Day 1. Santa Olalla de Cala – Cala – Cañaveral de Leon – Carbonera – Aracena. 60 km.
After leaving the car in Santa Olalla de Cala, which seemed like a quiet place to do so, I started cycling at 11.30. Took the main road,
which here is a good paved road with almost no traffic that took me to Cala quite easily. Some up and downs, no big problem. Cala is a small town, same size as Santa Olalla, where you can buy food or have a drink. There’s no other town until Cañaveral, and it can be quite long.
There are some mountains paths that can take you to Cala as well. I guess they’re pretty easy to cycle, and the views can be very nice. I didn’t take them since they were my first kilometers (and the bike was new, so I had to get used to it yet), but from the look of them, it can be a good option!
I was thinking of continuing the main road to Arroyomolinos, but then I discovered a cycling route called LA VERTEDERA, starting in Cala. It’s signposted at the exit of the town. So I took that one, and I definitively recommend everybody to do so!
A really nice and quite road takes you along some old mines, some nice hills and couple of farms. You’ll find lots of pigs, some of them in the middle of the road! Some hills can be quite steep, but since they are really short, it should be easy for everybody. No chance of getting lost (if you find a crossroad that does not look very clear to you, take right; it happens towards the middle of the route. Just in case).
Once you leave the secondary road and you join the “main” road (I saw no car at all there), it’s an easy ride to Cañaveral.
Cañaveral is, again, a nice and quite town. Some historic places, nice fountain, quite views. You can continue the route to Hijonales. I didn’t, since it was the first day and I wanted to take it easy.
From there onwards, some downhill towards a reservoir and then 8 kilometers uphill to Aracena (still, pretty easy again). You’ll find Carboneras along the way, which is very small and really cute (specially the unpaved road you must ride through, want it or not), but with Aracena being so close, you don’t really feel like stopping for a long time. Not me, at least.
And finally, Aracena. Biggest town around, by far. Still, quite nice. An old castle (or castle ruins) overlooks the city, with the main attraction being an underground cave. Looks quite good in the pictures. I didn’t go to see kt, just because the admision fee was 8.50 euros, which I found insane!!!! It’s f***ing expensive! I mean, it’s there, it doesn’t belong to anybody, so admision should be free! Ok, so the town takes care of it and wants some money for that; good. But almost 10 euros is not maintenance-money, that’s almost stealing! Imagine you had to pay to take a look at Matterhorn, or Niagara Falls, or any other natural scenary out there. No sense. Please, we’re not talking about a natural park, it’s a cave. Anyway…
I found some sleeping places in Santa Olalla and Aracena quite easily. Cheap-ish. I didn’t really pay attention to the other towns, sorry.
Overall: Good starting day. Easy ride, nice views, quite places. Not best-place-ever, but a place I’d recommend for some holiday cycling!