Cycle Touring. UK to Southern Spain
Updated: Sep 30
Thursday, 24 December 2015
This year I wasn't free to leave until October so, due to the high chance of bad weather, I decided to miss out the west coast of France and head straight for northern Spain by ferry. On this trip I wanted it to be more relaxed than before. I wanted to really see Spain and all the little villages through the centre and experience the culture and enjoy the food and drink :-) so going at a more relaxed pace would not only to make it more enjoyable but also to prevent my Achilles tendon from flaring up again.
Here are some time/distance stats for this trip:
Miles in total 989 Days in total 33 Ride days 25 Rest days 8 Average miles per day (including rest days) 29 Average miles per day (excluding rest days) 35
My accommodation was a mix of Warmshowers, Hostels/Albergues and Camping (about a 3rd each). Average cost of camping = 9.5 euros (lowest = 7 euros/ highest = 13 euros) Average cost of Hostels/Albergues = 14.80 euros (lowest = 10 euros/ highest = 17 euros) This time I thought I'd do a rating for Campsites and Hostels I stayed at. It's an overall rating that combines, amongst other things cleanliness, Wifi, hot water, the amount of dogs(and their barking) and if they are kept on leads and cleaned up after they've been emptied, noise and of course value for money.
Bike and Camping info:
Thorn Sherpa MK3, standard 2013 model, Deore brakes and gears. My bike set-up is pretty much the same as previous rides with one main change. I bought a lower set of gears (22-32-44 / 11-32). Hope bottom bracket still going strong at over 8,000 miles One puncture in Burgos after 256 miles Same camping equipment as other trips apart from an improvement on my phone charging and battery. I purchased 2 solar panel battery packs. (£10 off ebay. I strapped them using plastic map covers to the top of the front panniers) The solar panels charge very slowly but the battery packs hold 5000mah each which in total give me at least 4 full charges to my Samsung. Not being in the back and beyond it wasn't a problem to charge up fully every couple of days. Maps used are red Michelin regional maps.1/400,000 Bike total aggregate weight = 44kgs
Day 1 Monday 12th Oct 2015 Poole to Netley 46 miles
Lovely weather setting off. Stopped at Front-Cycle-Hire on Bournemouth prom to see my friend Tom.
Through Christchurch and then through the New Forest. 📷
Then a nice little stop at The Foresters in Brockenhurst for an enjoyable bit of fluid replacement therapy. On to Netley where I spend an enjoyable evening talking all things bikes with my first Warmshower host "Stuart".
Day 2 Tuesday 13th Oct Netley to Portsmouth 20 miles ( total 66 )
Early start and caught the Pink Ferry from Hamble-le-Rice over to Warsash and then on to Portsmouth where I'd realised I'd forgotten my waterproof trousers, so picked up a cheap £9 pair in Sports direct. On the Portsmouth-Santander ferry and this time it was a good crossing.
Met "Seung", a nice Korean guy that was cycling round Europe on his Surly LHT. Looking at his bike I felt better about the heavy load I was taking.
Day 3 Wednesday 14th Oct Santander - Astillero 10 miles (total 76)
I get a whopping 11 hrs sleep and then head off the ferry into Santander. Having to abide by Spain's crazy helmet law I don the ridiculous piece of plastic and prove it's impossible to look good in one.
After a bit of getting lost I arrive in Astillero at the flat of "Pelayo" (my 2nd Warmshower host) that offers me amazing pizza and is a really nice guy.
Day 4 Thursday 15th Oct Astillero - Molledo 40 miles (total 116)
Cold start and a cheap delicious breaky of fresh OJ, fresh home made Tortilla Espanola and great coffee for 4 euros. Seen the first of many signs through Spain telling drivers to give cyclists 1.5 metres when passing.
Found the "Carril bici" ( bike path ) from Pomaluengo which is wonderful as it's smooth and has lovely scenery and most importantly it's flat.
Then up the mountainous road to Castillo Pedrosa which is nice and after the climb the bike mysteriously pulls into to a quaint little bar that offers me free tapas with every beer. It's a very rural area and a guy has just walked into the bar with an axe. 5 minutes later another guy enters the bar with a small dead pig under his arm. Despite wanting to know how the joke ends I jump back on the bike and head off.
