- Elizabeth Cameron-Smith
Day 40- Albaçete to Valencia, Spain
3792.21 kilometers done and dusted!!
When Grant started this, the amount of kilometers that lay ahead of him seemed almost an insurmountable pile of numbers...but now with almost 4000 km done I am in awe of his mental strength and his physical capabilities - especially for someone who is on the other side of 55!
Having said that Grant set off for Valencia a bit later than usual as he wasn't feeling very well.He also pushed through to Valencia instead of breaking the trip up into two stages which made today a much longer day in the saddle than expected.
There was a plan to take a day off in Valencia as Grant's bike was making some odd sounds and needed to have some maintenance work done on it.
The road from Albaçete that Crazybikeguy chose to follow brought with it some hectic climbing to get over the mountains.
Riding through various small rural towns -Casas-Ibanez , Alboria, Vila Toria and making his way through Valdeganga after riding on the banks of the river, Grant marveled at the abandoned cave like dwellings carved into the lime stone cliff faces of this once populated canyon with people taking refuge there.
The initial plan was to stop in Bunol, but once Grant was there he felt unsafe and couldn't find a place to stay.Eventually he approached some of the locals and they suggested that it would be better for him not to stay there overnight as it wasn't safe and he could land up losing his bike and all his belongings! Grant was very grateful to them and they helped him make his way out of town.
"They helped me find my way out of town, emphatically telling me that I should ride through to Godelletta and follow that route to Valençia."
Grant -Whatsapp message
The route from there to Torrente was by far the most interesting part of the day.
The road went through the most amazing citrus plantations and even up in the mountains there were ancient grape vines growing in places Grant wouldn't expect them to be.
The mandarin and orange trees down below were laden with fruit and some of the paths were littered with rotting fallen oranges.
" I stopped and picked some fruit from the trees. I ate a mandarin, and it was deliciously sweet and juicy. Just amazing. Very enjoyable!"
- Grant- voice note
Aside from the resplendent fruit laden citrus trees, nectarine and peach trees along this route, Grant also came across a very impressive irrigation system that had obviously been in place for hundred of years and was still being used to irrigate the farm lands today.
On reaching Torrente, Grant thought he had reached Valencia, but soon realized he was in a neighboring town - Valencia being further East and closer to the sea; which meant he had a fair distance still to go.
The scenery today was so beautiful...the trees and vines and gnarled olive trees made for a spectacular vignette; the contrasts accentuated by being in the mountains and down in the canyon and then travelling through rural plantations reaching Valencia on the road from Torrente which made for a fantastic day of cycling.
Arriving into Valencia much later than expected and feeling quite sick with a tummy bug, after many pit stops along the route today, Grant had asked that I find him a place to stay.
Sometimes angels just know when to appear and I made a booking for a loft apartment in the center of town, fulfilling Grant's brief of washing machine, bike storage and a place big enough to be able to take the bike apart ....along came Maria the apartment owner. She took one look at Grant and just took it upon herself to care enough to bring him breakfast goodies, show him to the chemist for medication and even scouted the bike maintenance shops so that he could rest and not have to run around town.
She popped in to check on him the next day and was just so kind and helpful and even called to give me an update and to ask if there was anything else she could do.
Grant took his weary body to bed after a light supper as he couldn't stomach much and needed to just lie flat and try and regain some strength.
The sun would rise in the morning to a day of rest and bike and body maintenance!
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