WHOOOMP! WHOOOMP! That’s what I heard all night as the tent billowed and rocked and swayed and buffeted in the gale force winds. The wind started late last night and it hasn’t stopped and it is BLOWING! The little tent has done a magnificent job to stand up to the forces being thrown at it and despite getting an absolute hammering, it has stayed standing, assisted by Steve’s determined banging in of the tent pegs with a rock. Not much sleep though because of the noise of the howling wind and whoomping and flapping of the tent.
So we haven’t gone anywhere today, we’ve just sat in the tent to wait it out, but so far no let up. We did go for a walk, just to have a bit of variety from looking at the inside of the tent and that wasn’t the most pleasant experience. We walked along the road beside the beach and walking into the wind was just ridiculous! I had my head down and was leaning into it just to keep walking, there’s no way we could have ridden a bike against it. Walking back with the wind behind us, I had to walk like Charlie Chaplin, with my feet splayed out to the side, just to brace myself against it because it kept pitching me forward. I would be walking and then do an unintentional jog, just from the force of the wind pushing at my back. There’s not actually anything here in the village of Carchuna where the campsite is. There are just barren hills (a bit like the hills of Queenstown in Tassie), some wind turbines on the far hills and mile after mile of plastic covered hot houses. So being stuck here to wait out the weather, hasn’t left us with many things to do to pass the time, but sit in the tent to escape the gale.
Tomorrow isn’t supposed to be as windy, but it is supposed to be a bit wet, so we’re going to try a pretty long ride, to make up some ground and hopefully make it to a campground that has cabins, so we can sit out the weather and maybe dry off if we have to.
On a brighter note though, today marks our one month anniversary as European cyclists! So we have made it this far, with some amazing experiences, great memories, some challenges and struggles, but in the end, still going. So here are just a few more things that I’ve learnt along the way in a month of pedalling the roads of Portugal and Spain:
1. I didn’t overpack. I have worn everything I packed many many times over! Nothing has simply come along for the ride, everything has been used and worn over and over again!
2. Public toilets are a rarity here and virtually impossible to find, so it helps to have an Olympic standard bladder and if you can hold on all day, that’s a super skill to have!
3. People here like to sweep. The streets are really clean and that has to be down to the commitment of folks to the ancient art of sweeping. There are street sweepers in the towns and cities, and I don’t mean the mechanical variety, I mean people employed with straw brooms, sweeping the streets and paths. The residents are equally committed. People sweep the street outside their houses, sweep the gutters along their street, sweep the side of their houses, all with just the age-old technology of a straw broom. In campsites we’ve stayed in, we’ve woken to see the teams of people up and sweeping and raking fallen leaves or pine needles, bagging them up and disposing of them, all to leave paths and grounds clear of rubbish or debris. I applaud them.
4. Learn to slow down. Not everything has to be done at a cracking pace. Everything is not urgent and needing to be done instantly and hurriedly. Time for a conversation is time well spent. Time to sit and take in the day is important time. If someone is ahead in a line and stops to talk to the employee serving, this is not an opportunity for impatience, this is a time to smile and appreciate that there can still be time taken for a chat with a stranger, to ask about someone’s day and to share a laugh. The extra few minutes of waiting while it happens will not break the time bank, in the grand scheme of the day.
5. A Buff head band is an instant cure for “helmet hair” of any degree or scale.
So on we go, with the open road before us and probably wind in our face and rain on our head, but…this is life…and we’re living it!