Spanish Figary & Other Stories

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Day 19 Fri April 15

Killing Snakes on a Good Friday

I was packed up and leaving when I snuck up to the hatch to return my keys not wanting to face down the nun again. She was on the ball though and surprised me, offering me the chance to stay another night. I passed. I've seen enough.

I had a coffee before leaving town and was amused at just how much talking was going on. Yesterday must have been very interesting! As I was rolling out of town I passed what must be some kind of staging area for the band and participants in the parades. I was amused to see a Roman Centurion stepping out to smoke while yapping on his mobile phone!

Not the most inspiring of roads. And not the right one either! ^_^ Maybe I'm getting a bit too laid back

I set off and unbeknownst to myself I was going wrong. Purely my own fault. The Via Verde terminated (or started, depending on perspective) in Marchena so I had yesterday's route that went on to the far rest area and I'd plotted a new one this morning and somewhere along the lines I got confused and picked the wrong one! I was supposed to be heading towards Carmona to pick up a marked bike path but instead I was heading off wrong ^_^

Paradas was the first little town and I got there just as everyone was gathering for the parade. I had a bit of a look around but I've had enough for now. On I went.

The countryside is OK but there's snakes on the road!


Arahal was next, a town with some very old Roman ruins and what looked like a fine old church from a distance but I couldn't get close to it on the narrow streets with all the people. It was here that I realised my directional error. It only took me about 15km ^_^

I set off again on a very long, straight and hot road. This didn't suit me at all so when I came across a backroad……. Can't say no to a backroad, can I?
That connected up to another long, empty road that delivered a headwind to fight against too. At least the road delivered entertainment in the form of numerous long "snakes" of tar used to conceal cracks in the surface. With no traffic to bother me I alternated between avoiding the serpents or trying to run over all of them! Great fun!

Big, long snakes. (Photo enhanced to do justice to the colours)

More bumpy cross country roads delivered me up to another long straight one this time made interesting by roadworks.

I finally reached El Viso del Alcor (and the bike path) and headed for a rest area or park on the edge of town. A big space with lots of trees it had some picnic tables scattered around. A perfect spot for some lunch. Unfortunately, there was also a foul stink in the air. Hungry and needing food and not wanting to risk not finding more shade I plumped for the least smelly table and ate and read. A horse from a neighbouring field wandered over to say hello. He was curious, but shy. Possibly hungry too judging by the way he was eyeing up my tortillas. I gave him one but he was hesitant.

Dull road or back road? No contest!

I rolled on again glad to leave the smell behind but my road was almost pure sand for a while. That was tough!

Seeing markings for a Via Verde I checked my app to see that it wasn't on it, despite CT showing it as a cycle path. It wasn't in great condition but I managed. It brought me towards Alcalá de Guadaíra past scorched plants and dehydrated cacti but also a lot of rubbish. This road is clearly used a lot for fly tipping. I felt uneasy.

There's always something interesting along the side of the road

I was getting closer to Sevilla but without a campground I was heading to Dos Hermanas where I could camp.

Ahhhhh. Spanish towns! (Enhanced for colour)

The town didn't make the greatest of impressions being quite busy and not terribly bike friendly but the campground was friendly with a "tent" alley for people in tents.

Signs indicated that this was a Via Verde. It wasn't on my map. And this part sure wasn't easy!

But it gets better and now there's olive trees

There were some very interesting trees, bushes and roots. Surreal. Unfortunately, often surrounded with rubbish.

There's already quite a few cyclists here already.
Now that I've realised that it's Easter the plan is to pass it exploring Sevilla.

Getting closer to Sevilla and the street furniture became a whole lot more interesting! I loved this despite thinking it was completely useless…. until I saw the young lads avoiding the sun

Day 19 Friday April 15
Marchena to Dos Hermanas 71 km Total KM 975
Min Meters 32, Max Meters 127
Total Climb 583, Total Descent 565
Min Temp 17 Max Temp 36 Ave Temp 30

CycleTravel here

Strava Here

The Towns Along the Way
Greater Sevilla
And the map up to now.....

