Thursday, August 27, 2009

Viaje a la Alcarria

Here are just a few photos from an amazing journey I went on with Pablo and two of his friends from Madrid, Raul and El Puma. We left, in part, to escape the fiestas de Siguenza. Two days and 200km on mountain bikes along dirt roads, passing through small towns, orchards, rivers and pine forests. We traced the route taken by the Spanish author Camilo Jose Cela, who published the novel “Viaje a la Alcarria” in 1948, describing the countryside and small towns he encountered along his journey. I haven’t read the book, yet, although it is on the list of books to read (as soon as there is more free time).

One of my favorite part about the trip were the public fountains we got water from. Each small town we passed through had a public drinking fountain in the center of the town’s plaza mayor, near the ayuntamiento (city hall). The water in some of the fountains came directly from wells. This water was cool and clear and tasted fresh, and was a cool relief to the heat of central Spain in August. It was really hot. Mid-day on a bicycle, no shade, and hot air, temperatures of 38 Celsius. Cool well water tasted sweet.

These were my last few days with Pablo (Nacho). After the bicycle trip we went back to Siguenza for two days of the fiestas, and then I went north to the Atlantic coast, to the French side of the French/Spanish border with a group of Spanish lifeguards. THANK YOU PABLO!!! Everything feels like it is moving, flowing along, and I must thank Pablo for giving me a place to stay, and the first few connections that have since evolved into an entire aquatic community of swimmers, lifeguards, and just great people. And I have come to love the Spanish province of Castilla-La Mancha, the heart of Spain.

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