Lleida – Zaragoza – Alagón
This will be a 2-day travelogue for the first time. Mostly because I did much more distance on Saturday than I thought I was capable of with this much added weight on a bike. In fact, I never traveled this far on a bike in one day. Therefore, I added a pretty short stint on Sunday to get a few kilometers outside of Zaragoza and take a rest and work day there.
I woke up well rested on Saturday morning in Lleida, I skipped breakfast and instead got some food at a supermarket, strapped it to my bike and went on my way. The first 30 km I pretty much stayed next to the highway, which led to a pretty boring ride. After Fraga, I turned north and headed into surreal desert landscapes with steep cliffs along the road, only to be riding through lush farm land a few kilometers later.
The road mostly went straight as far as I could see with just a slight bend here or there, leading through some—mostly deserted—villages and towns. I stopped at a few hermitages and monasteries, usually there were hardly any people around. The Cinca Valley seemed to be only inhabited by storks, hundreds, and thousands of storks. Not even in Morocco had I seen this many storks and stork’s nests.
In Sariñena, I was able to find a supermarket and pick up something to drink and a couple of bags of gummy bears before turning back southwest towards Zaragoza again. Seemingly out of nowhere, the landscape changed again, and turned into a winding mountain road through pine forests. The road going up the Alcubierre mountains is called Orwell Route—named after George Orwell, who fought here in the Spanish Civil War. Unfortunately, I still had a lot of distance to cover, and a storm was looming in the west; so I forewent the foray to the monuments on the way. Once I reached the top of Los Monegros the wind picked up noticeably as did the dark clouds on the horizon. I rode as hard as I could towards Zaragoza, which was still 40 km away.
For the second time on this trip, I tried outrunning a storm with headwind into the storm. For the second time, it did not really work. Even though the shower was not as bad as back in Agde and I reached my hotel on the western outskirts of Zaragoza just a little wet.
On Sunday morning, I rolled into and quickly through central Zaragoza. It seemed like there are many sights to see, and it’s probably worth a visit. I made my way northwest, however, in the direction of Alagón. The rain from the previous night had left big puddles on the gravel roads. For a long stretch, I think I rode the wrong direction into an amateur bike race. I got to Alagón before noon, in time to pick up some groceries before the last supermarket closed on this Sunday.