The Cork Board

Day 3 Albacete to Belmonte ….the transition

Foreword (geddit?); Wifi in rurales Espańa can be a bit hit and miss, blog fans, so we have some catching up to do.

Today I rode along the N-301. For about 60 miles. 

That’s it.

Okay so here’s a picture of what then N-301 looks like.

60 miles of it.

I suppose I’d better say something. This is a sort of travelogue, after all. So,what keeps me motivated on days like today?One leg spinning alternately to another. Well, I might see a fetchingly painted gantry ahead and promise myself, as a reward, half a banana, or 3 jelly babies. *” Go on, Al, you’ve worked hard. You’re ahead of schedule, have both.”* Or, I try to think of funny things to say here. I said *try. * Or, I begin to think about my legs or my backside aching. I know. It’s rivetting stuff.
But I knew that when I planned the journey that the first three days would be spent getting through urbanisation and industrialisation to the interesting stuff……and then cycling through the interesting stuff is where it all begins. 

I was trundling along after lunch, consciously taking my time since I had the ride in the bag, and only about 8 miles to go. Yesterday’s weather forecast had predicted thunderstorms but they didn’t arrive so I was confident that today’s forecast would be equally speculative. 

Heading toward Belmonte the sun shone gloriously and I was looking forward to my first beer. All was well until I looked to the north to see armageddon bearing down on me. Indigo clouds dumping grey blue sheets in the distance. Suddenly the race was on to make it to the hotel before the thunderstorm came. Damn, they were right.

I assumed the Cav position and pedalled like hell, finally pulling up to the front door as the rumble darkened above me. 

I changed as the storm past and then sauntered aimlessly, in the clear, crisp, post storm air, sun back in it’s proper place, and reflected…. This is why I come here. A quiet, peaceful Spanish village, with history seeping out of the ground. Transported to another world.

My hotel is remarkable, and whilst this is akin to posting pictures of your lunch or dinner, to give you an idea, here is the Palacio del Infante Don Juan Manuel in Belmonte, built on the foundations of an old convent which was built on the foundations of an old palace. 

…marble floors…

The beauty of coming here in May is that the season hasn’t kicked in and you’re not going to break the bank to stay here. I am one of about 6 people staying here as far as I can tell, and the lovely Receptionist says that I can use the spa if I wish, they just need half an hour’s notice to warm it up for me. Service!

Belmonte is a “station” on the Ruta de Quixote, the Donkey Don is never far away from these parts, which is more well known for it’s 15th century castle. For me, emulating no-one in particular, it marks the start of the Ruta de Interest for Al.

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