The Cork Board

Days 13/14 The route to the boat…reflections and more stunning scenery

… the Rio Ebro gorge…

I recently stumbled upon a motorway coffee stop in the UK where a small coffee was small – not a mug; a medium coffe was a decent cup – not a large plant pot; and a large coffee was a mug – not a paint tin. I remember remarking my surprise that their descriptions actually fitted what they served, not like the ‘Bucks or Costa variations, resizing sensibility behind Italian expressions for which they were not designed.Tapas, as far as I can tell, is usually a small portion with whatever you are drinking. Separately ordered tapas may be a little larger, this is accepted. Whilst staying in a small hamlet on the way to Laredo, the dining room, being the only option in the 10 houses around, is closed. But the bar is open all day and serves tapas and ,having cycled another 60 miles I perceive a certain hunger, and the need to replenish. So, I order two tapas. Patatas bravas and chorizo. That should be enough.

What my charming host brings me is akin to half a sack of potatoes and a dead pig. This is a problem since my early childhood was underpinned by the insistence upon clearing my plate. Such ingrained conditioning is hard to fight, isn’t it? I try my best at the bounty but I know I’m going to fail, and I do eventually surrender. I apologise to my host for not making a better fist of it but inwardly wishing that standardisation of tapas sizes is something the EU could get their teeth into.

…The Puerto de Los Tornos…the Valle de Soba to the left and the Valle de Carranza to the right

The route to the boat and my ferry home is through the beautiful national parks that make up the mountain range in the north. I am east of the Montańa Oriental and west of the Gorbieako Parke Naturala heading for Laredo to kick around and wait till Wednesday when my boat sails.

Both days of the split ride are characterised by wind, cloud, rain and cold with the sun coming out about 3.00pm if I’m lucky. Often the only thing going through my mind is getting in a warm bath but once the rain stops and I dry out a bit I’m okay and feeling more myself again.

…it has to be hard working this land…

What I have learnt during these two days is how to handle hairpin bends. Loads of them downhill. Now I understand why the pros almost come to a standstill when racing around hairpins – there is no option other than going off the road.

All I have to do now is to wake up on Wednesday, climb aboard one more time and catch the ferry. It all seems to have been over so quickly. I’m already thinking that I could do with another week. I feel tired in that I need a good night’s sleep. A different bed almost every night is not conducive to a good rest until you get to the point of exhaustion. Then you can sleep anywhere.

…. can you imagine, in this beautiful countryside…

But I feel great. Fit and strong and able to do another week. Maybe next time it might be north to south and back again. And then again maybe not. We’ll have to see if Mrs. Monkey will entertain doing her own ironing for a month. 😊

Particularly since Belmonte I have seen some gorgeous countryside and some wonderful old houses which has only inspired me to come back and paint some of it. The views have been consistently splendid. I hope you have enjoyed the pics and perhaps they have given you some inspiration to visit this part of the world, too. The scenery really has been special just about every day.

…. Laredo….

I’m kicking around in Laredo, a beach resort waiting for the season to start,drinking tinto and blanco. The wind is high and the sun warm if you sit in the window.

Tomorrow, Santander.

Adios,Te veré cuando llegue a casa.

… triumph…

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