Cuenca to Valencia

The keener eyed amongst you, especially Scots family and friends, may have detected that Liam and Eddie are now home. And I’m not.

I’m up in my writing retreat in the Alicante mountains. (Some, alleged, friends reckon that this is all an elaborate ruse to cover up the truth that I’m doing a three month stretch.)

So this next blog, without the Adelante technical support team, or our literary editor and censor, might be a bit rougher round the edges than previous, pristine, entries.

We met so many people and saw so many places that we’ve missed important things to report to you.

When we cycled through La Granja, past trenches of the Civil War where Spanish and Scottish men and women died fighting Franco, I wanted to record my little commemoration. But it was so cold my violin all but fell apart.

Instead, here is my pen portrait of Ethel Macdonald, a Scots Anarchist. Ethel was actually in Barcelona, as you’ll hear. But though the location was different, and there were disputes on the Republican side, basically they were all fighting for the same cause.

Pen portrait of Ethel Macdonald.

On to happier times, and climes – though not for long. Below, another contender for The Most Beautiful Road In The World…

On the way to Motilla del Palancar, the calm before a storm.

I hear it’s raining today in Scotland. But even in Spain you get the odd drop of summer rain….

When it came we took refuge in a cafe in the village of Valera de Abajo.

Actually, that day was pretty scary. Thunder, lightening, the lot. We were lucky to find a village, with a warm and welcoming bar serving piping hot coffee. Otherwise an accident could have happened. But never to the intrepid trio….

Hoy Tú, Manaña Yo.

The very morning we left for Utiel, the penultimate stop, we were stupid enough to say ‘Looks like we’re all going to make it, boys!

Yep, the Fates were summoned. A freak accident – likely caused by tiredness after 20 hard cycles – had Eddie flying through the air and landing only a foot or so forward, instead of all the way to Valencia. Here is the very spot… We expect to see a commemorative plaque “The Duco fell here” placed there soon…

On the way to Utiel, Eddie met his Waterloo on the lump of concrete you can see next to Liam’s bike.

It’s bad enough, on a bike trip, having to look at Eddie’s arse disappearing up the road ahead of me. Now we have to see inside the man’s body!

Somewhere in this X ray, according to Eddie, there is proof that he broke at least one rib.

We shouldn’t laugh. El Duco took a truly nasty knock. Off to the hospital for him. No cycling for three months. I suggested we wait in Utiel until he was ready to go, but folks back home didn’t seem to like that idea.

The man who took Eddie into Utiel, to his hotel, then to the medical centre, was a winemaker (make of that what you like!) who’d been out tending his vines. When Liam flagged him down, Marcos didn’t hesitate. He helped without questions or complaint. Prepared to give up his entire day if necessary. People are good. It was a sore time for Eddie and a worrying moment for us all. Marcos simply said: ‘Tú hoy, yo manaña’. You today, me tomorrow. It’s as perfect a description of socialism as any of us could think up. He expected neither repayment nor thanks – you could base entire philosophies and societies on Marco’s words.

In his honour, and as a lullaby for Wee Ed, here’s a wee song, in Basque, Liam and I recorded some time ago. Rough again, recorded on a phone, but it feels right here….

We all made it to Valencia – one way or another. Eddie gets the rosette for having endured the most pain, with fortitude and grace. He even stopped eating for nearly two days – amazing me and Liam survived that!

Liam’s son Duncan and partner Nadine were there to welcome us. So too, Anne and Moira, who had flown out specially to get us over the finishing line. Lizzie, on the other hand, had been with us all the way.

A triumphant entry, but one man down, at the Porta de Serrans.
All three united again.

Way back in Vigo – might I remind you, 0ver 700 miles, and 7,000 hills away – we played by the west coast sea before saddling up. Here we are on the east… The Sexygenarians made it, coast-to-shining coast!

The journey from coast to coast is complete.

There’s no doubt that such a long and arduous cycle can take its toll on companionship. But never in my worst nightmares did I think that this could happen…

Like all good bands, there was a break-up. But it was quickly followed by…

Was it money that broke up the band? Artistic disagreement? No. A woman. Liam’s Yoko. But it’ll never work, how can you have the legendary Sexygenarians when Anne is clearly about 28?!

I’m off to record ma solo album.

…a reunion, for a final rendition of our theme tune, Cantares.

Spanish speakers may be interested in Liam’s attempts, along the way, to poke fun at his poet friends in Spanish.

Some final thoughts from Eddie (recorded while cycling, ironically, an hour before the fall) .
And some from Liam.

There’ll be no final thoughts from me. I’m writing a whole book – enough’s enough! Suffice to say that I am so proud, and deeply grateful, to call Eddie Morrison and Liam Kane my friends. I learn from them every day. Friendship is like salt in sauce. We seldom notice it but, without it, we would simply survive. Friends give spice to nourishment, make life appetizing. I’m a lucky man. Cheers, lads.

This blog isn’t over yet, by the way. I’ve still to walk and busk the last tranche from Málaga to Almuñécar in a week or so. And we’ve loads of material from across the whole journey to share with you. Keep following, compañeros and compañeras!

Meantime, click on the link below for an album with photos and videos of our journey…

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMz8ilTML6af3U2xixTwZxAVgMDOxhgtxZ1D0kd_65A8w4tsVwqWb9JS4D4kfHDLw?key=OVJKNHRySDlnSVduUkF0VmtMTm5VNmxHVjlIeU9B

… and here’s a stunning image to keep you going, courtesy of the super-creative Mark Fraser. Be sure to check out the detail. A prize of one full euro goes to whoever provides the best caption. ¡Adelante!

19 thoughts on “Cuenca to Valencia

  1. En hora buena caballeros. Thanks for taking us all along for the ride. Speedy recovery to Eddie and good luck with the writing Chris.

    Caption
    “What’s THAT look for? This is definitely NOT a hill!”

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  2. What a journey, achievement and adventure. Well done, three amigos. You have kept us entertained. Get well soon, Eddie. And enjoy the final stretch, Chris.

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  3. Thank you so much lads for your very informative, humorous, fascinating and most entertaining blog. Glad you’re all safe & (nearly) sound, sorry about the ribs Eddie! Look forward to the book Chris. Hope to see you and Anne soon Liam.
    Irene Tominey 🚴🏻‍♀️🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♀️

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    1. Irene

      I replied immediately I saw this but for some reason it didn’t go through. Thanks for following us and for your kind comments. In Valladolid Buendi and Marivi were waxing eloquently about their night in your hoose all those years ago! Hope to see you and John soon too. All the best. Liam

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  4. …and they call me mad Sancho? …wait ’till they meet they three Scottish eejits….Hangry, Baldy, and that wan that fancies himsel as a writer.

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  5. Thoroughly enjoying the blog, folks. Thanks so much for sharing with us. So many beautiful, interesting parts of Spain we may never see (but now want to go to!) Inspirational and hopeful tales in a world sadly in need of friendship and joy!

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  6. Wonderful from start to finish.
    Have followed you through your journey with laughter, tears and wonderment. Bravo you three xx

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  7. Buen hecho Los Caballeros Andantes.

    Caption.
    Liam: Yir no gettin’in Don. Nor yir wee pal. You’ve lost it completely.
    Sancho (to Don) Don, don’t go there. Don’t mess with El Jefe and his army. It’s all in the mind, Don. Just stoap it!
    Eddie (to Chris) See that? Whit next? Vamos a la playa?
    Chris: What about El Jefe Liam?
    Eddie: Aye…well…he is El Jefe?
    Chris: Vamos a la playa. Adiós amigos!

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