Screenshot 2023-01-27 2.33.44 PM.png
Days 20, 21, 22 April 16, 17, 18 Sevilla

A bit like The Eagles sing .... "You can check out but you can never leave....."

Once upon a time many, many years ago I brought my young niece into a toy shop to get her something she liked for her birthday. Oh dear! It was not my finest moment! Spoiled for choice the poor child was driven demented. First this, then that, but wait, what about that over there? And this! And that! It was too much.

Take the stress out of that scene and it's a lot like Sevilla.

Sevilla is just amazing! And I'm spoiled for choice trying to describe it all. It could be a book all, on its own.

I don't know what it is ...... and I don't care. Just one of many fabulous buildings in the Parque de María Luisa, a park that is huge but intimate, busy but secluded.


I had no reason to come to Sevilla other than it's associated (in my head at least) with oranges and orange trees are one of the most wonderful sights in my world. I knew nothing else about Sevilla......

There are big roads through the Park but also smaller ones and we can still wander off and sit on the grass in the golden sun or under a tree.

Now I know it's a port city - but look at where it is!!
I know it's the hottest city in (mainland) Europe - It's last recorded snow was in 1954! and that it has two football teams, both in the top league and neither have won the league since the first half of the last century. I can understand why. Sevilla is the last place in the world to go to feel competitive.

What I came to see. An orange tree! They are everywhere! A Spanish Podcast I'm using to learn has a story about a rare disease that is sweeping through the trees! I can't put into words the intense, deep satisfaction and contentment that these trees and their green and orange colouring bring upon me.

Sevilla is overwhelming but not in the sense of being swept up in a maelstrom - it's far calmer, far more relaxing than that.

Sevilla is beautiful. A bright blue sky and beaming sun helps. Orange trees help. All the beautiful and varied buildings from through its history help. The river, pleasingly green helps. All the parks and plazas help.

It's a beauty of parts.

Here is the dilemma of Sevilla in two photos...... The "wide view" (yes, I know it's not wide enough ^_^ ) loses all the detail......

And the detail loses the scale of the overall building. But look at that detail!

And the killer is that my photos just won't do the place justice. It's next night to impossible to try and photograph many of the buildings - they're just too damn big. Go back far enough and the detail is lost. Zoom in on the detail and the scale is lost. Some of the parks are just too big to fit in a photo. A photo will show a great tree, or some flowering bushes, or some people stretched out on the grass, or the ever present orange trees but it will not capture the effect of all of these together.

As complaints go it's a pretty good one.

The colours! And a Pony & Trap mixing it in the traffic. There's a calmness that can be felt, that seeps into us.

Approaching by bike from Dos Hermanas there is little warning of what I'm letting myself in for.
One moment I'm on a poor road with a lot of traffic, then merging with a big road with even more traffic and discovering there's a bike path for me. Then I'm cycling along through typical suburban scenes - here's a Lidl, there's a Burger King and as I twist around looking for a big M I see a glorious old house that is drop dead perfect.

And this is the start of Sevilla.

And, of course, there's a río. But this río reflects the life of the city. It is used by canoeists and paddle-boarders. (There even seems to be a group of paddle-boarders who bring their dogs out with them! ❤️ ) Of course, there are cafés and restaurants alongside and paths along the shore for walking, cycling, scootering or just sitting down. A few very fancy yachts are tied up so that I can be appalled. There's a tennis court right on the bank with glass walls to stop the balls going for a swim. The río is for everyone and everyone uses it.

There is a huge park that I lose all track of time in.
Orange trees!!! Everywhere
Beautiful, beautiful buildings.
Pedal carriages, horses and carriages
Sculpted and wild, seats and walking, kiosks, lottery tickets, the soft hum of people talking, birds - lots of them, ponds, sun and shade, blue and green, flowers, insects, hot sun cool shade, glamour and style and "normal" the birds!! The variety of them!! So happy! I'd be happy too!

I've been in some fabulous parks but few induce a feeling of total calm quite like the Parque de María Luisa.

Cycling is easy in Sevilla although the flaneur needs to be wary of the scooters. There are lots of scooters!

Calm. I think that's what "Sevilla" translates to. And that's such a bizarre description because at the same time it's a maelstrom of activity.