After enjoying wonderful scenery and some nice downhill I meet up with Aline and Enrique (my Warmshower host for the evening). They have a wonderful house and I'm humbled by their hospitality and kindness. We had a lovely evening of tapas, wine and interesting conversation.
Day 5 Friday 16th Oct Molledo - Arija 28 miles (total 144)
After Aline and Enrique had prepared a nice breaky and some fresh coffee, we cycled together to Reinosa which is about 14kms uphill between 5% and 9.5% gradient.
We stopped for a bit of a break in Reinosa and then they show me a nice route that runs south of the Ebro reservoir towards my next campsite.
Saying goodbye to Aline and Enrique I continue along the CA-730 south of the reservoir to the campsite at Arija.
After meeting with the nice owner and the not so nice owner's dog "Rambo", I pitch up at the very deserted campsite, have an almost warm shower, use the flaky Wifi and head into the almost as deserted Arija village to see if I can find it's one horse and maybe some food.
Dropped into the "Meson de Piedra" for quite a good meal of steak, egg, veg and chips for 6 euros. Back to camp which is nice and quiet apart from "Rambo" barking all night.
Camping Arija 10 euros Free wifi (when it worked) Free hot water (when it worked) Overall Rating 3/10
Day 6 Saturday 17th Oct Arija - Villarcayo 30 miles (total 174)
Amazing ride using the route that Aline and Enrique advised me on. Great downhill section into the bottom of a wonderful gorge with rocky mountains either side.
Through a lovely village call Puentedey and on to Villarcayo.
Tomorrow I have an invite for a Warmshower in a town not far away, so I've decided to make a short couple of days and stop at the campsite in Villarcayo which is imaginatively called "Camping Villarcayo", After speaking with the owner I roll in and look for a place to pitch up. From a caravan pitch nearby I'm asked by a family from Bilbao where I'm from. I tell them I'm from England and they wave me over and offer me a glass of wine. Not wanting to be rude I accept the nice glass of wine which turns into to several glasses of wine, Manchego cheese, chorizo and bread. They continue to offer me more wine and then some brandy but it's really the point to put my tent up while I still can. Such a lovely family and so hospitable.
After pitching up and the usual ablutions I head into town for a look around and a couple of beers. Back at the camp and while I'm sitting by reception the family from Bilbao call me over again and I'm plied a second time with wine, amazing food and a delicious Basque version of Baileys. Such wonderful hospitality from strangers.
Camping Villarcayo 11 Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 7/10
Day 7 Sunday 18th Oct Villarcayo - Medina de Pomar 13 miles (total 187)
A nice slow de-camp and breakfast today as I didn't need to be in Medina de Pomar till about 5pm. Said goodbye to the lovely family from Bilbao and into Villarcayo village for some lunchtime tapas. Onto Medina for more Beer and Tapas, then meet with my WS hosts Alberto, Candelaria and their son Sergio. They have a nice house and they are a lovely family. Alberto speaks some English, as does Candelaria and Sergio but to lesser degree but are all keen to practise with me. They put on a lovely spead of tapas . I'm sleeping in their attic room which is wonderful. Day 8 Monday 19th Oct Rest day in Medina de Pomar 0 miles (total 187)
Alberto and Candelaria have offered me to stay another night which is great as they're so lovely, the place is nice and it's raining outside for the first time on my trip.
Day 9 Tuesday 20th Oct Medina de Pomar - Burgos 60 miles (total 247)
With sadness I leave the lovely "Alcan" family and hit the road. I had planned to stop at Trespaderne but once I got there it was only midday and with a nice northerly wind I decided to head for Burgos.
A wonderful ride with the wind on my back that gave me an easy 24 mph on the flat and 45mph on one down hill section. The roads in the area are good with hardly any traffic. When there is a car I'm given a lot of space when they pass.
I stop for a quick delicious snack of Empanada de Chorizo and then for a coffee and a cheeky Licor 43 before heading to Burgos.
I'm camping at Fuentes Blancas near the centre of Burgos. It's quite a nice site with a good bar/restaurant on site that is used by non clients too. Wifi is 2 euros but you can use that for your whole stay.
Had quite a good "Menu del dia" at the campsite restaurant for 12 euros which included almost a whole bottle of wine.
