It can always get worse!

The puncture has gotten worse during my last kilometre yesterday. Now, the air wouldn’t stay for more than a couple of seconds, but that also gave me the chance to find the flat! I put a repair patch on it, as that would also reinforce the rubber, and maybe hold up for the whole day. After fixing that, I started just an hour late. It was already warm, though, and I started with a 250 metre steep climb…
It felt so sucky, and my legs were so tired after five days of biking. There and then, I thought about hitching a ride, and I broke down in tears for a little while. I am bad at giving up, though, and continued upward.
Of course, everything felt better when up. This was the last day, and going to the coast, all the height metres would be given back. I went down for a short while, up a little more and took a break at a looking point.
There, I met a German pair who were really nice. I spoke with them for a while, and then continued.
I stopped counting height metres, and just pushed on through small village after village. Even if the uphill were still really bad sometimes, I could see the kilometres count down, and I saw an end, a rest!

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I thought it was a mountain of Morocco, but later learnt that it was Gibraltar I saw!

After one village, I had two ways to choose from. I took my chances, and I will not know if it was the best one. I went down pretty quick to 90 metres, and then had to climb up to 450 again. Even though, I had less than 40 kilometres left, and just continued. A racer bicyclist helped me with choosing the most flat at the next place, and suddenly I was at the coast!
After buying some crisps to have something to eat, I continued. Now, it was really flat, and I got tailwind. The kilometres started dropping even faster! I went through some areas I am not sure if I am allowed to, as there were gates for the cars (but I went over the grass). It was the rich part, and suddenly my GPS had led me into a golf course. After biking through an “employees only” area, I was met by a gate only people living there could open. No one was there, so after a small pause I had to go back. Hate to break this rule!
From 7 I went up to 10 kilometres left. Then, when I was going out of the golf course, the other gate was closed… Trapped on a golf course?!
I spoke with some people living there and got let out.
On my new way I met a biker I talked a bit with, and it helped me push through some uphills. He told me about the way where I was going, with one big and one small hill left, and less than five kilometres!
After pushing through it, and some trouble finding the place, I was now in Martina’s and Michael’s apartment. I met them two months ago on the Paris Rendevouz, and Martina had read my blog and offered to host me. I was now really dead in my whole body, but a really good dinner helped cure that!

South time!

I went up at 0930, and started fixing my bike while trying to get Asha and Dominic up. They went and shopped ingredients while I put on a new tube and some oil on my bike.
When they came back, I started making awesome pancakes while people were playing with my camera.

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The pancakes were being made, and as usual, I do never do too few pancakes!

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We had many things to choose from!

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Not everyone knows
how to eat pancakes.

It was a pretty crazy morning that was really funny, or maybe not morning as it was twelve o’clock. The weather were really nice, so a perfect pancake morning!

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After the long breakfast I started packing, and Dominic and Asha helped me get all the things down.

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This picture reminds me
of the movie Leon!

At 1340 I started biking to my next stop, Toledo!

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It was warm and sunny, and the wind were good, more or less zero. On the way I saw really many bunnies, apparently they are living by the road side!

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They were really hard to catch on photo; this is their homes, the small holes in the wall!

It went pretty fast with not many stops on the way, but on one of the stops I ate the chocolate Dominic and Asha had been cute enough to buy for me!

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At 1730 I was at the meeting place, and met up with Angeles!
She and her flatmate were really nice and easy to talk to. After a shower and some food, we went shopping for some food for me, and drinks for the evening.
When they were going out, I was too tired from the biking and not sleeping much the night before, so I stayed in bed instead. That felt as a smart idea 12 hours later, I think I really needed that sleep!

To Mudrid!

As my host in Madrid would come home around eight, I slept until ten in the morning. I fixed more blogging, ate breakfast and lunch, and packed. I also checked the air in my tires, and that was lucky!

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It was the right day, as I had time to change tire without getting late!

Today was sunny, and at 800 metres actually pretty warm, so I could go without rain clothes!
I biked according to my GPS to take smaller roads into the city. At one point, there was a barrier, and apparently private roads for some sort of company or something. The guard let me through, though, with the warning that there was “water on the roads”. Could be fun, I thought!

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Not the best roads, but good enough!

There were no problems until I came to a pretty deep one. I biked through it, slowly, and suddenly I hit a stone, and rather than falling, I put my feet down in the cold water.

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I continued, and down here it was warm enough not having to care about the wet feet.
When passing by a nice view, I got to think about that “every time I go into a city, a barrier is raised between me and nature”.

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I am so deep!

With 15 kilometres left, the road I was supposed to take was blocked off. I was forced up on the high way, and the next exit was in a few kilometres. That led me to a toll, but even though I tried the help button, no one answered. In the end I just bikes by it, as I don’t think I need to pay as a cyclist…

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After another couple of kilometres, I got off. I biked ten more, and now I was close! The GPS led me through a park, and this was a bad one. The roads were wrong, and in the end of the park there were no road at all, but too much mud. I don’t like to go back (“Rule number 1: Never go back” – My German friends) so I dragged the bike through the mud when the wheels stopped turning. I managed to get through the 100 metres and get most of the mud away, and it “only” took 20 minutes. Instead of being 10 minutes early, I ended up 30 minutes “late”, after having a problem to find the right house. I met Dominic as he was going out to walk Madra, his dog, so we left the bike at the guard booth and went for a walk. Back at the apartment, he had prepared dinner! The balcony also was really big, with a water hose, so I made a quick cleaning of he bike and stuff. After eating and talking over a cup of tea, I went to take shower before going to bed!

Cold day

I made breakfast and packed my things at the same time (still cooking indoors).

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in less than one hour I was ready to go, and at ten, I started rolling. It was pretty chilly outside, so I put on some extra clothes from the beginning.
It was windy, but not as much as yesterday, but much colder. I had no big problems though, biking 45 minutes and resting about 15. I put on more clothes, and also my wind/water protection on my feet, so that I could keep warm. Of course the road was not plain, but better than yesterday!

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Yepp, getting pretty high

A little more rain, and after 40 kilometres I was in Soria! Now, to find my host.
I sent out a SMS, and then made lunch. As I had no answer yet, I tried to find Internet, and that took time. On the way I borrowed a phone to call my host, but his phone seemed to be off. At least I found a toilet at the bus station, but I could not connect to the Internet.
On my way through the city, I saw a medieval market, that gave me vibes from home!

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On my way to Lidl I saw a McDonalds sign, and almost at the same time, an unprotected network. Apparently a car dealer has a customer network that worked great from 30 metres away!
I sent out the messages on Couchsurfing and started fiddling with other stuff, and got the idea that I should be able to find the address in Spain, too. It worked, and I only got one hit, so I went the 3 kilometres with my bike. After going back and forth, I finally found the right house, and… No one home. The village were small, though, so I asked around to confirm the house. In a nearby bar a guest spoke English and with her help I could confirm the house. After two calls, I also managed to get to him, so that I at least knew he was coming here for tonight. He was not going to be here for a few hours, but not all plans could be perfect. In the meantime I wrote about seven blog posts, dried my tent, drank a cup of tea in the bar, made dinner and spoke with some nice locals!

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When he and Paula, his girlfriend, arrived, I got to put my tent in a dry place outside, which would be really good as it was not yet completely dry.
They were really nice, and it is a little bit sad that I couldn’t meet them more. They made some nice fungal food and Paula also arranged a Couchsurfing spot for me in Madrid. Awesome!