What a change to the last few weeks this night was: Cold 10°C air was filtering into my room during the night and I slept very well. Felt a little bit like Switzerland. Refreshed, I go to the breakfast room and am greeted by the Refugio’s owner lady with a friendly smile. There isn’t much to chose from and I go with the most Catalan version of breakfast possible: Pan con Tomate!
Ah! What a Mediterranean treat this is!
The owner and I had discussed Mediterranean and Catalan delights the evening before – she even brought me multiple types of olive oil to try. This is how I like to start my day.
After breakfast I pack my stuff and head to the garage to check on the meter. I had only consumed 6.5kWh – around 3.2€ for energy and parking – this is a very acceptable amount I’m very happy to pay.
Another beautiful day awaits. The first few km still head upwards toward the pass at 1680m.
From there, unlike most passes, the road just dropped back to around 1200m and stayed on that altitude, undulating and weaving its way along the hills. The views and temperature were great and made for very enjoyable TWIKEing.
Now and then, the low-lying flat-lands were visible around 800m below. Dramatic and impressive and a good reminder that there were much hotter places I could be right now!
I randomly stumbled across “Spanish Switzerland”, complete with Berne Road etc. A weird jumble of Swiss-inspired chalet huts, nothing more. It still brought a smile to my face and a welcome 15 minutes of diversion from the normal road along the hills.
I also saw the vast tracts of land that had been burned-down – not as scary and far-reaching as during one of my last TWIKE adventures across Spain. Switzerland doesn’t have this problem or event. That’s why – for me – it’s impressive every single time.
One last really high climb was still in store for me: the 1850 pass of Navacerrada. This marks the end of my reprieve from the heat. The flat low-lying land is already visible from up here and I’m not looking forward to it. Fortunately, there are still some hills waiting for me today!
The imperial route is not very interesting from a road point of view. The buildings and towns I come across, however, very much. I’d love to have a little more time to explore – next time, I suppose.
The hill range looks impressive, but it’s only 320m up and down. My TWIKE is still making some weird noises I haven’t been able to troubleshoot or determine if the problems brewing are serious or not…or just need some WD40.
One of the problems that need urgent tending to when I’m back is the right hand universal joint. It has developed worrying amounts of play which leads me to suspect that it will fail soon.
After the last climb, TW560 and I are back to the very best/worst of flat. No features, lots of heat (>40°C) and me driving along at higher speeds, trying to reduce the amount of time spent there.
After 3 hours of this, finally, I enter a new and hilly landscape with nice roads weaving their way around the hills.
I’ve been driving for quite a while and feel like relaxing and not pushing too hard today. When I saw a small village nestled tightly around a castle on one of the higher hills, I decided that would be the place I would stay for the night…if there are places to stay, obviously.
Arriving at the village, I immediately find a hostal with a very friendly owner who immediately allows me to charge and is very happy for me to stay…as I’m the only guest!
As the room isn’t ready yet, I leave my stuff there and start exploring the village and head up to the castle.
Up on the same hill there was an antenna mounted close to the castle. I am always impressed by the amounts of field strength allowed in Europe, which are much, much higher than Swiss limits.
Below is me measuring mid-beam. These are extreme values, especially the RSSI. I don’t know why the SINR is only at 19. In such a situation I’d expect the SINR to be >35. Maybe the signal is distorted due to the sheer amount of RF energy hitting the receiver? Also, the TXpwr at -47dBm translates to 0.00000002W!)
The views from the castle were impressive and absolutely worth the climb.
Later that evening I sat at the main square, enjoying some tapas and beers whilst writing an entry for this blog.
I thought I’d let you, dear reader, see what 8 bar, rock hard tyres, stiff suspension and awful roads can to your hardware! In my case, the laptop has literally started disintegrating. Not only have I had to tighten some screws, but the filigree plastic cap holders for my keyboard’s keys have started breaking and key-mechanisms being exposed.
Thankfully, I’m able to order a new keyboard and repair this myself, as this is a ThinkPad laptop designed for long life and repairability!
As long as I’m in Spain, Boquerones is going to be my standard evening snack. This stuff is like a drug!
After some more food for dinner, I head back to my hostal, where my room is ready. I don’t have to wait for long before I fall asleep, looking forward to the next day to come, with all its adventures and fun 🙂