Ronda to Seville – 9th to 20th March 2016

Ronda to Seville – 9th to 20th March 2016

 

Wednesday 9th March

 

Ronda to Fuengirola (via train to Malaga)

 

Distance 45 km
Max speed NA kmph (battery failure)
Average speed NA kmph
Total 2852.73 km

 

This morning we are up for 7am, pack and head for the train station. We’re getting the train to Malaga.

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First leg is on the Granada train changing at Bobadillo and we’ve managed to board, only the change to worry about now.

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We’re always worried about train journeys but so far they have all been seamless. After some sightseeing in Malaga we are going to cycle to Fuengirola to meet an old friend, Dawn. She’s also ex military and left about a year before us, but she and her partner Shaun bought a motorhome for their travelling adventure. We’re really looking forward to hearing how her travels are panning out.

We arrive in Malaga at 1030hrs and walk up to the Alcazaba (sitting on top of a great big hill!!) and later around the Cathedral.

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La Alcazaba is Malaga’s most important landmark, and overlooks the city from a hilltop inland. It is one of two Moorish fortresses in the city, the other being the Castillo de Gibralfaro, situated above. The Alcazaba is the best-preserved Moorish fortress palace in Spain. The views from the top are very pretty. We also cycle along the beach front. It’s a beautiful day and the sea looks so inviting but it’s time to head off because we want to visit the butterfly park in Benalmádena.

Unfortunately we didn’t check the terrain and once we turn inland we start to climb but eventually we make it, hot and sweaty.

There are more than 1,500 butterflies from tropical areas all over the world flying free inside the Mariposario. Their lifespan is only 2-3 weeks so the exhibits are constantly changing but are from 150 different species. Many of the butterfly species reproduce in the park itself, so besides butterflies you can observe all the stages of their fascinating biological cycle as eggs and caterpillars, and other behavior such as their courtship flights and mating. Every day new butterflies are born in the nursery and we saw them hatch from the chrysalis and spread their wings. In addition to the moths and butterflies there is also Wally the Wallaby.

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A friend, Kate, told us if we ever had the opportunity to visit a butterfly park, we should do so and we wouldn’t be disappointed. She was absolutely right.

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It was a delight to see the butterflies flying free and feeding on the nectar of beautiful flowers such as orchids. Next door to the Butterfly farm is a Buddhist temple.

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We have a quick look and then we’re off. Our GPS points us down a big hill but the road sign says it’s a dead-end. It’s not a dead-end on Mapsme so off we go. It’s really steep (21%!) but finally we’re at the bottom cycling along the coast again and then there’s Roadworks! The road IS closed! But we decide to push on around it but it means we’re pushing over sand heaps, over large kerbs, through the protective fencing, cycling around diggers and other machinery but finally we get back to real road.

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We cycle through Fuengirola and head for Dawn’s campsite. It’s so lovely to see Dawn. She’s been on her travels for 2 years now. She’s travelling with her hubby Shaun and Jaeger, their Springer Spaniel and Tia, their latest acquisition, a Spanish water dog so called because they have webbed feet and are used to herd fish.

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It’s lovely to hear where they’ve been, where they’re going and how they spend their time. And their motorhome – fabulous! Daz and I have got 5 bags for our entire worldly goods; Dawn and Shaun have mountain bikes, road bikes, skiing gear, paragliding gear, a moped and more. What a great way to travel. Dawn cooks dinner and later her neighbours Jane and Kevin join us. It’s a shame that Shaun had to head back to Sweden for some work commitments. Tonight I spend my first night in a motorhome and very comfortable it is too.

 

Thursday 10th March

 

Fuengirola to La Linea de la Conception

 

Distance 105.1 km
Max speed 63.9 kmph
Average speed 18 kmph
Total 2957.83 km

 

After breakfast we pack up and head off.

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We head to Marbella. The cycling is easy but the road, the N340, is really busy. Usually we’re given plenty of space but not today. We have loads of cars and trucks trying to squeeze past us and many sounding their horns.

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We don’t know whether the horns are meant as a friendly gesture or not, but often they’re so sudden they scare us out of our wits. We reach Marbella and we’ve made really good time. We have something to eat and look at the Marina and the old quarter and the Dali statues. It’s a beautiful city.

