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The plains of Spain

The plain of north Spain is huge, but more surprisingly high at between 700 and 900 metres!
Wide open spaces, long long straight roads surrounded by fields of wheat and barley. Windmills dot the higher ridges. The local roads have almost no traffic on them and often feel like a bespoke cycle track.

Long empty roads
The view looks the same in both directions. If a car passes we can watch it disappear into the distance for many minutes......

Coming to a bend in the road raises some slight anticipation of what is coming next, but usually just another long straight stretch. The only pitfall to cycling in this wide open space is when there is a headwind, it makes for tough days. The views and the spaciousness are amazing, not like anything I've seen in the UK, not even east Anglia.

From Burgos we headed to Vallaholidad, not a town I'd heard of before, but where we very warmly welcomed by Jaun and his family whom we had contacted via the WarmShowers site and invited us to stay with them. We had a delightful stay, they showed us their city and a taste of Spanish culture and we ended up staying two nights which was very welcome break from the wheels, and a day of rain.
Jaun and family
Juan, Sylvia, Luis and Lara on the battlements of the castle in Penafiel where we also had a fantastic lunch.

Rested and well fed we headed on early the next day to Salamanca, 120 kms south. Anticipating showers we had sun for much of the way, and again the roads were largely empty and rolling. At the top of each rise we hope for a descent, only to find the plain continued and then rose again. We were cycling at over 800m. As we approached Salamanca we could see the darkest piles of clouds with drenching downpours scattered on the horizon. We'd avoided some by good fortune but in the end we had to seek shelter and don full waterproofs for our arrival into the city. We'd booked ahead a place in the youth hostel and welcomed a dry room and shower.

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