The weather is not great, rain and headwind. I mainly cycle on the small service roads along the highway. As it has been raining for a while now the going is heavy and dirty. In a small village I cross paths with two other cyclists, they have narrower tires with less thread so they have to struggle to keep going.

Figure 1. Map day 112-117

I think they are going along the camino towards Santiago de Compostela. In most towns the service road exits in to the “old road” and I get to bike through the ghost towns along the old road. In one of these places I find a hostal that serves hot food as extremely early as 12:00. It’s just a hamburger plate but it’s fantastic.

Figure 2. Hostal
Figure 3. Hostal

I ride mostly on the east side of the highway but after a while google maps thinks I should ride the west side. I can’t really see why but it might be that it’s not possible to go through on the east side somewhere along the road. This turns out to be the hilly side of the highway. Sometimes there are grades almost to steep to walk.

Figure 4. Steep

I have spotted some hostals in Torquemada but when I get there I can’t find any of them. I ride up and down the village and after a while I find the hostal, it’s about 200 meters from where google said it would be.

The hostal and room was very nice, almost brand new. They could agree to serve dinner as extremely early as 20:00. They had a local beer named Torquemada, Local beer

Figure 5. Hostal

I feel I need a rest day in Valladolid so I book the Ibis hotel, it’s located in the outskirts of town but it will have to do.

Day 113. Torquemada – Valladolid, 68 km.

The room was raw and cold in the morning. They had cake, beer, cigarettes and boze to choose from for breakfast. The first hour or so was very warm and humid, then the headwind and intense rain started.

Roman bridge
Figure 6. Roman bridge

I had to abandon the plans of the service roads today, there was to much rain. So I ended up taking some small roads over some small mountains instead.

Figure 7. Muddy

The day was just getting colder and colder, the rain wouldn’t stop at all and the wind kept on getting stronger.

Gravel road
Figure 8. Gravel road

I found a hotel/bar/cafeteria/restaurant in an industrial area that served hamburgers as early in the morning as 11:00. Just a hamburger but warm food at a decent hour can’t be beat. The surroundings are nice and it would probably have been a great ride if it wasn’t for the constant rain and headwind.

Just before Valladolid I have to ride over a mountain pass, it really sucks and on the top the wind is so hard that it almost pushes me back down the hill again.

Windy uphill
Figure 9. Windy uphill

The road in to Valladiod was a real mess, it went through an industrial are and I managed to hit rush hour. The traffic is insane and for about 3-4 kilometers the road is full of cars and trucks. Once I cross the ring road and get inside the town it quiets down and there are bike lanes.

I find the hotel and since there is no bike parking I park the bike just outside the door and hope the rain will clean it up a bit. Everything is soaking wet and dirty so I clean the bags in the shower and leave everything to dry. Later I have an early and expensive dinner at the hotel.

Day 114. Valladolid – Valladolid, 0 km.

Enjoying a day of rest in Valladolid, sleep late and even later breakfast. I spend some time on finding out if there are any trains going south and planning routes from Plasencia and south.

The weather is strange here on the meseta, the clouds comes very fast and low, they are also very, very black. In the afternoon the skies clear up and go for a walk. I do some shopping, prices in the supermarkets are lower than in Germany.

Next to the hotel there is a service station and I wash the bike with their high pressure wash. I manage to get most mud of the bike, the chain is as new after some drops of Rohloff oil.

Almost clean
Figure 10. Almost clean

Day 115. Valladolid – Alaejos, 71 km.

Leaving Valladolid takes a good while, it’s a maze of one way streets and huge intersections. In the outskirts there are some nice bike lanes.

Figure 11. Ooops
Figure 12. Clear

I ride some nice gravel roads next to the highway, the sun is shining and the clouds keep their distance. After the town Tordesillas I leave the gravel roads and enter the N-620. It is a very nice 289road that runs in parallel with the highway. The N-620 is really wide and there is very little traffic, ideal for bike touring.

Figure 13. N-620

Along the road I find a nice lunch in a small town and life is good.

Figure 14. Lunch

I had decided to stay in Alaejos, there are two hostal/hotels there. When I approach the small town (population 1500) I see two big churches that look almost identical.

Two churches
Figure 15. Two churches

I search for the first place, it’s not at all where google thinks it should be so I head for the other place.

It’s in the town square, they have a room and I get to park the bike behind the bar in the beer storage. No restaurant open before 21 so I buy dinner in the small supermarket and eat it in my room and make it an early evening.

Day 116. Alaejos – Salamanca, 57 km.

There was some heavy rain during the night but it seems to clear up in the morning. Breakfast was as disappointing as the place itself, just yesterdays bread toasted in a pan and some butter. When I am leaving the staff can’t unlock the bar to get my bike out, I have to help them with this.

Then there is no paper for the credit card machine, but since I guess that they were trying to get cash to put in the pocket I say that I have no cash. After a while the missing roll of paper is found but they can’t get it in to the machine so I take care of this to.

After being delayed by the staff at Fawlty towers I am on the road. There are some very dark clouds in the south but they disappear. This is a really nice day and biking is great. There are many very long uphills and some steep downhills.

Figure 16. N-620

The N-620 is fantastic, the shoulder is 1-2 meters wide and there is almost no traffic. I can’t find any place for lunch today so I end up eating some cakes for lunch. The last bit in to Salamanca is small gravel roads that turn in to mud for a while.

Mud again
Figure 17. Mud again

But I find the hotel and get to park my bike in their garage for free.

Figure 18. Safe

Salamanca is a really nice town. By the time I have had a shower and gone out for food everything has closed so I end up having a bocadillo, I must do something about this with the food situation. I decide to try to get more protein powder as I have calculated that there is no way I can be getting enough protein when more than 50% of the food is bread.

I visit the tourist information and I get a map with a big X for where the laundromat is, this and protein powder will be tomorrows projects. I also find a small guide book in English about the Camino de Santiago.

Day 117. Salamanca – Salamanca, 0 km.

I sleep for many hours so I wake up rested. First order of business is to find the laundromat and wash my clothes. When I get there it turns out that it’s a laundry so I drop my clothes off and they will be ready in 2 hours. The morning is very cold, it feels great.

I start to look for shops that might have protein powder, most “sports shop” seems to be clothes shops. But after walking around for a while I find a shop that only sells protein powder and other supplements. Unfortunately the smallest can they have is 1 kg, that is a very big can to store in bicycle panniers.

I hurry back to the laundry to get my clothes before they close for the weekend. After leaving clothes and protein powder at the hotel I rush out to get lunch, I find a nice restaurant that is open. They look a surprised that someone wants to eat as early as 13, but they serve an excellent meal.

Figure 19. Lunch

By now it’s really hot so I spend the rest of the day in the hotel resting and reading.