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Then we pootle off. We decide to see how long we can cling to the esplanade; anything is better than the N340. And it’s beautiful cycling beside the sea, although often quite crowded and we’re constantly weaving around people but I think Daz secretly loves the challenge. P1080189 P1080190 P1080192 P1080193 P1080194 P1080196 P1080198 P1080199

Finally we can go no further so we have to head back to the mainroad but it’s not quite as bad as this morning. By 3pm we’re in Estepona.

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This was going to be today’s destination but we both feel fine and we’re having such a glorious day that we continue on our way. We grab a quick drink and replenish our water on a beachfront cafe then hit the N340 again after cycling out of Estepona. As mentioned before it’s not much to look at, but it always bumps up our average speed as we seem to fly along at times. Twice today we see people videoing us. The first guy we see twice, he has pulled into a slip road so he can film us. Then he drives past us and we see him at the next slip road. Wd wave enthusiastically at him. The next guy is filming us as he drives passes whilst leaning over his wife in the passenger seat to get a view of us. This is less entertaining!!!

A quick 19 km later we are nearing Torreguadjaro and come off the main road to look for some food and accommodation. But in the backs of our mind we also know that Gibraltar is only another 25km ish and we still have time to get there in a oner today!! Well soon our minds are made up for us, as it turns out that we have stumbled into Sotogrande, a high priced gated community with a Marina filled with yachts and power boats, a polo pitch and several golf courses and all manner of flash cars and pringle wearing rich peeps!!

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Apparently even Tony Blair has a ‘pad’ here. We even get stopped by security and asked if we are residents, and where we are going! They seem pleased that we are just passing through, we can only assume their demeanour would change if we pulled a John Rambo move and cycled back into the centre!! The Marina is particularly spectacular!! With no food and no accommodation in sight we decide to push on. Unfortunately there are a few steep climbs as we near La Linea de la Conception, the border town before Gibraltar. We are tiring as we near the 100km mark, but suddenly up one last hill we reach a look out point and ‘the rock’ is there before us in all it’s glory. And what’s even better we have a lovely 8% drop for the last 6 km into town!! What an absolute corker of a day! Even with the shitty traffic on the N340 it’s been amazing!

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Friday 11th March

La Linea de la Concepcion to Gibraltar

We spent last name night in La Linea de la Concepcion. I slept really well; the long day must’ve wiped me out. This morning disaster strikes. Daz is passing me the notepad and knocks his phone onto the floor and now it won’t work. We bought this phone in October and we use it constantly for navigating. It was especially expensive because we wanted it unlocked and without a phone contract. We spend the next 90 minutes in a painful, frustrating and expensive process of trying to get Carphone Warehouse to give us a way forward. The chat line is useless and our first phone call to customer services requires a lengthy explanation followed by them putting us through to a store but it’s closed. That terminates that call. We try again and this time we think the assistant puts the phone down on us. We’re getting really annoyed now and have a third attempt. I lead and explain how Carphone Warehouse customer service helpline is appalling and how 2 phonecalls have resulted in zero progress. We think progress might be achieved. But no, we’re sadly mistaken and totally misguided crediting Carphone Warehouse with some sense. Basically they insist that the purchaser must bring the phone into a store (Carphone Warehouse is only UK based) to log the problem even though we’ve explained we’re in Gibraltar. We ask to post it, they say No. We ask if we can send it to a friend and they’ll take it into a store, they say No. We once again explain where we are, how reliant we are on the phone, how we have no plans to return to the UK and how expensive it would be to fly back just to deliver the phone to a store. Their response, you need to bring it to a store yourselves! Thanks very much Carphone Warehouse – you are tossers!!! So having wasted loads of time and money we head off to find some breakfast still chuntering about Carphone Warehouse. Then we pack up and cycle into Gibraltar. We go through their border control and customs. There’s a huge queue, which we cycle past. Apparently Spain is so annoyed that Gibraltar isn’t Spanish that they make the crossing unnecessarily difficult by insisting on full passport checks etc.

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Then we’re in Gibraltar. I’ve never been before but Daz has once. I can’t believe it’s so busy and once we’re through border control we have to wait until the runway is clear before we can drive into town. Daz wants to cycle round the rock so I can see the sights but I think we should go into town and visit a phone shop just incase there’s a simple solution to our phone problem.

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So that’s what we do and we find a helpful store and they plug the phone into the computer. Everything is functioning and they think it’s just the backlight that’s broken. If we wanted it fixed we’d have to leave it for 2 weeks, so that’s not going to happen. We’re in the midst of these proceedings and Daz starts to feel really poorly. So we scratch sightseeing plans and have a bite to eat. Probably not the best idea because he starts to feel worse. We phone our host Mac McManus and arrange to meet. At Mac’s house we meet his wife Jac (she’s flying to the UK this evening) and make ourselves at home. But Daz is really suffering now. He’s feeling hot and cold and headachey. No Friday night beers for us then. Instead it’s a quiet night in with a Frankenstein movie and then an early night. Hopefully he’ll feel better tomorrow.

