76km Covarrubias to Tabladas

Entering RiojaStand-offWe had a pannier emergency today: an oil spill all over the inside of our cooking bag! We’d searched for days for a half litre bottle of oil (the size of screw-top bottle we’ve bought to carry oil in) but we never saw anything less than a litre. Finally we gave up and bought a full litre but of course we were too frugal to throw half out, so for the last couple of days we’ve been carrying around the half-empty plastic bottle, trying to use it up. A disaster waiting to happen and this evening the top came loose and oozed all over our pots and food. A big mess to clean up, but at least we were near a lake so Andrew had lots of water to degrease everything with and the Ortlieb panniers are seemingly indestructible. So far anyway! Before our little crisis, we spent the day dodging cows and sheep wandering all over the road in the Sierra de la Demanda natural park. What were these cyclists doing on “their” road, the animals seemed to wonder as we passed. The scenery returned to the beautiful sights we’ve come to expect over the past few weeks, after a couple days which were frankly a little bland. The whole area was filled with rolling hills, woodland, fast-flowing streams and – after we crossed into Rioja – a valley with mountains rising up on all sides.