It's busy. There's cars and buses and trams and cyclists and scooterists (so many scooterists) and pedestrians. And if that wasn't enough lots of horses and carts.

There's noise, lots of noise but it doesn't confound, it doesn't overwhelm. The streets are wide and long and straight so sound dissipates or gets lost in the trees. There are lot of trees.

Step into a park and urban sound almost disappears. Nature sounds take its place.

The architecture is classic and often intensely detailed, the kind of detail that in some places screams for attention but here it's subtle, confident that you'll notice. One building contrasts in style and colour so much with its neighbour that it could be awful, clashing, discomforting - but here? Here it just works.

There's a lot of "tagging" graffiti and political commentary in Spanish urban areas. There's also other graffiti that speaks rather than shouts

There is so much to see that walking a block can take a day - and I still won't have seen it all. I'll walk around a Plaza or a park just one more time and see things I haven't noticed on the first two, three, four laps. Not small things, not insignificant things. Prominent things!

There are clearly a lot of tourists here but I would hesitate to describe Sevilla as a tourist town. It is wonderfully lived in. It's a city run for the citizens that just happens to be attractive to tourists. It makes people watching all the more interesting.

Big parts of the old Town around the Cathedral have been commandeered for the Easter celebrations but that doesn't interest me at all.

This old part of the town has the narrow twisty streets, the small stores, the bars, cafés and restaurants and oodles of atmosphere. For some reason in these narrower parts, the more compact parts, is where I feel conscious of my aloneness. But there are also Plazas around here, big and small where I can sit down and watch all of Sevilla life happening around me.

Time means very, very little in this town.

There is something very "liveable" about the place

It is a great place to get around on a bike and to push if that seems too fast. Excellent, but busy cycle paths weave all around the city. It's pretty flat and the sun always seems to shine. I can cycle along the river or walk or just sit and watch the water flow slowly by. People gather along the river after school, after work. And in the parks and the Plazas. They eat and play and relax. It is very calming to experience.

I have very few photos of Sevilla because I just don't have the skills to capture it. Truth be told, there's something here that can't be caught on a camera. It's a place to be.

There's no doubt that clearly Sevilla reminds me of México City.

There are some physical similarities in terms of buildings, Plazas and parks but the real connection lies in the soul of the place. That soul has such a presence that even I, passing through here for a few days, don't just feel but am actually drawn into. To be in Sevilla is not to be in a city it's to become a part of a city.

To be continued..........
Days 20, 21, 22 April 16, 17, 18 Sevilla

A bit like The Eagles sing .... "You can check out but you can never leave....." Part II

Other than the city the campground was an interesting place too with a host of interesting characters.

There was the Finnish chap who got a cheap flight down to escape the cold and bought a second hand bike with plans to ride to Portugal. His first night "on the road" he rode into and stayed one night in a hostel in Sevilla, met a French girl and gave up on the cycling! ^_^

Roundabouts are artwork in Sevilla. I have no idea how tourists on motorised transport manage to take it in and not crash


There was a Swiss family who spent a few days getting organised for their own bike tour. They had arranged to buy two tandems and one bike here and brought their own trailer. The tandems were "homemade" and on closer inspection maybe not the most suitable modes of transportation and were incompatible with the trailer. These facts were just a bump in the road. The noise emanating from their part of "Tent Alley" was full of laughter and excitement. They were finally heading off the same day as me full of excitement. If I could bottle that excitement I could pass it around and everyone would be heading off on bikes, suitable or not.

Heading into the twisty, narrow streets of the old town. So much warmer than Toledo!

A guy on a motorbike had the noisiest sleeping pad ever. I'm pretty sure he woke himself up several times every night. When he moved in the next motorcyclist had the same issue.

It's not a place for walking around with your head down. Interesting, and often, fantastic views appear out of nowhere

There was a German girl who didn't leave her tent the first two days I was there. When I finally saw her I asked if she was ok. It turned out that a bank machine had swallowed her card on Friday - and of course she had to wait until Monday to get it back. She had set off towards Africa just as Covid had hit and had spent months at a time living in a forest. Truthfully, I think her forest dwelling may have had an effect. for she was, to put it kindly, a tad eccentric. Ferries to Morocco had recently resumed and she was heading there.
She had a very bizarre attitude to hills - she hated and avoided them. I'm mad, mad in its most perjorative sense, apparently, for willingly climbing hills.