 

Saturday 12th March – Gibraltar

Poor Daz. Last night he was alternately dripping in sweat (literally, the sheets were soaked), freezing cold then burning up like a furnace. His breathing was really tortured, almost panting like a dog. He’s still breathing this morning so he’s still alive at least, but still asleep and it’s gone half 9. Poor Daz!

Well it’s officially a duvet day. Daz thinks he should go out but he really is too poorly and after only an hour he’s back in bed. Still at least we have the England V Wales match to look forward to. And what an abject disappointment that is!

 

Sunday 13th March – Gibraltar

After an early night last night and more sleep than I’ve had in months, Daz does feel better. Unfortunately he thinks he’s well enough to take me sightseeing but of course he’s just not well enough, not to mention that he’s barely eaten for the last 2 days. We did make it into town but after a mooch around we came home. We’ve looked at our schedule and fortunately there’s scope to delay leaving Gibraltar. We did intend to leave tomorrow but I don’t think Daz is well enough and fortunately Mac has said we can stay as long as we need – thank you Mac.

 

Monday 14th March

Today Daz feels better and we go off to see the sights of Gibraltar. First we cycle round the island in a clockwise direction to Europa point. We stop on the way to look at one of the few beaches on Gibraltar and a police car hits our parked bike. Daz isn’t impressed. Then it’s through a long tunnel and we’re there.

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Europa Point
Ancient history
When the ancient mariners from the east arrived in this region in the eighth century BC, they once again homed in on the beacon which was the Rock and were attracted to large marine caverns close to these southern platforms. We know that Phoenicians and ancient Greeks came here. It has also been suggested by some, on the basis of cave paintings of sailing ships in caves near Gibraltar that perhaps even earlier civilisations, the Mycaeneans for example, might have sailed to the Strait as far back as the sixteenth century BC.
Whichever way, the Strait and the Rock were known in the classical eastern Mediterranean world. According to legend, Hercules passed through here to take the cattle of Geryon – his tenth labour – and opened up the Strait, creating the pillars which received his name (Hercules to the Romans). These pillars are still clearly identifiable today: the Rock of Gibraltar on one side and the Jbel Musa on the other. The legend matches the scientific reality although the timescales are somewhat different. The last time the Strait opened up was around five million years ago and there were no humans around to watch it happen. It must have been a spectacular event indeed. The Mediterranean had been land-locked for a very long time and had evaporated. Then as a fissure developed where the Strait is today, the Atlantic gushed in filling the basin in just one hundred years, with a huge ten thousand foot waterfall at the entrance to the Strait.

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Europa Point Lighthouse stands at the southernmost point of Gibraltar. Situated at the gateway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean it serves as landfall and waypoint for vessels passing through the Strait. Responsibility for the lighthouse was vested in Trinity House by an Act of Parliament of 1838 and under the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 the Corporation became the General Lighthouse Authority for Gibraltar.

Sikorski Memorial
A new memorial dedicated to General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army and Prime Minister of Poland who was killed in exile in 1943, was dedicated by Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns, Governor of Gibraltar on the 70th anniversary of the crash.

 

The Mosque of The Custodian of the The Holy Mosques

The new mosque has already become a landmark at Europa Point, together with the newly refurbished Shrine of Our Lady of Europe and the Lighthouse, all lying within a few yards of each other an excellent beacon for peace and harmony between religions.

 

From Europa Point we cycle to the cable car and get to The Top of the Rock. The views are amazing and the monkeys are entertaining – they keep jumping on unsuspecting tourists.

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The Barbary Macaques are a species of tailless monkeys. These Macaques can be found in Morocco and Algeria, with those in Gibraltar being the only free-living monkeys in Europe today.
There are about 160 monkeys living in Gibraltar in two main areas. Male and female youngsters can often be seen playing together.

 

From here we walk to Michael’s Cave.

