Final Reductions

Cemetry in San Andres, Tenerife

Cemetery in San Andres, Tenerife

I really enjoy visiting cemeteries in dry regions; this one reminds me of cemeteries I’ve visited in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, near San Pedro. I think I would feel happier being laid in dry ground than lying in a hole in Wales in the cold, wet peat. This cemetery is within a few metres of a beach which is a quite odd colour; given the fact that Tenerife is a volcanic eruption in the Atlantic Ocean. Black sand for a beach doesn’t quite do it for tourists apparently; maybe too hot in strong sun? So, a number of years ago, 4 million sacks of sand from Saharan Africa where imported and made into a fine, yellow, sandy beach, overlaying the black one. It looks a little incongruous. Fortunately, the sand in the cemetery remains the native black colour. Talking about incongruity, the advertising hoarding facing the lovely white-washed walls, the simple mausoleum, and the black or white simple crosses, is great. I wonder what other messages appear here throughout the year.

Covadonga climb

Covadonga ascent

Covadonga ascent

It’s hard to describe the mixture of trepidation and exhilaration when approaching the base of a mountain like Covadonga on a bicycle, knowing you are going to have to keep going till the summit, not allowing yourself to entertain the thought that you will give up half way up, yet secretly harbouring that destructive thought.

Once you get going, however, all those feelings are replaced by the simple physical exertion. Although its only 1134m a.s.l., the road reaches a gradient of 15% over an 800m length towards the end of the climb. It was a beautiful day when I  went up, and well worth the effort to be able to descend without any effort whatsoever – just like being on a motorbike, but MUCH quieter and more enjoyable!

Picos de Europa tour on a bike

Strange lodgings for a bike

Strange lodgings for a bike

I have just come back from a 500 mile cycling tour of the Picos in Northern Spain. The region’s scenery is majestic, and I found myself running out of superlatives trying to describe it.  Sometimes the bicycle gets to stay in the most luxurious stable; always treated with great respect by all the hotels and pensions! This time, it was even invited to a wedding reception!

About to descend to Potes

About to descend to Potes

A rather baleful and impotent bear watching over the bike. Its a bit ironic that throughout history, humans have decided they needed to eradicate bears; and yet now, when they have all gone,  they are so often held up as the symbols of the wild and wonderful areas they used to roam in.