Even the ruins are pretty stylish! Look at all those bird nests!

The first couple of nights a rather odd chap was blasting music from his car until quite late. My kind of music but I couldn't fathom his attitude to his fellow campers.

The Cathedral. Where the tourists congregate. It barely registered with me. I'm a bad, bad tourist (and probably destined for Hell! ^_^)

Tuesday morning I was nowhere near ready to leave Sevilla but I left anyway. Like lots of places so far I'll be back. Sevilla has fired up my Mojo for exploring! What a wonderful discovery!

The person who approved these designs in Holland would probably be sacked! I think they're great!

Sometimes the little details are a wonderful discovery. This curious metal plate was placed on the corner of a building

I had to enhance this because of all the sun and shade in the wrong places, but the colours are authentic. I'm sure the reality would be hell but what a building to live in! ^_^

More Photos here:
Day 23 Tuesday April 19

Freewheeling Figaries

I was up early with enthusiasm to get on the road but my late departure reflected my lack of desire to leave Sevilla. Conflicted!
The excitement emanating from the Swiss zone as they prepared for their own adventure was palpable and contagious. A British bikepacking couple had arrived in from Malaga and had a week to explore. Very minimalist setup.

I had thought about but dismissed taking a figary into Portugal. I'm making progress with my Spanish and was afraid of setting that back by introducing a different language into the mix. I am not the greatest multi-tasker in languages.
That left pretty much two directions to go - head for Granada and mountains or head for the sea.

In truth, leaving Sevilla was quite difficult and I was finding it hard to drum up the energy needed to explore my options.
There was a time when mountains would never have featured on any of my options but these days anything is possible. As I packed up I chose the sea option - Cadiz it is!

Within minutes I was out in the country.....


It took less than 5 minutes to get onto a backroad and leave big city life behind. It was cooler and windier than the last few days but very sunny and bright. On this side of the city too I came across regular flytipping spots which are a real shame. In all these cases it looks like commercial dumping, a lot of it building related. This isn't people driving out with a sack or two of refuse, it's a well loaded van.

Roadside vegetation is a bit dry and gnarly...... and atmospheric

I arrived in the town of Los Palacios y Villafranca and set about eating lunch in minimal shade in the park. It was while eating that a subtle tug on my mind started to evolve into something stronger.
There are a few things I learned about Sevilla while I was there. One, is that it's the warmest city in Europe! Another is that it's a port city! But it's a long, long way from the sea, I hear you cry! Yes, it is, but access is provided by the Guadalcavir river and some canals. It makes no sense to me but then lots of geographical things make no sense to me ^_^
I like rivers and the Guadalquivir runs through a National Park on its way to the sea. Why hadn't I thought of that as a route? The river was now away to the west of me but I was pretty sure I'd catch it if I turned west. Besides, a lot of my day today would feature service roads running beside big roads. I might see a ship or two on the river in the west! West it was! Hit the sea, turn left and I'd eventually make it to Cadiz.

Besides, saying "Guadalquivir" is fun!

Be careful what you wish for! There's not many roads in the Las Marismas marshlands

I turned off with a bit more excitement, a bit more adventure in store for me. For one thing there were no camping spots where I was going.

Be careful what you wish for!
I got lots of adventure in the form of rough surfaces but I also got brutal crosswinds and sometimes headwinds as I negotiated a series of dykes laid out in a big grid pattern. Like a really bad day in Holland! Instead of skirting the Las Marismas marshlands I was now heading right into them. Some research would have illuminated the fact that there aren't many roads through here!

Exciting it certainly wasn't, draining it certainly was but I knew I had to cross this area and then I'd hit the river. I grumbled and got on with it. Surprisingly, there was a bit of traffic but in almost every case it turned off before we met.
It's farming country and John Deere is the tractor of choice in these parts.

