A hot night in the room. I got up to get some breakfast. We left the hostal at about 1pm and went to the bike shop to buy a spoke key, then to the supermarket. We headed out towards Cartagena and there was a lot of traffic. We climbed a hill for 6kms before dropping down. It was very humid. The sweat formed in large droplets on our skin. We stopped for a cool drink in a roadside café, then continued down until the road became a motorway and we had to follow the slip road off.
We stopped under a large tree (the only one of its kind for miles on the flat, orange growing area we were in) for lunch. Shortly after arriving, a farmer in his tractor came along, parked the tractor in the shade and got out. Dan started chatting to him in Spanish. He was looking at the bikes and asking questions. He thought we were mad cycling all this way. He asked if we worked in England and then went on to say that if he didn’t work he wouldn’t get any ‘mickey-nick’ (sex) and was gesturing wildly with his arms while sporting a big smile.
An Arab (Moroccan) came past on an old bicycle, its rear wheel wobbling, its front wheel tied up with a piece of cloth. He said ‘Ola’ to us in a very quiet, nervous voice. The farmer replied in a gruff voice, turned to us when the Moroccan had gone and said ‘Moros’ (Moor), and continued to tell us about all the problems they have in the area with these immigrants from Morocco. He said there were 10,000 along in that area.
I think the Spanish had strong prejudices against the Moroccans. (And, twenty years after having written this, the question of immigration is still one which is talked about by politicians all over Europe. Here, in Lincolnshire, since the EU widened its borders, many of the workers in pubs, restaurants, in construction and on the farms are from Eastern Europe and I often hear the same tone from the ‘locals’ here who resent hard working people for doing the work many of them refuse to do). We chatted a little longer before moving on. Despite his prejudices, he was the nicest Spaniard we had met so far. Genuine, humorous and friendly.
We carried on towards Cartagena along a narrow, busy and tree lined road, having to sprint past a mad, possibly rabid dog at one point. It was chasing lorries on the opposite side of the road. It worried us a bit. Being bitten by a dog like that would not be fun.
In Cartagena, we stopped for supplies in a smart supermarket and continued on a minor road towards Mazzaron. A few kms outside the city, we turned left to La Azohia and the Med. Climbing for quite a while we, at last, came over the top of the pass and saw the sea for the first time since the ferry in France. A very fast hill followed. Dan reached 75kmh. At the bottom, there was a camp site. In we went and it turned out to be quite reasonable. We found a pitch, had supper, a shower, a coffee in the bar and went to bed, very tired.
Distance 79.8 kms Average Speed 10.2 kmh
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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