Spiders & Caterpillars
Having crossed the border (now with deserted prison cells and cafes who didn´t see the downside of federalisation coming) from Portugal, the rain started. A clue was the much greener plains of Extramadura compared to the parched plains of Alentejo.
The largely supportive wind did ease our way although a greater tailwind is always desirable. A mainly agro-industrial landscape provided a somewhat monotonous view, despite the range of corn, pears, apples, olives and more varieties of fruits and vegetables, ready for harvest. By harvest, we mean processing in foul-smelling factories with rusted panels and ghost-like worker towns alongside. On the plus side, the warm rain does bring out the smell of the wild flowers and thyme that line the route.
Our fears about other road users have been allayed by the consideration of the many cars and lorries that give us a wide berth or slow to allow us to grind our way up long hills before finding a place to pass - some even offering encouragement with a friendly peep. However, our passage does not go unnoticed by the packs of guard dogs protecting virtually every warehouse by the road. Finally, Denise´s uncharacteristic acceleration foreshadowed Ranald´s pursuit by cerberus unchained.
Our first technical hitch, cropping up just outside our destination, means that our rest day in Merida will involve a trip to the bike shop with a phrase book, some Euros, and a hopeful grin.
Day 84.6km (Total 367.3km) Bum pain rating 4/5