Europe and Turkey 2013

The Continuing Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle


Villafranco de Ebro and Zaragoza

Date: November 5 & 6, 2013

Today's Mileage: 46 Total Mileage: 1043

Garmin Info:

Bujaraloz to Villafranco de Ebro

Villafranco de Ebro to Zaragoza


I woke up to rain and immediately decided to stay another day in Bujaraloz. The comfortable room and excellent buffet made the decision even easier. I was content and never even left the hostal. Every time I looked outside it was raining and I was very happy to stay put.

In the morning the forecast was for sun but exceptionally windy conditions. Maybe even windier than my ride into Bujaraloz. I probably should have stayed another day but knew I would be bored. As I started out the wind was strong but manageable. It got stronger and stronger throughout the morning. Even though I was descending from the plateau I had to pedal hard and never got out of the middle ring. It wasn't too far to Zaragoza and I had all day. I stopped in Villafranco de Ebro for lunch and to get a break from the wind. When I returned to the trike the wind was even stronger. I put my helmet down next to my trike and the wind tossed it across the parking lot like it was a leaf. I retrieved it and started riding. So much debris was hitting me I decided riding wasn't safe and returned to the cafe. The cafe was in a hotel and I got checked in for 28e.



The hotel was busy with truckers who had pulled in for the night because of the wind. This area is known for wind but it isn't usually this strong. I didn't feel like such a wimp once I realized how strong the winds really were. On the news they were talking about 40 mph with gusts even higher - wow! The room was comfortable, the wifi was strong and I had a terrific salad with a glass of wine for dinner making the best of the situation.

After a good night's rest, I got packed up. The winds were still strong but nothing like yesterday. It was another beautiful sunny day and I didn't have far to get to Zaragoza. It's one thing to go slow because of the wind but what was really bothering me was my neck. It was getting tired and sore from holding my head against the wind. I was trying to think of what I could use for a neckrest. The ride was very flat and it didn't take long to get to the city. Lots of people stopped their cars to talk to me. If they didn't speak English it was a short conversation. I made my way to the tourist information center and asked about staying at an Albergue, housing for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. There was one close by and I got checked in. I also picked up a pilgrim's passport. These passports used to be free until a few months ago. Now they are 2e. I got my first Camino de Santiago stamp in my new passport. The man at the front desk said that 4 Caminos converge in this area. Most people who do the Catalan Way are on mountain bikes. This camino is mostly through desert. He said it is busiest in the summer when temperatures get well over 100 degrees. Between the wind and the heat people pull in here during the summer sometimes in serious distress. Today's wind made for slow going but the temperature was very pleasant. This albergue has a long and rich history. It was originally home to a Spanish inquisitor, Martirio de San Pedro Arbues, in the 1400's. There is even a dungeon in the basement where you can only imagine the horrors he inflicted during that time. The inquisitor was murdered and the Catholic church made him a saint.



I got checked into a 4-room dorm. It's been awhile since I've stayed at a hostel. Since this is the off-season the hostel was quiet. Another young gal, Chloe from Australia, also checked in and we spent the next couple of days together exploring the city. Chloe was a lot of fun and it was nice having company. Zaragoza is a lovely city and simple to negotiate. We easily walked all over visiting plazas, tapas bars, churches, museums and palaces. I originally booked in for 2-nights but was having a good time and extended my stay another day.

I had a few things to take care of in Zaragoza. Myrtle's gear shifting needed some attention and I wanted to come up with a makeshift neckrest. I found Ciclos Cabrera a few blocks away and they adjusted the gears for no charge. At first, they didn't want to touch the trike. And, of course, my language skills are lacking which made explaining what I needed difficult. Eventually, they understood this was a simple request and took care of it quickly. I came up with an idea for a neckrest using 2 rubberbands and a rolled up piece of bubblewrap I found at a frame store. Very simple and also waterproof. We'll see how it works on the road.

Looking ahead to the next few days, I checked to see if there were any available Warm Shower hosts. I found 2 hosts I had met a few years ago while riding down the pacific coast route in California. I spent 2 days on my moto-Myrtle riding with Javier and Silvia in the redwood forest. They were on an epic ride from Alaska to Argentina. They both remembered me and opened their homes. Sometimes the world is very small. Silvia lives in Tudela which is 70 miles from Zaragoza and Javier lives in Pamplona which is another couple of days riding. It will be super fun to see these cyclists again. From Pamplona I'll ride the famous Frances Camino to Santiago.

Aside from wind, the weather has been unusually warm and sunny. I've been very lucky that it has been so warm in November. The sunny conditons are expected to continue but the temperatures are starting to drop to more normal conditions for this area.