To Medina del Campo - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 5, 2024

To Medina del Campo

Today’s ride to Medina del Campo would be pretty humdrum if it weren’t for the wind.  It begins with a ride to the west and a small climb away from the Adaja River before crossing a low ridge and dropping into the next river valley, the Zapardiel.  Once across that small waterway we start bending northward and eventually northeast, generally following the river the rest of the way to our destination.  And there’s not a great deal to see or much variety as we bike through the broad, largely empty Meseta Central - several miles of empty landscape, a quick traverse of a small village, repeat, repeat, repeat.

The wind though.  It’s blowing strong enough to dominate the ride though, a steady 15mph most of the way.  And its direction is constant, from the west.  Our first miles are slow and chilling as we bike against it, and then balmy and fast for the last half when it’s our friend.

The view north from our apartment this morning. Were still far enough north here that we can see the mountains to the south.
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Keith AdamsUsing the window to frame the view gives this photo the feel of a poster. Brilliant.
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2 weeks ago
It’s always uphill and into the wind.
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A look back from the high point of the day, but it’s too windy and chilly to savor it for long. Is this the last time those mountains will still be visible?
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And how long will it be until we see the Cantabrian Mountains to the north on the horizon?
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We don’t stop for many photos on the first half of the ride, but Rachael picked this up from her GoPro when passing through one of the villages.
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And I at least stopped for this precariously occupied leaner. I wonder how strong a gust would need to be to topple it?
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We’ve bent to the northwest, so for about the next ten miles we’re at least wrestling with more of a crosswind rather than a straight on header.
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A new province, number 13 out of the 15 we’ll visit on this tour. Getting near the end of the road.
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Nice! A town with a label, so I know where we are. We’ve still got another five miles of this crosswind to go.
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Karen PoretStork nest is a great “topper” in this shot :)
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Karen PoretDoesn’t look like it’s bout to topple over either.
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2 weeks ago
There’s been some discussion about this bird flying down from the church. Rachael thinks it’s something larger, but I say it’s a pigeon.
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#229: Montagu’s harrier. A new species for me, that I didn’t realize until unloading the photos later. I’d thought it was a male hen harrier, but those stripes along the wing define it as something different.
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This shot doesn’t quite capture what I was hoping for when I stopped for it. The spray is blowing straight out from the wind.
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Finally around the bend, and we’re flying the final miles to town.
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I like this shot, which makes the church look like a mirage floating on a sea of waving grain. In a few seconds we’ll see the rooflines of its town buried in a slight recession.
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These brick reservoirs seem to be a regional feature. We’ll see another like it in the next village and one more tomorrow.
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Karen PoretNice collage of circles with those on the reservoir and the bit of the bicycle tire..:)
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2 weeks ago
Into the big empty. This is the Meseta Central, the large plateau that covers much of the Iberian interior.
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Features are few and far between for the remaining miles to town. The village ahead counts as one.
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As does a dense wall of sheep.
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And this, a feature that makes me curious to know more about who lives in isolated prairie villages like this.
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As usual, we have an established meal plan waiting for us when we arrive - a reservation at Bar-Restaurante Mejillonera.  We take seats in the covered, enclosed outdoor area where we can see the bikes and are happy to be out of the wind.  The server arrives, Rachael communicates that we have a reservation, and are surprised when he returns a few minutes later with two open bottles of Mahou beer.  Another Spanish lesson for us, who should know better by now: reservation is an easy word to mispronounce, and is one that sounds a lot like cerveza.  

After we’re settled in to our hotel room at the Reina Isabel and Rachael has returned from her run to the supermarket I go out for a look at Medina’s most important monument: the Castle of La Mota, built atop of the ruins of the old Arab city on the hill (mota is an Arab word for hill).  It’s a massive structure surrounded by a moat, built in the 15th century by the kings and queens of the day.  Its most famous residents were Isabella I of Castille (also the Queen of Aragon) and her husband Ferdinand II.  The couple were regarded as the first king and queen of a unified Spain, and are also referred to as the Catholic Monarchs (Reyes Católicos).

You’ll probably recognize Isabel as the woman who commissioned Columbus to set off for the New World and negotiated an agreement with Portugal to carve the rest of the world up between them.  She had her plusses and minuses as a ruler.  On the one hand, she was opposed to enslaving the natives (good!).  On the other, she and Ferdinand instituted the Spanish Inquisition (bad, very very bad).

The castle is of course closed to visitors this late in the day, but it’s enough to just walk around the outside, see it from different perspectives and wonder if the pock marks on the keep are the result of some assault in the past.

Heart 5 Comment 2
Keith AdamsVery interesting patterning in the stonework- not something I'm accustomed to seeing in large primarily defensive masonry structures.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsYes, it is. It’s all brickwork, I think. We’re seeing a lot of brick in this region. Those water tanks are another example.
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2 weeks ago
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The day ends up with us sitting in our too-cramped room but feeling snug as the threatened thunderstorm finally arrives, bringing flashes of lightning and a downpour.

A note about today’s video: it hasn’t been posted yet, because Rachael wants to purchase a new piece of music for it but doesn’t want to buy it until we have our new credit cards.  We’ll post it someday soon.

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Today's ride: 26 miles (42 km)
Total: 1,298 miles (2,089 km)

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