27 July Zamora to Ávila

It was a cool, cloudy morning. Perfect for cycling. Coming out of Zamora I had a long boring flat road. Yay!!!! My legs were delighted, and I flew along at 35kph. Where the road undulated the incline slowed me down to about 20kph but I hit 40-45kph on the decline. So it was great. The only problem was that there was a lot of north easterly headwind as I approached Salamanca. So I started to slow down and found I needed energy.

I stopped at a little town outside Salamanca, called Calzada de Valdunciel for lunch. In Spain, if you want to see a menu, ask for “la carta”. I asked for “el menu” (you get a choice from the set menu, which is usually 2 or 3 courses and much better value). I had a pasta salad, followed by a whole fish.

I took some time to look around Salamanca, to have an ice cream in the Plaza Mayor and to take a few photos of the Cathedrals. Salamanca is famous for it’s university and there are many interesting university buildings too. Several times, people stopped to talk to me about the bike and where I had been. An old chap explained that the New Cathedral was built in two parts, one in the 16th century and the other part in the 18th century and showed me where the split was. I also met a cyclist who had come from Bilbao. But all on a road bike, and with his wife in the “support car”.

After Salamanca, I headed East towards Avila. I enjoyed 60km of flat roads, with much less wind, and as the wind was north easterly I found I was being pushed along rather than held back. After 2 hours I had done 60km and only had 30 left to do to reach Avila.

But then the hills started. My legs were still aching from Thursday’s big day. And I laboured every inch of the road. I found myself on a long road lined with sunflowers as the sun set. It was so pretty and although I should have been pushing on, I stopped to capture the view so that my mum could enjoy it too. 

There were no campsites at Avila. I found a hostal outside for 40 euros for the night. The owner said I could probably find one in the centre for 30 euros pre night but I was so tired, that I just wanted to stop. After a cold beer, I went to sleep in a nice comfortable clean room feeling that I had saved enough money in the past week to be able to afford this little luxury.

170km. 3314km so far.