Camping Fuentes Blancas 7 euros Wifi 2 euros for the entire stay Overall rating 7/10
Day 10 Wednesday 21st Oct Rest Day in Burgos 9 miles (total 256)
A good sleep and a grey start to the day. Popped into Burgos centre using the Carril Bici and had a wander round. Nice city and quite clean. Got my first puncture caused by a large bit of glass. good that it happened while I had lots of time on my hands. Back at camp and had another Menu del dia. Met some Irish guys at the campsite bar that got really drunk. So much so that the manager closed the bar early to avoid trouble.
Day 11 Thursday 22nd Oct Rest day 2 in Burgos 3 miles (total 259)
Today I moved to a nice hotel that had been "arranged" by a friend of mine called Pablo who I'm planning to meet later. Into the city and the weather is great with a sunny 17 degrees.
Had a good Menu del dia which consisted of Sopa Castellana for the 1st course, Filete de Ternera 2nd and a coffee to end plus 2 glasses of wine all for 10 euros.
Back to the hotel for a well earned siesta and then out again at 7pm. A couple of beers and tapas ( so cheap at 2 euros with the free tapas )
Met up with Alberto (my WS host from Medina de Pomar) that was in Burgos to do English conversation with other Spanish people in a bar in the city.
Day 12 Friday 23rd Oct Rest Day 3 in Burgos 0 miles ( total 259 )
Another nice Menu del dia for 10 euros, another siesta and then later met with my Spanish friend Pablo and his girlfriend Noemi in the city. We went from bar to bar having some wonderful tapas.
and as if the night couldn't get any better I find 20 euros on the floor in one of the bars :-)
Day 13 Saturday 24th Oct Rest Day 4 in Burgos 0 miles (total 259)
Nice and amazingly cheap breakfast of fresh squeezed OJ, a Tortilla con chorizo with bread and a coffee with a biscuit for just 2 euros(no it's not a typo, it really is 2 Euros for all that). Met with Pablo and Noemi and went to near Pablo's village in the countryside for a Menu del Dia. It was so noisy in the restaurant with everyone talking. Then all of a sudden half the room broke into song. Not sure what it was all about but it was a funny experience. We travelled on to Pablo's father's village which is in the middle of nowhere and went for a nice walk. Back into Burgos for some more amazing tapas. Such a vibrant and enjoyable city to go out in.
Day 14 Sunday 25th Oct Burgos - Castrojeriz 36 miles (total 296)
Headed out of the city on the Carril bici which was really good and then onto the N120 which was very quiet and more so the road to Castrojeriz which is where I camp for the night. The roads were so quiet on the way here that at times I didn't see a car for 10 mins. Nice road surface and pleasant countryside if a little dry and nondescript. Camping in Castrojeriz at "Camping Camino Santiago" is good and I have a nice view of the mountain from my tent.
Popped into town to the bar "El Patio" for 1 or 2 and then back to the campsite bar for a Menu which was quite good and cost 11 euros.
Camping Camino Santiago 9 Euros Free Wifi Overal Rating 6/10
Day 15 Monday 26th Oct Castrojeriz - Cubillas de St Marta 67 miles (total 363)
Left the campsite at 9:15 and stopped for a spot of breaky at El Patio. On the road and all is pretty good apart from a bit of headwind and some bland scenery. On the plus side there's hardly any cars.
It was looking like the forecast could be wrong but at 2pm right on cue the rain started. I stopped in at Palencia which was quite nice and then found the Canal de Castillo that has a Carril Bici next to it.
A good route to start with but I decided to leave it and get back on the road due to my doubt that the surface would stay that way , the heavy rain forecast which would turn the surface hard to cycle on and also the fact that the canal route was a bit convoluted and I wanted to make good mileage. I'm glad I made the decision to leave the canal path as I was running out of time to find the campsite and managed to clock up an extra 20 kms trying to find it.
The campsite was one of the worst i've stayed in as it wasn't clean, it was right next to a motorway and was far too expensive. They wanted 15 Euros but I waved my "poor cyclist" discount card and they took off 2 Euros. The food in the campsite bar/restaurant , however , was really good. After pitching up in the dark and doing the usual ablutions I headed for the bar and after a few beers I had a really good home made lentil soup with a nice glass of wine followed by a licor 43. Back to the tent and the sound of the motorway to listen to as I drift off to sleep.
