Radio woke me up. Batteries were low so it switched off after a couple of minutes. I got up, changed them and started to pack away. Dan adjusted the headset on his bike. We had problems with balancing our bikes this morning. They kept toppling over (we leant them up against each other overnight).
We cycled off past ‘Recepcion’. No one noticed us as we quietly slipped away; on we went towards Garrucha, stopping for a sticky and a halt on the beach for a cup of tea and to catch up on our journals. We pushed on along a very smooth and very fast coastal road, passing through some modern holiday resorts. We got away from this as soon as we could. Bars, hotels, bars, flats for sale, bars, building sites, bars, bikinis, bars and bloody awful drivers hooting at us getting impatient at having to slow down for us.
We soon cycled out of there, up to a small settlement in a saddle of a hill and stopped for water. The waterhole was teeming with bees and wasps also gasping for a drink. Some had been over-courageous and had landed in the water and were now fighting for their lives. The water tasted slightly salty but we took it anyway.
We stopped again at the top of the next hill which had a commanding view of the Med to our rear and a good view of the steep, winding road taking us back to the shore again. We sped down, leaning out likes bikers to keep our balance. It was good fun until the road rose again.
We bought lunch at Carboneras from a grumpy checkout girl and, again, stopped, in the shade of some small trees just outside the shop. It was lovely and cool in the shade (about 28 degrees C, in fact). The bread we had purchased was thrown to the birds because it dried us out so much. We sat about chatting for a while about what people were up to back in England.
Setting off, the heat hit us. We went into a patch of road where the wind was following us which made it seem a lot hotter. Dan and I pedalled along slowly on the edge of the Andalucían National Park before the road gave way to a long, gradual downhill stretch into a wide valley packed with plastic greenhouses (poly tunnels).
The road was straight and flat in the valley making the pedalling easy. We cruised along at speeds of 25kmh to 30 kmh for an hour or so. Almeria was not far off and we arrived on the outskirts at about 5pm. The susburbs were pretty grim but soon we were in the city centre, cycling around and feeling a little washed out.
A few laps of the centre later and we spotted a Hostal on a side road called Hostal Alcazaba. The room was right next to the entrance with the window on the road. It was noisy but reasonable (2000 ptas). The room was old and well used but had character. We washed ourselves and our sweaty clothes before going to the nearest supermarket where we bought some decent water (the tap water tasted de-salinated) and I had some fresh milk, before dumping it all off at the hostal and going out for supper. We found a tapas bar, ordered seafood tapas and beers. After that we stopped at a kiosk on the way back to the hostal for a coffee and a bun.
We are finding that we are spending more money than we expected. I have drawn out £350 from my bank account so far. It is three times as much to camp in Spain as it was in France. In Spain, we have done far more wild camping with the odd night in a hostal. Money is going to be a problem if we hang around too much.
Mosquitoes seem to prefer me to Dan. I have been bitten all over. They itch like mad. Every night we stop, we track down the swines in our tent and kill them, but I still get bitten. I have five on one knee alone.
I can’t wait to get into Africa. Europe has become too much like one big blob of sameness. I’m missing Penny like fury.
Distance 104.4 kms Average speed 11.1 kmh Time 9hrs 17
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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