Day 9 Sort – Sabinanigo

10/08/10 (594 miles)

“We ride on through numerous tunnels where I realise my headlight is as effective as a chocolate teapot, illuminating nothing more than my front mudguard. Hopefully Helen’s is better…”

After the usual bread fuelled breakfast, we packed up and headed out on the road back to the coast. We reckon it’ll take us 3 days riding at our usual sedate pace of 30-50mph to get to our next destination. The target for today is Jaca, We headed east on the N260 via la Pobla de Segur a smooth surfaced road up through the Coll de l’Espina and Coll de Fadas, before a pleasant twisty descent down through pine forests into Castejon de Sos in the Valle de Benasqua. High mountains on either side, paragliders throwing themselves off into thin air and soaring high up on the thermals. Helen managed to enjoy some of the scenery, stopping me to say I’d missed a load of good photo opportunities…so I load the camera in her pannier, to click away when she fancies. We stop off in town for some lunch and a rest stop in the scorching sun.

The planned route along the Rio Esera runs along by a river to La Collades, according to the map so should be nice and sedate with no climbs…oops. The road started nicely with little traffic, and the river running down to our right. The road soon rose slightly as the river sides became a gorge with the road carved into the cliff face, looking quite scenic. It soon became very windy with no places to stop or move over for traffic to overtake, becoming less enjoyable and quite stressful with coaches and lorries using the route en mass. We ride on through numerous tunnels where I realise my headlight is as effective as a chocolate teapot, illuminating nothing more than my front mudguard. Hopefully Helen’s is better… Luckily the tunnels have lights and/or we used the pursuing cars headlights to light up our way in front…different.

Valle de Serrablo

It was late afternoon by the time we neared Boltana a possible camping spot, but we decided to push on to Sabinanigo another 60km away. Our options were to continue on the N260 which tracked north making some climbs by the south of the mountain range, or, take the A1604 a small back road staying on the the lower reaches…which we went for. Fortune smiled on us then as we had clearly taken the better option, as the road was pretty much single lane, traffic free and climbed slowly through the hills surrounding the Valle de Serrablo. Helen clear of other traffic hastle relaxed and enjoyed her riding at last…

Helen on the A1604 roadThe road continued like this for the next 45km, half of which the road tracked along the edge of a (fairly dried up) river bed. Nearing the end we pulled over for a rest stop and a quick snack, which hadn’t quite coped with the heat. We considered if it had been earlier in the day, a swim and rough campsite could have been in order.

melted chocs anyone?


Eventually we make it to Sabinanigo where there’s meant to be a campsite. After a bit of searching we spot a sign pointing into an industrial estate and follow it, which in turn takes us back out onto the main N330 route, before depositing us at a Hotel/campsite right by the main road…bizarre. This soon becomes a regular occurrence…is this a strange Spanish custom? The campsite itself is all a bit weird with static caravans, with semi-permanent awnings, brick-built BBQ’s and smoke houses etc, in not the most wonderful spot. Anyway, once paid we rode around trying to find a pitch and finally spot a couple of tents at the bottom of the site. We aimed down there and were glad to see another biker enjoying a beer or two, by his tent and Aprilia Pegaso…and then see the GB reg on the bike! I’m so happy to see this, we park up and I go straight over to say hello, making the mistake of identifying him as ‘English’, when he corrects me as he’s from Scotland. Anyway, quick chat, offers us a beer each, Helen comes over and says it’s good to see another Englishman too, oops! H is quickly corrected and we quickly catch up on where, who, why etc. Scotty (his actual nickname, as his surname is Scott!) an oil rigger, is riding this ‘horrible’ bike down to his Dad’s to leave it there in Spain, but spending a few weeks just riding about enjoying life….top bloke. Just a relief to be able to openly communicate, when our knowledge of the host language is so bloody awful, and communicating with locals can be quite arduous.

We decide to grab a quick supper up at the hotel after a wash, (Scotty had gone to bed by this stage) only to discover they only had the Menu del Dia…a 3 course meal. After such a long day in the saddle we decide to treat ourselves. I opt for melon & Ham starter, while H has Spaghetti Bolognese…as a starter?! They were HUGE…easily enough for a main meal, though we wolfed it down quite happily, washing it down with some good local house Vino Tinto of course. 🙂 The mains of Turkey stew for me and H had Salted Cod, were slightly smaller than the starter (which we soon discovered is the norm) but were nevertheless superb, then finished off with peaches in (sweet) wine. Can’t say the Rioja lasted too long though, but after this hearty feast for a weary traveller, we went back to our tent and were hitting Z’s in seconds.

It was a relief in the end for the last leg of the trip to be enjoyable for Helen and to see the smile back. Then to polish off with some good company and food was a bit of a high. However, there’s a lot of miles to cover again tomorrow…

Day 10 Sadinanigo – Vitoria Gastiez


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