Beautiful carriages, with bells on, in Villarasa Spain
My stopping place for the night in Castilleja de la Cuesta
I rode about 93 miles today, mostly on back roads, stopping at Castilleja de la Cuesta, just west of Sevilla because I was very tired and the place I stopped looked, and is, very neat.
I was so tired that, after I ate supper - I walked to a nearby supermarket to get supplies for supper and breakfast - I needed to nap for an hour before I started working on this report. I did the images, then went to sleep at about 10 PM and woke up at 9:20 AM! I was tired from the hard ride and because I did dot sleep well in Ayamonte. Part of the sleeping problem was my noisy room, but most of it was my sore shoulder from the crash. The shoulder was much less of a problem last night - I'm writing this the day after the ride, and last night's sleeping quarters were much quieter.
My first day riding in Spain presented some real contrasts between Spain and Portugal. The first, seemingly trivial, but a real loss to me, was the great service stations in Portugal. I really miss 'em!
In Spain, the service stations do not have espresso machines and great pastries. They have a poor assortment of junk food and a, US like, selection of pop. Things cost more here, and the stations are dingier and less user friendly e.g. it is pain to get to use the restrooms, while in Portugal they were usually very easy to use. To be fair, the men - in Portugal there were usually women as well - running the service stations here were very nice, but, unlike Portugal, English just isn't spoken. On the other hand, the roads are much smoother and the shoulders usually are just as good, so it is definitely easier on my body to ride in Spain.
Portugal, where I rode, also didn't have as much interesting culture or architecture as Andalucia on the backroads between Ayamonte and Seville. I saw a few really neat churches, including one with dome that was a miniature of the Cathedral in Florence. I saw three horse drawn carriages, with incredible workmanship, each drawn by two horses with (literally) bells on. They must have been on their way to some festival between Villrasa and Villalba del Alcore, since I saw two carriages starting east from Villarasa and one coming west at Villalba del Alcore.
The dome of church near Villalba del Alcore
I saw stork nests in Portugal and Spain
This one is on some Roman Ruins in Niebla
Here is the third carriage. That is Villalba del Alcore in the background
The Church in Villarasa
Riding the backroads was nice, but a bit hilly and, unfortunately the worst hill was shortly before Sevilla. I was riding towards SanLucar, which is about ten miles from Sevilla, when I saw some really pretty buildings way up on a hill. It was 4 km to SanLucar, and as I looked ahead, I saw that the road climbed up and around the hill with the pretty buildings. Sure enough, I climbed at 5 to 6 mph for the next half an hour. When I got to the top, I found a neat resort town, but I'd really rather not have had to do that hot climb late in my riding day. I'm riding in the hottest part of Spain. It is not really hot yet, temperatures are only in the 90s, but long climbs late in the afternoon are hard in this heat.
The first part of this ride was not on backroads, it was on the main road from Ayamonte to Heulva. Heulva is a big port city, the last one on the Atlantic on this route, so I decided to make it my lunch stop. I stopped earlier at Lepe for a snack and to buy a map. Near Lepe I learned not to believe Spanish road signs, as I took a several mile detour because the road that went through Lepe wasn't signed for Heulva, while one that went to a bypass around Lepe (and is not on my maps) was. Both roads went to Heulva, and I learned to go by the road number, not by the places the road signs listed.
Riding into Heulva was quite pretty on A-492. It is a curvy road that runs through some beautiful woods. Riding out of Heulva was more of a problem. The route I planned to take was marked as an Autovia in town, so I re-routed going north a few mikes and then coming back south to A-472, the road I followed to Sevilla.
In addition to Roman Ruins, neat churches, and neat carriages, I also found the crops interesting. In the first part of the ride, near the ocean, there were lots of citurs groves, some olive groves, and even some strawberries. In the second part of the ride, where it was hotter and drier, the major crops seemed to be sunflowers and wheat. In places, it almost looked like Kansas, but Kansas doesn't have medieval towns or electric train lines.
A-472 looks like a road in Kansas, but Kansas doesn't have electric trains
Nor does it have town that look like this
But it does have fields of sunflower - the Kansas state flower
Those are alternating fields of wheat and sunflowers
My huge room, at least twice as large as any other on this trip
A central area around which rooms are arranged
And a peacock - the area behind the hostel was a bird sanctuary!