Funny old day today. I needed some stuff from my favourite shop (you guess!) and I realised there was a branch in Salamanca so I started a little later in order to get there for opening at 10. I now have more protein shakes, lots of inner tube patches and glue, I was a bit spooked by the discovery that the glue I had was past it’s usability, and a dinky thing to mount the maps on the handlebar.
After I got going the cycling was very enjoyable, it makes a hell of a difference to cycle when the sun comes occasionally out. The first forty five miles, while by no means flat, were not a huge problem but the last ten where something else. I thought I was back in Yorkshire and the sight of snow on the mountains ahed of me was truly ominous.
Anyways I got there in the end and I have a short stage tomorrow to get me to Placencia where I might stay a day or two, depending on the weather.
For the early part of the day I thought I wouldn’t have anything to write down as the scenery was one of generic farming. Then I started taking pictures of animals.
Cows there were a few, all sorts of colours and they looked happier and healthier than their French counterparts. Naturally they would be better off than the Italian ones that often do not see the outside world at any point in their life.
These horses where in the same field as a heard of cows but they did not seam to mind at all, the only think they minded was me taking the picture so they quickly moved away.
The donkey I had to take a picture of as he looked really cute. According to my dad donkey are really kind animals, he says even generous. I have not had much experience with them and they suffer from quite bad press, but this one has now had its moment of glory.
When I thought there were not going to be any surprises for me in the day I saw this. It looks like a modern Stonehenge all made in granite. It turns out it is the “Parque Temático del granito”, see here.
Obviously the connection is the hight number of granite extraction sites in the area.
I was getting a bit bored and I stopped for lunch in a village. There was nothing open and nobody around but I had stuff so all was well.
At the village exit I saw this sign and I thought it would be funny to take a picture as the sun was shining and there was nothing possibly more remote than the possibility of a snow storm or even ice.
Well, I am not superstitious, but it seams to me that things like this might be classed in the “tempting fate” category as a few miles after I was treated to a view of the mountains just at the back of Béjar which appeared to be dusted with some snow.
Presumably that must have come down at the same time as I was getting drenched on the route to Burgos.
I did not expect to see snow this early in the year and again it reminds me of the huge compromise I had to make by choosing to leave in mid October.
In my original plan I was going to camp all the way. I have now been in three countries and on the road for nearly a month and a half and I have only camped once.
The latest part of the day, prior to me hitting the wall was spiced by seeing these two nests. I presume it’s storks again but they did not look inhabited.
While immersed in all this thinking of nature I did remember a poem that I always really like with a rather dark and yet very contemporary environmental theme.
If it was the case that one could divide poetry in poetry for boys and poetry for girls, this would definitely fit the former rather than the later category.
The poem is Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner that, most of you will know, and enjoy reading again, or will discover at the end of the post in not one but two rather distinct renditions.
I thought putting the whole poem here would have been a bit over the top so here is a link and an extract that I think it’s topical to the post.
And now, all in my own countree,
I stood on the firm land!
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.
‘O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!’
The Hermit crossed his brow.
‘Say quick,’ quoth he, ‘I bid thee say—
What manner of man art thou?’
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.
Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.
I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.
Then the very alternative version