santiago are several options – give up, go South and probably cook to death in 50 degree heat then be eaten by vultures, Madrid – but by the time I get there even the Madrileño’s will be fleeing the heat, follow the river Ebro – which could be a sensible option, or the Pyrenees – now that would be an achievement. Quick dunk in the Atlantic, a few days pedalling through some pretty mountains in the fresh air, then a dunk in the med.
Stage 3 – Les Loges to Santiago – I leave early tomorrow morning and hope to have completed by the middle of July
Stage 4 – Camino Norde – Following the Atlantic coast back to to the Pyrenees – should keep me busy to the end of July
Stage 5 – The Pyrenees West to East – I hear this can be completed in about 2 weeks unless my bike gets eaten by a bear or wolf
Stage 6 – East Pyrenees to Lucca in Italy – I hope the thought of a Negroni in my favourite bar will get me there by the end of August