To Salamanca, a perfect ten (days) - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

October 11, 2019

To Salamanca, a perfect ten (days)

We can’t believe how great this run of weather has been.  For the tenth straight day, it’s mild and fair - a perfect ten.

At 46 miles, today’s ride to Salamanca is a bit longer than our days have been lately.  We could shorten if we took a more direct route, but that would put us on the N-630 almost the whole way.  It looks like one of those very quiet national highways that’s been made almost redundant by the faster, newer one that parallels it, but we’re not likely to see as much or enjoy as pleasant conditions as the longer, quieter road we favor instead.

Leaving Zamora, crossing the Douro one last time over the modern bridge.
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The route we’ve chosen starts by angling southeast to Fuentesauco, about 25 miles off; and then zags back southwest for the final 20 miles to Salamanca.  It has a similar elevation profile to yesterday’s, with a long rolling climb followed by a long, rolling descent.  A critical difference though is that it’s not a loop.  We’re trending southward all day, as is the wind.  We get a steady boost from the rear all day long, making the ride feel much shorter and easier than it could have been.

The terrain is quite different from yesterday’s loop as well.  Surprising, because we really aren’t far to the east from the route we took then.  It’s much more open, not at all rocky, generally quite depopulated, and browner.  Still intensely beautiful, in a same, same but different way.

Heading south, Salamanca-bound. It looks quieter than it actually is - note the cyclist ahead crowding my space a bit.
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Ron SuchanekI hate it when there's so much cycling traffic!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekI know. I keep asking her to give me a little space, but she keeps crowding in on me.
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1 month ago
In a way these landscapes are all the same, in another they’re all different. Today’s lean to the umber end of the palette.
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Gregory GarceauThe landscape reminds me (fondly) of the Palouse.
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2 months ago
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Not many folks live out here. The few that do look like they lead pretty private lives. But look at that flag, blowing our way!
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There’s that same annoying cyclist up ahead, cluttering up an otherwise perfect scene.
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Video sound track: Rhythm Divine, by Enrique Eglesias

We break for lunch in Fuentesauco, the largest of the few towns we pass through today.  We find a nice bench in the shade, enjoying the block of delicious artisanal cheese that Yolanda, our excellent hostess in Zamora (and if you’re going to Zamora, you really should consider staying at Yolanda’s apartment) has left for us.  Later, leaving town, we pass an artisanal cheese factory that I’m pretty sure is the source for what we just enjoyed.

Our lunch stop, in Fuentesaúco
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In Fuentesaúco
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In Fuentesaúco, flying the flags of the territory: Spain, Castilla y Leon, and I think Zamora.
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We’re on a cat streak - three in three days. This one has found a tasty slick in Fuentesaúco‘s Plaza Mayor to lap at. Hopefully it’s not just radiator fluid.
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We still have a few hundred feet of modest climbing ahead after lunch before topping out at 3,000’.  After that though it’s a long, straight, fast descent downwind to Salamanca.  Traffic gradually builds as we near town, but the drivers are invariably courteous and give us a wide berth.  Within Salamanca itself we’re delighted to find a fine cycleway that carries us nearly all the way from the outskirts of town to almost the heart of the city.  A refreshingly easy ride into the largest place we’ve seen since leaving Santiago.

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At the high point of the ride, looking back toward Fuentesaúco. With the wind at our backs, we’ll sail all the way to Salamanca.
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Salamanca is still fifteen miles off here, but I think barely visible. Also barely visible from this high up are the mountains to the south. That must be the Sierra de Francia, that we’ll be biking up into when we leave Salamanca.
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Salamanca is a famous and popular place, but just a bit overwhelming after the small towns we’ve frequented for the last two weeks.  Our hotel is in a prefect location (but not actually perfect - our room is pretty cramped, another tiny slot canyon) just off Salamanca’s incomparable Plaza Mayor.  There can’t be another place at all like it in Europe, I’m sure.  We’ll be here for two nights, so we’ll wait for tomorrow to show it to you.  In the meantime, you can sit in the plaza here in the sun with these two young women and imagine how glorious your surroundings are.

On the Plaza Mayor, waiting for a friend.
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Jen GrumbyAnd from what I can tell, neither has a cell phone in her hand!

Looking forward to more photos of the Plaza Mayor.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyNope. Just sitting, chatting. Very nice. I was sorry I didn’t get a clearer picture a moment later when their friend appeared and their faces lit up.
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2 months ago
Another wonderful evening dining under the stars, on a warm, windless night. It’s 8:30, and as usual we’re opening the restaurant.
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Full but not yet glutted, we cross the Plaza Mayor in search of the perfect gelato.
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Ride stats today: 46 miles, 2,500’; for the tour, 579 miles, 26,900’

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 579 miles (932 km)

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Jen GrumbyLove the absence of cars in the video and all the photos!
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2 months ago
Carolyn van HoeveWe copied your route today from Otranto to Lecce along the coast. Beautiful! We’re also having a run of sunny weather and empty roads (even along that coast). Though your long stretch of fair weather worries me - it will be due for rain by the time we get there.
Very sad to see so much rubbish littering the side of the rides (though nothing compared to that horror in Corfu). Layers upon layers of history and our legacy is layers of plastic waste.
Waiting around for the dinner hour to begin ....
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyAlmost perfect alright, but I see that Rachael let two cars sneak in. They’re far enough off though that they don’t detract much. And no electronic devices either! I
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Carolyn van HoeveThat was a great ride alright. I’m glad you made it down to Otranto - I think it’s such a special town. Isn’t it amazing how quiet places like this are though when you get even a bit off season?

I don’t think there’s much relationship between our weather and Andalucia. We’re still quite a bit to the north, and Andalucia has its own climate. I still think you’ll be getting there at the perfect time.
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2 months ago
Carolyn van HoeveWell hope the weather gods stay in your favour!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonSo are you in Andalucia yet? The weather in Seville looks pretty perfect right now.
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1 month ago
Mike AylingTo Carolyn van HoeveI look forward to your journal, Carolyn

Mike
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1 month ago