The Road to Valencia

(or Gullible’s Travels)

Along the road to Valencia

October 16, 2021

Once again we are skirting the coast on our way to Valencia. Today we are staying away from the shore but can occasionally glimpse it in the distance. We are traveling through orange and olive groves with other fruits and vegetables thrown in from time to time for flavor. Sometimes we go through an industrial area and the towns along the way vary in focus from industry to agriculture with agriculture being predominant. Today it was mostly agriculture with a whiff of hog that fortunately came before lunch. The oranges are mostly ripe and everything seems to be nearly ready to harvest. Rogue oranges that have fallen to the ground and rest along side of the road can be rescued from their rotten fate and turned into useful food by the industrious cyclists.

Fortress on a distant hill.
A glimpse down a small side street in a small town

Castles and fortresses seem commonplace along our route and most of us ride right by these days without stopping to notice. I still find them interesting. All along the coast they show up, usually on a high hilltop in various states of preservation. There are usually a few lookout towers placed strategically beyond the walled fortifications. Some have become tourist attractions and some just remain, high on their summits, as a reminder of violent times in the past.

In the previous town someone told me that the area is known for its anchovy farms and that I should be able to see some of the trees where they grow. While I looked carefully for the anchovy tress, I was never able to spot one. I have never liked anchovies on my pizza and really don’t know what they look like so maybe I saw them without recognizing them. The people here are very honest and seem to have no sense of humor yet for some reason I hear them laughing at something as I ride away.

Our ride today was one of the shortest and easiest in recent memory: A mere 75 kilometers with hardly a climb worth mentioning. There were dedicated bicycle paths for much of the trip. After a day of rest in Valencia we will have six days straight of longer rides with a lot more ups and downs before we have another day off. By now all of us should be in great shape for the challenge. We shall see if I am as well.

Where the owner of the orange groves lives