Camping Cubillas 13 Euros (would have been 15 Euros but I asked for some discount as I am a poor cyclist) Free (flacky) Wifi Overall rating 2/10
Day 16 Tuesday 27th Oct Cubillas de St Marta - Tordesillas 40 miles (total 403)
Despite the motorway I slept quite well and got packed up by 9:15 am. Bit of breaky in the campsite bar where the guy there kindly put my (still very wet ) gloves on the top of the coffee machine to dry out. Took the service road along the side of the motorway so I could take a more direct route as there was heavy rain forecast from 3pm. Picked up the canal path on the approach into Valladolid. The path is ok but quite gravely which makes for slower progress than the roads which are very good. The canal path also snakes round quite a bit adding further miles. Into and out the other side of Valladolid using mainly some quiet roads and quite good cycle paths. Used the CL-610 out of town and then the cycle path continued almost to Simancas. Then over the highway, using smaller roads, to Tordesillas which is really quite nice with a lovely stone bridge over the river Duero.
I'm staying at Camping El Astral. They wanted to charge me 16 euros but when I play the poor cycle tourist card they drop it to 9 euros. I made good time getting here before the forecast rain which was spot on and started 10 minutes after I'd got my tent up. The site is good and more so the toilet block which plays classical music while you dump/shower. After my ablutions I head to the bar/restaurant for Wifi, a few beers and a Churrasco de Ternera which was quite good if a little expensive.
Camping El Astral 9 Euros (with "poor cyclist discount card" (would have been 16)) Free Wifi Overall Rating 7.5/10
Day 17 Wednesday 28th Oct Tordesillas - Salamanca 60 miles ( total 463 )
I was dickering about what to do this morning as there was a very strong wind from the south. In the end I decided to go for it, mainly because I had a Warmshower invite in Salamanca but only for this night. The road (N620) was straight and needed no navigation which was just as well as all I could do was battle the strong headwind. I added some padding to my handlebar grips so I could rest my elbows more comfortably on them and reduce wind resistance, which seemed to work well.
Despite the headwind it took me 7 hrs to do 60 miles including stopping for a snack here and there and to change into my wet weather gear. Oh, and a quick stop at a bar for a vino and a coffee. Got into Salamanca and went to the TIC which strangely didn't have Wifi so I was forced to buy a beer at a bar to get online. Ah well ! Checking my Wifi I found a message from my Warmshower host to say he wasn't available that evening. Fortunately I had a back up plan in case and found a campsite called "El Regio" just out of the city. It seemed like quite a good site apart from quite a few dog owners emptying their dogs on site. After getting the tent up and a shower I headed for the on site restaurant which looked a bit swanky and had prices to match. I had quite a nice steak there but paid about 30% more than normal. I did, however, "balance the books" by leaving early the next morning thereby qualifying for the "early bird discount". I didn't stay long in Salamanca but it seemed like quite a cool place to hang out for a day or two.
Camping Regio ? Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 5/10
Day 18 Thursday 29th Oct Salamanca - Banos de Monte Mayor 60 miles ( 524 )
I found a bar for breaky and free Wifi and found that the campsite that the TIC has said was open was actually closed(not the first time). I found one myself that said it was open but it was another 60 miles away. After the previous 60 mile day I wasn't really keen but decided to go for it. More headwinds and not very interesting scenery to start with but after about 40 miles the road started to climb and it got better.
Up to about 1200 metres I'm in thick mist and quite cold. I donned my rain jacket and flew down some awesome hills for the next 15 miles or so. I find my campsite called Las Canadas, 3kms south of Banos de Monte Mayor, which seems to cater more for people staying in posh cabins than tents. Unfortunately they still charge posh prices to the poor tent folk. And to add to the cost they charge me 3 euros for my bicycle !?!? On hearing the bar closes at 9pm I quickly get the tent up, shower and hit the bar which is good and reasonably priced. After a few beers I tuck into an awesome bowl of chorizo and fried eggs on top of masses of chips.... Just what i needed !
Camping Las Canadas 12 Euros Free Wifi Overal Rating 7.5/10
Day 19 Friday 30th Oct Banos de Monte Mayor - Plasencia 35 miles ( total 559 )
The ride was good with some nice downhill sections. Plasencia is a cool place with it's Roman Aqueduct and gardens where I stop for a quick beer(or two).
