Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Mountains of the South

Now that we are true cycliste conquistadores we can embrace our first heroic task - to climb the Puente de Bejar and to cross over the mountains of the south.
They are stretching out in front of us, looming ever larger by the day as we get closer to their snow covered peaks, pushing against the cold northerly wind....

There by the roadside the Oracle of the Valle de Ambros, Otto the Olive tree with the wild afro branches, told us to stay away from the blue signs and only follow the red or yellow ones. But what does it mean?
The mountains towered over us as we neared the well feared Bejar Pass.
200 meters to climb into another climate zone.
At the foot of the pass another omen! A rattan wrapped bicycle spoke to us in a squeaky voice: "Do not stop. A great reward awaits a great sacrifice and yours will be great.". But what does it mean?
Kevin pondered for a long time... 

and hoped that the sacrifice will not be too great and that the disused railwayline would provide an easy route to Salamanca.
But alas, we are in the land of Don Quichote, where things are never easy for cyclistes errants. And so it was, that the railwayline lay there in front of us, derilict and untraversable.
Finally after a whole afternoons climb, our fingers freezing and our hearts pumping we entered Bejar, the city built on a mountain ridge, ciudad cervantina.
Leaving Bejar far behind us we headed for the Sierra de Francia, where a donkey awaited us and showed us the way to the great revard. Onwards onwards.... 
Onwards to the wonderfull village of San Esteban de la Sierra, a gem nestled on the mountain edge....
where we encountered a fine young lady on a bicycle, Adara who greeted us with a big smile and a little bicycle and led us to her friends la familia estupenda. So it comes, that we met Juanjo, Ropsa, Isel and Pau who made us welcome in their warm home.
Relaxed, replete and rejuvenated we followed Isel to the Mayors office.
And made arrangements to perform our show.
Not here in the wonderful outdoor arena...
Nor here in the vine covered casa vieja bellisima but in the town hall.
Having reaped our great reward (just like the oracle told us) we left San Esteban behind us to return one day, to claim our vineyards and to meet the Titriqueros de la Sierra .
One last look behind ....
and we are heading across the Plains of Spains where it always rains apart from at this little picnic table.
So we had to stop here for lunch.
Next stop Salamanca....

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