September 2018 - February 2020
Currently traveling
  • 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 !

  • Day4

    LaGuardia to Ezcaray

    September 18, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Big early climb over the Herrera col, then cycling through the heart of the Rioja wine area. Beautifully tended vines with grapes just ready for harvesting.

    The Sierra de Cantabria is one of the breeding grounds for White Storks and I spotted quite a number of the enormous nests that they construct on top of buildings, electricity masts and trees.

    Lunch stop in Haro and a battle with the most ancient and complicated ATM. When it finally worked, the receipt it spat out was the size of an A4 page!

    80kms and 1430m climbing.
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  • Day3

    Logroño to LaGuardia

    September 17, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Met up with my Skadaddle Espana bike tour in Logroño. It was the local festival for the start of the wine harvest. Everyone out celebrating, music, bands and frivolity.

    Logrõna is on the Camino de Santiago track along the Río Ebro and we saw plenty of pilgrims.

    Wine tasting and tour at Casa Primicia, one of the oldest wineries in Rioja with a very interesting history.

    Very hot cycling weather. Today 83km, 1550m climbing.
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  • Day1

    Pintxos Paradise

    September 15, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Basque Country is renowned for its gastronomy. In fact it has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita in the world!

    The local Pintxos may not have those stars - but what a wonderful range of fresh (substantial) appetizers. I’m not sure if I should admit that I felt completely at ease (as a solo traveller) standing in the bar eating my Pintxos selection accompanied by a couple of glasses of the local Rioja wine!

    Disturbing Fact: The Basque idea of a wine spritzer is ‘Kalimotxo’ - a mix of red wine and coca cola. Best not to dwell on this!
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  • Day1

    More Bilbao

    September 15, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Lovely to walk around - locals enjoying their Sunday. Came across impromptu dancing on the river esplanade. Families picnicking. Some mini festival in the main park. Generally a city at ease with itself and not packed with hordes of visitors.

  • Day1

    Gazing at the Guggenheim

    September 15, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Words don’t really do it justice - amazing architecture from Frank Gehry.

    Jeff Koons’ iconic ‘Puppy’ stands as a sentinel at the entrance.

  • Day1

    Basque-ing in Bilbao

    September 15, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    I’ve not visited the Basque area before so it’s a bag of surprises. My senses are expecting to hear and see a language with some familiarity to other European languages - but Basque (or Euskara) is ‘a language isolate’. It is one of the oldest languages and is believed to one of pre Indo-European dialects that existed in Western Europe before those other languages arrived.

    Euskara is also one of the most difficult languages to learn as it is not related to any other language.

    Luckily signage is also in Spanish and English as otherwise I’d being doing a lot of Google translate.

    ‘jatetxe’ (restaurant)
    mesedez - please
    eskerrik asko - thank you
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