NEWS FROM PENNY AND MIKE

Category: Spain

  • Spain – Part 3 – Feb 2023

    NORTH-WEST COAST – GALICIA

  • Camino Day 28

    LAST 20 MILES INTO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA 2 November 2022 Starting at our campsite east of Santiago we cycled contraflow back to where we finished yesterday before cycling back the last 20 miles into the city to complete our Camino. A total of 944 miles over 28 days, an average of 34 miles each cycling…

  • Camino Days 26&27

    PORTOMARIN – A CALZADA There are several features of the Galicia which stand out. One is the greenness of the fields and grass, it is verdant and lush. Two, the small villages are unlike other Spanish villages in that they lack the play park and outside gym. Three, the forests are vast, mostly coniferous, but…

  • Camino Day 25

    SARRIA TO PORTOMARIN We couldn’t stay away from the Camino for long, it kept calling us back! So here we are after our four days off, pedalling towards Santiago de Compostela again through the beautiful countryside of Galicia which reminds us of the west country, Wales, Ireland; anywhere that gets a lot of rain.

  • Zamora

    With heavy hearts and in heavy rain we descended from the beautiful mountains on the border of Galicia and Castille y Leon, passing through the many places we had cycled along the Camino. We knew what we were each thinking, should we stay and finish the Camino, or head south and return when the weather…

  • Camino Days 23 & 24

    VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO TO SARRIA This is the border of the provinces of Leon and Galicia and straddles the Cantabrian Mountain Sierras of Ancares and Courel at a height of over 1,300 metres. At this time of year this means low cloud and almost constant drizzle. We cycled from Villafranca del Bierzo uphill for 17…

  • Camino Day 22

    PONFERRADA TO VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO Today, Friday 21 October 2022, is one month since we started cycling the Camino in St Jean Pied de Port. We have cycled 371 miles in both directions, a total of 742 miles over 22 cycling days. Today’s ride took us through the town of Ponferrada with it’s prominent castle,…

  • Camino Day 21

    ASTORGA TO PONFERRADA Lovely Astorga sits at 860 meters, from there we cycled up to the highest point of the whole Camino, 1,520 meters, to the Cruz de Ferro, Iron Cross, where peregrinos leave stones and other momentos that they have brought from home. It was windy and VERY cold. There are many reasons why…

  • Camino Day 20

    LEON TO ASTORGA The outskirts of Leon were grim -suburban sprawl and high rise monotony amid dual carriageways and lots of traffic. Eventually the Camino left the edge of the main road to Astorga and filtered into the countryside along red earth tracks. The natural vegetation of this most westerly part of the meseta was…

  • Leon

    Sadly not our favourite city, we were spoilt by Burgos and Legrono. The approach to Leon was through what seemed like miles of trading estates. There’s loads of graffiti and there’s an air that feels a bit ambivalent, the cafe staff couldn’t care whether we were there or not. The worst were the cashiers selling…

  • Camino Days 18 & 19

    SAHAGUN TO LEON Sahagun provided a lovely stopover at a free spot found on the Park4Night app with lots of shade for Jessie under the trees of a small park. The town was interesting, lots of bars and cafes with exterior walls painted with murals. We spent an evening there hoping to meet some walking…

  • Camino Days 13-17

    BURGOS TO SAHAGUN – half way to Compostella 😃🚴😃🚴 Not much phone signal on this stretch, so the last 5 days of cycling are recorded together. From Burgos there’s a steep incline on the Camino which takes you to the meseta – literally ‘big table’. It’s a plateau which is cultivated with cereal crops and…

  • Burgos

    The city of Burgos lies between Madrid and Santander, in the Castille y Leon region, and has a population of about 180,000 (a little less than Portsmouth). El Cid was born near Burgos, lots of the roads are named after him, he is buried in the cathedral. The Museum of Human Evolution was brilliant, we…

  • Camino Day 12

    BURGOS TO VILLAFRANCA MONTES DE OCA – 43 miles return From our lovely leafy campsite near Burgos, Camping Fuentes Blancas (22euros), we cycled east along the bank of the Rio Arlanzon and joined the Camino going contraflow. Unfortunately the Trail was right next to a main road for the first few miles, with lorries thundering…

  • Day 11

    Alternative route through Sierra de la Demanda and round Reservoir Uzquiza – 43 miles There were no campsites or aires along the Camino between Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Burgos, so we did a bit of a detour into the mountains where we found an aire opposite a bar where we stayed for two…

  • Camino Day 10

    Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado – 35 miles return Santo Domingo was an 11th century hermit who built a hospital, church and a bridge to aid the pilgrims crossing the Rio Oja. He also performed some miracles including bringing back to life two chickens whilst they were being cooked! Thereafter two white chickens,…

  • Camino Day 9

    SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA TO VENTOSA – 34 miles return The scenery of vineyards and olive groves has become so commonplace that we barely notice it as we cycle along. It was a hot day today, 28 degrees by 4pm, so we set off at 9am, earlier than usual, to get back for Jessie…

  • Rioja Wine Region

    AN INTERLUDE FROM THE CAMINO It’s harvest time in Rioja, so we are taking a short break from the Camino to visit Elciego and its bodega, Valdelana.

