A poor night’s sleep. We got up later than normal. Soon after packing away, dark clouds loomed from the south. On came our waterproofs. As soon as we were on the main road, a squall hit us. The rain built up in intensity until it was coming down very heavily. Wind blew us around as we passed some road works. The rain continued as we headed along, now with the wind blowing us along at 35 kmh. Sheet lightning flashed ahead of us. The sky was black.
We came in to a small town as the storm eased off and we turned into what seemed to be the high street. I entered a small obscure shop with lights making it difficult to see anything. The shopkeeper was quiet, if not a little grumpy. We left a little short of supplies from this store, so we went to a ‘panaderia’ (bakery) and on to an ‘alimentacion’ for a few extras.
We were just about to leave the latter, while putting our goods away on the bikes, when the rain started to come down again. Dan and I were feeling pretty cold and miserable. The shopkeeper came out with a plastic bag to keep our bread dry and gestured that we should come inside out of the rain for a while. We went in wearing our fleeces and waterproofs and chatted with the shopkeeper and his wife. There was some other friendly shoppers about who asked where we had come from and where we were going. They were very nice and told us about their son who was studying in Ireland.
The sky brightened up a little so we left. Off we went into the cool afternoon, all wrapped up and heading towards Utiel. We stopped for lunch fairly soon, feeling fairly hot and rough after our eventful morning. Something different has happened every day since being in Spain. It is much more fun and interesting than France, although we are living rough more regularly. We face more challenges, more interesting people and better scenery.
After lunch, we carried on through an undulating, vine covered area leading to Utiel. We passed though the town onto an awful main road into Requena. We had to walk around the town before finding Hotel Avienda. Requena has a picturesque ‘old town’ with several historic churches. In the hotel, we scattered our bags in the room before having a good, hot bath each in a tub which was about 4ft long.
It was time to do some washing because we were beginning to get a bit smelly after five days without clean clothes. I wrote a letter to Penny, Mum, Dad and Susanna while Dan caught up with his diary. The washing was hanging off a clothes line hung between our bed steads. It was a real sight. Dan was way behind on his diary and it took him a good long while to bring it up to date. Meanwhile, I listened to the good old BBC World Service.
Soon after, we went into town at about 10.20pm in search of food. We ended in Café Dakar on the main square. We ate tapas of fried squid to start with, followed by a tuna salad and washed it down with a bottle of local rosé. The wine was going to our heads quickly and we were soon giggling and laughing about a bloke next to us who was obviously wearing a wig. Dan looked up the Spanish word for a wig, peluqua, and that was it. Self-control was not present at that moment. We looked at the bar staff trying to work out which one was the boss and we reckoned that it was the young, good looking woman who kept ticking off a young barman. We had some Spanish ‘pork scratchings’ which still had the pigs’ hairs on it and another bottle of rosé, and a ‘café con leche’ before going to bed. The bill was about £15.
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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