It is Thursday 24 August 16:30h, our bike computer indicates it is 43.5 degrees C. Luckily, we decided to “take shelter” at a campsite the day before yesterday, the first real day of cycling in Spain. Secretly, we also like the fact that we have a few more days of real heat. 8 months of moderately warm weather is pleasant and efficient, but also a bit of the same.

For the first time, we are only putting up the inner tent.

Yesterday it was really hot too. We had seen it coming and got up at 6am to cycle away at 7am. It was still dark when the alarm went off. Illuminated by our headlamps we packed up. We made tea and ate oats soaked in water with Alpro cream (with sultanas and walnuts). At 7:15h we were ready and felt it was light enough to hit the road. Although we were on a very small and quiet road, we did put on “lamp” – the rechargeable rear light we bought in Norway – in daylight flashing mode.

The day started with 300 metres of climbing after which the rest of the 46km would be mostly downhill. We briefly entered Castillia et Leon, but are now back in the Basque Country. Tomorrow we leave that for good for this trip.

The first day of cycling in Spain went well. Cycling through and out of the city was very easy on a beautifully constructed cycle path. Pretty soon we were at an altitude of about 100 metres and even when the asphalt changed to gravel we more or less stayed at this height. We liked the landscape, nature and temperature, perhaps helped by the fact that we cycled under trees a lot.

According to our sources, we would not encounter any camping along this route. So we took wild camping into account. At the same time, we wanted to try to do part of the 700-metre climb to minimise cycling in the heat the next day. Everywhere (in populated areas) there are taps with drinking water, so at the last one before the climb we filled all our bottles and poured some over our heads. We saw a hostel marked on the map about halfway up the climb: “casa de los cascades”. Somehow we thought it would be nice if we could go there, so we called. The owner did not speak English or any other language we had mastered, something that appears to be common here (again)…. We did manage to decipher that he suggested communicating via whatsapp. That turned out to work well and so we knew he was full, but that we could pitch the tent on his property. For us, the best possible solution!

It was already quite late when we arrived at his gate. As agreed, we called him again, whereupon he apparently called one of his tenants, because a friendly smiling lady came to meet us. She pointed out to us a patch of grass with fruit trees that indeed seemed excellent for camping. Whether we needed water? Tessel walked with her to her cottage in advance, and as we were beginning to suspect that we would have to do without sanitary facilities here, Oscar looked for the showerbag. When he arrived at the cottage, Tessel was sitting there with a lovely glass of water…. And fortunately some younger neighbours who (thus?) did speak English came to take a look. So it became clear to us that there was a little fountain by the BBQ place and if we wanted to bathe they could show us the way to the waterfall. Waterfall?!!! Quickly we emptied our glasses and set off with them. It was neither far nor too difficult down to the bottom of the waterfall. People were swimming in the pool below, it looked amazingly attractive and so we rushed up to put on our swimsuits and head straight back. Lovely!!! Fortunately, there was enough nature around the site to make up for the rest of the missing facilities😉.

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