George Johnston: June 3rd

After the night in Montijo I decided to bike on to Merida. I finished up my leftovers for breakfast and battled into the wind. I began passing more irrigation canals and began to see why the crops had been looking good when most of the land was so dry. I came up a designated nation bike route that was well paved and ran along a canal the supplied the irrigation lines. After a few miles the canal reached a dam which made it clear how the system worked. The dam had the capacity to select how much water was released into the river and how much was sent into the irrigation canals. At that time all of the water was going into the canal and there was almost no movement it the river.

After the night in Montijo I decided to bike on to Merida. I finished up my leftovers for breakfast and battled into the wind. I began passing more irrigation canals and began to see why the crops had been looking good when most of the land was so dry. I came up a designated nation bike route that was well paved and ran along a canal the supplied the irrigation lines. After a few miles the canal reached a dam which made it clear how the system worked. The dam had the capacity to select how much water was released into the river and how much was sent into the irrigation canals. At that time all of the water was going into the canal and there was almost no movement it the river.

After visiting the convenient sights, and checking train schedules, I found a train for the next morning to Cadiz, and started look for lodging. The museum gave me a map of the city which included lodging as well as the sights. I Saw one called the Deluxe Hostel and Suites, which sounded a bit steep, but the had dorms as well as private rooms and suites, plus a small pool. The dorm was only 20 euros and had a large bath with shower and a TV. I check in to that right away. I went and visited the last couple of sites on ticket, picked up some supper and breakfast at a Carrefour market, and grabbed a quick swim in the pool. The pool had two built in water massage beds and a couple of overhead sprays that made a good back massage. Now that’s what a hostel should be like. They even had something that has become rare in hostels, a bookshelf full of books to share. The next morning I ate breakfast, and got on the train to Seville and Cadiz just before 8:00. I got off just before Cadiz, and biked toward Rota Naval Base. The GPS took me right to the base gate.

Unfortunately it was the Spanish gate which wasn’t open to retirees, so I had to bike all the way around the base to the correct gate. I biked up to the air terminal and found that a flight that had shown up on the schedule the day before was still a possibility and and better than waiting until the following Wednesday for a flight to Naples. The was no room in base lodging, so the terminal people helped me pick up one in town. The receptionist said she didn’t know much English so we tried a little French. I said I spoke Romanian better. She said she was Romanian so we didn’t have any more communication problems. I think she had been there a long while as she said she had a daughter who had married an American sailor and had children.

Roll call for the flight to Germany wasn’t until 2:00 pm so I got breakfast at the Navy Exchange Subway and then did my laundry, which included almost everything at that point. I cost $1.75 for washing and drying combined, which was a lot better than eight euros in Santiago. I went to the terminal and they said they could be sure about a seat until the plane checked in. It was on a Medevac mission and they didn’t know if they could take other passengers. When the plane arrived they said a seat for me would be no problem. The patient turned out to be a soldier with and arm in a big cast, who wasn’t otherwise incapacitated. We flew to Ramstein in under four hours, and I found they had nothing going east before the medevac bus on Tuesday. I figured my best but was to get a weekend rail pass that would let me travel anywhere in Germany on regional trains from Midnight to 1:00 am Monday. I had time to kill and want to get my worldwide plan activated on my cell phone so I took a train to Saarbrueken which was only four miles from the French border. I biked over and connected to Orange telecom. When I call the number to activate my plan I could understand the prompts well enough to activate. I saw a pizza place open near by, so I stopped in there and got someone to help me He got it activated for me, and since I hadn’t eaten since about noon at Rota, I got an anchovy pizza and a good lime flavored soft drink. I biked back to the station.

When I had first arrived the DB information office gave me two sets of schedules that would get me to Salzburg, Austria, one for three and the morning and another one for around eight in case I got a hotel there. I took the early option and was off for Frankfurt. There I ate breakfast at Burger King and continued to Wurzburg, where I changed for Teuchtlingen. There I had only five minutes to change trains. There were two bikes and a baby carriage ahead of me. I got to the listed track 6 which had a sign that that the train had moved to 7. It was on the same platform so I turned to watch it pull off. I check the schedule and there was another in less than an hour.

I had time to get a sandwich in the small shop in the station, do a little internet work and charge my cell phone a battery charger, so it was a nice break. ,The next train got me to Munich where I got one to Salzburg around five in the afternoon. I’d planned to get a hostel there, but decided to keep going while I was on a roll. There was a train to Ljubljana it 1:40 in the morning, so I bought a ticket for it, biked around the city a bit, got groceries for the trip, and a Burger King supper. I went to the platform early and packed up my bike and baggage as this was a Euro Night train that didn’t allow unpacked bikes. I load them into my compartment and fortunately no one else was there. After the conductor checked the ticket, I stretched out on three seats, and slept for four hours until we approached Ljubljana. Using my new smart phone I found there was a train to Rijeka, Croatia 35 minutes after our arrival. I left my bags on the platform, walked briskly to the ticket office, got a ticket, returned and moved my baggage to the last train as it had already arrived.

Rijeka is a nice resort ton on the northern Adriatic. As it’s Monday, there were plenty housing options. I picked a hostel on the central pedestrian street. The dorm is nice and clean with toilets and showers on the hall. It’s on the fourth floor, but they have a bike room on the ground floor so that hasn’t been much of a problem. I shaved, took a long needed shower, walked around town a bit, got lunch, toured a tunnel built in World War Two as a bomb shelter, and got groceries. Now I’ll fix a light supper in the hostel kitchen and catch up on my sleep. Tomorrow I’ll get some rest and plan the next leg. I may bike three days to Split, or there maybe some ferries or a train to break up the trip. With eight trains since I slept in a bed I think I’ll sleep well.

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