So far, everyone on this blog has remained anonymous. I reckon Bruce can deal with me puncturing his bubble, although I’ll try to remember to ask him if/when I see him. (If you’re reading this, and you want to be belatedly anonymised Bruce, just let me know. You can be safe in the knowledge that hardly anyone reads this thing anyway)
He’s a friend from University. Like most right-thinking people my age he has a proper job, a mortgage and a fresh new daughter. On top of that he lives in that London and so I rarely see him anymore. But he got in touch and mentioned that he and his family will be near Malaga at the end of April and so I decided to head in that direction.
I’m pretty sure he invited me…
I checked out some routes on Strava and thought it would be do-able. It would mean some (much) longer days in the saddle than I had become used to, mountains, and probably some more wild-camping but if all else fails then there are some trains I can catch.
(Again, verb-tenses are a problem on this blog. I’m writing this on the 3rd day of my jaunt from Lisbon but it probably won’t get uploaded until I’m practically there – forgive me. And forgive all the typo’s while you’re in a forgiving mood).
The first day was 80-ish miles. Even on flattish terrain and with a tailwind it took 6 hours actual in the saddle time. That was to Beja, and a ludicrously cheap municipal campsite. There is apparently no middle-ground in Portuguese campsites; it’s either 20+ Euros, waterslides and deck chairs or a 2.50 patch of dirt. I much, much prefer the latter, but they are few and far between and difficult to locate as I never found a map until my last night in Portugal when I shared the campsite with a British couple who had managed to track one down after a week or so of trying.
I used that place to hand-wash some pants, cut my hair and nails and get some wi-fi so I didn’t end up leaving the site until around 3pm. the guy at the campsite said he thought it was something like 100k to the next one but it turned out to be much more so I was scrabbling around for somewhere to wild camp in Spain with minutes of daylight to spare. The spot seemed pretty peaceful but I situated myself beneath the tree of a nocturnal songbird who would not shut up all night long. I’ve been sleeping between 4 and 6 hours a night I reckon – it’s either barking dogs, singing birds, croaking frogs or roaring
tigers lorries that wake me up and then I can’t get back to sleep. Hopefully better advance planning will mean I have less to fret about. At the time of writing, I know how far and how high I’ll be riding and where I’ll be sleeping for the next four days!