Over the other side of town and along the river I find my campsite which is pretty much deserted (just the way I like them) until a caravan turns up and decides that out of the whole place he wants to pitch up right next to me, then lets his dog out off it's lead. :-( Apart from this the campsite is quite nice. I pop into town for a couple of beers using the Carril Bici that runs alongside the river. On the return it was quite good fun using the track with just my little lights to find my way back. The campsite has a good bar and restaurant where they serve home made food at a good price, so a bite to eat in the bar, a couple of glasses of wine and then bed(if i can sleep with all the dogs barking).
Camping Chopera 7.60 Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 6.5/10
Day 20 Saturday 31st Oct Rest Day in Plasencia 0 miles ( Total 559 )
Staying another day as the forecast is for heavy rain which starts about 1pm. I need a bit of a rest anyway. Also I need to wash some socks which has got to a critical situation. So after washing my socks and hanging them up in the toilet block(in a pathetic attempt for them to dry) I cooked up some pasta, had some wine, had a read, got a nice siesta. To the bar in the evening for some beers and some more nice home made food.
Day 21 Sunday 1st Nov Plasencia - Canaveral 27 miles ( total 586 )
Picked up half a big tortilla for 2.50 Euros in Palencia and hit the road. Nice riding with the wind on my back, sunny and 20 degrees. Got into Canaveral and found the Albergue which is newly renovated and really nice. The managers are very friendly and have a place where I can lock my bike up safe. Apart from a load of flies I have a dorm all to myself. Nice view from my room.
A strange Italian/Swiss guy has turned up and is walking the Camino de Santiago. His rucksack is really heavy. Later I find out he is carrying(among other things) 1 litre of Olive Oil and over a kilo of cheese. When I ask him why he just says "because I'm Italian". Wandered round the village and not a lot going on apart from a couple of bars full of retired old men playing endless games of cards and dominos. Back to the Albergue for a reasonable Menu for 8 Euros. In bed and at about 1:30am I hear loud voices in reception. I figure someone is just arriving very late and booking in but after a good hour or so I get up to investigate. From what I can gather there had been a bad accident on the nearby motorway and the Guardia had dropped them at this Albergue. They'd knocked on the door and the strange Italian guy had opened the door to them without the knowledge/consent of the manager. As I was asking them to keep their voices down the manager walked in so I left them to it and went back to bed.
Hostel Canaveral 15 Euros Breaky 3 Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 8.5/10
Day 22 Monday 2nd Nov Canaveral - Caceres 30 miles ( total 616 )
Rainy miserable start to the day but the forecast said it would improve by the afternoon so I set off into it hoping they were right. Despite the rain and a bit of headwind it was a nice ride.
Into Caceres which has little cobbled streets a nice plaza and, despite the weather, has a good feel to the place.
Found the Hostel which is quite good. I've been put into a room with a Canadian Guy that is also cycle touring. After getting myself sorted we pop into town. Nice evening chatting about all things bikes and travelling with good beer and free tapas.
Albergue/Hostel Las Veletas 15 Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 7.5/10
Day 23 Tuesday 3rd Nov Caceres - Merida 50 miles (total 666)
Shame to be leaving Caceres as I could have enjoyed at least another day there but the forecast was good so I thought I'd go with it. Good riding with only a slight headwind and no rain. The sun even came out.
On the approach into Merida I'm starting to see quite a bit of litter along the side of the road and I'm not getting the best vibe about Merida. Into the city and I find the Aqueducto de Milagros, the Roman Aqueduct, which is very impressive but seems to be the local dog emptying spot.
I checked out the TIC to enquire about some of the other historic places but I'm told that each one of them have an expensive entrance fee which would be about the same as a whole days food and lodgings. So that wasn't going to happen. I head for the campsite and it reflects the ambiance of the city. There are a lot of dogs barking and It's hard to find a spot that doesn't have dog waste on it. After putting up my tent and showering I head for the bar / restaurant which is ok. I did have the plan to stay in Merida for 2 nights but with the campsite being what it is and the vibe of the city I make my decision to leave as early as possible tomorrow.
Camping (Mierda) Merida 9 Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 1/10
Day 24 Wednesday 4th Nov Merida - Zafra 42 miles (total 708)
Keen to get out of "Mierda" as soon as possible I wake early with significant help from the barking dogs and hit the road. The forecast has changed for the better and there's no rain. Back on the N620 but now it's quite busy. It seems as I'm getting further south it's all getting a lot busier and there's less respect on the roads. I get my first of several close passes on the road. Into Zafra and it's small, nice and quaint.
