Sitting in the car, with a 6 hour drive in front of us, gave us the perfect opportunity to reflect on our trip so far. As we sped past the iconic windmills of La Mancha on rest day número dos, Don Àlvaro’s recounted the tale of Don Quixote de la Mancha. The idea of a crazy guy wandering around Spain, with his trusty sidekick, resonated with me.
I could certainly draw quite a few parallels to my own rambling adventures in Spain. Were The Don and I the modern version of Quixote and Sancho Panza? Instead of a lance I had my camera, which I was pointing at everything and everyone along the way. After weeks of sleep deprivation, and baking under a merciless Spanish sun - had I too lost the plot? I could, most certainly, see myself attacking these windmills, imagining them to be ferocious giants (or, at the very least, blocking my shots).
After much discussion about Quixote, accompanied by packets of Frutos Secos, we arrived in the small town of Torres Del Río. It was just after 5.30pm and my legs were as tight as two elastic bands. However, as it was a rest day, I was determined to get a ride in.
Like Quixote, the rest day ride was driven by a higher purpose (or, more likely, madness). His was to revive chivalry, mine was to preserve tradition. Honestly, the last thing I wanted to do was construct my bike, throw on a kit and sweat out all those cervezas and plates of cured meats. Still, it was tradition - the weekly self-flagellation.
So, with Sancho in the Škoda, I hopped on my bike, now named Rocinante, and headed out to confront the closest hill. Appropriately, we found ourselves surrounded by high tech wind turbines - modern day windmills.
We had left the wild west, past Madrid, and were now in the Navarra region. It was full of green pastures, oak trees and vineyards - very different from the harsh heat of the bottom half of Spain. I was enjoying the climb so much that I rode straight over the top and into the farmland on the other side.
It was getting late and we had strict instructions that the kitchen closed at 9pm. This is basically breakfast time in Spain. Still, I had to cut my ride short and head back.