A good kip for a change. We slept in until 8.30am,. We cycled through some pine woods for a stretch and noticed many brown boxes with plastic bags below them hanging from the trees. Possibly some sort of bird trap? We continued on bad roads into Yelia, arriving at about 1130am. We stopped in a chicken shop and bought a whole, grilled chicken with chips, a beer and a coke each. We sat in a small park to eat our brunch.
The park was full of old men wandering up and down, chatting. They did lap after lap, gradually taking more confident steps towards us to talk. One old chap came up and started speaking in a language which we could not understand. He was gesturing with thrusts of his groin, which we could only guess at being something about sex! He also mentioned a word which seemed similar to condom and, then, imitated putting one on! The other men were passing behind him and gesturing that he was a bit nutty by tapping their heads like Obelix in the Asterix books saying, “These Romans are crazy!”
We soon left washing the fat from the chicken off our hands before getting onto the road to Fortuna. It was a long, straight road taking us out of Yelia towards some hills. But, as we approached, the road bent to the right and followed a valley. We stopped at an irrigation channel full of cool, rushing water, probably destined for the vineyards and farms.
I took off my floppy hat and shoved my hands into the water, splashing the cool liquid onto my face. Wonderful. I could feel the salt draining away. Next, Dan stuck his head into the water, followed by me. I half-filled my jerry cans next before we sat down with a bunch of wild grapes each we had picked to admire the view, dangling our bare feet into the channel.
Cycling on, the terrain changed from the green vineyards to arid, weathered soil. There were cacti with prickly pears on them, and outcrops of palm trees in ‘oasis-like’ groups started to appear on the route. The air became noticeably more humid as we approached ‘Banos de Fortuna’. Passers-by hooted their horns at us and the atmosphere became distinctly aggressive. We were approaching ‘tourist land’. We pulled into some camp sites which were not designed for tents so we decided that we were better off camping wild. Spanish camp sites, so far, have been atrocious compared to France.
On we pushed, passing through the building site town of Fortuna. What an awful place. Eventually, we came into Murcia, stopping to take a picture of a huge statue of Christ overlooking the city.
After wandering around for a while, we found the Hostal Segura across the bridge from the Grand Via. It was reasonably cheap with a room on the ground floor in which we could put our bikes as well.
After a good shower, we went into the city to eat. We finished up in a bar along from the hostal where we had six tapas and a beer and then, along to the next bar for a ‘sticky’ and another bar for a final beer before heading back to the hostal. We watched the Spanish on their Sunday evening strolls and noted the macho way of the men. The women still seem to take a ‘back seat’ and the men strut about like fighting cocks. They look very stupid.
However, I kept remembering Penny when I saw couples walking past and I wondered what she was up to. She was about to start a publishing course in Watford in a week. I miss her desperately. The next day we were heading to Cartagena.
We did a bit of clothes washing, diary writing, mosquito squashing and phoned Dad and our stepmother, Susanna.
The room was hot and sweaty. It looked like being a sleepless night.
Distance 117.6 kms Average speed 12.8 kmh Time 9 hours 6
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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