The Guadalquivir río to my right and lots and lots of fields to my left

The one good thing about it was that I got to test out my new toy. I picked up a solar panel in Decathlon in Dos Hermanas. I'd left my old one behind in a hostel in México since I was heading into a lot of rain for several months. This one is more powerful and, in testing, is working very well. There's more wild camping in my future and not all campsites have electricity (without an extra charge) so a bit of self sufficiency is no bad thing. Given that it's warmer now and the country is so diverse I'm stopping a lot which makes my Son dynamo less effective.

The highlight of the slog was passing some small lakes and being greeted by the sight of dozens, if not hundreds of flamingoes. Some of them were pink! Maybe they were storks! Maybe not such a Dutch scene after all.

I approached the river stealthily and eventually met it. A time for celebration and a bite to eat under a tree admiring the wide water.

It might not look like much but this was bliss for me. Water! A river! My hope of seeing a a ship or even a boat slowly died. This was the only one I found!

I continued on through interesting country watching the river for a ship or a boat or even a canoe as time went on ..... but there was nothing.

Not surprisingly the land around here was pretty flat and farmed. Lots of work was going into preparing for irrigation. Basically each field had a network of pipes being laid that would carry water to all points where strategically placed sprinklers would distribute the life giving fluid. In some fields farmers were busy connecting the pipes while in others the pipes were being unloaded from trailers and left ready for connecting. As a non farming person I found this very interesting. Too often we don't think of all the labour behind what we eat.

Looking back..... The río is on the left here and one of those unusual little buildings can be seen. The trees were a welcome windbreak

Stick me beside water and I'm happy! I had to laugh at myself. For all my time in Sevilla the thought never crossed my mind to follow the river. When I finally reached it I had clocked up 65km ^_^. Still worth it, though

Another thing that I noticed was that there were regular, uniform buildings that seemed to be storage sheds for farmers and their equipment. Each of these seemed to be in two "halves" where one side was living space and the other for equipment. I don't think anyone lives in these anymore but I was hard pressed to guess how old they were. There was certainly no evidence of life but lots of big open doors displaying the contents - there was a lot of work going on.

Then the río widened into an estuary. The wind really picked up. My hopes rose for a ship sighting but were dashed once again.....

It wasn't easy cycling despite the flatness - the gravelly surface and swirling winds kept me on my toes but there were often stretches of lovely trees alongside the river that made it very pleasant.

I arrived into a designated park area - Pinar de la Algaida, a big, big space filled with big, big trees - and set about looking for water. A couple of old boys were resting up with their old bikes and we had a bit of a chat. Everyone assumes I'm doing "the Camino" even when I'm clearly heading in the opposite direction to Santiago (maybe they instinctively know my appalling sense of direction!). Watered up I wandered around a little. The first part is actually a huge recreation area with a toilet block (closed), a couple of sections with picnic tables (very generously spread) a kid's play area as well as hiking and bicycling paths. A perfect place for a wild camp and no sign (that I can see) that prohibits it. There are lots of trees, big, fabulous, high trees but also lots of bushes. Concealment shouldn't be a problem.

There were some wonderful trees in the park.... with birdies on top!

Still bright, it was far too early to pitch the tent so instead I wandered around to get a feel for the place and picked out a table to cook up my dinner. A few people passed paying me no attention but I did notice that a lot of dog walking was going on with dogs running free and exploring like I would if I had two extra legs.

Later, as the sun was setting (the tall trees made it darker) I wandered along the trail and dived off into some bushes. I'd be pretty well hidden from all directions (the main path on one side but a few walking trails in all directions).

I wasn't comfortable though. The ground underfoot was bone dry and covered in crispy twigs and brittle leaves. Perfect firestarter material. There are already a few fires burning in parts of Spain and some of them no doubt have been started by plonkers like me. I've no intention of starting a fire but anyone who catches a hint that I'm here won't know that.

I'm pretty confident that a lot of stealth campers are not as well hidden as they think and are often seen. So long as there is nothing threatening or disrespectful about their pitch I think most people are happy to leave them alone. If I lived here and spotted a stranger camping out on this spot I wouldn't be happy.

This travelling on a bike is great!

I moved back to one of the picnic areas and weaved amongst the bushes behind it, finding a far more appropriate spot (and probably better hidden) to camp in. As I quickly built the tent in the almost dark I was being consumed by the local mossie population so I had a quick pee and dived in.


