Toward the South

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port - Orthez - Toulouse

26 June

I was expecting a rainy road all the way and finally I stay dry until Saint Palais where I stop to eat a sandwich. I can even eat it on the Place du Foirail outside... but the temperature starts to cool down. I take a coffee and at the exit it will rain until Sauveterre de Bearn. Then it alternates between rain and dry weather. The route between Sauveterre de Bearn and Orthez is quite hilly. I chose a train in the afternoon which leaves me a lot of margin for manoeuvre. There was a train at (...)

Pamplona - Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

25 June

Although the distance to ride today is short I start early to try to get through before the rain that is forecasted in the afternoon. It works well at the beginning with just a few drops on the descent of the first passes but when I reach the 1000m of the Ronceveaux pass (Ibañeta) it really rains and we are in the clouds.
On the descent it’s cold which justifies staying covered as much as possible, I stop to eat in one of the last villages in Spain. As the lady speaks very good French I ask (...)

San Román de San Millan - Pamplona

24 June

It rained during the night and the departure is made in the greyness. But soon the clouds go away and it is quite warm. Then they come back with a few drops but nothing very threatening. I’m not sure that tomorrow I’ll have the same luck to cross the pass!
In this valley that leads to Pamplona there is a village every two kilometres. And in each village there are signs against the high speed line (if I understood correctly)
Pamplona is my last day in Spain. Tomorrow I will cross the (...)

Miranda de Ebro - San Román de San Millan

23 June

The weather is uncertain this morning, but soon turns nice.
I climbed to the Zaldiaran pass at 780m and then descended quietly to Vitoria-Gastiez where I had my coffee. Then I go to Augurain/Salvatierra where I decide to eat. I am shown a restaurant, a menu del dia where I don’t understand all the choices... so I have some surprises! Since the time I see cheese pies for dessert, I take one and it’s delicious!
A few more kilometres to reach what seemed to me to be an isolated village with an (...)

Burgos - Miranda de Ebro

22 June

The start is grey, which turns into real rain when we get to Briviesca.
So I equip myself entirely for the rain just as I arrive. In front of a garage door. A car arrives, the garage door opens, should I move? No, the guy comes to take some things and offers to put me really dry!
In Briviesca I take the coffee I was waiting for since a long time, all along the way, everything was closed.
After the coffee, the rain stopped and the sun even came out before arriving in Miranda de Ebro. Miranda (...)

Palencia - Burgos

20 June

The weather is threatening all day and it is not very warm, I will only take off my jacket with the sun rays around 10 am.
The route is pleasant on a small road from Palencia. Then I follow a national road for about 20 km. There the wind becomes annoying but when I leave the national road it comes on the side, and sometimes it will even push me. Fortunately, when I get to Burgos, the wind becomes strong and big black clouds arrive. It will rain a few drops when we get to Burgos.
After the (...)

Tordesillas - Palencia

19 June

Very happy to be able to leave at 7.30am even though I’m camping: mattress, sheet, bag, tent... all folded in an hour and a half. And had a bite to eat too, but no coffee.
At the start, the waistcoat is necessary, I’ll take it off after the coffee in the next town.
The sky is cloudless for the first time in a week, but it won’t last. The landscape: wheat as far as the eye can see, some kind of plateau and I will end up riding on one of them to get to Palencia.
It’s Sunday morning and a lot of (...)

Salamanca - Tordesillas

18 June

Here the heat wave seems to be over, at least in the region where I am. Thursday evening thunderstorms cooled the atmosphere. Yesterday I visited Salamanca, which would deserve more than a day. Apart from the walks in the streets I will be satisfied with climbing the towers of the Cathedral. Very nice visit, a well organised traffic flow to avoid people jostling each other on the narrow stairs, but today there are not many people 🙂
This morning, I finally head for Tordesillas : it’s a (...)

Bejar - Salamenca

16 June

I save ten minutes this morning: departure at 7.05 am! The weather is cool after the storm and rain of the day before, I even put on my jacket. We have to go down the hill on which Bejar is perched and then go up the other side. There seems to be a cycle track that used to run under Bejar on the route of an old railway. A track that must have served the disused factories in this valley... I’ll have to see if I could have taken this track, which would have meant not passing Bejar. The sky (...)

Plasencia - Bejar

15 June

Departure at 7:15 this morning. I can’t do any better... but that was without counting on the gag of the day: at the moment of starting I realize that my mobile phone is still in the room... like the keys! I only have to wait for 8am for the hotel reception to open. The guy arrives and gives me a duplicate, and I end up seeing my phone on the bathroom bin. Black on black it was undetectable. That’s an hour’s worth of expenses lost... as I dread the climb which is quite long. The landscape (...)