Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 12. Ventas de Narón to Arzúa (37.5 km)

Morale is high! We have had a good night sleep and our hostess tells us that after a short climb we will be going all the way down to Melíde. Unfortunately she is a compulsive liar and pretty soon we start going up and down small valleys and intervening ranges. It is tiresome pushing up a somehow steep slope for about 500 meters, then zipping down another 500 meters, and then starting all over again. We love the country, but our forces are waning away at an accelerated pace. The sky is overcast but the rain is holding.

Finally we make to Melíde, and just as we are entering the town Raúl gets a flat. God looks over his pilgrims, though, because 50 m away there is a bike shop, and right in front of it is one of the best pulperias in the country. A pulpería is a restaurant that specializes in pulpo (octopuss), which is first boiled until tender, then sliced, passed over hot olive oil, and served with paprika powder and coarse sea salt. We had a heavenly lunch!

Then we go back to the roller coaster, climbing painfully, flying down slope, and then climbing again. We are worried we are not doing good time, since our goal is to reach Santiago today.

Entering Arzúa I get a flat. I filled the flat tire with foam, and it seems to be holding, but the repair shop in Arzúa is closed and we are told he won’t open until Monday. Raúl is hungry so he suggests having dinner and observing the tire. We dine, and coming out find that (a) it is raining, and (b) the tire has lost some air. Raúl suggests we stay here for the night, replace the tube in the tire, and try to start early tomorrow. Argh, so close and yet so far!

We only have 40 km to Santiago, but here we are at 5 pm, having changed the inner tube (messy because it was the rear tire, and we had to deal with the chain, the gear assemblage, and all the grease), and all we did today were 37.5 km. We will have to see if we can start real early tomorrow to make for the lost time.

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