Arriving into San Salvador airport (which coincidentally isn’t anywhere near San Salvador), we were bracing ourselves for an onslaught of touts and hassle as we left the arrivals hall.
It was nowhere to be seen though, as a small gathering of mild-mannered Salvadorians waited for the impending arrivals. We easily got ourselves a taxi, and at a cheaper rate than we’d researched, which was a great start.
Our driver was very friendly guy with limited English, giving Mairead and I our first Spanish speaking practice, which resulted in a few funny moments and awkward silences. El Salvador had a warm and welcoming feeling already, as we headed towards the coast through the lush green landscapes, with more cyclists spotted than cars.
Bordeaux is a fantastic city and one which you could happily wander around for days, taking in the sights, sounds and multitude of squares and back alleys, filled with buzzing bars and cafés.
The Euro’s had clearly taken a grip of the city, with an exciting atmosphere in the air. We watched the England v Wales game down at the fan zone, and although the Welsh outnumbered the English by some distance, it was a fantastic game to watch with two late England goals bringing us victory.
We awoke in the 1 person tent, with dark clouds gathering overhead. Dean set out on his quest to acquire a tent and bike, ready for the following days departure.
As for me, I spent much of the rest day nursing a coffee and working from the campsite cafe/restaurant, where I had the ongoing comedy show of French rudeness from one of the girls working there.
I think it was around 7 when I woke up, with a shade of red scorching the sky again like it was on fire. I could have easily carried on sleeping but wanted to make use of the cooler morning to get some distance under my belt, as tough as it felt like doing at the time. I opened the valve of my travel air bed and lay there as the air flew out from underneath me. Thirty minutes later I was all dressed, packed and saddled as I headed for my intended goal of Bilbao, which was around 100km away.
It is a strange thought that 2 years ago I was on a similar, albeit very different, football pilgrimage in Brazil for the world cup finals. There is something almost inexplicably exciting about a major football championship that is hard to explain to an outsider.
So without further ado here is the France 2016 prologue – and, like the Tour De Frace often does, we’ll be starting in a country that isn’t La Francais.