 

St Michael’s Cave has interested visitors to Gibraltar ever since the days of the Romans. The Cave was long believed to be bottomless. This probably gave birth to the story that the Rock of Gibraltar was linked to the Continent of Africa by a subterranean passage over 15 miles (24km) long under the Strait of Gibraltar. The famous Rock Apes were said to have come to Gibraltar through this under-sea passage. The story also said that the passage emerges at Leonora’s Cave, which begins inside St. Michael’s Cave itself.
The cave consists of an Upper Hall, connected with five passages, with drops of between 40 feet (12.2m) and 150 feet (45.7m) to a smaller hall. Beyond this point a series of narrow holes leads to a further succession of chambers, reaching a depth of some 250 feet (62.5m) below the entrance.
During the Second World War the cave was prepared as an emergency hospital, but was never used. In blasting an alternative entrance to the cave – now used as a tourist exit – a further series of deeply descending chambers, was discovered now called Lower St. Michael’s Cave. These chambers end in a mini lake.

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At some period during the history of this cave, part of a stalagmite became to heavy on one side and fell, possibly thousands of years ago. It now lies on its side at the far end of the main chamber, cemented through the years by nature to the floor of the cave. In 1792 a slice 18” thick (45cm) was cut off from the top end. What remained was a cross-section which revealed the interior structure of the stalagmite in a most dramatic way. Within a diameter of approximately 4’6” (1.35m) can be seen the history of its growth. During periods of excessive rain its growth is clearly indicated by light-brown rings and patches. The darker areas were formed during periods of less rain. But perhaps the two thin lines of crumbly white substance are the most interesting part of its structure. It is believed that these represent glacial periods. Besides the cross-section the stalagmite is also translucent in certain parts. This stalagmite, which is centuries old, enables visitors to see the unique beauty of crystallised nature.

 

After the cave we were planning to walk back to the siege tunnels but instead head for the Mediterranean steps.

 

Mediterranean Steps is a path and nature trail in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. One of the footpaths of Gibraltar, the path is located entirely within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve and was built by the British military but is now used by civilians as a pedestrian route linking Martin’s Path to Lord Airey’s Battery near the summit of Rock of Gibraltar. The path offers views over the Strait of Gibraltar, Windmill Hill, Europa Point, the Great Sand Dune, Gibraltar’s east side beaches, the Mediterranean Sea and the Spanish Costa del Sol.

These steps are narrow, of uneven height and there’s a lot of loose rock. In spite of this there is a Mediterranean Step Challenge; a circular route requiring 5 laps, that’s 5 ascents of the steps. Coming down once was hard enough for me!

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At the bottom Daz and I sit in the Jewish cemetery and try and decide whether to head to Mac, who’s in a pub with CIive Cooper in Casement Square or head back up to the siege tunnels.

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We head off downhill and get as far as the Botanical Gardens and Daz asks me for the Notepad. I don’t have it neither has Daz. The last time we used it was in the Jewish Cemetery. OMG disaster. We’re already without Daz’s phone, we’ll be stuffed without the Notepad too. I take the bag and coats and whilst Daz runs back to the cemetery, I follow at a quick walk. I’m still a distance away when I see Daz. But no notepad. He hasn’t been able to find it but he also didn’t speak to the toll booth chaps that were manning the Jewish Gate. I think it’s worth another look and continue walking back to the cemetery. And then a guy on a moped stops and asks if we’ve lost something. They’ve got our notepad!!! Daz says he reckons this guy worked for a skip company (motif on his jacket) and he says our notepad has been taken back to the site office. What a relief! We can’t believe how lucky we’ve been. We head off again and head for the pub – we need a drink after that scare. In the pub we meet Clive Cooper, who’s an avid geocacher; we’re disappointed we didn’t bother to do any in Gibraltar. After dinner and a few drinks we head home. It’s our last night with Mac. It’s been great staying with Mac although we’ve been dull house guests with Daz so poorly!!

 

Tuesday 15th March

 

Gibraltar to Bolonia

 

Distance 69.38 km
Max speed 53.5 kmph
Average speed 13. 1 kmph
Total 3048. 34 km

 

Today we head off out of Gibraltar. We cycle passed a fuel refinery/depot where the perimeter wall is covered in street art – fantastic.

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First stop turns out to be Algerciras even though it wasn’t actually on our route – that’s my map reading for you. We stop in the main square for coffee and then inspired by Clive Cooper we head off to find a geocache. P1080282 P1080284 P1080283 P1080285 P1080286 P1080287 P1080289 P1080290

Then we head off to Tarifa. There’s a pass to climb, we think it’s only going to be 2km long because that’s when the crawler lane runs out but it’s more like 11km. A killer but the views…….

