After three days in Madrid, it was finally time to get on the bikes. It is hard to sleep the night before new beginnings … new school, new job, new adventure. So much emotionally is riding on that first day.
We got lost within the first 10 minutes trying to find our way out of the city. Too many turns. My eyes now need reading classes to read a map.
Then Kat’s back rack comes loose and rocks back toward the street. Obviously her mechanics fault (that’s me). Forgot to tighten those bolts.
We pedal along a large park and it is obvious that we are not going to be able to follow the directions we have.
Pedro comes to the rescue. He’s out on his Sunday bike ride and offers to guide us through the maze of turns.
We are now out to the highway and lost again. Some young men on racing bikes give us directions through a neighborhood near the college. It is a group of mountain bikers next, sending us in the right direction.
We pedal into our first town, Boadilla del Monte, the entrance road is paved in brick and lined with a quarter mile of lavender. Will every town be this beautiful?
Less than 15 kilometers later we run into a festival in Brunete. It is the running of the bulls–the kids version. The town square is filed with families. The bulls are built around a water barrel on a bicycle wheel, covered with hide and a fake bulls head. Real horns though, but they are covered with black tennis balls.
Young men push these bulls around to the delight and horror of the kids in the square. Each bull is equipped with water jets, and no one escapes the spray of bulls. A band plays all the while the kids run laughing and screaming.
In the town of Valldemorrio, a young man named Jason approaches us. He’s bicycle toured before and wants to know our story. We are invited to join his family for a drink at one of the outdoor restaurants. His parents run a language school which account for his perfect English. We laugh and chat and are introduced to Spanish hard cider.
We are less than 60 kilometers into our journey and already Spain has given us a warm embrace.