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Given that the campground last night offered hamburguesas and potatas frites, I decided to eat at the campground. The first attempt returned a hamburgesa con queso, not what I ordered. On the second attempt I received the same hamburger, flipped over to hide where they’d scraped off the cheese. The third attempt returned a hamburger burnt on the outside, and still raw and cold on the inside. I gave up, and went back to my campsite to make my own dinner.

A surprisingly cool morning led to misjudging the time and snuggling in my sleeping bag longer than planned. I blame bike lag and it not getting dark until after 10:00 pm.

With not far to go today, I extended the day with a plan to navigate back and forth to historic items indicated on my map. Having navigated to cycle  the canal path, I abandoned it today for roads slightly less thorn-filled, at least while I have no spare tubes. That left me a lousy highway access road for the first part of the day.

Arriving in Duenas I searched for for the castle indicated on my map. While only the gateway arch remained, I found a motorcycle shop with bicycles in the window. After resolving the confusion that I needed a tube, not tires, and that my tires/rims don’t match what he had in stock for tubes, I ended up with slightly too large but acceptable substitutes. Directly across the street I found a market, replacing the food I hadn’t planned to use last night. Back to full capacity, forwards we go.

From there I cycled to Saint Cecelia del Alcour. Looping through the town, I cycled up to the highest point with no trace of castle in sight. Stopping in a park for lunch, I spotted openings in an adjacent hill. Finishing lunch, I walked over and it looked like someone had carved openings far above in the cliff face. Preparing to ascend, I realized the path ran through someone’s front yard. I turned to leave, when the occupants emerged and encouraged me to climb to the top. The soft rock was carved away to form rooms and connecting tunnels between them, now all abandoned. Very cool.

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From there I turned towards Palencia. From outside the city I could see a monument placed on the top of a mountain on the other side of the city, looking vaguely like a smaller version of El Escorial near Madrid – something to look for later after finding the hostel.

The hostel, Alburge Juvenil Palencia, showed only on the GPS, but not on my usual online resources. Arriving at the indicated location, the building and surrounding area looked like a school, not a hostel, and definitely residential. I cycled around the outside and rumniated a bit (not wanting to walk into a school). Cycling to a nearby shady area, I reviewed my options in town. None good, but I stumbled across more information on the hostel. Returning, I found a Reception desk, and after working through some language difficulties find myself with a small room in another wing.

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Still early, I set to wandering the town. As I’ve mentiond before, Spanish towns appear dead from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with almost eveything closed. I did manage to wander to the monument outside of town, Cristo del Otero, built in the 20th century.

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Today I reached the chronologic halfway point of the trip, divided into quarters: cycle with Wayne and Charlotte, cycle to meet Sam, cycle with Sam, magic occurs and I get back to Lisbon. With the changes in schedule Sam and I made, we decreased the time in the third quarter, giving us both more time to find out way home. I meet Sam in a couple of days at a bus station not far north of here.

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