Traveling hands


Traveling hands

In the spirit of traveling by one of the slowest ways possible, this time it is across Portugal and Spain by two wheels!

Europe » Spain » Catalonia December 24th 2023

Behind El Masnou, the houses and settlements stretch beyond the autovía, that then blends from a scene of urban to forested hills. Casas from the early 1900s, and other historic buildings, mix with a few modern buildings, as our terraza was. Once the hairdresser arrangements were made for later in the week (when P2s research failed at one overbooked one, we found a substitute near the NII road, Marga Sáez), we cycled up to Bouquet de Alella, to taste and potentially buy some local ‘vi’. A greyish day, it wasn’t the most photogenic. However, once at the gravelly patio entrance, flanked by barrels, with broad views to the vineyard and sea beyond, and purple bougainvillea against a stone wall, it felt very European. Early afternoon on a weekday, and we had the salesperson/ wine taster to ... read more
Town tree
Festive decorations in Masnou
Our local spire

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Tarragona December 12th 2023

Leaving Tarragona was with a few unfulfilled visits (the archeological museum was closed for renovations), but definitely restorative for us by being in one place. It was fortunate to see the anfiteatro in it’s imposing position near the beach, it’s use being for a church, basilica, convent, venue for events, and even a prison in the 19th century. Outside Tarragona there’s some gems, and I discovered one more by bike on the day we left, done in the modernist style of Gaudi, the Iglesia del Sagrat Cor. It was in a quiet village named Vistabella, shaped as a tall triangle with rocky shapes around the roof, and stands very distinctly in the grapevine landscape. Weekday Tarragona was quiet on leaving, and we made good progress on the N road towards Altafulla and Torredembarra. Weaving into the ... read more
Nr Parc Del Foix, before the spoke incident
Spoke number 2, and K tape magnificence
Developing the cycle ways in industrial area, Vilafranca del Penedes

Europe » Spain » Catalonia December 5th 2023

Almadraba is a section of the Benicasim beach coastline, near the northern end and before the Via Verde begins as part of the EV8. Typically Mediterranean, with a blue sea and promenade, the view out to the Mar Baleárico, in this case, was pretty clear. Ships sat off the port at Castello visible 15km away, dogs were being walked, and cyclists could move in separated paths to joggers, runners and promenaders. Disability access beaches and toilets, playgrounds for the 3-7 year olds, cafes / restaurants, and beachside showers and foot taps /washes at 100m intervals indicate it’s definitely been well thought out. And well populated, judging by the average age or hair colour of the cyclists, walkers, promenaders etc. The time of year (it’s off season), unoccupied summer accommodation (there’s a lot of places for sale/ ... read more
South of La Rapita

Europe » Spain » Valencian Community November 25th 2023

The dry spell continued, to our good weather fortune, when leaving the heights of Chinchilla. Atop a rocky hill, it has a history of building into the rock ‘Cuevas’ and habitaciones. Most of the older homes cling to the steep sides of the Monte-Aragon, and small rammed earth abodes with white chimneys (Torreon de la antigua muralla) can be seen from the east side. Taking in some of this before check out, we left down a steep descent beside the autovía which was a relief from the ups we’d had lately. Green trees on part of the road side gave way to plains of browns and oranges, being ploughed and planned for the winter ahead. Bird spotting was put to the side for P2 at a few completely dry wetlands around Corral Rubio, with a brief ... read more
A long exit from Chinchilla to Almansa
Almansa area

Europe » Spain » Andalusia November 15th 2023

Day one out of Cordoba was deliberately light on the pedalling front, to limit what could have been an 80km day, had we gone further east. We’d managed to fall asleep the night before despite our near neighbour in the apartment block singing his heart out to the transistor radio. A knock on his door after midnight stopped it (we’ve been told there are strict noise rules in such blocks in Spain). Misty and cool 5C at 8am was the weather pattern that followed us from Córdoba, to El Carpio and beyond. The 31km followed a good ten kilometres of cycle path, with an industrial N-road section after, and then a chance to peel off onto slightly quieter parallel (to the autovía) camino rurales. Coming into El Carpio before 2:30 was an outright record. We discovered ... read more
Church spire - El Carpio
El Carpio
El Carpio on way to Villa del Rio

Europe » Spain » Andalusia November 6th 2023

Camas was our two day base for seeing Sevilla and regrouping somewhat, after some one nighters to get there. Trundling along the one way cobbled streets, to find an exit onto something resembling a smooth surface, has become easier with time, and especially once you know there is no contra-flow pedalling here (we’ve been warned when done inadvertently, by a local) On our first morning, I discovered a fully paved green cycle way all the way to about 10km west of Camas, which starts with a 2km ascent and gave some wide if hazy views of the Sevilla region. I’m guessing some of the industry could have been adding to it. Italica, in Santiponce, was a Roman ruins site we visited very briefly in 2019 on our way to Jerez de la Frontera, and happened to ... read more
Carmona walls and gates
Way out, Carmona

Europe » Spain » Extremadura » Mérida October 28th 2023

Both yellow and orange warnings remained in place the morning we rose to ride 77km to La Garovilla. Meteorological services had referred to it as an atmospheric river / bomb, and reconciling two main weather forecasts, we determined a window of opportunity existed sometime before 2pm. That meant getting up well before the sunrise, which in Olivença was 8.45am (roll on the winter timing late October!). I did not sleep much that night, concerned about our safe passage. Casa Bari in the old town, a large townhouse type casa with blue tiled stairwell and old lighting, had been a beautiful stay in one of the cleaner spots we’ve passed, pristine Olivença. We’d been lazy enough on the second day to wander the old centre, its gates, and marvel at the lack of tourists. Extremadura was not ... read more
In between Olivenza and La Garovilla
La Garovilla
Tile mosaics, Casa de Anfiteatro, Merida

Europe » Portugal » Alentejo » Lavre October 18th 2023

Another warm morning dawned in Lisbon, for what we learned to be the norm since April. Rain days have been in the single digits since summer began, and the terrain we would see on the southern peninsula of Lisbons outskirts certainly showed it. Parched parks and low irrigation ponds; you could say this southern area is in drought. We trundled to the ferry steadily along the main road bike path, trying to avoid for the umpteenth time broken glass. Our cycle alert system, shouting “glass”, with a waving hand somewhere or other, continued. The weekday Lisbon waterfront was less frenetic, and we got there in ample time for the 11.30 departure, buying tickets “with two bikes, Obrigada”. Our mishap began in boarding, faced with a turnstile fit for an average sized person. With no obvious bike ... read more
Albarquel beach
Bumpy road to Cabrela

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley October 9th 2023

“Half the enjoyment is in the planning”. And how fast time went from then to now. We cooked this idea up as a combination of unrealised plans in Spain from 2020, with the opportunity to one day visit Portugal. Adding some new knowledge, and an aspiration to see Portugal more than what a lengthy bike packing weekender from Extramadura or Andalucía could have been (it was a two town based unrealised adventure), and here it is. Lisbon to Barcelona by bike is something that might be seen as adventurous, but, we hope to take it gradually, allowing both body and mind to absorb the journey and maybe several paderia/ panadería on the way. There is something about having another birthday, and one’s health, that meant the time’s now. Night time flights for 17 hours are generally ... read more
Sunk in Dubai?
Transit overground rail
Skyline, Burj Khalifa in distant left

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley September 17th 2023

Map of route - Lisbon to Barcelona... read more
South Spain
Med coast

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