Tag Archives: cycle tour spain

Granada

From the comfort of Laura’s abode in Aigües I headed southwest towards Granada where I would be meeting mom who was flying in from Alaska. We would then boat across the Straight of Gibralter to Morocco!
Last breakfast in Mutxamel with Laura. Pan tostado con tomate y queso, cafe con leche.20140620-103235-37955888.jpg
My first day riding lead me up up up into the mountains and past marble quarries and everything marble related. Here, mountains of fine marble powder – used much like cement in building.

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My second day of riding was brutal. Hot hot sun, constant strong and gusting head and sidewinds, near constant uphills, and the brief downhills frustratingly unrewarding with the strong winds forcing me to continue pedaling to gain any momentum. And it wasn’t the most scenic part of my trip either. This was the visual highlight of my day.

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That evening, after riding a hard-earned 95 km, faced with yet another long uphill, the everpresent scorching sun, non-stop headwinds and decreasing physical and mental reserves, I ducked into the only shade and wind block in sight – under the highway. I decided to stay the night. It was perfect.

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The next two days I rode through hundreds of olive and almond groves, by houses and entire towns carved into caves and towards the Sierra Nevada mountain range and Granada.

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I arrived into Granada a few days before my mom. I posted up at a hostel right in the middle of it all (my first hostel of my euro trip!).
View of the Alahmbra from the top floor of the hostel. Not bad for budget accommodation!

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I wandered around, ate free tapas and got lost the streets of Granada. One night a hostel buddy and I were drinking a bottle of wine on a plaza turned parking lot (with a view if the Alahmbra across the way, of course!). A guitarist sat near us and started rolling a spliff. We offered him wine and fruit, he offered us weed. He played flamenco guitar and sang soulful Andalucian melodies while the sun set across the city. We exchanged intermittent stories and laughs and at some point after night had set in (probably when the wine ran out!) we sauntered away from the plaza and that perfect little shared moment in time. Ahhhhh Granada!
Sunset over the cathedral

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Grafitti and the catedral

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Grafitti, a cute street and the Sierra Nevada in the distance

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Free paella with my cañita (that means little beer)

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Outside the city walls lies Sacramonte, an area of cave dwellings built into the dry hillsides where many of the “bohemians” of Granada reside.
View of the Alahmbra from the other side of the wall

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Las cuevas

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I ate this ridiculous giant pastry one evening. A palmera cookie with essentially a thin layer of creme brulee on the top. Dessert for dinner!

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In hopes of getting a pair of baggy, non-provocative pants (I only had shorts, no pants along with me up to this point) to wear in Muslim Morocco, I hunted out the second hand/vintage clothing sector. Knowing I was meeting up with mom who could carry all of my purchases back home for me when we parted ways, I ended up going on an unintentional shopping spree. I went a little crazy with the puffy shirts and ruffles.
Mom arrived on a Wednesday afternoon after days of traveling and without her luggage (it thankfully arrived that evening!). We spent a perfect evening doing the same thing I’d been doing for the past few days. Wandering and eating and drinking and enjoying the little surprises tucked into the corners of Granada.
Eating our first lunch of many together at a great cafe on a quiet corner in Granada.

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Wine on some old steps outside a funky vegetarian restaurant. My attempt at looking cool and disinterested. My mom joked that I had that bored teenager look. And the mom-daughter trip begins!!

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The next day we jumped on a train, headed to Algeciras and ferried it over to Africa. Bike beside me all the way!

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Eating it up in Aigües!

Too much amazing food and too many good times to recount it all…

I’m in Aigües de Busot in the arid hills above sprawling Alicante right now. My mom’s friend for the past 50 years lives here in this quaint little town and it has been a true vacation from a vacation staying here this past week. I’ve been cooking, eating a ton, reading fashion magazines, which she has a ton of, relaxing and enjoying Laura’s awesome company. She is espadrillesetc.com and some days when the said activities aren’t enough, I just stroll the isles of her little warehouse in a house down the street from her house and try on shoes.

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Some pics from my journey from the mountains here

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On my way from Huesca south a storm was approaching. Searching for a haven for the night I saw this old place along the side of the highway. Perfect! This is taken the next day. The storm never hit, luckily!

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Me inside cooking my dinner

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Views from the road on the way from the coast into the hills

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SO happy to be in Aigües. It was one of the steepest and hilliest days I’ve ever ridden. I ordered a beer when i got into town and it arrived with freshly sliced jamón. Perfecto.

