Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Spain Sierra bike trip – day 2

Day 1 of the bike trip was good – long and at times tough, but with lots of beautiful scenery to enjoy. I went 57 kilometers, though I think it was more, especially since I got lost the moment I started out. The highlights were:

• The village of Torrelaguna and the most amazing bakery (Panaderia Martin (calle Cardenal Cisneros 11; Tel: 91 843 03 11) we found there. My traveling companion said he didn’t think there was more than one bakery this good in the entire state of Hawaii. It was by far the best I’ve come across in Spain – with healthy options such as whole wheat toast and sandwiches and smoothies, together with the usual sweet goodies.

• The wildflowers – red poppies, white, purple, and yellow flowers dotted the fields everywhere and perfumed the air. Beautiful.

• The views of the el Atazar reservoir, especially up close.

• The quiet country roads, where it was only me, the birds and the wind.

• The cool afternoon breeze and the bright blue sky

• The town of Buitrago de Loyoza with it’s medieval section, thick Moorish stone wall with cool, dark arches, friendly people, and the best menu del dia I’ve had so far in Spain at Asador Restaurante Las Murallas (Plaza de la Constitucion 3; Tel: 91 868 04 84) - a steal at 10 euro.

Least favorite part – the 10 km or so uphill climb out of Torrelaguna in the intense heat. At this time of year, the best times to ride are before 10:30 a.m. and after 6 p.m. It makes for a very split day and is tough to time the rides, especially since we thought we’d take it slow and would have all day to cover the distance. Also, the urbanizaciones, or developments that have sprung up on the outskirts of many of these villages. They look like character-less suburbs.

Overall, I’m loving being on the road, seeing the land up close, and exploring the small towns of this region of Spain.

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