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Day 7 ..... Jaén to  Villanueva del Arzobispo...... 103 km (total 557 )

Jaén ‘. What a lovely little town. A magnificent cathedral and a wisely named St Catherine castle which sits atop a small hill overlooking the town. Nestled in the shadows of the Santa Catalina mountains it’s also known as the Olive capital of the world. Despite only having a population of 130,000 it boasts a burgeoning university student population of over 18,000. I’d definitely come back for a better look. In a car.

Entrance to Jaén Cathedral

Local architecture

Looking back at Jaén as I set off. That blue sky pretty soon gave way to the clouds on the left.

Came across this little fella on the A-316 out of Jaén. Not sure who was moving quicker. Me or him. What I did admire was he had just successfully traversed both busy lanes of the A-316 and made it the hard shoulder. An impressive feat by any measure. I rewarded him by placing him on the nature side of the hard shoulder barrier.

Have I mentioned I’ve seen an olive grove or two? Over two days of riding and 210 km and not an inch of horticulture given over over to anything but olive groves. Mind blowing and by the end of today I have to say a little repetitive !

Up one particularly long hill I was hit by the lovely aroma of eucalyptus. Ah home sweet home.

Stopped in Real La Mancha at the first bike shop I’ve seen in over 150 km and stocked up on energy bars.

Guess what they give you for nibbles whilst you await delivery of your lunch. Interestingly every restaurant I have stopped by for lunch basically offers a workers lunch. 3 courses , drink of choice and a coffee for EUR 9.50. Can’t ask for fairer than that.

Post lunch the weather turned positively foul as I trundled a long the N-322 and this was basically my view. Despite the shoddy vision I knew they were out there . The olive groves.

I wonder what the occasion is going to be.

Signs from a bygone era

When it’s wet these white lines delineating the hard shoulder from the road lanes become more slippery than a new born baby. Manoeuvring across them is done more with hope than confidence. Especially at speed down a hill.

To help pass the time I have started a new hobby. Collecting number plates I see roadside. Total thus far is 3. Plan is to post them back to home when I hit a major city enroute and at trips end make a mural as a momento of the ride.

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