Coolish night. Reasonable kip. I went out at 9am to buy breakfast. Dan stayed in to write some letters. The shop did not open until 9.30 so I posted a letter to Penny I had bought with me and then sat opposite the post office in a plaza watching people walking up and down the street.
After breakfast, Dan finished off his letters and we left at about 11am. We bought a pair of hair cutting scissors, posted Dan’s letters, looked at watches in kiosks (Dan’s watch is knackered) and headed off for Granada.
I bought lunch in a covered market. It was a mad house with fruit & vegetable stalls, fish and meat counters, with vendors shouting. All the vendors were very friendly and smiley towards me. I loved it.
Off we went again. The road to Granada was busy and hot. After stopping for a drink, we turned off onto a road to Gaudix and passed some interesting houses built into the small hills around. The locals who passed us seemed either embarrassed or suspicious at seeing us. We continued. The road ran parallel to a railway line for a while before bearing away to the south and climbing into the mountains.
Dan and I sweated uphill into Alhama, a few passers-by waving and cheering. On arrival in the town centre, we searched for a fresh water fountain but in vain. Luckily, a lorry driver was walking past and aid to follow him. We did. He took us to a bar and shouted greetings (I think) to the occupants who all laughed. We handed over our bottles to the barman who filled them with cool water.
The lorry driver (wearing shorts, a bit fat with a beard) then offered us a coffee (con leche). We accepted gratefully and quaffed the hot liquid quickly. We thanked the barman as we left following the lorry driver. He led us to a lorry park where we half filed our jerry cans from a shower without a head. He also took us to a fridge from which he took a porous jug of water with a drinking spout on it and offered a drink from it. The water was wonderfully cool. We packed up our bikes with the water and got ready to leave. We thanked him for his help, shook hands and left.
The difference between the Spaniards on the coast and those in the mountains is very apparent. The mountain people have been very kind and helpful.
Off we went, down a long hill, wonderful views to our right of valleys, mountains, vineyards, irrigation channels brimming with fast flowing water. It was sunny but not too hot. We passed a couple of men leading mules packed with either large sacks or maize.
Approaching Canjáyar was a long climb. It was about 5pm as we sweated into the town. No shops seemed to be open as we cycled along the high street. A group of girls wolf-whistled at us and giggled as we waved. We went into the main square and it was obvious that a fiesta was happening that night. A young man came out of a house and we asked him if any shops were open. He gestured that we follow him.
He went around a corner to a shop that was shut and shouted to an open window. A woman answered the young man and said she was going to open the shop for us. He smiled and said ‘goodbye’ in English as he left.
We stocked up and bought a few things to eat straight away because we were getting the ‘bonk’ (a cyclists term for when you run out of energy before your body starts burning body fat). We thanked the shop owner very much for opening the shop for us and we then sat outside drinking and eating for a while.
A group of boys came up to us and were asking lots of questions which we could not understand. One boy with gingery hair started to pull at our tent poles. “No tocar!” I said. He continued so I pinched him and he let go. Soon after, we left. A few clouds were forming but we were still sweating as we climbed out of the town.
A few kilometres out, we heard a loud bang. The fiesta had started. We stopped in an olive grove for the night. Lovely spot. Dan took a few photographs. I enjoy it so much more in the countryside.
Distance 55.8 kms Average speed 6.8 kmh Time 8hrs 1 min
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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