A night of sleep is an amazing thing. All our stresses of the day before fade away and we are ready to take on our next day of cycling in Andalucia.
The weather starts out misty, grey and generally terrible for taking pictures but soon the light and the road combine into something wonderful. The intense greens in the fields, the warm colour of the sun, the rich blue of the sky and the dreamy road makes us feel – just for a few minutes – like we are cycling in a painting.
We don’t stay in the lush mountains for very long. Instead, we sink lower and lower towards the city of Antequera, and we wish we had a longer camera lens to capture each other going down hills like this.
Antequera turns out to be a city with a charming history but one where we are more fascinated by the Spanish culture than the monuments. Spain really does feel like one of the countries in Europe that is truly holding on to its culture and distinct characteristics. Where else in the world would you see a gas station promoting a leg of ham with each fill-up?
We especially love the small shops, where many people still buy food. There are supermarkets too but these little stores always seem to be busy. They have a dedicated clientele. There are the fruit and fish shops.
And the corner store. The signs in the window are advertising lottery tickets (the Spanish LOVE their lotteries) and the fact that the shop will be open to sell bread on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
And the bakery – very low key but we’re sure their bread is good!
Yes, we love the little shops. But on our ride out of Antequera, we spot one of the things we dislike about Spain. The garbage. It’s everywhere. It’s like attitudes towards properly disposing of rubbish and not littering have been shifted back a century. This sign tells people that you can throw some types of debris here but that it’s NOT okay to dump dead animals by the side of the road. Really?? Do you need to be told that?
And this is what we see as we’re going up the hill. We don’t want to give the impression that every hillside is covered in so much garbage but it’s not an uncommon sight either, just outside of towns.
Come on Spain. Clean up your act.