Europe and Turkey 2013

The Continuing Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle



Date: November 3, 2013

Today's Mileage: 45 Total Mileage: 997

Garmin Info:

Lleida to Bujaraloz


Even after spending a rest day in Lleida I was still tired and could have stayed another day. But I wasn't so happy with the hotel room and decided to move on. I'm sure there is a lot to see in this town but I hardly moved from my room. I did mail a package home. Eduard had given me a book, Omar had given me a postcard and the Bombers of Vilanova had given me a t-shirt. I also had a broken Google tablet that I thought could be repaired and a couple of other things I wasn't using. Without language skills taking care of simple things can be complicated. The postal woman was very frustrated with me but, eventually, the packaged was mailed. I needed a local address and used the hotel I was staying at.

I got up early on Sunday morning to head out. I had planned on grabbing breakfast in the hotel restaurant but they didn't open until 8 and I didn't want to wait around for another 1/2 hour. I found a good coffee shop outside of town for my caffeine fix. On my way out, there was a huge construction crane that had a lot of bird cranes sitting on top. It cracked me up to see cranes on a crane.



Not long out of Lleida I saw signs for the Camino de Santiago. This was a total surprise and I was very excited to find it. I know there are lots of Caminos de Santiago but it never occurred to me to look for one from Barcelona. This one starts outside of Barcelona in Montserrat. At first, the Camino was on paved roads. Actually, it used the N-11 highway that I was cycling. Then I followed the signs to the left side of the road but that led to a restaurant. With my limited Spanish language skills, I asked a group of traffic workers that happen to be sitting at a table how I could cycle the Camino. They explained that I needed to be on the other side of the Autopista that ran between traffic lanes of the N-11. They kept telling me to be on the N-2 but my map clearly says it is the N-11. Hhhmm... I followed their instructions and found the Camino. Now it was a dirt path which totally makes sense. The Camino was wide enough for the trike and I followed it for a few miles. But then I noticed there was a paved road right next to it and decided to follow that instead. This led me to an area that is probably very busy during the week but today seemed abandoned. At the end of the road was a roundabout with a security guard. He spoke English and explained that the N-11 is actually N-II. Roman numerals! How weird is that?!? Ok - now it makes sense what the traffic guys back at the restaurant were telling me. The security guard said from here the Camino is more suited to mountain bikes and I would have a better ride on the N-II into Bujaraloz and Zaragoza. I continued and, most of the way, I could see the Camino path next to me on the road. I never did see any pilgrims.



All day I had super strong headwinds. I'm guessing in the 20-30 mph range. It was slow going. Sometimes uphill I could barely crack 2 mph. Even downhill I had to pedal hard. My neck got really sore from holding my head up against the wind. I moved my seat to a more upright position but that didn't really help either. Often, I would rest my left hand on top of my helmet and that seemed to help the most. I've never had this happen before but between the headwinds and climbs I think I'll have to invest in a headrest.

There was a huge climb and descent getting to Fraga and I thought about stopping for the day but it was still early. There was another huge climb to get out of Fraga. This time I didn't get a downhill but bounced around on a plateau. Lots of ups and downs in dry, arid, cattle country. Later in the afternoon, I passed an area that was swarming with birds and got a few pictures of a murmuration. Thousands of birds following each other very closely in perfect sychronicity. Super cool! Maybe they were starlings. Except for the crazy strong wind, the weather was fantastic. It wasn't too hot or too cold and the skies were bright blue.

When I was back at the restaurant I had used their wifi to find out more about this Camino. It was passing through all the towns I had planned to stop at. I wrote down their recommendations for hostals. It was later than usual for me when I pulled into Bujaraloz but, considering the wind, I wasn't surprised. The first hostal on the list looked really run down and I continued on. The second one, El Espanol, didn't look much better except that there were lots of people in the restaurant and trucks in the parking lot. At least this place is busy. Outside there weren't any signs for the Hostal so I went in and asked. They were so busy the waitress really didn't have time for me but said to ride around the back where she would meet me. She opened the door rushing me and the trike in. Myrtle would have her own dining room to stay in. Then I went to the bar and got checked in. 25e and the room is very clean and comfortable. The food also looks fabulous. After getting cleaned up I went back downstairs to eat dinner. They had an amazing buffet going on with mussels, prawns, all kinds of beautiful salads, grilled fish, barbecued chicken and ribs, potatoes and veggies, soups, a chocolate fountain with lots of desserts. All for 10e - a cyclist's dream! After the tough riding conditions today, I was ready for food and a beer.