Day 14 All’s Well that Ends Well

Community Highlights Europe Day 14 All’s Well that Ends Well

It is hard to believe, but today is the last day of my bike trip. I left the hotel at 7:30 this morning so I can try and get to the hotel before Crystal. I pass through the main square and in a few blocks I see a procession led by young girls with flags number followed by four women carrying a stature of the Madonna and child, a parage of people behind them.


Today I will be focused on getting to Córdoba so I won’t be dawdling. It is overcast which makes for a nice cool morning to bike. Stop at large estate which I had read has a great garden. I never could find information on whether it was open to the public. Even so it is too early and I stop and peer through the gate for a quick peak. I like the boar statues on top of the columns supporting the gate.


About 9:00 the sun has come out, and I can tell it is going to get hot. Again, I am biking through orange groves and the scent is almost enough to carry me to Córdoba. I see numerous workers on the groves picking oranges. I wave at some who smile and wave back. Like much of the countryside I have seen, I pass all types of livestock, storks, fields and wildflowers. The fragrance of the large yellow bushes remind me of wisteria.


The road to Córdoba started as a two lane road, but the closer I got to Córdoba it become a four-lane road. I was lucky that there was a service road for quite a distance of the four-lane section. The service road goes away and I have to bike on the main road for a couple of kilometers. I figure if a lady with a walker can do it, then I should be ok.


I know that the road would get busier the closer I got to the city so I planned an alternate route. About 7 kilometers out I head north on a small side road. A benefit of going this way is that I will get to stop at a major attraction—the Medina Azahara, a 10th centery caliphate city/palace. First, I stopped at the modern museum which is actually a couple stories underground with only a few feet visible on the surface. There, I watched a movie, visited the museum, and ate my second apple that I had purchased yesterday. The second one was just as good as the first.


I then biked uphill to the actual site of the ruins. After a leisurely stroll through, I decided to eat my second orange and some cookies I had been carrying. I sit on a bench inside the complex, ten feet from the ticket window, looking out over the ruins and eating my cookies. All of a sudden I see a sign that had previously gone unnoticed. No pets, no something I can’t recall, and no food. I look around and no one is giving me the stink eye. Even the ticket taker doesn’t seem to much care. Rather than risk confrontation, I pack my food up and eat my messy, juicy orange outside the complex. I may appear to be a risk taker, but I am so not a rule breaker.


Leaving the ruins I bike up the hill past the monastery which pillaged the ruins for building materials. I have a long, hard winding uphill climb. I had to work hard—sweat dripping off me, legs burning and lungs heaving for air. The joy was getting to the top and finding a petroleum station with a Limon Fanta with my name on it. Refreshed I began my last thrilling descent. Relishing every curve and panoramic view. This would be the last ride of the trip and typifies the past two weeks—incredibly challenging with commensurate rewards.


In addition to the aforementioned challenges and rewards, this trip has been characterized by unique and joyful surprises. Today was no exception as I biked into the city I happen to stop at a light behind the carriage with a couple horses. The carriage was a bright orange, and the horse harnesses were covered in bells merrily jingly. The men were dressed sharply with those wonderful hats.


Eventually they turned and I continued on to enter a city gate where just inside I would find my hotel. I did get settled in just as Crystal arrived. I am usually quite sad when a trip ends, and I am going home. This time I am just ending one chapter and starting another. Thanks for letting me share my journey over the last two weeks.


This featured blog entry was written by guylch75 from the blog Iberian Pilgrimage.
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By guylch75

Posted Fri, May 25, 2018 | Comments