We miss our French pastry breakfast, Spanish breakfast is coffee and a bread roll with jam, unless you can score a Spanish omelette, then your cooking. The trusty road we had been following all day directed us towards a tunnel which passes through a mountain, Tunel De Berga. The tunnel was dark, there was no shoulder or indication of how long it was and cars were cruising through at 70. It would take us to Berga, but was it worth the risk? The other option was riding around and up into the mountains probably a 2 hour detour. After much umming and arghing we psyched each other up, donned hi-viz jackets and lights, waited for a break in traffic and raced into the tunnel. We road hard and fast for about a minute until the light appeared at the end of the tunnel, relief. Remember to take chances sometimes.
It turns out the only rain in Spain is not just on the plane as we had a light sprinkling which soon gave way to sunshine which is now forcast to last for the next week at around 100 degrees, no weather worries. Spanish scenery is so unsettled, mountains give way to false plains which then roll back to mountains over each hill and around each bend. Sometimes one half of the road is lush green with trees whilst the other half can be baron and parched with mesas and red rock formations running along the roadside. I love the variation to look at from the saddle.
We arrived in Lerida hoping to pick up a campground within 10 miles only to find the closest was 50 miles away! After scouting around town without success looking for wifi to verify there was no camping we ended up finding a hotel, not such a bad deal in the end with breakfast included. The spanish economy being what it is at the moment everything has seemed pretty cheap, a can of beer for about 30p and decent hotel rooms for £15-20 each.
One thing we now know is that this part of Spain does not do camping. We have rode through fairly affluent areas all trip for the most part but leaving Lerida we passed by several sun bleached run down towns, no crops growing in the dried out fields and no shade from the sun, who would want to camp here? That pretty much explains it. It means for the next few days we will have to stay in hotels, for the night between Lerida and Calatayud however there was abosulutley nothing. We decided to ride until sunset, pull off the roadside and wild camp for the night. It must have been around mile 75 we thought it was time. We walked the bikes 2 minutes off-road into some trees and setup camp. I took a baby wipe shower (I can’t be the first?) and hit the sack. Best motto for wild camping is arrive late and leave early, you can’t be sure who’s land your on so thats what we’ll do.
The sound of trucks on the road woke me up, I kept having visions of a spanish farmer rolling down in his tractor with the dogs I could hear barking in the distance. I shouted eal, we packed up and left at about 5:30am, straight onto a climb out of the valley the first 30 minutes we got to take in a full sunrise, they never get old. A long hard slog in the mountains, hair still matted to my head from the night before. After multiple siestas we hit mile 85 as we arrived in Calatayud, the town camping was closed and looked liked it had been for sometime. Another hotel, classy joint too ah well we’ve earnt it!