Cycling Europe 2019: Day 11 (Part 1), Galende To Puebla De Sanabria

I really should read my guidebook more often. Or perhaps not… Yesterday’s long ride was a tour de force when it comes to cycling (for me) coming in at 150 km, but it had its frustrations towards the end of the day. Sometimes, when you open your map and look at the direction in which you are wanting to travel, things – towns, points of interest, campsites… – are not where you would like them to be. This was certainly the case yesterday and I knew when setting off that I would be in for a long ride which I estimated to be around 130 km. I know many of you will find it difficult to understand, but there is joy to be found in grinding out kilometre after kilometre on seemingly endless roads. The mind drifts off and the minutiae of what surrounds you – the birds, the flowers, the roads, the mountains, the fields, the trees… – take over your thinking. It can be very therapeutic. Yesterday was a good day on that front, especially given that, as mentioned in yesterday’s video, the long stretch of road in the second half of the ride, through very remote countryside, was so bereft of other road users.

That said, I was happy to reach my destination and was very much looking forward to setting up camp on one of the campsites beside the Lago de Sanabria. The main town in the area – Puebla de Sanabria – did have a campsite marked on the map but a lake in the mountains? A town couldn’t compete…

Alas the campsites were closed and, with the evening passing quickly, I took refuge in the first hostel I passed paying €30 for a functional room. The bar-restaurant opposite fed me a meal consisting mostly of dead red meat all drowned down with cold red wine. It was very rustic, very authentic, and again, in a very different way to the cycling, very therapeutic. The world around me in the quiet, very ordinary village provided an enjoyable canvas of life to watch as I munched and gulped.

Today things have started well. Perhaps I should have taken the town option instead (although the campsite also appears to have closed) as Puebla de Sanabria is a hidden gem of a town. As mentioned, I should have consulted my guidebook. Alas if I had, so hidden is this place, that it gets no mention whatsoever. It is, however, well worth a visit…

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel, Video

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