Monday, November 5, 2018

5th November (sun, cloud, light shower, cold) 48 km

During the night, it chucked it down and the wind blew. I got up at some point when it had eased off for a while, to pay a visit to the loos and there were puddles of water everywhere. Back inside the tent however, we were not only dry, but warm as well. Our tent has been fantastic. Although weighing 4kgs, a bit more than we would like, the Vango has been a great find and for anyone touring for a few months or more, we feel they would be well pleased with it. It has so much room in the vestibule and the inner and when you’re touring for months on end, you want some form of comfort from your tent. We have been lashed by rain on a few occasions, without any problems and the groundsheet or footprint (as it’s now called) is very sturdy, despite it’s lightweight appearance.
Many of the puddles on the pine needles pitches had disappeared by the time we woke, soaking into the sand, but the pathways remained wet. Only had a handful of cereal to munch on, so once that was gone, we packed up the now dry tent.  We realised this could well be the last time we use the tent as campgrounds on our way to Seville appear to be non-existent.  We really enjoy camping so it doesn’t bother us in the least, however, the nights are very long now and you begin to realise how much you take the electric light for granted.
Whilst I showered, Julia had taken the blog to the cafeteria to upload and grabbed a coffee.  I followed suit once finished my shower. Once again we struck up a conversation with the reception guy, who told us that he studied in Newcastle, Passau and Granada, but has been running the camp now for ten years. Very nice guy. Also chatted with the young guy from the bar last night about the music performances he’s in. He practises five nights per week so it’s really time consuming.
A lovely ride along the waterfront this morning

Off along the great cycleway we rode. Not too far away we stopped for supplies, little knowing that we wouldn’t stop for something to eat for a while, due to lack of anywhere to sit in comfort. At first we had ridden down on the promenade by the beach, which was lovely and relaxing.  Once again there was a chill in the air though, so the sea did not look appealing. The resorts along here are massive. Ju and I commented as we rode, that in summertime, the roads would be packed down here, which would make life on a bike a hell on earth.

After about 5km along the coast, we turned inland and into a headwind.  As the wind increased, the scenery decreased and the road got busier so it was just a matter of nose to the grindstone. We were looking for a park or some benches where we could eat our lunch but today we not only wanted shade, we needed shelter from the wind and preferred to be away from the noise of the main road.  So we kept putting off our calorie intake until we could get something that maybe met two of our requirements, but km after km there was nothing at all. 
The resort towns along this part of the coast looked well established
The canal ride was a welcome relief after the busy road.

We passed through the town of Lepe which seemed to be the only town in these parts with a lot of African migrants. Apparently many migrants have been moved from the busier towns in an effort to assimilate them into the population so somebody was telling us - can't remember who now.  About 10 km past Cartaya, Julia had picked out a canal ride to get us off the main road and we were just hoping it wasn’t a dirt track.  Lucky for us it was a beautifully sealed road and we only saw one car on it for the hour we were on it – and that was a police car. These canals would be eight feet wide. Don’t know if they service the local agricultural sector with irrigation, but it went for a long way. It was nice to have the small lane running alongside it, all to ourselves, as the main road had started to become annoying and very busy.
Spent a good while following this canal, still hoping for a spot to eat, but couldn’t find a log, a block, nothing suitable at all. We were really beginning to notice it as all we’d had was the handful of cereal and a cup of coffee and that was five hours ago!  Suddenly as we came to the end of this particular section, where it once again met the main road, on our left was a picnic area with mass amounts of benches, seats, rubbish bins and barbeques, I mean literally dozens of them. It’s a bit like the old bus adage that you wait forever for one to turn up then they all come at once. Began to rain lightly as we arrived, but it amounted to nothing, so we were able to enjoy a nice lunch although it didn’t take long for the flies and wasps to find us once the food came out.
As we were leaving, we noticed a guy with a basket looking through the pine plantation for what we thought must be mushrooms. He didn’t speak any English, but with sign language, a lot of laughing and google on his phone, we managed to decipher that he was looking for Niscalo. It’s a type of fungi found in southern Spain after rainfall. They are bright orange mushrooms, not magic, but our friend did say that too many of them can kill you, however, we found no mention of that when we googled it. Perhaps he just didn’t want us picking his crop.
Riding into Huelva

More main road cycling again heading for our destination for the night in Huelva, a place with nothing, in the middle of nowhere. It was now mid-afternoon, the sun was shining, but still not warm. As we approached the bridge leading into the city, a cyclist going the other way beckoned us to turn around and follow him into the city. Turns out, it was a special cycle route, which we would have struggled to find. Mario took us all the way into town and even got one of his cycling friends to get a photo of us, as he has a friend who is currently touring in Australia. He was an extremely nice guy and very helpful to us. This just reinforced to us what we enjoy about our tours as we left him to find the Tourist Info building. Practically right outside, I asked a young lady if she spoke English. Yes she did. She was an American girl from Seattle, teaching English here for the past month.

Thanks for showing us the way Mario!

Tourist Info didn’t reopen until after siesta, at five o’clock. As we were trying to find wifi to look for a hotel, as there are no campgrounds in this area at all, an older guy approaches and asks if we need any help. Told him the story and he proceeds to tell me his name, where he was from, what his ailments were. Then he asks for money for him helping us to find wifi. Sorry pal, you picked the wrong guy. Firstly, I’m a tight git, secondly we already had wifi at that stage and thirdly, I never pay for favours on a first date. Told him that wasn’t very nice of him to try to help us and then ask for money when we were two poor cyclists touring on bikes and living off cans of sardines. Half an hour later, we were installed in the Exe Tartessos Hotel, in the middle of town, having a workout in the gym. I was looking for the guy from the fourth floor balcony, I was going to drop a weight on his head.
Pete settles the bikes into their resting place for the night at the Hotel Exe Tartessos
The stairwell at the hotel looked pretty cool
So did the fountain in town

After our workout (we had to really – the gym was right across from our room!), we had showers and then ventured into the town square for dinner.  It had gone decidedly cold so we just grabbed supplies from the supermarket and headed back to our lovely hotel room with electric light, free wifi, a tv and a nice comfy place to sit in a warm room.  Who could ask for more?

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