And not the Spain I knew!
Less tapas, more tight muscles and butt pain.
Less paella, more pedaling.
Less salsa, more dancing circles through the streets as I lost my sense of direction.
And my travel buddy..
But you’ll be happy to know there is still good [cheap] beer and great persons!

We cycled across the border in high spirits.
And the spirits lifted even higher as we feasted in the carpark of the first supermarket we found.
You’d be amazed at how much food and beer €5.57 afforded us!

The land turned flat.
The tarred roads were [mostly] replaced by dirt.
Instead of the mosaiced Portuguese villages,
We lost ourselves in cosy concrete communities with ancient city walls and immaculate  bell towers.

We arrived at the same time as the COLD!!
But it was perfect timing!
(it always is)
The climate led us to an assortment of warm people through Warmshowers and Couch Surfing.

And when we didn’t have good people to shelter with, we took to resting in ruins
Or finding good places to build fires and free camp.

Look mom, I’m brushing my teeth!!

The place might have been in shambles, but the fireplace was as good as any!

The small village roads kept our feet rotating and the landscapes kept our spirits high.
We feigned city life in gypsy clothes
And while we never quite managed to fit in,
It was good to lose ourselves in the bustle
And it was the perfect opportunity to glean bike parts and a few items of warmer attire (thank you ALDI , LIDL and the Chinese store).

Winter arrived early!
And I’m thwarted to report that even I had to add shoes to my life.
(My bicycle still doesn’t approve, my panniers keep getting in the way of my footwear)

We found the Pilgrim spirit.
We joined the Camino de Santiago.
And all those judgmental looks of being societal misfits we were so accustomed to,
were suddenly replaced with encouragement and cheers.
In the North, you are Respected when you are a traveler!

The pilgrimage is done by all calibers of people.
All on their own journey.
A quest for clarity or challenge or peace.
A chance to reconnect with nature, and yourself.
There’s definitely something semi-sacred about the short stretch we’ve shadowed.

Clean laundry, clean minds, clean souls!
Despite the body aches,
The wrong turns,
Losing each other, [and ourselves,]
Spain has been too good to us!

France is so close that we can almost smell the baguettes!
It’s just those damn Pyrenees blocking our path!!!
But that’s tomorrow’s problem!

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