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Tarifa – ten kilometres of white sandy beaches, unspoilt countryside and some of the best kite & windsurfing conditions in Europe have established Tarifa as a true surfers paradise. Just 11 km across the Straits of Gibraltar at its narrowest point, this southern-most tip of Europe where the Med meets the Atlantic Ocean, enjoys spectacular views of the Rif mountains of Africa across the water.

We have a late lunch and then a spot of geocaching and then we head to the most southerly point in Europe – Isla de las Palomas.

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From here we cycle West along the beach, unfortunately all the kitesurfers are packing up, but we enjoy the challenge of cycling along the rickety boardwalk.

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I’ve picked what I hope is a scenic route from Tarifa and it’s certainly scenic, we even cycle between 2 sand dunes near Paloma Baja.

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When I chose this route I said to Daz ‘ no way can the A2325 just run out, famous last words……..It degenerates from tarmac to a hard packed sand with huge ruts, potholes and rocks to navigate around. Then the road stops and we’re left with a single track, deep sanded path through pine forest. We both try pushing the bike fully loaded but the sand is so deep it’s just too hard. Then we unload the bike and I carry the bags and Daz manhandles the bike.

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We manage about 2.5km of pushing and dragging the bike, we’re knackered and dripping with sweat. Finally the path drops down to the beach and the last stretch is on hard packed wet sand, dodging waves as they creep up the shore.

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We decide we’ve found the perfect location for our first night of wild camping. Having picked our spot about 50 metres in from the shore on a small grassy flattened knoll we set up camp. We listen to the surf and admire the clear, starry night. We go for a wander along the beach in the moonlight and enjoy the solitude. We’re watching the sea and realise a sailing yacht under power is just beyond the surf. He’s heading West but we check the map there’s no harbour for him. Seems an odd place to be at 9pm at night!

But for us it’s bedtime. Apart from the hard slog through the sand it’s been a glorious day.

 

Wednesday 16th March

Bolonia to Conil de la Frontera

Distance 60.58 km

Max speed 63. 7 kmph
Average speed 13. 2 kmph
Total 3108. 92 km

 

Surprisingly we’ve had a good night but we’re woken early by a heavy rain shower – yes rain, that wasn’t programmed. We snooze on and we’re awake at 8.30. It’s time to pack up, which we start to do and then the rain starts again in earnest. We wait for it to stop and then quickly pack, expecting another downpour that never materialises.

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We still need to push the bike but whilst walking the beach last night we found a reasonable track so no more of the deep sand. The first hamlet we arrive at is deserted except for at anchor just in the surf, is a yacht. We assume it’s the yacht we saw last night but why is it practically beached. Doesn’t seem right to me!

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We head off and in the next village we find breakfast and some Roman ruins. Baelo Claudia is an ancient Roman town situated on the Costa de la Luz, some 15km north of Tarifa, next to the town of Bolonia and the beautiful beach.

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Its history lies in the trade routes serving Europe and North Africa – the town’s strategic position on the coast near the Straits of Gibraltar made it a crucial stopping-off point between the two continents. The ruins of Baelo Claudia, with its impressive temple, forum and basilica, and especially the large fish-salting factory, show how important the town was.

From the Roman ruins we can see back along to the coast and the wallowing yacht. The coast guard is out to sea but appears to be monitoring the situation but on the beach there’s a crowd of onlookers – curiouser and curiouser! What is going on – guess we’ll never know!!

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We cycle on but we’re soon dealing with potholed tarmac, grit and really steep hills so we resort to pushing and then our route takes us across country – literally. It’s marked as a path but it’s no more than a muddy, rocky farm track.

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It’s tough going but eventually we’re out on a decent road again. How can Spain have so many roads that lead nowhere. By 1230pm we’ve done a poxy 10km and the pushing of the bike (or being nominated bag carrier) over this rough terrain has brought on premature exhaustion. The upside, we’ve had beautiful views.

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We decide to settle for granny ring and see what unfolds. We gradually settle into a gentle pace and our strength returns. We stop for a cheap menu of the day and then head off to Conil de la Frontera. We’re surrounded by rolling green hills, we could almost imagine we’re in England except it’s really warm and sunny. We’re enjoying the beauty and solitude when suddenly the peace is decimated by horns blaring right behind us. A van has come up behind us and moved to overtake, not realising a car was already overtaking him. We end up 3 abreast with very little room – very scary! After Conil de la Frontera we find a spot to camp – our second of wild camping. We’re on a grassy area between some houses; who knows if our neighbours will accept our presence.