The Albergue I'm staying is wonderful. It's an old convent and has a lovely feel to the place. The people that run it are so lovely and friendly. There's a secure place for my bike, Free Wifi and ample space in the lovely courtyard for drying my tent out and washing a few things. The other great thing is that , again, I have a dorm to myself (as long as you don't include the mosquito). I take a wander into town for a few beers and some tapas. Strange how some regions offer free tapas and others don't (Zafra doesn't).
Albergue Convento de San Francisco 17 Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 8/10 ( I would rate it higher if it wasn't so expensive )
Day 25 Thursday 5th Nov Zafra - Azuaga 49 miles ( total 757 )
Left the lovely Albergue and into Zafra for breaky and coffee. Found that I'd stepped in dog mess for the 2nd time of the trip (hardly surprising based on how much of the stuff is out there). Onto the N432 and, again, I'm not getting the respect on the road as I did up north. The sun is out and a slight cross/tailwind. Pretty flat with quite nice scenery with olives and vines on either side.
After 700 miles through Spain eating ham and seeing ham everywhere I see my first Spanish pig. I also saw a scorpion on the road. It was a dead one, which is generally how I like them.
Stopped into Llerena which is nice and it has a lovely old plaza where I'm enjoying a couple of beers and some tapas in the shade.
Onto Azuaga which is even nicer and both villages definitely show that I'm very close to Andalucia in that all the houses are now all white.
Found a cool bar called "La Mesquita" that serves beer and a free tapa for 1 Euro.
Waiting here for my Warmshower host "Benito". He's a really nice guy and shows me some of the town, it's history and architecture. Later we meet with some of his friends for a few beers. They're all really cool, most speak English and are keen to practise with me. They all invite me for the beers I've enjoyed and after we head for pizza and a final drink. Great night !
Day 26 Friday 6th Nov Azuaga - Espiel 43 miles ( total 800 )
I say goodbye to my wonderful WS host Benito and get a nice early start.
Stopped into a bar to grab a breaky of fresh OJ, coffee and toast with a strange pate. Went up to the castle high above the village to get some nice shots of the view. Despite being extra careful to avoid all the dog mess in the area I manage to step in the third dog turd of the trip.
Took the quiet roads to Epiel which were really good. Lovely views and hardly any traffic. Plenty of hill climbing towards the end of the ride but also some great downhill sections. Really quite warm.
Got to the municipal Albergue which is right by the reservoir and is fine apart from loads of flies and dogs. A guy called "Pepe" goes to the local shop and brings us both a couple of bottles of cold beers which we share while we chat, swat flies and I wait for the owner to arrive. I'm charged just 10 Euros (If i use my own sleeping bag) which includes having a secure place to put my bike and free Wifi. As before I have the dorm to myself which is good as the dorm doesn't have individual beds but instead has platforms with mattresses up against one another. For sure in busy periods it wouldn't be as nice. I make use of the space and spread out, do my ablutions and head down to the bar for some beer, Wifi-ing and a bite to eat.
Albergue Municipal Espiel 10 Euros(12 Euros when using their bed sheets) Free Wifi Overall Rating 5/10
Day 27 Saturday 7th Nov Espiel - Cordoba 33 miles ( total 833 )
Up at 8am , breaky in the bar and on the road as early as I could as the forecast was for 26 degrees so I wanted to bang out some miles before it got too hot. It actually hit 28 degrees later in the day. Took the N432 which was quite good. At one point I was joined by a peleton of "lycralouts" so I jumped on their back wheel for 5 kms to help me along. A fair bit of steady climbing at 6% but the downhill part into Cordoba was incredible. Yeeeehaaaaa ! Into Cordoba which is a great city with lots to see.
Found the Hostal "El Sueno" which is really good and right in the centre. It's an old Andalucian house that's been converted nicely and still has the central courtyard. They have a fully equipped kitchen to use and free tea and coffee. I'm sharing the room with a lovely Japanese guy and a nice Swiss guy that has a special talent for snoring. Cordoba is a great place to wander around but everything is a little more expensive than all the other places I've been to so far and no free tapas. I meet up with the snoring Swiss guy and we head out for a few beers. Back to the Hostel and cook up a nice pasta meal and sink a few glasses of red. Nice evening !
