Ride The Flavour (en)

Spain : our first 1500 km!

Aug. 2nd | 0 comments

1st August 2013. It’s been one month since we left France and started our world tour. We have riden more than 1700 km, of which 1500 km in Spain. 1500 km under a constant blue sky: in one month it has not rained even once! Even if rain was not part of it, these 1500 km already brought their own share of surprise, challenge, and difficulties. Beauty, amazement, and laughter were also a daily delight !

Without any further delay, welcome in the Spanish adventure !

Our first day in Spain

The first Spanish city that we cross is “La Joncquera”. We are impressed by the flood of trucks passing through. The city lives in a continuous roar. For that matter, a whole business (garages, car washes, tuning, etc..) has set up along the main road and enjoy this providential market. But this is not what surprised us the most. A few meters after the town sign, our eyes fall on a group of prostitutes waiting at the roadside. We see many more as we are crossing the city. And to complete the picture, the Joncquera also hosts several sex shops. Has prostitution developed here in response to the same market we spoke about before? 😉 And since then, we regularly see chairs placed along the road, sometimes occupied, sometimes not …

We then go through Figueres and continue our road to Roses … The sea! Finally, we are swimming in the sea! After the heat of the day, the freshness of the Mediterranean sea is life-saving! Here we are… That was our first day in Spain, France is behind, the world is waiting for us !

From Roses to Barcelona

Without beating around the bush, we take no pleasure on the roads along this part of the Costa Brava. We knew that the area was touristic, but not to that point : every inch of the coast is dedicated to tourism. These 250 km from Barcelona to Roses finally are of little interest for cycling. But we may be hard… the coast actually rewarded us with a clear see every early afternoon, when the sun pinned us down on the beach sand, in the shadow of a palm three.

Welcome Elise!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013. 7:15. The alarm rings, and this time there is a good reason for this early aggression: we must leave at 8am to meet Elise in Barcelona. We easily find each other in the station hall: welcome Elise!

On the way from Barcelona to Valencia

Before thinking about Valencia, we have to leave Barcelona… And by bike, this is not an easy task! We ride during at least 2 hours, sometimes on highways, before we finally get out of the city! But finally, after hours of grueling struggle, we are rewarded by finding the sea in Castelldefels. Upon arriving at the beach, we immediately notice that the coastline is less rich than in the North of Barcelona. Hotels **** do not grow here. Which is a good thing: we can bivouac on the beach without worry.

The industrial port of Barcelona, ​​saw from the heights of the city

Our small camp in Castelldefels

Unfortunately, mass tourism came back pretty quickly and did not disappear before we reached Valencia.
Fortunately, one meeting was enough to make all these kilometers meaningful…

Every night we knock at doors and explain our situation. Every night. No need to say that our presentation is rather well established: “Hola, somos y estamos Franceses danda the vuelta al mundo en bicicleta elĂ©ctrica. Necesitamos cargar nuestras bicicletas cada noche. ÂżEs posible cargar nuestras bicicletas en su casa? “

We made several beautiful meetings, but among them, one especially touched us. We were in the most unlikely city for encounters, Oropesa del Mar… Between the blocks of flats that rule the city, we see on the left a path lined on either side by a row of houses. Immediately, we click. “Individual houses” means indeed that we can easily ring and contact people.

A great meeting in the middle of such a city? Who would have guessed it?

Here no need to ring, an old man in a wheelchair is sunbathing outside. We introduce ourselves … “Ah, but I speak a little French.” His name is Joan and he brings us to the owners of the house, a couple of fifty years. The man, G’ualberto, comes from Paraguay and the woman G’ilma from Colombia. They accept our batteries and we begin to discuss in the sunset. They came to Spain to find a job but they say in a smile that they still do not have any.

The neighbor arrived on his bicycle and joined us while G’ilma bring a watermelon from the garden… The garden? We learn that they have a vegeteble garden behind their house. Our interest can certainly be read on our faces because the neighbor invites us to visit his. Watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, radish, salad, carrot… This was a great little tour, which makes us discover the “plant behind the food”.

