Leaving Llavandes

A plastic table for four stands on a deserted patio in the midday sun, blue skies and mountains in the background

I wake up late morning and make tea on the stove, which at first fires up OK but then cuts out and resists all attempts to ignite the seemingly inert gas. The jet is taken out and cleaned but to no avail. Its then that I notice the On and Off lettering on opposite sides of the neck of the pump, something I had seen before but had ignored at the time because there’s no obvious control nearby to which the inscriptions could possibly relate. This morning I have the bottle lying down with the Off label at the top, so I try turning it over to expose On. It lights first time, and I realize that the On and Off switch is simply a matter of turning the bottle this way or that. When in the Off position no fuel is picked up by the brass tube inside, making it a handy way to release excess pressure after cooking before unscrewing the pump and packing it away. It’s a big deal to me because until now this has always resulted in a spray of petrol coming out and soaking the bottle, my hands, and whatever is nearby. Live and learn. Starting to pack everything back into my panniers I find a stray bottle of San Miguel in the tent’s rear vestibule, and not wishing to risk a beery explosion en route I leave it outside the tent of the couple seen begging last night, who are nowhere to be found.

Evicting several hundred ants as I take down the tent and tarp shelter, I pack everything away onto the bike and proceed to the campsite bar for breakfast. Bocadillo con queso sounds like a safe bet, and the lady offers me a choice of [something] con queso o queso solo, so I take the [something] on the basis that it will probably be quite nice if it comes with cheese in a baguette. Turns out to be Cajun chicken which is delicious if a little gristly in places. I’m happy, as is the dog.

I post a few pictures to the blog as locals arrive to watch the MotoGP. Would love to stay and join them over a beer as it’s already getting quite warm, but I’m keen to make up for yesterday’s lack of riding and plan one last big loop around Asturias, Cantabria, and a little corner of Castilla y Leon. The 160 mile loop should take me about 6 hours, allowing for photo and water breaks. Paying the bill for my second night of camping turns out to be quite difficult, the young lad at the bar was there when I paid for the first night and thinks we’re square, the lady in charge is nowhere to be found. Eventually I’m served by an older gentleman who gets up from an adjacent table. I thought he was one of the customers but must have been wrong as he unlocks reception and gives me a receipt in exchange for 12 Euros. I’m off again.