  • Camino Day 8

    LOGRONO – VENTOSA – 29 miles return This was our first warm day on the Camino. It was still cool when we set off but soon warmed up, and we returned in 22 degrees. A gentle ascending Camino trail took us around the shore of a large lake at Grajera, then on to the hillside…

  • Logrono

    It was just a 10 minute walk along the tree-lined bank of the Ebro, with the fluttering of silver and green leaves, over the pedestrian bridge, and into the city. The Museum of Rioja was worth the visit, as was the cathedral where a Michelangelo painting of Christ was hidden. But the city’s contemporary art…

  • Camino Day 7

    LOGRONO TO SANSOL return, 29 miles We are now one week into Our Camino from the French Pyrenees and have clocked just over 100 miles of the 500 mile route to Santiago de Compostella. As we are doing return journeys from and to the camper each day, we have cycled 200 miles this week. We…

  • Camino Day 6

    ESTELLA TO SANSOL return, 32 miles

  • Camino Day 5

    ESTELLA TO UTERGA return – 31 miles Penny didn’t really feel like cycling today – didn’t sleep well last night and knees are aching – but after cycling a few miles she got her mojo back. First stop was for a cafe con leche at a quaint hilltop village called Lorca. There were plenty of…

  • Camino Day 4

    Pamplona to Alto de el Perdon – 23 miles return Just a short ride today as we were only allowed 48 hours at the camper parking (Aire), so a quick there and back to the highest point locally in the direction we are travelling along the Camino. The first farmed fields of the Camino

  • Pamplona

    The capital of Navarre, one of the regions of the Basque Country. Wow! This city was a surprise! We’ve both travelled extensIvely throughout the world, including Spain, but nowhere have we seen the streets packed with generations of party-goers like we did at 5pm on Saturday afternoon. At first we felt a bit vulnerable amidst…

  • Camino Day 3

    PAMPLONA TO ZUBIRI and back – 33 miles 25.9.22 – Having spent a night in the camper at one of the Aires in Pamplona (10€) we set off to cycle along the many city cycle routes heading in the direction of where we left off two days ago near Zubiri. The cycle routes took us…

  • Camino Day 2

    CAMPING URROBI to IBANETA and back, then 2. to ERRO and back 23.9.22 – We left our beautiful green spacious campsite (22€) on our bikes late morning with the temperature 10 degrees lower than yesterday, but after a short climb we were stripping off the layers. We stopped at Roncevalles to look at the ancient…

  • Camino Day 1

    ST JEAN PIED DE PORT (France) to IBANETA PASS (Spain) and back 22.9.22 – An uphill climb most of the way from Fronton Aire where we were camping (11€) to Ibaneta on the sunniest of days. 33 miles there and back, we took the cycle and road route rather than the walking route. There was…

  • SPAIN PART 2 – To Camino or Not to Camino?

    We have been deliberating about tackling the Camino de Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage for a while now. There are many routes to the city of Compostella in north west Spain, where the apostle St James is said to be buried: the Plata or Silver route starts in Seville, the Norte or North route follows the…

  • Spain Part 1

    This was going to be called ‘Spain Completed’ but we think we might be back! Spain is such an easy place to be. Firstly, everyone is respectful of each other, the Spanish are easy going, well-mannered, polite and accommodating. They always follow the rules, which means they are predictable and reliable. We liked to watch…

  • Barcelona

    Unfortunately Penny’s cough got the better of her, so we will have to return to northern Spain another day ….

