Thursday, May 8, 2014

Zuheros to Jaen

Today was another great day of and for cycling. The weather was pleasantly cool at the outset (mid-sixties), and even when the sun came out, it wasn't as hot as it has been. Of course, we did have sun when we finished today's ride with the steepest climb of the trip so far. Total climbing today was nearly 5000 feet.

Endless olive groves

From last night's hotel, we immediately got on the "greenway" -- a "rails to trails" multipurpose path for walkers and cyclists, that was reasonably level. That led to a nice long descent -- not very steep or technical, but just pleasant coasting.

Of course, what goes down, must go up, and we had our share of climbs as well. I stopped for coffee about an hour into the ride, and was joined by our guide Rick, while several other cyclists in the group pedaled on by. We joined them in the next town, and I stopped for a diet Coke (why do stick to that, when I am eating these huge meals?). Refreshed, we headed on down the road with a relatively short climb and then another long descent.

We convened for lunch at a pleasant cafe about six or seven miles from the end of the ride. I ordered the fixed price menu again, starting off with an excellent green salad. Like most of the green salads I have seen on this trip, this one had some tuna and some hard-boiled eggs. It was dressed with a balsamic reduction. The next course was a stew of pork in a  tomato broth. It was good,, but I didn't need that much heavy food, so I only sampled it, saving room for dessert. This was a fig flan -- I never heard of this before, but it was really tasty. It was almost like a mousse, rather than a custard, but there were lots of figs in it.

We didn't have much further to go, but had been warned that the finale would be a steep climb, and that the shuttle was available for those who didn't wish to tackle the hill in the heat after a nice lunch.  Who would admit to that? Although it was push, it wasn't that difficult, except for the last 50 meters (a lot like the final push on Mt. Diablo, for those of you familiar with that ride).

Anyway, it was worth it, because our lodging tonight is in the Parador Santa Catalina -- a genuine old castle that has been turned into an inn.  Paradors in Spain are cultural/architectural treasures that would probably go  to ruin for want of financial support, had the government not stepped in and turned them into first class hotels. We stayed in a few on the Camino trip two years ago.
Approaching Parador Santa Catalina
View from my room

My room


  1. Hi Guy,
    I recalled today that you were probably cycling in Spain so checked your blog - sounds like another wonderful ExperiencePlus trip. Your blog brings it alive.
    Say hello to Philipp and Rick for me.

  2. We need to talk when you return. The pictures make for an interesting discussion.
    Michael Fitzgerald
    Pacific Ocean still blue