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Thursday 17th March

 

Conil de la Frontera to Sanlúcar de Barrameda

 

Distance 84.79 km
Max speed 39.7 kmph
Average speed 16. 2 kmph
Total 3193.73 km

 

We really thought that someone would complain about us last night. A couple of cars slowed to have a look but we slept all night undisturbed.

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We’re on the road by 8. 30 and see loads of better camping spots, typical! We pass a lighthouse near Cala del Faro – it’s a resting place for the Hornbills on their migration from Africa.

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We handrail the coast into Roche, it looks particularly posh with its well manicured golf course. Very desirable I think. We stop for brekkie and then head to Sancti Petri- it looks like fisherman/ sailor heaven with a huge Marina.

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There’s a castle, Santi Petri, out on an island which looks very inviting. From here it’s a quick ride to Chicana de la Frontera ( we see a couple of Flamingoes en route)

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and then into Cadiz. The ride into Cadiz is rather monotonous but we have a large group of road cyclists that go passed, whooping and cheering, if only we could keep up with them.

Cadiz stands on a peninsula jutting out into a bay, and is almost entirely surrounded by water. Named Gadir by the Phoencians, who founded their trading post in 1100 BC, it was later controlled by the Carthaginians, until it became a thriving Roman port. Some of the city’s 18th century walls still stand, such as the Landward Gate. The old, central quarter of Cadiz is famous for its picturesque charm, and many of the buildings reflect the city’s overseas links. Worth a visit are the city’s Cathedral and churches of Santa Cruz and San Felipe Neri, which is famous throughout Spain as the place where, in defiance of Napoleon’s siege, the provisional government was set up with its own liberal Constitution. Other points of interest are La Santa Cueva, home to several paintings by Goya, and stately mansions such as the Casa del Almirante and Casa de las Cadenas.

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In Cadiz we visit the Cathedral Plaza, Flores Plaza and the main market. In the market Square we meet a man on a wooden bike. It’s beautifully made and the owner is clearly very proud and insists Daz has a test ride. P1080469 P1080470 P1080472 P1080471 P1080473 P1080474

Everywhere we visit now is preparing for Semana Santa. The procession route is lined with spectator stands. From Cadiz we cheat and catch a ferry to Rota.

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We stop for food in Rota and then cycle to Chipiona. Once passed the town we look for another camping site. We find a field with a secluded corner and we quietly sneak in.

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The tent is pitched in minutes but the sleeping compartment is really wet. The walls and the floor are so wet we need to get them dry before bringing in our sleeping mats and sleeping bags. Where did all the water come from? Daz says there must have been lots of condensation on the inside of the tent this morning and when we packed it away we rolled the sleeping compartment up next to the condensation – result – one very wet tent. We dry it enough that we’re content to bring in our sleeping gear. I suggest we leave the sleeping compartment unzipped to reduce the condensation but whilst this does allow more ventilation and is a much fresher temperature, in the morning the main shell is wet inside and out. Why does no one mention this on blogs? Despite this we have another comfortable night.

 

Friday 18th March

Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Lebrija

 

Distance 43.81km
Max speed 43.6kmph
Average speed 16.3 kmph
Total 3237.52km

 

This morning when we pack up we separate the sleeping compartment hoping that we can keep it away from the wet shell. We’re semi successful except when I’m inside I brush against the shell and soon water is dripping onto the inner sleeping compartment (more care required). Then we’re off to find breakfast after stopping to watch a stork and mate on their nest (they look as if they belong in Jurassic Park).

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After breakfast we pick our route round town to the main road to Lebrija. Unfortunately the ring road I’ve selected isn’t tarmac it’s gravel, sand and deep ruts in sufficient quantity for the ride to be particularly hellish.

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Daz has become increasingly fearless about his riding and thinks he can ride any terrain; unfortunately his stoker (me) begs to differ!!! Once we’re on the main road the ride to Lebrija is uneventful. At Lebrija we catch a train to Seville.

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In Seville we cycle through town to our Hostel which is in the old town. Then shower – our first since Tuesday morning – bliss. Then we’re out the door, dirty washing in hand, to find a launderette. Admin done and we go off to explore; the Cathedral, Alcazaba, the town hall and the old Bridge. The preparation for Semana Santa is in full swing. It starts on Sunday (palm Sunday) and lasts all week. Each day there will be processions!

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After some sightseeing Daz gets a haircut and me some waxing.

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