Hostal "EL Sueno" 17 Euros Free Wifi Overall Rating 9/10
Day 28 Sunday 8th Nov Cordoba - Montilla 32 miles ( total 865 )
Out of Cordoba early to get going before the heat does. Nice riding but there's a fair bit of fast traffic. A few "Lycralouts" find me amusing and video me as we cycle together for a bit.
Stopped at Espejo for a beer, tapa and some Wifi then met Jose , my Warmshower host for the evening. I didn't get an address, I was told to find a certain "barrio" and I'd see them and their neighbours having a street party.
And , Wow ! What a great party with lovely people. Beer, wine and sherry flowed and a massive paella was made. I'm allergic to shellfish so they made me a small meat paella. One thing I noticed was that not one person was on their mobile phones. Everyone was talking and enjoying each others company. How refreshing ! It felt so good to be part of the neighbourhood party. Everyone was so welcoming and hospitable. Back to Jesus and Raquel's house and in the evening they prepare a nice pasta salad with some wine.
Day 29 Monday 9th Nov Rest day in Montilla 0 miles (total 865)
I've been invited to stay another day which is great as Jesus, Raquel and their 2 children are lovely. Jesus has arranged to show me around the local Bodega where the sherry is made. I meet up with him later with an English girl that is teaching English in the town. Great personal tour around the Bodega and, of course, the customary sample.
Back to the house and later Raquel prepares a lovely couscous meal. The kids are great and very respectful. I'll miss the family and their hospitality.
Day 30 Tuesday 10th Nov Montilla - Iznajar 40 miles (total 905)
Nice breaky with Jesus and family. On the road for 9am and it's hills all the way but pleasant scenery of olives and vines either side.
Stopped at Rute for a couple of large beers and some free tapas of chicken and ham for only 3.60 Euros for both.
After a day of heat and hills I find the place I'm staying this evening is on the top of a very big hill.
Iznajar is a lovely quaint place with small cobble stoned alleyways.
I've found a nice bar called "Patio de las Comedias" that has a wonderful view across the reservoir.
I meet later with my Warmshower host "Nathalie". She's so lovely and hospitable. She cooks up a wonderful meal and we share a nice bottle of wine and chat through the evening.
Day 31 Wednesday 11th Nov Iznajar - Antequera 36 miles ( total 941 )
Out of Iznajar at 9am and the hills start immediately and it's there's about 10 miles of it but great views on climbing up from the reservoir.
It's hard going with heat and hills combined but a quick banana stop puts a smile on my face .
More climbing and heat but the scenery is wonderful.
A quick stop for some "powercarbs" and I head for Antequera.
Antequera is really nice and I head for the TIC. The guy there is abnormally helpful and gives me a list of Hostals, one of which (Hostal Colon) was one of the Hostals I was looking at on Booking dot com and quoted at being 20 Euros. I pop along to "Colon" and say that I'm looking for a room and they quote me 15 Euros. The lovely lady at reception says my bike is free and can be kept in my room. Considering I had an idea to stay at a campsite for only 2 Euros less that , unlike "Colon" didn't have a TV, Air conditioning, private bathroom, a fridge and free toiletries and towels and wasn't in the centre of town I figure "Colon" is a comparative bargain and immediately say "Si!". After a bit of a wash and brush up I head into town for some beer and tapas.
Hostal Colon 15 Euros Free Wifi my own bathroom , TV, Air-con, Fridge Overall Rating 8.5/10
Day 32 Thursday 12th Nov Rest Day in Antequera 0 miles ( total 941 )
Considering I'm in such a nice place, the Hostal is good and reasonably priced I've decided to stay another day and rest before the next day of hills. Antequera is a nice place to wander round and has some nice bars so I take a walk up to the top of town to see the view which is awesome.
Back in town and I sit opposite the main church square in a nice bar and have a beer with a tapa of "pisto con huevo" which is really delicious.
After a few more beers and tapas in town I head back to the Hostal and chill for the night.
Day 33 Friday 13th Nov Antequera - Torremolinos 48 miles (total 989)
Got an early start as I thought it would be hard crossing the mountains in it actually wasn't bad at all and one of the easiest rides of recent days. The scenery was spectacular too with "EL Torcal" on my left side for much of the morning.
Awesome switchback downhill sections and more great scenery.
The further south the busier it gets. It's not nice and there's lots of traffic and despite the fact I'm entering a holiday area everyone seems highly stressed and in a rush.
I finally arrive at the Med after 989 miles. The question is...........
....What next ??????