Nikki Baker

Joined August 2018
  • Day5

    Picos de Europa

    September 27, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    As we headed towards Caín we drove along the western side of the Picos de Europa on a fabulous narrow and twisting road with sheer, overhanging cliffs on one side and a steep drop on the other.

    We stopped at various lookouts but it was hard to capture the true essence of the Picos in a photo.

    The minuscule hamlet of Caín de Valdeón was our overnight accommodation and the starting point of a fantastic walk down the Cares Gorge.

    It was a good path, as long as you were OK with heights as there were sheer drops alongside the path for most of the way. Loved it!
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  • Day4

    Gawking at Gaudi

    September 26, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    One of Antoni Gaudi’s early commissions was the 1883-85 construction of El Capricho, a holiday villa in Comillas for Maximo Diaz de Quijano, a wealthy lawyer.

    It’s a small but comfortable house with each room displaying whimsical design features that related to the clients interests of music, botany & literature.

    Fun Fact: Quijano only spent 7 nights in El Capricho as he died of liver failure in his new bedroom just before the building was completed.
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  • Day4

    Santillana del Mar

    September 26, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    Stopped here on our way to the
    Picos de Europa. Main claim to fame is that it is a lovely medieval village and a short way out of town there is some prehistoric rock art. However it I found it too cutesy and tourism driven.

    What was more interesting is that the place is also known as the village of 3 lies. It is not holy (santi), flat (llana) or by the sea (del mar)!Read more

  • Day3

    San Sebestián

    September 25, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    San Sebastián was full of red carpets, with film crews and journalists trying to jostle for the best position for the film festival!

    Donostia is the local Basque name for San Sebastián and there was an interesting bit of sand art celebrating this.

    Fun Fact: A number appears above each window that overlooks the Plaza de la Constitución. This dates back to when the square was used as a bullring, with numbered spectator boxes available to rent.Read more

  • Day3

    Lekeitio

    September 25, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Picked up the rental car and did a day trip to San Sebastián. We took the minor roads and wiggled around the coast road.

    Lots of small villages and we stopped in the very pretty fishing port of Lekeitio. They have a 3-4m variation of tides here so it was interesting to see how they anchored the boats to allow for that rise and fall.Read more

  • Day2

    Weirdest bridge ever

    September 24, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    The Vizcaya Bridge connects the suburbs of Gexto and Portugalete. Built in 1893, it was the first metal transporter bridge. It is still in regular use with the gondola taking a maximum of 6 cars!

    You could walk across the top of the structure but after looking at it we chickened out and simply paid .40c to be a regular passenger.Read more

  • Day1

    Culture Vultures

    September 23, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Great to meet up with Murray after his US trip so now we have 5 days in Spain before seeing family and friends in the UK.

    Spent the afternoon in the Guggenheim. We particularly liked the permanent exhibition of Richard Serra’s gargantuan weathered steel elipses. It’s hard to describe but an amazing feat of engineering as the walls lean and straighten forming curving walls; they reverse their curvature, bulging and then receding. They are completely self supporting - nothing supports them but their own weight. Given their dimensions this seems almost impossible!Read more

  • Day7

    San Millán to Logrono

    September 21, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Some ups and downs as we headed back towards Logroño. We had a bit of a peloton going and enjoyed some kilometers of high speed cruising.

    76km, 825m climbed.

    Celebrated the end of an excellent week of cycling with an evening pinchos crawl. Logroño was still in festival mode - the place was packed and you could hardly move in the tiny streets.

    Some bars only specialized in a single dish, while others had a variety. We ate and drank extremely well until well into the early hours.

    Fun Fact: It’s quite the custom here to do huge G&Ts at the end of the evening! And very nice they were!
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  • Day6

    Quintanar to San Millán de la Cogolla

    September 20, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Got our altitude with an initial 9km climb and then rewarded with a gentle 35km drift down through a spectacular valley following the Río Najerilla.

    The winding road was in perfect condition but deteriorated as soon as it entered Basque country!

    Gryphon vultures were a constant presence soaring on the warm thermal winds in the valley. They are huge birds with enormous wing spans.

    Saw a collection of 25 original books of Gregorian chant from the 18th century at the Yuso monastery. Each beautifully illustrated and weighing 60kg each - they were big!

    80km, 945m climbed.
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  • Day5

    Ezcaray to Quintanar de la Sierra

    September 19, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Big day of climbs. Thought I was practically going backwards on the first 12km climb with a gradient of 14%. But I made it!

    Glorious scenery heading away from the Sierra de Cantabria and into the Sierra de la Demanda.

    108km and 1,950m climbing. Beers and Rioja vino tinto very well earned !

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