The Cork Board

Days 8 and 9 Albarracín /Daroca/Zaragoza

There were times during the last few days when I thought that I was cycling to the top of Spain and whilst I clearly wasn’t, you know what they say, perception is everything. Surely then I must come down at some point. You see, this is the benefit of hills;

Great views

Makes you stronger and fitter

There’s always a downhill….

and the ride from Albarracín to Daroca was it.

High Plains Drifter

Up with the lark and on the road before the house was awake I climbed the hill out of Gea de Albarracín with smug ease, soon to join the long almost straight road to Daroca. It is an unbelievable phenomenon. With an imperceptible downhill gradient of, say, 2%, for at about 35 miles or so, I tried to recall what my teachers told me about the Ice Age. You know, you are about 8 or 9 and someone thinks it’s a good idea to tell you that huge blocks of ice slipped across the planet pushing earth and creating mountains and valleys and flatlands. What? You mean the playground as well? Well, thanks for that,Mr.Ice. I was blessed with no wind or rain that counts as well and managed 66 miles in 4.5 hours. ‘A’ for effort.


Daroca is a staging post. A watering hole on the way to Zaragoza. There isn’t much I can say about it. Zaragoza is the target. Imagine my surprise then to find that the road from D to Z, with the exception of a couple of big lumps, is also largely down hill. Woo hoo!

It was during this stage of the trip that I past the imaginary line that transports the traveller from the flat plains of Spain to lush green pastures reminiscent of England. The contrast in landscape is marked. Suddenly you are aware of your new surroundings. The air is warmer, the impact of descending a few hundred metres, and without the chill everything feels more comfortable.

Riding into Zaragoza was a breeze too. Into my cycling lane early it took me all the way into the heart of the city. I was very impressed. I quickly learned that the city is very cycle and tram friendly.

I think my bedraggled appearance in Reception gave two sweet Receptionists a bit of a shock. But they treated the old man with the respect he deserved and sorted out a safe place for his bike despite not being prepared for it.

I hit the shower and then the Plaza del Pilar ( the famous one, she said) with time to chill and plan my rest day. I think I’m going to have to buy a manly scented spray, though. I think my clothes are beginning to smell a bit “travelly”. Tomorrow, Zaragoza rest day…

Plaza del Pilar
Now that’s what I call a water feature!

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