Saturday, May 06, 2006

Santiago de Compostela-Lugo

Trip dist: 110 kms. Trip time:8 hrs, 46 mins. Tot distance: 838 kms.

Interactive Blog post #1.

Aaaah, Galicia. What a beautiful countryside. The ride was marvelous, with landscape views among the most stunning I've ever seen (and that's already considering Italy and Switzerland!), very green, and....well, words don't suffice. I wonder if some Galician writer has bothered to put the land into words, it would be great to read them, since mine are, of course, quite inadequate to describe the sights. This was hands down one of the best bike rides I've ever done, a bit difficult due to the elevated number of uphills and corresponding windy and chilly super-fast downhills (top speed reached: 52kms hour coasting!), but well worth it (See some pictures here). To top it off, the arrival into Lugo was all downhill for the last 10 kms, you see Lugo as you reach the top of an incline, and all downhill from there. Exhilarating.

Another nice thing happened to me during the ride. At one point, while heading up one of the numerous hills, I started seeing traffic police on motorcicles heading my way from the opposite direction, sometimes signalling, sometimes lifting a hand in quick greeting, followed by an ambulance, and more police on cars. An accident behind me surely, I thought, though the traffic police seemed a bit too jovial for such an occasion. Eventually, I started seeing cars with two road bikes on the roof, several of them, people inside in cycling uniforms, who as soon as they saw me honked or lifted their hand in greeting, again, strange happenings, but I didn't really put two and two together.

Eventually, one of the traffic police as I approached a hillside village where a lot of traffic was stopped signalled to me about 200 meters before I reached the cars, so that I was still in the middle of the uphill undisturbed, to stop by the side of the road and very emphatically said to me: "Don't move."

Very puzzled at this, I dropped off the bike and stood there, not quite understanding. Five seconds later, here comes flying downhill a platoon of cyclists on a bycicle race! Must've been about 70 of them, some of them passing quite close to me, and the surprise and glee and good humour at seeing them was terrific. You remember how I said before how running into a handful of youngsters on their mountain bikes was a bit like finding dolphins following your boat at sea? Well, being surrounded by 70 multi-colored cyclists dashing down the hill at over 50 kms per hour was a little bit like being caught among a suddenly direction-changing school of sardines, so slick, elegant, colorful, and...shocking, even (I wish I had put two and two together with the cars so that I could've taken a video for you. But perhaps that would've ruined the effect of the shock and surprise, if I had known beforehand).

I told you it was a nice ride. :) Heh heh, and that includes the teasing I got from the villagers afterwards as I continued uphill once the racers had passed, who kept shouting at me: "It is the other way!"

Anyway, arrived in Lugo in good spirits, ready to explore this city, whose Roman Walls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I'll be here for at least one more day, but afterwards, there is a slight bifurcation on the road: I could head northeast to Oviedo, another World Heritage City, arriving there after two days on the road, and then possibly daytrip to the prehistoric paintings of the caves of Altamira (another UNESCO World Heritage site), before heading southwards towards León and continuing on my way to Madrid, or, I could head directly southeast towards León, and daytrip from there to Oviedo, thus saving myself two days of biking, which could be better spent in cities like Madrid or Barcelona, but at the same time also missing Altamira. Additionally, it is unclear (for stupid Let's Go guide doesn't even mention Altamira), whether I can actually get to Altamira easily from Oviedo: I have no idea if there are busses to there or how long they would take if there are.

So, what does my readership think? Ever wanted to have a hand in controlling someone's destiny from afar? Ever wanted to do some experiments in long-distance mind control? Play the weaving of the fates? Well, now you have your chance to do so! Submit your vote in the comments section of this post, and weigh the dice of my future to your will! I will check here shortly before I head out of Lugo, and for a couple of days let you play God with my trajectory.


Anonymous said...

Do Altamira! You can always go back to Madrid, in some distant future...

This God thing... it could be addictive!

Anonymous said...

Altamira is the place where those first designs were done by prehistoric people so they are very famous and interesting if my mind remembers well, the History lessons... By the way remember also that gallegos are considered in Spain like carabinieri in Italy , (ji,ji) T.Q.M.

Anonymous said...

Altamira has a bunch of very old graffiti. You can see much more modern, more colorful graffiti in any railroad yard.

Anonymous said...

i vote for you to come back to the bay so I can ask you out on that coffee date :P

-- hope you're doing well..