dst. (km) Today 129.76 Trip 605.8
Welcome to Spain; welcome back to the western world!
It rained again all last night, and was damp and foggy as I left this morning. I found it hard to get organized and get on my way.
Soon after I left, the fog got heavier and turned to rain, then it rained steadily all the way to the Spanish border. I was still having a ball though, riding along, singing to myself and being happy. I resisted any urge I might have had to go and visit Marvão as I couldn’t even see it off through the mist…
The Spanish-Portuguese border was a bit of a non-event. I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe a bit apprehensive at having to produce passports or other documents. As it was, it was completely deserted, I was confronted by a few crumbling buildings, an old boom-gate chained in the open position and rusted solid, and a sign stating that the altitude was 688m.
Roads improved dramatically once I was in Spain — Portuguese roads seem to be about the same quality as average country Australia, Spanish roads generally better. The other noticable thing once over the border is that there are road signs everywhere, and they actually have distances written on them!
Everything was going so well that I decided to make for Cáceres this evening, about 120 km I think….
I stopped in Valencia de Alcantara to grab a map, and ran into two Aussie backpackers and stopped to say hello. When I said it seemed to be raining throughout Portugal, they just launched into a typical Sydney-centric tirade saying that coming from Melbourne I should be used to lousy weather. I parted company as soon as was pleasantly possible….
The rest of the day’s ride was on good roads, wide open rolling plains, fairly desolate empty country. A few cork trees here and there, lots of olive trees. Really obviously a different climate this side of the ridge that seperates the two countries. I was making good time with a tail wind most of the day until…
Somewhere along the road I came upon a section of road-works and hit a bump between old and new road surfaces. A trivial bump that normally wouldn’t bother me, but with the load on at the moment, both panniers came off and one jammed into the rear wheel. There was a massive screeching slide to a halt, I nearly stayed upright, but dropped the bike at the last moment and fell hard on my backside. Damage included a scuffed-up pair of shorts, a wrenched shoulder and a huge bruise on my left buttock. I guess I came off fairly lightly, a snapped spoke and a large buckle in the rear wheel are more troublesome though. I rode the last 30 km quite carefully after reassembling everything and ensuring that the panniers are more securely held in place with some rope. A little multi-lingual assistance from a crew of concerned road-workers helped me on my way.
In the afternoon in Cáceres I went out for a bit of a walk around and had a few bites to eat, but was generally feeling too stiff and sore, so headed back to my room to sit around for the rest of the afternoon. I ended up talking with a German who has just arrived by bus — two and a half days in the bus from Frankfurt.
The other important task was to change my money over, escudos to pesetas. Exchange rate was about 10.000 pesetas for 13.000 escudos.
Castelo de Vide(39.5500000,-8.9833333), Valencia de Alcantara, Cáceres(39.4833333,-6.3666667).