The ride from Caceres to Zafra was straight south, mostly along the N-630 route which follows the old Ruta de la Plata, up over a high-ish pass and then either level or just straight on down. I made good time, mostly with a benign wind, but toward the end of the day it turned in to a headwind which made the last 20 miles or so hard going. The headwind was a precursor of the stormy and thundery weather that was to come the next day on my ride to Seville.
The N-630 is a reasonably quiet road, with most of the traffic taking the parallel Autovia. Alongside that there is a new high speed railway line that looks complete, but I understand that it hasn't yet been totally finished. Anyhow, I didn't see any trains on it. I got a picture, see below, of the 630 km marker on the N-630 !
The Parador de Zafra was a pleasant place in an old castle in the town, a little less opulent than some of the other Paradores we have stayed in, but perfectly pleasant. A very nice meal in the local square completed the day.
My worry overnight was the increasing wind and the forecast of thunderstorms for my final day to Seville. Yes, the wind was strong and blustery, and right in my face, and there were ominous black clouds to the south. I started off early, in difficult riding conditions, and once I reached the first pass it was obvious that a storm was brewing, which it did, and rained and blowed. The conditions were not just unpleasant, but getting dangerous, particularly on that section of the N-630 where the margin was quite narrow. So, I stopped after about 20 miles and called up the Baggage Train who were just about to leave Zafra, and they came and collected me and I took the lift in to Seville. I'm disappointed that I had to abandon my route on the last day, but even I recognised that the conditions were far from optimal and in fact pretty dangerous on that stretch of road in those conditions.
Seville was also thundery and wet, so walking around was a question of popping in to little local bars and waiting out the stormy rain with a little glass of Oloroso, before moving on.
On Wednesday 15th, we made a morning visit to the Cathedral and the sights of the old town, and after a pleasant tapas lunch, collected our luggage and headed for the coach to Faro. Our hire car was proving difficult to take over the border, and since we are flying back from Faro we could not leave a Spanish hire car here. There is no railway between Seville and the Algarve coast (or you can go from Seville north to Lisbon and then south to Faro), so it was the 3 hour coach ride to Faro airport where we have collected a car for our stay in the Algarve. We are now comfortably ensconced in Case de Amendoeiros., looking down over to the sea, and enjoying the sunshine, pool, and beach. I'll do a bit of cycling around, although the coastal roads are pretty busy, so I will head inland up in to the interior for my daily exercise.
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