It was one of life’s ironies. We completed over 1000 kilometres of cycling without incident or injury, then Stuart hurt his back trying to accommodate a fat lady on the bus. It then took him an hour and a half to hobble across Santiago to collect the van that would transport us back to Bilbao, and five minutes after he picked it up someone almost crashed into him, taking out ten bollards and a wall instead. By the time he reached us back in Finisterre he was a wreck.
“But the worst thing was that everyone assumed I was one of those limping pilgrims,” he exclaimed.
After the freedom of cycling, the van was a prison
He had assured the car hire people that only three people would travel in the van and didn’t mention the two others stuffed into the back. We had told the kids it would be a van holiday, two days of driving and swimming in little coves on the way back to Bilbao. But it wasn’t until I climbed into the back of the van I realised what it would entail. Twelve hours of lying on a Thermarest in the pitch black, boiling hot and sweating like a donkey, feeling every bump of the road, every twist of the hill, but not having a clue were we were.
Not quite the treat we imagined
So after six weeks of enjoying the wind in my hair, the sun on my back and the delicious sights and smells of Spanish towns and villages, I ended the trip squashed into a dark van like an illegal immigrant. And then came night time where five of us crammed on to the floor, with Stuart trying to sleep with agonising pain in his back. “I thought we burnt Dad’s smelly socks last night,” muttered Cameron, as he tried to crawl away from the whiff.