Monday, 16 June 2014

Day 18. Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos. 46 miles

Day 18. Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos. 46 miles.

Although the Parador hotel in Santo Domingo was lovely, I didn't get much sleep. Partly I'd had a coffee after my evening meal amt a small cafe that did a €10 menu, and partly because of the clock tower in the cathedral square just outside our window which struck the quarters as well as the hours.

The breakfast was a huge buffet including cold meats and fish, salami, bacon, eggs, fish,  2 kinds of tortilla, fruit, breads, pastries, yogurt, cereals, etc. A great foundation for a day on the bike.

It was cooler today, and ideal cycling conditions. My route, following German guide book veered off the main road and was mostly flat and straight and took me past a village where they specialise on growing pimentos, and pasta huge sodium sulphate mine. I think that is gypsum.

We met at Belorado where my loop road joined back into the main N-120. Despite being a road that is in process of conversion to a motorway, the traffic level was I similar to a Country B road in the UK a gradual climb as far as the village of Villafranca-Montes de Oca. Turning a corner I was faced with a sign saying gradient 16% for 3 km. similar to the Pyrenees but shorter. The summit was at Puerto de la Pedraja at 1150 metres, so a bit higher than Scafell  Pike. But remember the area round here is mainly at about 800-900 metres, so 1150 isn't that enormous. Brendan had found a delightful picnic spot just past the summit, opposite a ruined chapel , and next to an ancient well with water spouting from a carved sheep's head.The picnickers seats were built from old stone kilometre posts, I read somewhere.

The rest of the route to Burgos was gently downhill and I managed probably 30 mph most of the way. Great campsite. But then the ideal day disintegrated. I could not find my Pilgrim a Record. That's the wee booklet which I got from the Confraternity of Saint James to record my journey by having motels, churches, campsites, ECG, stamp it. A phone call to the hotel revealed that I'd left it in our room. So back to Santo Domingo in the car to pick it up. I was very relieved the book had turned up. I was also relieved to know that the section of the main road I'd bypassed had quite a few hills on it, so probably I'd made the right decision.

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