A short day after yesterday’s long ride to Monesterio. In fact, not only short but predominantely downhill. It was very much in the same vain in terms of cycling conditions along the defacto cycle path otherwise known as the N-630 however – still very quiet – but increasingly rural. I even saw my first pigs, on a farm only a short distance north of Monesterio. Great big dark grey things waddling around the field in the distance. That said, to say that this region is famous for its ham, they are keeping the majority of the pigs well hidden. Lots of trees to provide the famed acorns upon which they feed, but very few pigs chomping them. A sceptical person (me? sceptical? no…) might think that the majority of the pork is produced under more strictly controlled, dare I say ‘factory’, conditions inside the not infrequent sheds that I passed. Not me however. I believe that every bit of jamon that I have consumed in recent days has its origins in the acorn. Moving on…
It has been a grey day, although not a cold one. One might say that these make for ideal cycling conditions and I would have to agree. The wind was low to moderate and if not pushing me to Zafra, was certainly not pushing me away. After our experience yesterday with the mud, today’s top priority was to give Reggie a good clean. This was not just for reasons of vanity (although that was certainly a close secondary reason…) but primarily because the mud had got into places that mud is better kept out of, mainly on the wheel rims which make breaking far less efficient and in and around the gears which just weren’t sounding great after yesterday morning. On the look out for a high pressure car cleaning place I found one in Fuente de Cantos, about half way to Zafra. I had the time to strip Reggie of his chattels and give him a good spraying down. I reoiled the gears and we were were off. Brakes were much smoother, gears a little more smooth… and yes, we looked bloody marvellous.
A slight deviation from the cycle path otherwise known as the N-630 (is that joke wearing thin?) was required to get to Zafra, along the relatively short… err… I don’t know and you probably don’t care. It was a road linking the N-630 to Zafra. That will suffice. I visit some places on my travels having read about them in my guidebook or having been told about them by someone else and my expectations are high. I do, however, invariably end up scratching my head for a while as to why the recommendations were so efusive. Zafra is a case in point and I was wondering just what kind of place it was as I cycled the couple of kilometres through the scruffy suburbs made up of second rate out of town retail outlets. There wasn’t a Decathlon, but there was a Lidl. That’s never a good sign. However… I should never jump to conclusions. Zafra looks like quite an interesting little place here in the centre, especially if I stay well within the central ‘historic’ area in which I’m staying. I’ll no doubt report back later with a few pictures.