Fwd: Wednesday 14th July - VDD
To: Peter O'Brien <peter.obrien@...>; Das Wood <das.wood@...>
CC: Ian and Steff Brown <ianpbrown@...>; colin.r.baxter@...
Sent: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 22:10
Subject: Wednesday 14th July - VDD
Very hot night, disturbed by mosquitos buzzing about, so needless to say a bit bitten in the morning. Heavy drizzle still in evidence, continuing from last night. Breakfast not available until 8:30am and simple prepackaged items and toast. Got to speaking to an older British gent with a keen interest in trains (special narrow gauge Feve railway here with over a 100 stations along the coast, which takes bikes). Although he had a van with him, he had a Dahon folder in the back (and a Brompton at home) so he was not at all surprised by me touring on a Bike Friday. Most people's response is to ask whether the small wheels make it harder work (wish I had that as an excuse, but not true). Now in fairly populated areas down by the coast and a lot less mountainous. Drizzle soon stopped and temp around 21oC with cycling not too arduous. Met up with an English lad on the road, who was also cycling from St Malo to Santander, although he had set off on the Thursday and was camping. He was on a racer and travelling with only 2 panniers so to make room for tent and sleeping bag he basically had only the clothes he was standing in! We said we'd see him on the Ferry, hopefully after a shower! Took a wrong turning (up a long hill) at Solares and had to retrace our steps a bit, but mostly uneventful. One of my knees started to ache continually on the climbs so took some ibruprofen - hopefully a day's rest will help it. Cycled into the centre of Santander's main shopping street and despite road signs and google map assistance from Blackberry, had our usual problem locating a Hotel. They just don't label them for some reason, and there are so many appartment blocks that look like hotels. In the end we lucked on a 2 star, the "Picos d'Europa", up a little side street off the main drag ... and very cheap! Finishing cycling at 2:30 pm was a real novelty! Stats for today: 57.6km, 3hrs 20min in saddle (although think this includes walking round town looking for hotels when we were pushing the bikes on the pavement), 17.2km/hr avg speed, 610m ascent. After quick shower we went out for a beer and a snack (ordered "blind" as a Bocadillo Hamburguesa, but as it turned out it is otherwise known as a burger in a bun). Still overcast, but nice to sit in the central shopping area and watch the world go by. We walked down to the port area with its marina of yachts, attractive buildings and bizarre piped choral singing. Watched a large Brittany Ferry depart and had a brief moment of panic that we might have been a day out in our reckoning and it was ours! Obviously no food available until 9pm so headed back to hotel to watch Tour de France and take a short siesta. Resurfaced at 8pm to find the main drag absolutely packed with people - we have come to conclusion that since everyone lives in appartments all they can do is either promenade or sit and watch people promenade. Found a place where we could sit and have. Abeer and inbsisted on a grande to much consternation (lunch time beer was in small wine glasses) so got it delivered in a half litre stein. Used the hotel "cafeteria" for evening meal. Platos combinados of fried food plus salad plus a bottle of house wine (at 3 Euros!) Polished off with the spanish "flan". Walked up street for a constitutional but patently the promenading period between 8 and 10 was finished. Headed back to hotel to watch Die Hard in Spanish! Regards Colin O'Brien Operations Excellence Process Manager (Via Blackberry)