In Medina del Campo - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 7, 2024

In Medina del Campo

It sounds a little harsh to say that we found Medina del Campo disappointing, but it wasn’t one of our favorite stays.  The town suffers from being less interesting than we’d expected, especially after our recent stays.  We’ve stayed in a run of exceptional historical towns ever since arriving in Zafra, and Medina just feels a little flat.   Doing it over, we’d probably have stayed just one night here.

On the other hand, if we’d stayed just the one night I’d have missed my chance to see a short-toed snake eagle.  Who knows how long it would be before that bird gets added to my life list otherwise?

In what’s likely to be our standard pattern for layover days for awhile, we plan on taking our outings after lunch when the day has warmed up.  We have a restaurant on the plaza mayor picked out for lunch, and I leave early to check out the highlights of the town before we meet up there.  It doesn’t take long to make the rounds, so I mark time while I’m waiting for Rachael  by sitting on a bench in the sun on the square reading the blogs and watching kids and dogs harass the pigeons.

A river runs through it, but you’d hardly know it from this look. The Zapardiel is presumably still flowing beneath that concrete lid but we’ll have to wait until we’re out of town to be sure.
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Karen PoretMaybe watering the flowers will help the channel “flow”..;)
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1 week ago
In Medina del Campo. Except for a few heritage buildings, most of the town looks fairly modern and rebuilt.
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In Medina del Campo.
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In Medina del Campo.
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In Medina del Campo.
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The Ajuntamiento, on the Plaza Mayor.
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In Medina del Campo.
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The good Queen, sending Columbus off to discover America. She’ll get to the Spanish Inquisition later. First things first.
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When Rachael shows up she’s all excited to show me her new purchase - a pair of long pants that she got to replace her Lon black leg warmers that got damaged in the laundry fiasco that ruined my Bassano del Grappa bike shirt.  They’re not ruined and are still wearable, but they look very worn through now.

The new pants look great, a lavender pastel that goes great with her shoes and shirt.  They don’t actually quite work as bike pants, but you can’t have everything.

It’s perfect! And a bargain, at < €20.
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Karen PoretShe’s a fashion plate! Looks great in everything :)
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1 week ago
Rachael AndersonTo Karen PoretI’m actually more interested in function but it’s great when you get both and it matches your shirt and even better when it’s cheap!
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1 week ago

Lunch was fine, but didn’t give us a reason to be glad we had stayed here for two nights to wait around for it.  A few hours later Rachael left for an out and back north of town on a walking path into the low hills to the north of town, most of which are blanketed in vineyards - we’re starting to approach the important Duero wine region.  She returned with some photos, but not the one she was hoping to find when she carefully pored through the walking video she took.  She said she saw literally dozens of rabbits and wanted proof but all she could find was one blurry bunny quickly bolting from the frame.

The first part of her walk was on the road, crossing over the highway. Quiet enough, and with a good shoulder.
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A well marked place.
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Much better. A vast solar farm to the right, grain fields to the left, and bunnies everywhere you look - so she says.
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And vineyards of course. She’s on the wine route.
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Red earth country.
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Shoes and shadow.
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For myself I mapped out about a thirty five mile loop, mostly on pavement.  The first several miles though were on the unpaved Camino de Levante, on its way west to Toro, Zamora, and ultimately Santiago.  I’m only planning on about three miles of this trail though - just far enough to bring me to what look like the settling ponds of a water treatment plant that are allegedly a local birding hotspot.  After that I’ll return to the pavement for a loop south and west of town.

On the way to Santiago!
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Crossing the tracks, looking back to Medina.
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Right out of town I spot the first raven of the year, I think. Later though I’ll be reminded that I saw one back in Oregon. First in Europe though.
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The trail surface starts out reasonably well enough. I’ll be fine with a few miles of this.
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So the mighty Zapardiel does have a flow to it. Doesn’t look navigable though. Or potable, with those cows wading around near it.
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The view north, across the river. There’s not much contour here, but there are a few low hills.
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Karen PoretLooks like the two in front are about to have a “chat”..
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Karen PoretIt does, doesn’t it? I should have started up a video and watched to see what developed.
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1 week ago

The ride doesn’t go as planned though.  For one thing the settling ponds are invisible, on the other side of the river and hidden by reeds.  So that’s another in a long series of bird busts.  I do come to a small widening of the river that features a stilt and a few mallards,  but that’s it.  That bit of water tempts me to keep following the river a ways further though so I bike on, heading for a spot where looks like the trail will tie into the pavement a few miles further on.  As I go though the trail starts getting narrower, fainter, and more overgrown.  The ride turns into an intermittent hike and bike and more than once I stop, consider the situation and assess whether I should turn back.

The trail grows fainter.
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Keith AdamsLooks more like a lightly-used field road at that point.
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2 weeks ago
And sloppier.
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And more overgrown.
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Another booted eagle!
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Eventually though it improves again, and when I come to a small church in the middle of nowhere I connect up to an actual road - unpaved, but easily bikeable - and head back toward the pavement.

Much better.
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Still serves a purpose.
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Civilization! I’m saved!
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I’m up on an overpass across the train line, enjoying the spacious views. You don’t need much of a lift to see a long ways here.
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Looking south, we can even see the mountains from up here. Africa must be just beyond.
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Dropping toward the next town to the west, Villaverde de Medina.
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It’s getting late into the afternoon when I reach Villaverde de Medina and take stock.  I’m back on my original route again but with over twenty miles to go it doesn’t seem prudent to continue that way.  Instead I just turn back toward town, and in a few miles leave the pavement to follow the river again, thinking I might be lucky and find a bird or two at the end of the day.

The Church of Santa Maria del Castillo, in Villanueva de Medina. Also, another of those brick water towers. They all look the same, so maybe they’re something you can pick up at the nearest Home Depot.
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Karen PoretPerhaps you should tell us what aisle they are located on to save us from having to ask a befuddled clerk..;)
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Karen PoretAisle 12, next to the garden hoses and sprinkler systems.
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1 week ago
Karen PoretTo Scott AndersonSounds like you DO know your way around Home Depot! :)
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1 week ago
Church and horses.
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I do see some birds on the way back.  I get a nice shot of a stonechat, but you don’t need to see another of those.  And a couple black kites, which we’ve also seen enough of for awhile.  And then there’s this one raptor that stumps me.  I think he’s just another black kite at first, but he doesn’t seem right - his tail doesn’t look forked and his flight pattern doesn’t seem right either.

I puzzle over him back in the room, and eventually give up and even archive the photos from the pad.  The next morning though I’m looking over the archived images for some reason and see him again; and this time it registers.  It’s a short-toed snake eagle!  I’ve known this bird is around, and one was reported from here just a few days ago.  I don’t know what took so long, with the evidence trailing behind him like that.

#230: Short-toed snake eagle. I can’t tell about the toes from any of these shots, but the snake is a sufficient hint.
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Sheep and shack.
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Today's ride: 14 miles (23 km)
Total: 1,312 miles (2,111 km)

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