Friday, May 26, 2006


Trip dist: 115 kms. Trip time: 8 hrs, 36 min. Tot dist: 1698 kms.

Left Tarancón at 12:00 p.m. since the bus from Cuenca left at 10:30 and I didn't feel like waking up at 6:00 a.m. to catch the 8 o'clock one. Which kind of sucks, because having more than 100 kms to go by midday is never a very good plan, since Witching hour always fast approaches (so pray the ride is flat, in these circumstances. Without a topo map it is a bit difficult to tell...).

Still, the ride was nice, mostly flat, and through very pretty yellow fields. I thought at first that they were wheat fields, but on a closer look decided they must be something else, since wheat only has 1 tuft/spigot/ear (and these had many) which only yields about 80 grains on the average. How do I know this, given that I'm a city girl and I've never seen a wheat plant live (much less taken the time to count the grains on the ear)? Why, because I've read Jules Verne's Mysterious Island as a youngster! :D Ha ha.

Anyway, it was a tiring ride, due to the very strong constant headwinds that slowed me down by at least 6 km/hr throughout the whole ride, but the last 30 kms or so into Alarcón were beautiful, what joy riding with the sun setting behind you, headwinds finally subsiding, orange colors thrown over the golden fields with the last rays of sunshine dying. Had to pedal like a banshee, though. I made it to Alarcón at dusk, and no other nearby town for 20 kms. Was considering staying at the Parador Nacional (super spiffy 5 star hotels run by the Spanish government, always in very beautiful historical buildings, this one, in particular, in the castle of Alarcón, for the very economical price of....144 Euros. Yikes!) if necessary, but luckily found a more affordable (and quite pretty) hostal--the only one other than the Parador, as it turns out--in the town center. But what was kind of cool was the approach to Alarcón, which as you can see from the pictures is basically inside a castle on a "island-hill", because it really felt like being a knight heading back inside the castle walls for safety after the day's adventures and battles, tired trusty (and dusty!) destrier and all.

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