The sun. A rare commodity in England these days – but much more prevalent in Spain. I opened the door of my bungalow to be greeted by it shining in the sky above me, and sat down at my table under the pine trees. A cup of tila in hand, a bowl of cereal and a ‘Buenos dias’ from my neighbour. Perfecto.
Now for the bicycle. This had been on my mind for a month or so before arriving. Where to get one? ‘There’s a shop called ‘Kandani” my friend said, ‘you could speak to them’ . Someone else told me: ‘The hotel down the road near the beach always has loads of bikes outside it, you could go ask them if they’re for hire’. I headed towards it. On the way I saw a big white van with ‘Kandani’ written on the side. There was no one in it. I passed by and looked around for signs of bikeness. Sure enough a few metres down I turned to the left and saw a man at the door of a villa holding two cycles talking to a couple of guys. ‘Perdon’ I said. ‘Are you ‘Kandani’ the bike man?’. ‘Yes! I am coming!’ he shouted as he left his clients and walked towards me.
Vicente gave me a lift to the local town and we began to look at the options. After some deliberation, I thought best to sleep on it and decide whether or not to purchase in the morning. Dani – el jefe – offered me a lift back to my home and that was that.
Dinner the same evening was an international affair, two Italians, one American, a Croatian, a French lady, an Argentinian and me. We dined on freshly dug potatoes, salad, garbanzos, and for dessert strawberries and a soupcon of pastry. We sat in the cool evening air under the stars and as more and more sweaters were applied the party started to break up.
Lucia approached. ‘I hear you’re looking for a bicycle’. ‘Yes, I am!’ ‘Well I have one you’re welcome to borrow for the duration of your stay if you like? It’s a good bike’. I was over joyed and thanked her profusely.
The next morning I headed up to see my new loan: She’s a beauty, a little neglected – just one gear, but tough and she has a good heart – I can tell. A trip to the bike shop followed, resulting in handlebar grips and a delicious new padded saddle. The old locks removed and a new lock purchased later, off I went to the market.
I cycled in the sunshine with the wind in my face (a bit too much wind in my face actually) uphill and past red earth fields with gentle coloured flowers here and there, farmers tilling the land, a greenhouse full of waiting- to- ripen tomatoes, an outside market selling fresh vegetables and arrived at the turn off to my destination.
A long queue of traffic stretched before me comprising cars, buses and the odd white van. No problemo. I almost smiled; I felt so smug. I cycled up the side regardless, with thoughts of the cafe that awaited me, and my newly found sense of freedom to spur me on.