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Day 23, Ribadeo, return to being soaked

Eggs and bacon, Spanish style for breakfast. I'm the only one sat there, so this poor woman is working just to cook my breakfast. Surely they won't stay open much longer.

I've been spending hours online checking all the weather websites and it looks like the rain will pass through in the morning and then it will brighten up. I could hear the rain when I woke it, so hopefully it won't be long before it's dry.

Seems to have stopped so I go through the morning ritual of packing the gear - it takes longer than you would expect.

Check out of the room, all the stuff outside, go and get the bike from a shed where it's been overnight. Literally the moment the bike is through the shed door it starts raining again. Committed now to leaving so off I go. Wasn't expecting rain, so didn't put my wet overshoes on. Rain is now getting harder and the shoes are soaking it up, so decide I need to stop, but it takes another 20 minutes to find some shelter - under the motorway. Sadly this coincides with a massive puddle, but it's the only shelter, so I'm hopping about, in a puddle putting more wet gear on. Would have been so much easier in the hotel room.

Another effect of the rain is that Google is going mad. The phone is in a waterproof case with clear plastic window on the bike frame top tube. As the rain drops hit the window google seems to think its my fingers and its going mad. I look down and its showing north Africa. I can't be in Africa, it wouldn't be raining if I was.

About 20km in and I arrive at Luarca. This is really the only reasonable size place on the route before Ribadeo, so I need to stop, it's probably my only opportunity. I'm so wet I'm going to create puddles but the option of sitting inside is too attractive. I stop at the first cafe on the outskirts of the town. I order the usual cafe and I'm need of a sugar overload, so instead of the usual sandwich, I go for a large piece of what looks like apple pie. I had seen this in other Spanish cafes in previous days and was tempted. This will get the thighs going. First bite is a huge disappointment. What I thought was apple is potato and there's a funny taste of something else in it. Maybe if it was hot it would be more appealing, but cold, it's pretty bad. Going to have to eat it, it might be the only thing I have on the route. You know when you eat something disgusting and you just can't seem to lose the taste.

Luarca is a pretty place. It stopped raining for 5 minutes when I came out of the cafe, so I did a quick tour. There were lots of other places I could have stopped at which might have had something nicer than that potato pie. So second big mistake of the day.

As usual when you come out of a harbour you immediately face a hill. I asked the thighs if they were up for it, but they said not after that potato pie, so crawler gear it is.

The wind is now getting a lot stronger, like gale force, and it's on the nose.

I pass a camino walker. They're wearing a plastic cape thing to try and stay dry. Picture a spinnaker in a gale flapping itself to shreds and that's what this walker looked like, as they walk along the hard shoulder of a road. Isn't this pilgrim thing about atoning for sins of the past. If so these walkers I'm seeing must have been in to some pretty bad s..t to make what they're doing now necessary.

I did say previously that on this coast km feel like miles. I was thinking that now I need to say nautical miles, because there's so much water around.

Eventually, after about 40km the rain stops and it brightens up a bit. The wind really gets going. There's one point where I'm sure the road is going downhill, but unless I pedal, I come to a stop.

I'm now just a few km from Ribadeo and there appears to be a nav cockup. I'm ending up on gravel tracks meandering around the countryside in a gale. I then arrive by the side of the motorway to run alongside the long, high bridge over the estuary into Ribadeo. There's a two foot wide path at the edge of the bridge with a waist high railing. On your left the motorway, lorries passing a foot away, on your right, a drop hundreds of feet. It's blowing a gale and the gusts and turbulence from the traffic passing makes it impossible to cycle. I can't keep the bike going in a straight line. So I have to walk it and its a long way.

Finally get into the town, find the hotel and check in. The bike is going to sleep in a cupboard downstairs, I almost lost it taking it down the stairs.

After a hot shower and spreading all the wet kit out around the room, it's out into the town to find a late menu del dea. It's almost 4pm now, so I'm in danger of being too late for lunch and dinner won't be before 8.30pm. Fortunately find a place open. Soup, chicken nuggets, rice pudding. The soup was brilliant, full of floating stuff, a meal in itself. The chicken nuggets were bad. They can fight with the potato pie for worst food choice so far. Spanish rice pudding is brilliant. Sadly it is cold, but otherwise great.

Returning to the room, try to ignore the sight of all the damp kit. Give some of the stuff a good blast with the hair dryer.

Weather forecast from weekend onwards looking even worse.

Could be worse, could be Liz Truss.

Distance today 74km

Total so far 1890 km


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