Today was a make or break it day. I struggled through the second day of riding, so I knew that I'd have to find a way to keep going, or day three could literally kill me. The good news is that today was only a half day of riding (in theory). We'd still be riding just as long, but we'd be going at a much quicker pace to get from Navalperal de Tormes to Barco de Avila, and we'd finish for the day by 2 p.m. The idea was to build in an afternoon at our leisure, which gave us the opportunity to have a long lunch, lounge by the pool, visit the village of El Barco de Avila or take a siesta, all of which sounded great to me.
So far, our days get started around 8:30 a.m. with a breakfast consisting mostly of breads, croissants, jams, strong coffee and fresh juices. Then we meet Maria, our guide, at 10 a.m. to mount our horses and be led through another day's worth of beautiful landscape in the countryside of Spain by walking, trotting and cantering (sometimes at very high speeds!). We typically break after a couple of hours for a snack of ham, cheese, bread, sherry and a delicious drink that tastes like kool-aid to me. After a quick rest, we get back on and ride to our lunch destination where Anna, (the gal that does all of the real work, in my opinion) has an exquisite display of food prepared for us. In fact, I could spend an entire blog dedicated to the food on this trip, as every meal has been different and delicious. We usually take around two hours for lunch, which gives us time to swim, explore, sleep or just relax. After lunch the rides are always shorter, and we head to the village that we will be spending the night in. Dinner doesn't begin until 9 p.m., so before we start the evening's festivities, we untack the horses, wash and groom them, and then turn them loose, where we watch them roll around in the dust and play.
Today's picture is just one of the incredible sights that I've had the opportunity to experience during our days of riding so far. The best thing about this particular ride and its location is that we ride through some very small villages in the countryside— some of which are home to as few as 17 residents. After the touristy hustle and bustle of big cities like Madrid and Lisbon, it's an interesting change of pace, because we're in regions where there are only locals to be found.
Signing Off Getting in the Groove of Things,