Baena to Priego de Córdoba - Eating Our Way Around Andalucia - 2022 - CycleBlaze

November 1, 2022

Baena to Priego de Córdoba

All Saints' Day

I've had such a great stretch of sleeping well. Until last night. Our apartment is a cute place, but not quiet. The noise was, I think, because of Halloween being followed by a statutory holiday for November 1, All Saints Day. That's a great excuse for a party at the nearby bar. Also, I did a bad job of closing curtains and there was light from the street shining in. But I never woke up enough to clue into what the problem was.

It was a beautiful day. Starting out, we found that the bike shop near our apartment was closed for the holiday. ARGH. we should’ve gone last night. Most other stores were too. We started out with a big downhill out of town, and we quickly found the lovely paved via verde we were aiming for. Another ARGH. I forgot our lunch fixin's of hardboiled eggs and veggies in the fridge. So I went back uphill to get them. It’s a short day today, so no big deal in the end.

The via verde was terrific. There were lots of people out biking, running, and walking their dogs through the olive groves. There was a haze in the air, and a distinctive odour of olive oil cooking - but it wasn't from cooking. It turns out that there's a 25 MW biomass plant here, burning waste from olive oil production.  It's about 20 years old, and my guess is that it doesn't meet Canadian emissions standards, because it was both stinky and emitting lots of visible smoke. 

We took the trail all the way to the next town of Luque. Just before the climb into town, we came across a public water source - there haven't been too many of those en route. There was a man filling up a whole lot of water jugs.

We stopped in Luque for coffee, climbing and pushing our bikes up a big hill to reach the centre of town. We sat with a couple tables of pensioners who were busy gabbing and buying lottery tickets from the roving lottery ticket salesperson.  

Looking back at Baena, another town on a hill.
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The via verde between Baena and Luque was in great condition, and is popular with locals.
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The beautiful day was marred only by the smoke and slight odour from the olive oil waste-to-energy plant.
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A public water source in Luque.
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Jamon hanging in the Luque bar. Note the plastic bit at the bottom that catches any drips of fat.
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We're still in the heart of olive oil country.
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A tiny delivery vehicle. I think an average lawn mower has more power.
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We saw these signs against spousal violence in a few towns.
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After Luque - more perfect roads.
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Climbing towards Priego de Cordoba.
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Leaving Luque, we had to go back downhill - through a construction zone, which has become our specialty - to meet the road to Priego, and of course encountered an open café, so we could have avoided the big uphill to the town centre. Oh well, I enjoyed seeing the Luque and the pensioners out enjoying the day. 

The road between Luque and Priego de Cordoba was terrific in all aspects. We had beautiful views of the adjacent Parque Natural Sierras Subbeticas, great pavement, and very few cars. We stopped part way for a snack, but decided we’d arrive in Priego early enough for lunch of a menu del dia. We stopped at outdoor tables of a busy bar near our hotel - Gail enquired about the menu del dia, and the server responded something about a ‘menu dia’, and offered us 5 choices of food with our cañas. We chose croquetas as our appetizer. That was all well and good. But after delivering our beer and croquetas, the server never returned.  The croquetas were merely a generous free tapa offered with our beer.  So, no menu del dia for us.

Defeated in our attempts to get lunch, we gave up, and checked to our nice 2 star hotel across from the bus depot - it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s great. We have a nice shared patio right outside our room, and our bikes are in a janitor's closet on the ground floor. The owner told us that his son is a pro cyclist. 

After getting cleaned up, we headed out in search of food and a look around. We found some empanadas and torta de cordoba that we’d missed in Cordoba, it's a cake made with puff pastry and a jam made with squash. 

We then toured the interesting Priego castle for the low price of 1.50 each. Then with the sun setting, we walked through the narrow streets of the old town and along the cliffs that formed a defensive wall against intruders.

The oldest area of Priego de Cordoba is called the Barrio de la Villa. It has narrow streets, most of them decorated with flower pots.
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The barrio is bordered on one side by the town's natural fortress, a high cliff.
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Wouldn't want to be the cable guy here!
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A trip to the castle was worth the views.
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We stopped at a busy bar for beer and in hope of a bowl of salmorejo, but the restaurant reported that they would have no food until 9 pm, other than ham. It was barely 7 pm, so we headed back towards our hotel in hopes that a kebab/pizza place we’d seen would be open. Hurray - it was open. There were three employees inside - all 30 something big men speaking a language other than Spanish. Arabic? Turkish? Two of them were having a terrible argument. The third took our order. We could have ‘Turkish pizza’, but no regular pizza would be made until after 8 pm. We think we ordered ‘Turkish pizza’, which looked in the pictures like small flatbreads. But we ended up with what we’d call a donair. They were tasty, so no complaints, other than the yelling that had continued all through our wait for food to be made. Not wanting to witness bloodshed, or to deal with the racket, we walked home with our open beer and ate on our very nice patio.

While dealing with my regular daily charging of electronics, I discovered that I’ve lost my wireless earbuds. ☹️ I hadn’t used them once on this trip, and really only brought them in case we got stuck somewhere. When we’re they last seen? Hard to say. Last night’s hostess reported that she hadn’t found them. They do have my email address on them., but I’m not holding out much hope.

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Today's ride: 35 km (22 miles)
Total: 901 km (560 miles)

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