Friday, April 29, 2016


Day 1 of 'Hills Training' and I thought I was spent. We chugged up the long but steady incline for 17km towards Ronda at about 8km/hr in almost our lowest gear. Little did I know there was worse to come. Thankfully Tim found us an amazing camp-site just north of Gaucin. Friendly locals had no problems with us using the 'reserve' as they picked mushrooms and it had a great view.

Gaucin (one of the Pueblos blancos = White Villages)

Hate to say it but 'the photos don't do it justice' was definitely the case with the scenery as we rode the next morning into Ronda. Ronda was perhaps a little touristy for us, we only spent the afternoon exploring, skipping most of the old buildings to spend most of the time looking at the gorge and bridge which separates the town - spectacular.

Sunday we continued on with most of the day riding through the undulating hills of the Sierra de las Nieves - the scenery was stunning and helped to take our minds off the ongoing hills. It was today that we met and exchanged stories/advice with more cyclists we met on the way... some crazy Russians, French, Dutch, US and even an Australian. Lots of stops at various viewpoints or 'miradors' (lookouts) and a reservoir, we eventually made it to El Chorro. We were looking forward to doing a tour of the Caminito del Rey the following day but apparently it closed on Mondays!??

Spring flowers everywhere!

The Caminito del Rey is a massive hydroelectric facility that is now primarily a tourist attraction as the walk has been built between a gorge about 100m above the river below.

Monday was probably our hardest hills day yet. Yes we have both used our lowest gear - multiple times. We even did some walking/pushing late in the day knowing that tomorrow would involve more. Thankfully when we reached the car-park of the El Torcal nature reserve we locked our bikes and hitched a ride up with some Polish tourists. This was by far worth it! Tim was in his element with all the pancake limestone rock formations. Hitching a ride back down was easy and we set off for a camp-site.

More hills brought us to Ventas de Zaffaraya for lunch and Alhama de Granada late the next day. We looked at the deep gorge from the tourist info centre at Alhama de Granada and decided our time was better spent soaking in the natural hot springs bath built into the river. This was the next best thing to having a real shower before settling into a well-used camp-site.

Today we have continued our journey through the rolling hills and have arrived at the outskirts of Granada staying with Jurgen, our WarmShowers host for 2 nights. Tim quickly jumped at the to help and trimmed Jurgen's ivy vine and mowed his lawn!

Granada was a huge day off the bike. We had some hassles getting tickets to the Alhambra (they don't accept Australian credit cards...strange for a massive tourist attraction!) Then we almost missed it due to the the reliability of Spanish public transport...should have ridden our bikes! Apart for thousands of tourists we were overwhelmed by the amazing details in the architecture and loved the gardens of the Alhambra. The afternoon we walked and walked around the rest of the city before going to a flamenco show and enjoying real 'tapa' experience late into the evening.

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