I´ve managed to put some weight on after arriving in Burgau a little scrawny. This is mostly due to my sister´s fabulous cooking though she was ably assisted by Casa Padaria, the local Italian restaurant. I can barely believe that I cycled thousands of miles to the remote spot that is my sister´s house to discover that the only freshly-baked, gluten-free pizza I have ever had was only five minutes walk away. It´s fate - me and those pizzas were meant to be together!
It was another difficult adjustment leaving Burgau, similar to that required after my friend Graham left at the end of the cycle along the Camino de Santiago. It was so cosy and comfortable being in Burgau, in the bosom of family and with no worries. But again I had to say "goodbyes" as I was whisked away on a bus into the darkness of a Spanish night to be dumped out on my own in Valencia.
However, Valencia is a pleasant, vibrant, modern city. There is old stuff here and there but it´s swamped by contemporary buildings and traffic. My cheap little hotel is ideally placed next to the Turia Gardens. Valencia was orginally bisected by the River Turia but after a catastrophic flood in the 1950s, the river was diverted to the west of the city and the original natural course was filled in. This has created a beautiful, long, sinuous city park with cyclepaths, walks, gardens, fountains, playparks, ponds and skateparks. It´s full of life at all times of day - cyclists, joggers, walkers, roller-bladers, dog-walkers, school-children doing their PE classes and people practising yoga. Just before it meets the sea are the very space-age buildings and cool, blue pools of the Arts and Science Centre. It´s all very nice.
My nerves aside, what you all really want to know at this moment ... more than who´s been eliminated from the X-Factor ... is ... who has won "the bicycle diaries" competition. Well, I can reveal the winners are Sheila and Dougie McBride from Angus. They guessed that I had eaten 450 rice cakes during my cycle to Burgau, the closest guess to Tigger´s winning figure of 445. Sheila and Dougie have chosen Prize A, to join me for the cycle through South America ... oops, sorry ... I´ve muddled entries ... that should be Prize B, a surprise gift from Portugal. It´s on its way to you now.