Jonathan and Marleen

For a while we had been having a look and trying to use a cyclist-dedicated community platform called “warm showers”, where (typically) cyclists welcome other travelling cyclists all over the world.

Hosts know exactly what is craved and needed by cycle-tourists. Sweaty cyclists are welcomed with a warm shower (hence the name) and a hot meal, and besides the comfort of a bed or a sofa, the comfort of friendly cycling-enthusiastic people.

Looking at our route we came across the profile of a potential host belonging to a couple that had recently bought a farm in a remote Galician village, only a short detour away… The description seemed promising! Travellers on a farm hosting cyclists…

They kindly agreed to have us, in what would be our first warm shower experience. Not only that, but when we told them where we were, they managed to help us by remotely suggesting a good place to setup a tent for the night before we were due to stay with them… A pre-warm-shower so to speak…

After a night next to the river just by Ourense, we wiggled our way up to their farm, along a beautiful road said (later by them) to have the steepest vineyards in the world… The hill’s texture amazed, resembling an amphitheatre of wine, us center stage…

At last, with each turn of the hill seeming steeper than the last, we found our way to “Torre de Villamiron”. As we rolled in, one of our hosts, Marleen, was casually chatting with her neighbours on one of the many village benches we had kept seeing along the road in all the villages we passed by.

After explaining to her neighbours why these two heavily loaded cyclists had suddenly appeared in the village, we entered their farm house where we were quickly met and inspected (together with all the bits and corners of our bicycles and respective panniers) by their three pet/farm goats.

The goats, named after plants, were of the most curious nature and took pleasure in nibbling on everything they found. One in particular was by far not shy of humans and kept insisting on poking her nose in everything we did. This made our task of bike maintenance the next day, all so much more interesting.

After meeting the family – the goats, the piglets, the hens and over-testoroned rooster, the cute bunny rabbits – and seeing their home, we took on the task of trying to treat them with a beldroegas (aka purslane) soup with some of the herbs we had foraged along the way, as we wiggled our way up the hill. Together with some of the hen eggs and some of last years farm potatoes, a tasty soup concoction was achieved.

Over dinner we learned that Jonathan and Marlene, who had so many travel stories and experiences to share, had bought this iconic village house, and planned to fulfill their dream of gradually building up an organic farm, surrounded by animals that would both fulfil their role in the farm and have their place in their family. For example, the piggies can act as instantaneous compost at the same time as they clear a field besides being a cute friendly company…

The next day, after a long needed sleep to recover from the hill of the previous day, and after some much needed goat-assistated bike-maintenance on our brakes, we headed to town for a small hike along the river, which proved our legs needed the rest day we ended up having at the farm.

The next morning, fully recovered, both front and rear brakes operational, and wheels free of unesseccary extra friction, we left into the morning mist to yet another destination…

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