Today I want to show you the cycling Route of El Cid, which is a predominantly rural route. During this route we will pass through Castile and Leon region, Aragon and Valencia with our bikes. It is such a very exigent long route and a large part of it runs through what is known as "extremadura castellana", a large area in the centre and north of Spain which was uninhabited during the early Middle Ages. It is now dotted with tiny villages (more than half the villages along the Route have less than 500 inhabitants) that conserve an important part of their mediaeval legacy. You will also find diverse landscapes, such as plains and high mountains, practically always between fluvial valleys.
The route of el Cid is a cultural and tourist route that crosses Spain from north-west to south-east, following in the steps of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, the famous 11th-century mediaeval knight. This route is based on “El Cantar de mio Cid”, the great Hispanic mediaeval epic poem written at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century. Due to its length (some 1,400 kilometres of paths and 2,000 kilometres of road), it is divided up into Sections, each having a length of about 300 kilometres, Themed Rings (circular routes) and Branches.
The Sections of this amazing route are:
Burgos certainly ticks all the boxes within gastronomy: great markets; a serious wine region and a booming restaurant scene where traditional cuisine is combined with innovative ideas from newcomers.
However, for a complete gastronomic experience in Burgos you should taste it famous lechazo (suckling lamb slow-roasted in a wood-fired oven) and morcilla de Burgos (spiced-blood-and-rice sausage) are off-the-scale delicious.
On the other hand, the Autonomous Region of Aragon has inherited its rich gastronomy from the different cultures which have passed through the region over the centuries. Aragonese cuisine is based on popular stews which vary in accordance with the area where they are prepared. Traditional recipes are currently being modernised but will always maintain their characteristic simplicity and honesty. The Aragonese market garden offers a great variety of fruit, vegetables and pulses, including the thistle and borage which, due to their increasing popularity, are often seen on the menus of top restaurants, haricot beans, onions from Fuentes, asparagus from the banks of the River Ebro and the oils from Lower Aragon, whose excellent quality is due to the olive used in their preparation. The fruit grown in Aragon is admired throughout the rest of mainland Spain: pears, apples, cherries, plums, peaches with D.O. from Calanda and recently cultivated strawberries, which are as good as the best wild specimens.
Food in the Region of Valencia is devotion to the palate, traditional flavours and culinary innovation. A leading exponent of Mediterranean cuisine, Valencia’s kitchens are characterised by a plethora of delicious healthy recipes, based on fresh fish, seafood, fruit and vegetables, such as artichokes from Benicarló, medlars from Callosa and oranges from Valencia. Paella and rice dishes are the most emblematic choices, but Valencian cuisine offers as many dishes as it has towns, from the southernmost tip of the Costa Blanca to Castellón, through Benidorm and Valencia Terra i Mar.
All the big cities we will pass through (Burgos, Teruel, Valencia and Elche) have each one a good public service of bike rental, which is great for small tours around the city.
However, for such big routes like this one, don't forget it is more than 3.000 km in total,it is reccomendable to get your own bike or to rent one from the many different companies available along the route.