  • Benidorm – something for everyone

    Benidorm is a sprawling mass of high rise apartments and hotels, lining the coast like a ribbon of kilometre-wide architects competition to see who can produce the tallest, glossiest, uniquest building. However, not many of them were occupied when we were there over the Easter holiday. Buildings with hundreds of apartments only had a few…

  • Denia – possibly our favourite place

    Denia has such variety. It’s by the sea, tick. The coast has beaches and cliffs, tick. The coast and several kilometres out to sea is a conservation area, tick. There are small restaurants right on the shore, tick. No traffic near the shore, tick. The town has an historic centre with quaint plazas, tick, plus…

  • Valencia

    The weather became more and more like an English winter in south-west Andalucia, so we made a quick decision before the next storm to ’get the hell out of here’. The brilliant Ventusky App showed that if we could get north of Valencia we would miss the worst of the wind and rain, so that’s…

  • Sea of Plastic – no more 5 a day out-of-season for us

    Have you ever wondered where your out-of-season tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, aubergines, cucumber, lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and all the other out of season fruit and veg come from? They are more than likely from southern Spain and are grown under a sea of plastic and netting which covers the frames of the vast hothouses (greenhouses…

  • Cabo de Gata Natural Park

    In the far south-eastern corner of Spain lies the beautiful Cabo de Gata Natural Park. A volcanic area rich in geological formations of multicoloured rocks, surrounded by sand dunes and cliffs falling dramatically into the deep blue Mediterranean. We noticed a lot of ’tracks’ on the satellite map which we thought would be good for…

  • Mojacar (pronounced Mo-Hakka) – Pueblo & Playa

    If you want to leave a comment click on the date below and write in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

  • Costa Tropical

    The Costa Tropical is the coastline between the Costa del Sol and Costa Almeria – 40 miles east of Malaga, 40 miles west of Almeria and 40 miles south of Granada – the coastline of the province of Granada between Nerja and La Rabita. The most popular towns from west to east are La Herradura,…

  • Nerja – Caves, Museum and Beach & Frigiliana

    Nerja (pronounced Ner-ha) is in the province of Malaga on the easternmost coast of the province, so it is still on the Costa del Sol. It is a popular tourist town with beautiful beaches with panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline and an endless selection of hotels, restaurants and bars. In March it was just…

  • Granada & Alhambra

    The eighth-century-old site of the Alhambra was named for the reddish walls and towers that surrounded the citadel: al-qal’a al-hamra in Arabic means red fort or castle. This was all the more appropriate whilst we were visiting as we encountered another downpour of rain with Saharan red sand, the second in 10 days. If you…

  • Las Alpujarras Mountains, Sierra Nevada – Driving over Lemons country

    This area is poor, the land is barren and the weather fickle, no wonder there are so many FOR SALE signs on the roadsides. We’ve read all the Chris Stewart books: Driving over Lemons, Parrot in a Pepper Tree, Almond Blossom Appreciation Society and The Last School Bus, which are set in the Alpujarras, in…

  • Malaga – Picasso’s birth place

    PICASSO MUSEUM CARMEN THYSSEN MUSEUM MALAGA MUSEUM – archaeology & art

  • Malaga Classic Car & Fashion Museum

    A Museum with a collection of around 90 classic cars, plus displays of haute couture fashion & hats. A lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy day. We never imagined there were so many makes of car we had never heard of …

  • Costa del Sol – grey sand and orange rain

    Running from Sotogrande in the south to Nerja in the east, the Costa del Sol stretches about 100 miles along the Mediterranean, in the province of Malaga. The first most noticeable thing about the Mediterranean beaches on the Costa del Sol is the different coloured sand to that on the Atlantic coast. Here it’s a…

  • Gibraltar

    The Rock has been British longer than the US has been American, since 1713. The towering 3 mile long limestone ridge rises to 426m and looks magnificent from many miles away when the sun is shining and the sky is blue. However, it looks nondescript when it’s shrouded in cloud, with the green top of…

  • Costa de la Luz – south – Cadiz to Tarifa

    The coastline between the Portuguese border and the southernmost tip of Spain is called the Costa de la Luz – Coast of Light – renowned for mile after mile of deserted sandy beaches (apart from high summer) interspersed with rocky cliffs which stick out into the Atlantic Ocean defining bays along an otherwise straight coastline.…

  • Mountain Route from Ronda to Castellar de la Frontera, via Gaucin

    The photos don’t do the mountains of the Serrania de Ronda the justice they deserve, and words even less so. From Ronda the mountains rose steeply, devoid of vegetation, craggy rock faces enveloped us. We then traced the road along a narrow ridge with views to either side. Wild horses, larks and eagles kept us…

  • Ronda

    Sitting astride a steep steep gorge, Ronda is a town to look out from rather than at. The Puente Nuevo, new bridge, was built in the late 18th century and links the ‘old’ and ‘new’ parts of the town over the dramatic gorge which the Rio Guardalevin has made; it is so deep you cannot…

  • Cycle Rides in our First Month in Spain – 220 miles

  • MORE THINGS WE HAVE NOTICED

    Plastic rubbish is discarded in the countryside and in towns. After fiestas there are also broken bottles and other debris left in car parks, roads, plazas, which council workers later clear up. Also a lot of large beer bottles on the roadside. Dog owners are fewer in number than the UK but they tend not…