Baeza - Andalucia, Take One - CycleBlaze

October 7, 2004


We’re going to Madrid, but not directly.  We have some time still, so we decide to continue biking along our planned itinerary a bit longer.   We do some research to see where we can pick up a rental car, and find one available in Ubeda, about fifty miles northeast of Jaen.  We book the rental to be picked up the day after tomorrow and then set out for Baeza, the next place we have a hotel reservation for.  I forget now, but we were probably also influenced by cancellation constraints - it was probably too late to cancel our Baeza booking, so we kept it.

There are some hills in between Jaen and Baeza, but the ride shouldn’t have been that hard - by the route we followed, it’s only 30 miles with 3,000 feet of moderate climbing.  No big deal, after what we’ve seen all along.  So, it’s surprising that we had a terrible time of it and arrived in Baeza completely worn out, our tails dragging.

The missing pannier held more than just two passports, of course.  Along with it went a good share of Rachael’s clothes, as well as some personal effects - including our medications.  We both have mild hypothyroidism and take a thyroid hormone supplement.  After having missed our last three daily doses, we thought that this was the cause of our unexpected fatigue.  Looking back now, I’m less certain though.  This may have been a factor, or it could be that the tour was just catching up with us; or perhaps losing our passports tipped us over into one of those ‘gumption traps’ that Robert Pirzig warned us of in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  And, there’s the fact that I’m only two days away from collapsing with an illness that will lay me flat before we can leave the country - maybe I was suffering from early symptoms without realizing it.

In any case, it felt like we were slowly grinding to a halt as we rode east, like the sand was slowly leaking out.  We scaled back our plans, dropping a more challenging and quieter route in favor of the most direct one.  I don’t have a single photo from this ride, though I have faint memories of the terrain.

After checking in to our hotel in Baeza, we immediately went to a pharmacy with the hope that we could replace our lost medications without a prescription.  We were both surprised to find out how easy this was.  The pharmacist spoke English (not unusual in Europe in our experience), and didn’t hesitate to sell them to us.  We’ve done this at least two times since then in other countries, with the same result - as long as we knew what our prescription was, we didn’t need to provide documentation.

Baeza is a very pretty monumental town.  I wish we’d had the time and energy to fully appreciate it.

In Baeza
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The Baeza cathedral
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Ride stats today: 31 miles, 3,500’; for the tour: 639 miles, 51,100’

Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 591 miles (951 km)

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