Eurobikeski 2016 - Spain - Day 4

Burgos - San Asensio

For them stats Strava Route Burgos to San Asensio

This morning started out with a trip to Decathlon (Europe's chain sporting goods store) to try and get some "white gas" for my cooking stove. I made the mistake of not bringing the adapter for pressurized canisters as MSR mentioned that, "white gas is everywhere". Lies...at least in Spain. The Decathlon I go to ends up ONLY having the canisters and look at me a bit funny when I ask them for white gas (Don't worry, I used this table to find the right word).

After Decathlon, I head to find an ATM to get some money. If I used my Chase credit card the way I do at home, I'd easily pay $500 in foreign transaction fees on this trip. Pro-tip (if you bank with Chase) is to get the Chase Sapphire card with no foreign transaction fees.

After attempting to work the door to the ATM with no luck, I go into the bank and ask if they can open the ATM door for me. After 2-3 minutes of back and forth with me making many different forms of hand gestures to show a door (Slowly leveling up my Charades skills), the woman at the bank assures me the door is open. And indeed, it's push not pull. The long roads are slowly getting to me as my sanity drifts away.

After packing and some minor lube action on the 'ole drivetrain, it's time to hit the road toward Najera where I've got a hotel waiting for me that I booked yesterday. Today's cycling started out pretty standard on a somewhat busy N-road with a wide shoulder. Continuing to roll through Spanish wine country while hugging the Camino de Santiago for most of the route. Eventually the N-road I was on began to run parallel to an A-road (Autovia). These are the multi-lane highways that bicycles aren't allowed on. That meant that the N-road I was on had no traffic, and perfectly paved. A ghost highway, with ghost roundabouts, all too myself with mostly downhill riding. This day was a very good day for cycling 8 ).

After getting closer to Najera, I check the map to see where the hotel is that I booked. It turns out that my hotel isn't in Najera. It's in San Asensio, 10 kilometers straight north of Najera. This is no fun as I'm supposed to meet René today in Najera and 10km north is going to tack on at least another 30 minutes, not to mention, how do I get back to Najera??

As I turn north and begin cycling to San Asensio, the cares drift away a bit as I begin rolling up and down through some very scenic vineyards. I didn't get a chance to take very many pictures as I was kind of entranced. Also, my landscape photos aren't very good.

As I get to Hotel La Capellanía, I get to the front door which is locked with a buzzer (flashbacks). As I ring the buzzer, I hear a click and a "Hola?". I tell the buzzer I have a reservation for tonight and a very nice woman greets me in English and buzzes me in. San Asensio is a small little village tucked away in the hills of Rioja with a sweet vibe and nice views. I get the keys to my room and take a few moments to enjoy the view from the room's balcony.

I work with the owner to arrange a taxi pickup and drop-off in Najera (yay!). After a shower, I head downstairs to wait for the taxi driver. Bit of downtime means wine time in the courtyard.

I hear the taxi driver arrive and head into his car. He doesn't really speak English, but I'm starting to get good at this and through osmosis, we work out that I'll get picked up at 11pm at the spot he will drop me off at.

Najera is one of the bigger towns for the pilgrims to stop off at and I thought it might involve some festivities/parties. After dinner with René, Peter, and Brie (all hiking the Camino) I realize that when you have to wake up at 5:30/6:00am to hike all day, you're not really going to have much energy to stay out too late. After dinner and story swapping, 10:00pm (typical albergue curfew) hit way too fast. After finishing the remainder of the bottle of wine with the group, it was time to say our goodbyes. After parting, I still had another hour before my taxi was supposed to pick me up. More wine!

Jose arrives perfectly on time and it's back to San Asensio. This time the way back is pitch black. Nothing but the taxi's headlights are offering any visibility. Glimpses of grape vines zoom by while I'm basking in the warmth of this wine buzz, ready to take on Logroño tomorrow.