The way out of Horcajo de los Montes took us through a National Park. With Spain being such a heavily cultivated country, it was wonderful to see native vegetation covering the hills. There were surprisingly no large trees but rather small shrub cover. Bright purple lavender lined the road along with brilliant yellow clumps of small blooms and rather feral daisy type flowers amongst dark green foliage.
We were successful in skirting Madrid, though the silken voice of the GPS tried hard to convince us otherwise. We took the road past the grand Monasterio of El Escorial, rising majestically above the trees. We missed seeing it on our trip around Spain last year, and we have to miss it again this time.
On the hills outside El Escorial we came to a halt. Cars lined up with a policeman ensuring that no-one was to get through. A yellow helicopter blocking the road and a crowd of ambulance and police suggested a serious accident. After half an hour the helicopter took off and we were allowed through. It was indeed a serious accident involving a large motorbike. We could not see any car involved so thought that perhaps he had hit the guard rail. If so, then he hit it with enough force to break the bike in two. The front wheel and handlebars were completely separated from the rest. We had already seen, not dozens, but hundreds of motorcyclists mostly in big groups out on the road this fine Sunday, many going at speed on the windy mountain roads. A sobering sight.
Finally the last section of this leg took us through yet another mountain pass - over 1440m - and onto the plains again. Burgos, a famous cathedral city, is our stop for the night leaving us only a few hours' drive to Santander tomorrow. Again Burgos was a city we by-passed last time; truth to tell, we were a bit cathedraled-out by the time we came close to here last time. Again, maybe next time we stop and have a closer look.