This picture says it all about our first couple of weeks of our Summer cycle tour.
Spain has been in the grips of a heat wave. This part of Spain is often in the 40’s in July, but this year temperatures have soared into the mid to high 40’s.
We set off from Vejer de la Frontera on 9th July with a three month plan to wonder around Spain, then cross France, ending up in Chamonix in the French Alps in late September.
The map shows our projected route, with the red line being our first two weeks.
Early days were OK, but by the time we reached Sevilla the heat had really kicked in. So cycling days were shorter, and Sylvia had to kick me out of bed for an early start. Generally we have coped with the temperatures, except for one hard day climbing the Sierra Morena.
The worst part is that, while we carry plenty of water, if there are no villages to top up with cold water you can end up with water hot enough to make tea to drink, not the most pleasant experience.
We have now arrived at the Guadalupe, a small town in the hills centered around a huge monastery, and have spent a couple of days relaxing, taking in a bit of culture and watching the world go by.
We are in Extremadura, one of the poorest, most sparsely populated parts of Spain. Once again we are amazed at the variation a days riding can bring, we can start out in flat agricultural plains and finish the day in barren high hills.
We have been reminded of why we love cycling in Spain, most days you are rewarded with huge expansive views, big skies and endless rolling hills. It is so uplifting and will raise the spirits on the toughest of days in the saddle.
We now head east across more of empty Spain, our next target, in about 5 days and 250km is the city of Toledo.
So to finish, here are some views of the vastness of Extremadura.