Last Monday the streak of perfect spring weather began. Monday promised to be 24ºC (about 75ºF), sunny, no wind. Perfect in every way. Since I had finished all the translation work I had on Friday and there was nothing left pending for Monday, and seeing as how Pedro was still in town, I just had to take the day off and go for a ride.
Curiously enough, there are large areas of Spain Pedro's never ridden, despite his being from Maranchón and these places within a day's ride of Madrid. But as he pointed out on this ride, the back roads now are in superb condition, no traffic, clean wide shoulders, excellent asphalt (generally) but back when he was riding around in the mid 1970s these roads were torture. We decided that this was something tangible Spanish citizens got out of joining the EU back in 1986, and that much of the EU structural funds in the FEDER program was well spent. Summer in Portugal last August showed Javi and me that although the money got spent, not all countries produced the goods.
Another friend Paco was the first to take me down a few of the roads south of Toledo, in the wilderness and vast emptiness of a region called la Siberia extremeña for good reason. So that seemed like a good choice for the day.
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In any case, the first stop was for gas. At 1.40€ a liter, Pedro says it's gone down a bit since his last visit home (last year), but I'm skeptical.
Still, my 28-year-old K75 is getting good mileage: 5.5 liters per 100 km. As far as I can tell from the ITV vehicle inspection cards, this bike has more than 280,000 km on it. That's about double what the guy who sold it to me claimed, but...
A selfie on the fly:
Next stop: exit the highway and get onto the fun roads. A stop on the Tajo River at Malpica del Tajo, on the bridge beside the Castillo de Malpica, still owned by the Marqués de Malpica and Duque de Arión. Nice cozy abode, I'd say.
|My BMW K75RT: 28 years old and still kicking|
|A Duke's home is is castle. Quite literally sometimes.|
|Even the iron bridge is cute.|
|"What's the name of this town, anyway...?"|
Next thing we knew, it was time for an aperitivo. This little town had a very pleasant square for a vermouth.
|The free tapa with our drinks|
|Loyal to my Royal Enfield, still!|
Our aperitivo only made us hungrier, so our next stop was at the first roadside place we could find that looked good.
This "Mesón El Labrador" advertised all over the countryside, proclaiming charcoal grilled meats, specialty of the house was a huge sirloin steak 2 inches thick. Yes, sir!
But not quite. There was no grill, in the end, since they don't light it during the weekdays. There was no table service outside, so we had to set the table ourselves and then clear it. A basic plato combinado (10€) was tasty but not the juicy steak I had in mind. The sliced fresh tomato was fabulous: sweet and flavorful.
After the park, on the north side, there's a stretch of 8 km of absolute straight-as-an-arrow-come-hell-or-high-water road (reminds me of the Roman road through Gloucestershire in the UK) that suddenly turns left and leads up a low mountain pass, now with fabulous curves and breathtaking vistas of the hidden green valleys of the Montes de Toledo.
Then up through the posh villages for rich hunters, and onto the main autovía from Toledo to Madrid. We rode past Toledo just as the sun was setting. That will require a trip all its own, for a letter date.
Maybe tomorrow or Monday ;-)