Antequera to Ardales - Eating Our Way Around Andalucia - 2022 - CycleBlaze

October 13, 2022

Antequera to Ardales

Great riding today

Today, our destination was the white village of Ardales on a route that had more downhill than uphill.  After a breakfast of tostadas in the main square, we left Antequera under perfect blue skies and lovely temps. 

Tostadas are toasted sandwiches involving some or all of ham/cheese/smushed tomatoes/olive oil toasted.  Usually open-faced, but today it was  closed.  Like all sandwiches, their quality varies from okay to fabulous.  These ones were pretty good.   

Breakfast of a closed-faced tostada and cafe con leche. Lucky for me, there was decaf available everywhere.
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After exiting town uphill on steep cobbled streets, we enjoyed absolutely perfect new pavement on twisty quiet roads for much of the day.  

There were no towns or stores en route today. By the time we got to the Conde de Guadalhorce water reservoir, we were hungry and thirsty, and stopped at a bar that didn't have much food.  So tostadas again, this time mediocre.  Just a few hundred metres further across the dam, we might have had more choices.  It was clearly a touristy area, with lots of buses and hikers out on this beautiful day.  The big attraction was the Caminito del Rey, a via Ferrata type hike.  We hiked a short loop to see the start of the Caminito, but we didn't have reservations, nor really the time to do this excursion, so we passed. As we biked past the reservoir, there were no signs of activity out in the water on this beautiful day, but there were signs indicating that there were rental watercraft available (SUPs and kayaks).  But I think Spaniards have declared summer to be over, so maybe rentals are over for the year.   Or maybe reservoir access is tricky, since water levels are as low as 11% of capacity throughout Andalucía due to a terrible drought.    

It was beautiful weather, but got a bit windy by the end of afternoon in Ardales. There is a series of windmills above town - never a good sign for cyclists. 

A steep uphill to start the day.
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What a sky!
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Clarity of purpose here
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Beautiful weather, new pavement, great terrain, no traffic. And a warning to drivers to keep their distance. Can't ask for more than that.
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One of the three nearby reservoirs, clearly at a low level. There is hydro power production when water levels permit, and the reservoirs also provide water to the city of Malaga.
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We arrived in Ardales during siesta time in the mid afternoon.  Most things were locked up tight, including the ice cream shop. We were determined to have ice cream today, and we're in agreement that ice cream should be consumed before beer, so we backtracked down the hill to the gas station for a frozen bar.  Not ideal, but better than no treat at all. 

We had a bit of trouble finding the location where we had to pick up our keys - the address wasn't in or google maps, and did multiple loops of the same area. Following check-in to our excellent two story apartment, and doing a load of laundry, we had tapas in the town square - most tapas bars had already closed for the evening, but the restaurants weren't open yet.  Lucky for us, the one bar that was open had local craft beer, including a good IPA, and excellent patatas bravas to tide us over while we waited for restaurants to open. We met other Calgarians at the bar and had a nice chat, but I had to bite my tongue when they praised the new Alberta premier, and made a mental note not to mention politics to any other random Albertans that we meet. 

The town square was full of orange trees. At first, I thought someone had dropped their groceries - but it was just green oranges that had fallen from the trees. 

The main activity in town tonight was a kid's birthday party in the town square.  There were all ages there to celebrate, and a cake too. 

We popped across the street as soon as we saw an open restaurant, and had very good picadillo soup and calamari for dinner. And a dull sort of salad with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, tuna, and hard boiled eggs.  What's with the iceberg lettuce?

Translation of the day: 'crumbs only in season'. I wonder what the season is for crumbs? Joking aside, it's lovely that they made an attempt.
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Today's ride: 46 km (29 miles)
Total: 112 km (70 miles)

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