The road was good, but 1300m of climbing on a hot day was hard- the road undulated a fair amount too. Tomorrow should be a gentler climb, and hopefully a little cooler.

I was adopted today again by a dog- perhaps she thought I looked lonely- so I had company of sorts for the last few kilometres as I sweated up the hill into Pamplona. She even waited (mostly) patiently when I paused to rest or drink water. I was flagged down by a fruit seller (a fellow cyclist, as it turned out) who pressed some apricots and a pear into my hands. He was impressed that I’d brought my dog- I didn’t have the spanish to explain adequately.I came across the scene of an accident a little further on – taxi versus two motorcycles, apparently. No one seriously injured, but a sobering reminder to exercise caution nonetheless.

The countryside here is breathtaking- looking ahead it’s often hard to imagine the route the road might find through the folds of green. I’m far from the only cyclist though- I was passed today in both directions by lots of lycra warriors with wraparound shades and serious faces. Lower down, there were a number of resort-like restaurant/bars with very inviting swimming pools. I was tempted to stop for a swim, but I think I’d find it hard to leave again.

Everything seems just a little more relaxed here, certainly compared to Cucuta or San Antonio. I haven’t seen any other cyclists with luggage, but I’ve had to field far fewer questions about what it is that I’m doing. I have had a few motorists beeping their horns and shouting encouragement though, never a bad thing.

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