Had a new experience in Spain this morning - breakfast in the daylight. Not under any time pressure so decided I would wait until I could look out at a view. Only a moderate day's cycling today, so mustn't stuff myself too much.
The hotel reception staff recognised me when I checked in yesterday, having stayed here just a short while earlier, but it didn't give me any privileges as I got a tiny single room, having paid more than last time as well, so not impressed. Learnt the hotel is closing at the start of November as the tourist season for the whole coast finishes then, won't re-open until April. So I'm getting out just in time.
Very strange setting off on the bike for a second time from the same hotel, but in the opposite direction to my first stay.
As the route will be less than 40km, I thought I should maximise the exercise and try and just manage with leg power.
It's blowing a gale, but warm and dry. The wind is coming from the south, so with a windy road, at times it's a headwind. I was banking on it being behind. I'm back in Cantabria, so it's big hills and twisty bends.
There's a rally car event going on in the area I'm passing through and they're partially using the road I'm on. They seem to be going up and down continually, with very loud exhausts making a real racket. The Guardia Civil are out with radar speed traps. I suppose as a foreigner and a visitor I can't complain - but I will, they're really annoying.
I'm going past a bakery come cafe place in the middle of nowhere at 17km so decide to stop. Amazing selection of cakes, end up with cream and chocolate croissant and cafe im basso. While I'm sat there scoffing, a local couple arrive. They start on a croissant and then the lady brings out this baguette filled with bacon. The smell is amazing - damn, missed out there.
The Cantabrian hills are proving too tough, and after 18km I relent to a bit of green power uphill. Still in crawler gear as well, especially when I get a headwind.
Made a detour to Torrelavega for a menu del dia, as the only place now before the hotel. It's quite an industrial town and not at all attractive. Find the centre of town - look for a church and pick a cafe/restaurant with a suitable menu, tables in the sun and a place to lean the bike. As it's the last full day decided to be brave and went for the salmon main course. Was a fillet, bone free, but a bit dry.
There was a loud, annoying advertising being played through a PA from a VW Golf, that was being very slowly moved around the town centre. Have no idea what it was promoting. First it's rally cars, now this, why can't the locals just be quiet? I think I've had enough of this place.
This meal also highlighted the problem struggling with not speaking any Spanish. The waiter went through the list of postre (pudding) choices. I recognised the word flan for option number 1, which is creme caramel, and I think option 2 was the rice pudding, which I wanted, the next 2 choices I didn't understand at all. Try as hard as I could I couldn't get across I wanted the second option. I think he thought I wanted two helpings. In the end I had to ask for the flan, as it was becoming that or nothing.
I really enjoy being in France, especially because I've got a lot better grasp of the language - I can easily get by. It's annoying France isn't far enough south to get a better climate in the winter. If you factor in the Canaries, I realise I need to do something about having some basic Spanish to make spending time in the country more enjoyable.
Only about 15km to Posada La Victoria in Cudon. It's now bright sun, but even windier. The hotel is a stunning old Spanish finca, beautifully restored. Bit of a miserable man on reception though and he won't let me put the bike inside. There's various outbuildings that it could easily go in, it's strange how just a small minority of the people running or working in these hotels are just completely unhelpful.
I've got all the evening to just chill out in the hotel, fortunately the wifi works.
25km to Santander tomorrow, but two steep hills on the way.
As my brother Matt has been pointing out, I'm still short of 2000 km total, or 2 mega metres as he likes to put it.
However, the ferry will drop me in Portsmouth, which isn't Poole, so I'm confident I'll be past that milestone before I have to tackle the steps up to the front door at home.
Found the house keys yesterday - I had been wondering where I put them when I left.
Distance today 36 km
Total so far 1941 km