Calzadilla de los Barros - The twelfth step ... Three months in Spain - CycleBlaze

April 14, 2022

Calzadilla de los Barros

Today was a mixed bag that turned out OK in the end.

The first eleven kilometers was the most enjoyable ride we have had so far in Spain.  In fact it was so enjoyable, we did a six and a half kilometer section of it three times.

Once out of El Real de la Jara we rode on a lovely unsealed road sandwiched between stone walls, very similar visually and topographically to our struggles through Cornwall and Devon. The difference here is that the walls were lower, the road wider and the inclines more forgiving.
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Just over a kilometer of leaving town we left Sevilla province and Andalucia and entered the province of Badajoz in the Extramedura region.

Crossing the stream that seems to be the border between Andalucia and Extramedura.
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The view that came with crossing the border was quite spectacular.
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This fortification was built somewhere around the thirteenth century but little is known of its history.
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The Little Wire Bicycle also got in on the act.
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Scott AndersonYes, well worth an extra 13k!
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2 years ago
Jean-Marc StrydomTo Scott AndersonFor a brief moment I was completely unsentimental and thought "I'm not going back to fetch it" but the look in Leigh's eyes made it impossible to leave behind. My biggest fear was that someone might have picked it up and we would never find it again.
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2 years ago
Extramedura highlights the Via de la Plata a lot more than Andalucia.
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Once we had got over seeing the little fortification we cycled on in a somewhat euphoric manner just enjoying the perfect weather and the idyllic surroundings.

Iberian ham in development.
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Perfect cycling conditions.
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About seven and half kilometers into the ride Leigh said "I think I left the Little Wire Bicycle behind at the fort".  So we raced back six kilometers, stopping to ask all the peregrinos that we passed whether they had seen the Little Wire Bicycle.  Luckily it was still perched where it was when Leigh took the photo of it at the fort.  Nearly thirteen kilometers added to the day but at least it was on a good road to ride.

After what would have been the eleven kilometer mark we got spat out onto the N630, the old road that tracks the new motorway heading northwards.  A good surface and virtually no traffic but it was a let down after the lovely unsealed road we had been riding through the countryside.  It didn't help that it was a stiff climb up to the town of Monesterio and that by this stage the northerly wind that had been forecast was blowing at about twenty five kilometers per hour.  In fact the wind was far worse than the climb.

Monesterio seems to be the center of Iberian Ham production. This monument to the pigs' product greeted us as we entered the town.
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The original plan had been to skip Monesterio and head to Fuente de Cantos for the night but the delay caused by turning back to retrieve the Little Wire Bicycle induced us to look for digs in Monesterio.  We spent about three quarters of an hour visiting each hotel and hostel but they were all booked up apart from two dingy single rooms which we decided to avoid. 

So we reverted to the original plan. It was a bit of a  slog to Fuente de Cantos on the N630 which was thankfully still devoid of traffic.  We then went through the same fruitless exercise of looking for digs.  By this stage we were resigned to wild camping somewhere.

Thankfully the receptionist at one of the hotels in Fuente de Cantos suggested we try the hostal at Restaurante Rodriguez in the next village, Calzadilla de los Barros, which was only six kilometers further on.  We phoned ahead  and made sure we could get a bed for the night and arrived at the inn some time after four.

The hostal is rough and ready but it is clean and has, as the name suggests, a restaurant and pub attached.  A hot shower and a cold beer sorted us out and now we are just waiting for the restaurant to open, at eight o'clock which is standard here in Spain, so we can have some supper and head to bed.

The bedding is eye-catching and skin tickling - all fluffy like a baby's blanket.
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There are a number of other peregrinos here, at least two of which have had far more eventful days than us.  A German guy had walked the forty kilometers from El Real de la Jara to Fuente de Cantos only to discover his booking in the hostel where he had booked (he seems to have booked each night of his camino) had been scratched out.  So he caught a ride to Calzadilla de los Barros and will need to get one back to Fuente de Cantos in the morning.  To spice things up even further he locked himself out of his room after taking his shower and suddenly appeared half naked in the restaurant where we were enjoying our beer.  The staff nonchalantly told him they could let him back into his room after eight!  There is also a Swiss cyclist here who also struggled to find accommodation and caught a lift.  Easter Weekend seems to be making finding accommodation quite difficult.

Today's ride: 61 km (38 miles)
Total: 646 km (401 miles)

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