We like Spain; we really do. The good thing is that Spain gets better and better the longer we travel across the country. We crossed the Portugeuse-Spanish border at the Douro river in a small town called Barca D'alva. We then cycled to Salamanca were we stayed for a few days with Tiene, our Couchsurfing host. We then carried on to Avila, Cercedilla and the capital Madrid.
Madrid was on our minds for a while before arriving. Why? Because here we had our first interviews and meeting, the beginning of the second part to our trip. The environmental awareness part. We needn't have worried though, as before we were even in the city, Gonzalo from Iberdrola contacted us and kindly let us stay with him for the week. This was an amazing act of generosity and kindness and gave us confidence during the busy week.
We began the week with an interview with the Director of Fundacion Biodiversidad, Sonia Castanera. She gave us a great insight into the foundation and it was truly impressive. They are actively invloved with their own projects, and are giving monetary support to many more.
She put us in contact with Mercedes who is the European Director for the "Vias Verdes" cycle routes, but before we met Mercedes, we had an interview with a representative for the Spanish Green Growth Group. This is a group of companies, including Iberdrola, that are collaborating to support each other in moving toward a green economy. They enjoyed our story and posted it to their blog.
Mercedes was also very nice. She explained everything about the cycleways in Spain and Europe, and also gave us a load of maps. We appreciated this, and have so far used two "Vias Verdes" in Spain.
Next on the list was not a meeting. It was actually Inka's birthday. We cooked typical dishes from New Zealand, the "Pavalova", and South Africa, "Babotie", and Gonzalo invited all his family and friends over. What an amazing night it was. Inka is now nineteen and we reflected upon the crazy things we are doing at our age.
The next day we got lost while cycling towards our most important meeting. In the end we made it fifteen mintutes late to meeting with the Director for Climate Change for the Spanish Government and her colleagues. We took a quick photo and then headed to the cafe to discuss our trip and share ideas. We finished our Tortilla Espana and headed over to Iberdrola. There we were interviewed, and a whole small documentary about us and our trip was created. This was new for us, as we'd never been in front of two big cameras but the whole experience was great.
We had two more interviews for blogs that week. So in total, we've spoken to eight people/groups/organizations and we have learned so much about what's happening for the environment and the climate action here in Spain. The most important thing we learned is the power society holds, but does not know it holds. Power of the kind that if society decided something some way, they can then twist the hands of governments, companies and other countries.
We headed back to Cercedilla to stay with our Warmshowers hosts again as they were very memorable because of their kindness, then we went along the Via Verde del Eresma, Camino de Santiago and another Via Verde to Valladolid, Palencia, Burgos and are now near Soria.
Today something exciting happened that we weren't expecting! We cycled over a bridge and saw a tiny river - the Rio Duero, otherwise known as the Douro River which we cycled along for a week and a half at the start of our adventure.