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The view from Laura’s dining room

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A good palmera has to be one of the finer things in life. Especially on a pink polka dot plate.

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Fried egg sandwich I made and a beer for lunch. VACATION

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A candlelit dinner I made the other night from foods Laura had on hand (which isn’t much because she doesn’t cook!) – I had so much fun getting creative.

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Last night we went out for tapas. Cabrón, que comida!!

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We went to Laura’s friend’s house for lunch today. Amazing food, amazing wine, amazing company. Summer also arrived today and it was hot. Carmen and Juan have a pool. We swam after lunch, then all 4 of us fell asleep in the sun afterwards.

Tomorrow I leave Laura and her incredible everything for Granada where I’m meeting up with my mom and we’re going to Morocco!! Last minute trip that was not at all in the plans. I’M SO EXCITED!

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Pamplona y Les Pyrénées Occidentales

I’m about to ride down a long winding hill that I rode up two days ago. Out of this amazing alpine valley and Plateau de Lhers where I have been camping for two nights at a perfect campground at the end of the road, and where I happened upon the amazing Pic de Labigouer yesterday.
The Summit

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Me at the summit and my new backpack that I made out of a big stuff sack with neckties for straps.

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On the way down

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I lost my hat somewhere on the road heading back to the village and rode up to find it in the evening. Found it in the middle of the road, and then this dude found me, while taking pictures of the herd and the illuminated mountains in the distance

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I woke up to frost on the ground the last two mornings. Yesterday I had breakfast in bed

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30 km ride, all uphill from Jaca, Spain to the pass of Somport and the border between France and Spain the day before yesterday

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The top! At the old border station pre- European Union

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Between Donosti and Jaca I stopped for a day in Pamlona and stayed at a pilgrim’s hostel, for those hiking the Camino de Santiago. I followed the route backwards to the aforementioned pass. Pamplona is an awesome spot to eat and drink.

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Pilgrims in the morning about to head out.

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Just like me! Off to ride down to the main road, then over the Col de Marie Blanque into the next valley!!!

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Donosti!

Upon arriving in Donosti, I found internet and called my friend Asier through Skype. We arranged to meet outside the ayuntamiento 20 minutes later. Asier and I lived together in the Pyrenees last winter and had so much fun. It was like no time had passed seeing him again. We strolled about and made our way back to his house where his brother was preparing to play a soccer game. We decided to go watch him. While sipping on our beers waiting for the match to start, his brother rushes up to Asier saying they don’t have a goalie and Asier has to play. Not a soccer player at all, he’s all for it! Vamos!!

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My first day here Asier and I went out in the afternoon for Pintxos. Perfect way to eat. Composed beautiful small eats, you pick what you want, eat, drink a beer or cider or glass of wine with it, move onto the next place.

This joint is new and fancy.

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We ate amazing foie gras here

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This was our third and final stop for pinxos that day

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Slightly buzzed and very full we decided to walk it off. We took a stroll along the waterfront and on the way back the ocean beckoned us. We spontaneously decided to go for a swim in the frigid sea. So fun. That night, after a solid siesta, we ate Turkish food and played Jenga with Asier’s hermanos and their significant others, while the grandparents took the sobrinos out to celebrate the triplets’ 5th birthday.

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Asier has 5 siblings and they have 6 kids between them. Asier lives at his parents’ house which is the center of family activity and always bustling and alive. Coming from a tiny immediate family of 3, this is different for me!

Yesterday we took the train to France to celebrate the birthday of Cristina, a friend of Asier’s. BBQ, lots of booze (cider her dad made, patxaran her boyfriend made) and amazing people. We ended up staying the night. 24 hours in France!

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We woke up this morning, came back to Donosti and prepared for the birthday party for the triplets and the one year old whose birthday is tomorrow. This was an awesome family gathering. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews – everyone! We ate montadillos, small sandwiches, drank cider and beer and wine, cake for dessert, the works. Pay no attention to me with my face hideously stuffed with food back there…

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Following, a fútbol match between Donosti and Bilbao – regional rivals – was going on. We made our way to a crowded and noisy and crazy bar to watch the game. Tied at 1-1. After a walk and some fresh air, we met up with the family outside the same bar and hung out for a bit before returning home.

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And tonight for din, Asier’s mom made fried egg sammies – my fave. So happy!

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It has been an amazing few days here and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to get to spend the short time that I have with Asier’s amazing family and friends in this awesome city. Tomorrow I’m back on the move, towards Alicante, to visit Laura, one of my mom’s oldest friends! Wahoo!!!

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