Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 47 - Altea to El Passo

We woke up at around 6.15am to an amazing sunrise. The sun was coming up behind the sea and it was a perfect cloudless sky. Chris spent some time seeing how far he could throw pebbles into the sea and skimming pebbles. Tom went for a swim - I would have done too had I not felt so fatigued (the general consensus throughout the trip for me regarding run/swim training). Despite not having to pack our tents up we left at around 7.30am an hour later than planned. Nobody was bothered about the delay and we were all in very good spirits. The beautiful weather continued throughout the morning. I got separated from the others at one stage when they wanted to stop at a cafe and I was up for a supermarket session. A bit further along I found an Aldi and went in. As well as the standard large quantity of food I also bought some €3.50 cycling gloves. They were very well padded and ideal for my hands that were suffering with the constant impact of the roads. They offered better padding than my expensive Pearl Izumi gloves that I had bought before leaving and turned out to be among the best buys of the trip. Anyway I sat outside hoping to see the others ride past and call them over. This never happened, so I pedalled on knowing that the plan was to stop in Almeiras. After a few hours or so I got to Almeiras and found a McDonalds. I parked the bike, got my own food out, sat down in the outside seating area at the front and got the Ipad out. About 10 minutes later Chris and Tom rocked up. They had no idea I was here - they must have ridden in on the same road as me, seen a McDonalds and thought toilet, shaded seats and wifi opportunity like me. They had left Michelle at a McDonalds earlier as she was taking too long with wifi. Tom called Mark as the plan was to reunite with him here before carrying on with the trip. Soon Mark was with us and he told us about the time he spent in Barcelona/we told him about the cycling since Barcelona. He then said he was going back to his hostel to get his bike and stuff and wanted one of us to come too. None of us could be bothered so we just told him to go on his own (it wasn't harsh as he was easily capable of sorting himself out). After a few minutes he agreed and went off to fetch everything. Michelle then turned up. We had been there for at least 45 minutes and were keen to get going when Mark would return shortly, so we weren't best pleased when she ordered a meal. Mark then returned ready to go and we all got up ready to leave. Michelle was halfway through her meal - we were very tempted to tell her somewhere to meet us later and ride off, but our consciences got the better of us and we waited 10 minutes until she was ready. The awesome weather continued and it was refreshing to have Mark back with us. We explained to Mark that we now had a strict leaving time each day and that anyone that wasn't ready would be left behind. We had also been in contact previously and mentioned about getting the new pop-up tents and suggested he got one too - he didn't. Anyway The afternoon was pretty uneventful. As evening greeted us we started to look for somewhere to camp. I was keen to push on until we got to the beach in Cartegena - this would mean having to ride in the dark. This was not universally welcomed. We were in a town but could not find anywhere suitable. We then started cycling out the other side of the town and saw some kind of campsite. It was shut and the ground was rubbish. Mark and Michelle were keen for this. Me, Tom and Chris weren't so we pushed on. Slightly further along Chris got a puncture. It was now properly dark and we were a fair distance away from anything. We had to fix the puncture with the aid of a headtorch by the side of the road with one person shining a light at any oncoming traffic. This proved tricky. After a while though the puncture was successfully fixed and we were back on the road. We all now agreed that we would stop at the next place that presented itself. This place wasn't too far away - a small town called El Passo. There wasn't much around and the only option was to sleep on a footpath behind some bushes. It seemed like a quiet spot, so this would have to do. We popped up the tents and within 10 minutes set up for bed. Mark's tent stood up well enough after bungeeing one or two of his guidelines to a bench. As it was a late finish the leaving time was agreed for 7.30am

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