Aniezo to Santander

Since I didn’t have to take down a tent or pack the bike I treated myself to a lie-in, all the way to 10:00. Following a traditional European breakfast, I spent another two hours speaking with John about life in Spain, buying property, that sort of thing. John and Gwen, originally from the Lake District near Appleby, purchased La Pisa in 2004 and set about extensively renovating what was a fairly shabby property to make it the spotless guest house it is today.

Having paid my bill and donned jacket, helmet, and gloves in the rapidly rising temperatures, I set off to Ebbo’s Curve around 12:30 to see if I could get the shot I missed yesterday. First I had to get there though, and this is where I found out that the maps used by Garmin do not differentiate between forest tracks and paved roads, regardless of the ‘avoid unpaved roads’ setting. I ride up a road that on the Michelin map is clearly shown as a dead end. It has to be, there’s a 2.3km high piece of rock between me and the next valley, but Zumo seems to think we can get through, or rather ‘over’. I climbs steeply, still on tarmac, through a village whose streets are narrow enough for me to touch both walls of opposing buildings at the same time if I stretch out my arms. I ride under somebody’s house! Having decided that the width of the public throughfare is too insignificant to stop him, one home owner has simply linked the second storey of his house with that of the property across the street, creating a 6 foot high tunnel for me to duck through. Another 20 paces and the road turns from tarmac to concrete before climbing steeply around a bend and stopping abruptly at the edge of the forest. It continues as a dirt track past a sign which deserves a prize for stating the obvious: carretera forestrale. And yet the Garmin is oblivious, urging me to ride on, it’s just another 8km to the next village. Maybe if I hadn’t a ferry to catch in 3 hours (and 40km away) I’d have gone for it, but once you’re on a schedule it’s probably not the time to start off-roading, so I gave it a miss and took the longer, safer route to Tudanca.

Ideally the weather would have been bright and slightly cloudy, instead it was blue skies all round with plenty of dark shadow to match. Oh well, at least the light was directly overhead this time. I got the photo I wanted, and many more besides, and set off sharply for Santander to catch the boat.

Spectacular mountain road passes through an impossible arch on a bend before doubling back on itself and dropping steeply away