We return to sit with everyone. G’ualberto offers us to sleep in an empty house next to theirs. Most of the houses are actually empty. He explains that a real estate company began to build but did not finish the job. The situation is a bit fuzzy but the fact is that the other houses are only walls. He then brings mattresses: we have not been such a comfort for long! Quite naturally, he invites us to eat at home and thanks to Joan, who is a pure Catalan, we discover the famous Catalan snails!

The family picture : Such a meeting, with such kind people, is enough to brighten hundreds of culturally poor kilometers!

Valencia and its paella

We left them with a small twinge of sorrow and headed to Valencia. As well tell you right away: among all the cities we went through along the coast, Valencia is the one we preferred! The city center is splendid, showing both narrow streets and vast squares. At noon, we savour a “Paella Valenciana” at the restaurant El Rall. They even let us enter the kitchen to watch and learn the preparation of this specialty! Awesome!

A break in the Spanish mountains

At Oliva (50km south of Valencia), we left the coast to curve towards the hinterland… and its moutains. Yes, we arrive in the mountains bordering the coast. The “Coll de Rates” stands before us. A huge test for Elise. She arrives at the top breathless and has only the time to get off the bike before she pounces on the dried apricots!

We then ride down towards Callosa d’en Sarria, where we decide to stop for the night. That decision (and maybe the will of some mountain god who saw us strugling 🙂 ) leaded us to meet Joaquin and Angeles, and their children, David and Vanessa. They welcomed us in their house, a house that you might think designed to accommodate travelers: a garden to put the tent, an outdoor shower to wash, a pool to relax muscles, an outdoor kitchen and a terrace for a friendly dinner, and finally a must: outdoor toilets … Talking bluntly, when hosted by someone, we do not relieve ourselves on the first shrub. We must therefore ask to use the toilet … Quite problematic in the morning when the household is still asleep 😉

But even more than the accomodations, the friendliness of this family has been the best medicine to cure our physical fatigue. The downside? When we left the next day, our expectations for the Spanish hospitality reached stratospheric heights!

Joaquin, Angeles, David and Vanessa, thanks a lot!

A memorable mud bath

At San Pedro del Pinatar, we begin to ride along the Mar Menor, an inland sea, a paddling pool (the water depth does not exceed 50 cm) which is closed by the “manga” (literally “sleeve” in Spanish). The water is really warm, clearly above 30 ° C, and a few strategic locations settles a miraculous mud …

If we are to believe the rumor, our joints are now as good as new!

Welcome Paul!

Paul joins us at Cartagena. Our initial team has doubled: we are now four friends riding side by side! (actually behind one another, it is way safer 🙂 ) In Cartagena, we have therefore 2 events to celebrate : Paul’s arrival, and Damien’ birthday. We are told a bar “muy barato” (very cheap), the formula is simple: drink + tapas = 1,80 €. We are in love with Spain!

To Malaga, from arid rocks to refreshing waves

The small village of Los Gallardos is close to the desert. It’s 12:30 when we get there. The next village, Sogras, is 20km away but it is too early to stop for lunch. And what is 20km? At 14:00, they will be behind us!

It is 15:00pm when we finally enter Sogras. These 20 km were actually a long climb in the desert. An impressive landscape … which has gradually narrowed until we have eyes only for the horizon and the long-awaited appearance of Sogras.

So close to the Mediterranean coast, and yet in the desert!

After two days in this desertic (yet beautiful) landscape, we’re glad to see the sea again and follow its refreshing power until Malaga.

The farewell

We arrive in Malaga on July 27th. The next day, Elise and Paul will return to France the next day. For a second, the question arises: how to celebrate these weeks spent together? The answer is unanimous: Elise and Paul can not leave without one last cocktail beer + tapas!

Thank you both for joining us, it was a real pleasure! Our last words go to Elise: your beginnings were a real fight (do not deny it, we saw in on your face!), But you never gave up. These 1100 km are yours champion!

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