October 22, 2021
We left the beautiful town of Valez Blanco to finish the last four kilometers of the climb up the mountain we began yesterday. The weather called for a bit of rain and indeed the sky looked threatening. However, the front was coming in from the coast and that hill that was so hard to climb helped us by holding back the rain clouds until we had passed dryly into the wide valley below the sierra.
Abandoned dwellings still punctuated the landscape reminding us of the small, family run but marginal agricultural operations that have now been overtaken by agro-biz throughout this region. An entire way of life that underwent a sea-change in a matter of a few decades
Part of journey took us through a narrow valley carved through soft limestone cliffs. Here Spanish residents in both the past and present have gone troglodyte, carving well insulated homes into the sides of the cliffs. There were many such dwellings and they reminded me of the pueblos of the American southwest. There is a tradition of this sort of dwelling in southern Spain with entire towns nestled into the hillsides especially in the southern province of Cadiz. In a few days we will pass near one such town, Setenil, as we make our way to Ronda.
Today was what someone called a “rolling rest day” with only 85 kilometers of riding and just over 700 meters of climbing. While it was definitely easier than the previous day and far easier than tomorrow, it was hardly a day out of the saddle. Maybe after tomorrow’s grind we will reflect on it with loving fondness. It certainly was an interesting and beautiful day to be touring on a bicycle.