Temperature was 8degC as I rode out of Ourense.
Quickly dropped to 6degC as I climbed the hills. And the mist started closing in.
Then somewhere, over the top, the sun began to shine and the temperature climbed to 12degC.
The landscape opened up. Hills on 3 sides. Valley to the south. 

Then the countryside became awesome. “Flame” trees everywhere. Look like poplar trees, with yellow-to-red leaves. 
The skies stayed grey. 
And the roads turned twisties. Folding hills meant interesting roads that hugged the folds, and rode down one side of a valley, then back up the other side. 

Rode on to Las Medulas, or as the Romans (Pliny) called it, the “biggest gold mine in the Empire”.
The Romans used their aquaduct skills to bring lots of water to the tops of cliff faces. This was let into the series of tunnels dug throughout the cliff. Net effect was to sheer off the cliff face, and whatever gold was in them hills. The resulting sludge would be washed downstream, and the gold picked out. 
The mining stopped in the 3rd Century. And 1,800yrs later you can still see bare cliff faces…….

Rode on the 50km to Ponferrada

TomTom had tried mis-directing me once. That ended up as a dead end. Literally. A cemetary. And you can’t make this stuff up!
This time it was telling me to turn right, but the map was showing a left turn. Had been around the block once already. So ignored TomTom and rode to the hotel. Daft Dutch Designers. DDD. The target location was correctly identified. TomTom just could not figure out how to get me there. DDD.

Booked into the hotel.
Parked the bike, in an awesome spot. Sheltered. Free. Near the front door. 
Then out to check the theatre. 

The Barber of Seville is here for one night. 
And a lovely show it was. 
First act over, popped into the cafe in the building. REALLY expensive. 3euros for one bottle of beer! Back for the second act and the grand finale. Brill. 
Some of the singers might have been saving themselves for the finale. 
Lots of fun. 
Bartolo stole the show IMHO. Even going so far as to squat down to continue waving farewell as the curtain fell. Nice voice. As had the Count, though quiet.

And a nightcap in the hotel’s taverna……

Yes sir! Real paella at last 🙂 First real one that I can remember in Spain!

Lovely barmaid too. She’d spent time in Bracklesham Bay, near Chichester. Got out early for being alive. hahahahahaha

Wednesday morning up for 6am. Too early. Back to sleep. Up at 10am 🙂

Off to the Radio Museum. It’s free on Wednesdays!
Good collection of radio sets. In each of the rooms. And some outstanding valves. Some bigger than the first crystal radio that I worked with!!!
Lots of Spanish content, as Ponferrada hosts the radio awards. 

Castle next. Free too, on Wednesdays.
Templars were here. Some 20yrs before their order was disbanded. And whilst the main gate is impressive, the castle is overlooked by two hills, and the cathedral. So cannot imagine it was much of a loss.

Lots of slate in the castle walls. Lots of slate in the area. Yesterday I passed what look like the tailings from a slate mine.  
NB: Also passed lots of hydro-electric generators yesterday. High valleys, and lots of water. Some of the generators were placed on the valley side.

Back to the hotel’s taberna for lunch. 
Here’s the first course……

Fried spaghetti, garlic and veg. Felt like home 🙂
For the main, mushrooms in garlic, with ham and eggs.
And a hard cake with an espresso, to finish. 

A short nap.

Off to the railway museum. Across the river from the old-town. Gotta admit, even after all these years, there is something about steam trains that makes me smile. 
Been a long while since, as a kid, I lay in bed, and the house rattled as a coal train went by. The line was a good 100m away from the house!
And we used to hang out there as kids. Train-spotting. Diesel-electric trains put an end to those days. There’s magic only with steam 🙂
The Ponferrada line was the last steam line in Spain. 

A photo of the castle on the way back home…..

A cuppa after the long walk. 

Back to do some more planning. And research.
Booked a place for tomorrow night. 
And thus, to bed. 

Up to a sunny-ish Thursday morning
First parade for the bike.
Ride out on a sunny but chilly day. How chilly? Had to add 3lbs of air to the tires.