Friday, May 12, 2006


Trip dist: 0 kms. Trip time: 2 hrs, 10 mins. Tot dist: 1070 kms.

Did I ever tell you why it is that the king of Spain is not just "So and so, King of Spain", but "So and so, King of Spain, Prince of Asturias"? The region of Asturias was the only region in Spain that was not overrun by Moors between the 8th century and 1492, owing mostly, to the impassable peaks of the Cordillera Cantàbrica. The Asturians then, in effect, preserved the "true" Spain (and it rather explains how proud Asturians I've encountered seem to be of being Asturian) and the title of the kings makes honor to it. Neat, huh?


Ever since coasting relaxedly into Oviedo a couple of days ago the friendly little hills of the Cordillera Cantabrica have greeted me in the mornings smiling happily in the distance, naturally, only in the direction I'm supposed to be headed (south, that is. If you then turn around, the rest of Oviedo ends in tame and cute little grassy plains, in comparison). Well, not really happily and pleasantly, because whenever I look at them and think I have to go up to 1300-1500 meters in elevation from Oviedo which is at 335 meters, and it is not just one mountain to cross but several, one behind the other, well, they do look rather ominous, in fact, what with them being quite stone gray in color and barren as well, compared to the rest of the cheery greenery surrounding the city.

It is at times like this, when you wake up in a very cold and cloudy lightless morning, with the prospect of achieving such a feat ahead of you, with the worry, of not sure how tough the day is really going to be, and are there any villages in between where I can spend the night in an emergency, and will I be able to handle a little more than 6 kms an hour for a bit, or will I be pushwalking the bike for the whole day, and the ascents suck but the descents suck too because it is rainy and freezing and at 45 kms an hour your windbreaker is as good as if being wrapped in just a sheet of paper, and what if according to Murphy's laws the worst thing happens at the worst possible moment, and I get a flat in between towns, uphill headed, and no cars pass by, and no rail lines nearby, or how far away is Leon from Oviedo anyway, is my map accurate this time or not, etc, and how lonely does this get, when no other cyclist seems to be going in the same direction, that you really, really, really wish you had a travel companion. In two, the days are easier, time passes faster, you cheer each other up, push each other, and, most importantly, one is always saner than the other, and stops you from attempting stupid things, or at the very least is there to help you, once you've already started doing the stupid thing.

So, what does one do when faced with the certifiably (ask the Moors!) unconquerable?

Why, one takes the train, of course! :)

What? Surprised that the humble pawn in the corner of the chessboard has rebelled at your amusing little game (and surely, amusing it must be, since you send me to cross impassable rainy peaks via blog vote after drinking your morning coffee in your cozy little office :P)? Shadow-parker/Warmduscher/Through-the-Cantabrian-peaks-bike-on-the-train-bringer, am I?

{shrug} So sue me. I don't see you biking through the Cantabrian mountains, either.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have been following you every time , and the choice of the train was great. T.Q.M.