Day 23 Tuesday April 19
Dos Hermanas to Pinar de la Algaida Wild Camp 78 km Total KM 1053
Min Meters -55, Max Meters 0
Total Climb 244, Total Descent 252
Min Temp 16 Max Temp 30 Ave Temp 23
(Wild camp (36.87783° N, 6.28956° W))

CycleTravel Here

Strava Here

The Town along the way

Los Palacios y Villa Franca
Day 24, Wednesday April 20

And Back to the Atlantic we go!!

It's a testament to my stealth camping skills (and my innate lack of direction) that I lost my bike and gear this morning! I decided to breakfast at one of the picnic tables and having carried a couple of panniers to the closest one through a maze of bushes I got lost on my way back for Roccado and the rest of my gear!
I coffeed and couscoused and set off with a building excitement. I haven't seen the Atlantic since the northern coast of Colombia and now I'm within reach of it again on the southern coast of Spain! The Atlantic! My "home" ocean! Bizarre as it may seem, even though I knew I was heading for the coast it was only this morning that I realised that meant the sea! Reality meets concept!

Any urge to rush was soon quelled by the lovely park I still had to cycle through. It was lovely! All the trees and morning light. About 5km of quiet, calm magic. It was bloody cold though!

What a delightful way to start the day. I'd a leisurely, but fresh, breakfast then got to cycle past loads of lovely trees all the while knowing that the ocean was just down the road!


On the map it's called the Farm Colony la Algaida - not a town, but a colony! It had a café though and a friendly bartender for another coffee and a bathroom break.
I set off again and forgave the brutal wind when I started to pick up the scent of the ocean. Fuel for the legs! I was also trying to figure out some dates and I think I'm in Spain a month today! A month!! Where has the time gone? Spain seems to operate on a different clock to other places.
(As it turns out I was a bit confused. I arrived in Spain on the 23rd. Still, though, it was an interesting little mental figary).

I've been enjoying the Spanish roundabouts, normally well decorated with plants or interesting statues. But today? Today they have boats in the roundabouts!

Bonanza was the appropriately named first town that I came to and gave me my first lighthouse. Lighthouses are special buildings for me. There's something so solid about them. And they are so important. When I discovered that each one has an individual light pattern as well as colour scheme I was amazed. These days communication is easy and fast. How much effort went into setting up and maintaining that concept? There's just something so solid and secure about them.
A pig, a pig I was, basking in premier grade poop! With no more trees the sun was blasting (still cool though) but it was only in the ha'penny place compared to my smile!

My first lighthouse in a while. If that wasn't enough, a Palm tree too! As odd as it seems, spying a lighthouse came as a wonderful shock. I hadn't thought about it at all. ^_^

An open beach with lots of small boats pulled up out of the water led to a long, golden beach stretching along the coast that was completely empty of people.

A lonesome Palm tree. An explosion from the sand. Lighthouses. Palm trees. And the sea. Sometimes, I'm so easily pleased!

I continued along to Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

This is a pretty important spot for long distance travellers being the point where Magellan set off on the first ever circumnavigation of our globe! He must have flown off because the place is as windy as Hell!
There were some spectacular houses along the road but hardly a sinner out. It's not exactly tourist season and the wind is fiercely strong and cuts like millions of tiny razor blades. But I'm at the ocean - not a feck was given!

It seems that from here along the coast there is a series of towns stretching along, growing closer to each other. In between towns I spied a picnic table close to the beach but sheltered by trees. Some coffee would be nice and a bite to eat too!
A Husky joined me for a minute on the table and then rejoined his boss for a coastal walk and I set off again. There was a time that a big husky leaping onto my picnic table would have been the start of a traumatic experience but I like to think I've learned to read dogs a bit better on this trip and there was no malice in him. Curiosity, to be sure, and my only concern was that he might burn himself on my Trangia.

I joined a short ViaVerde (VV Entre Ríos, a whopping 16 km long!) and was pulled inland away from the sea. I wasn't disappointed - I had some fabulous wild flowers to compensate for the loss of the blue and soon I'd arrive at the sea again - and lime a goldfish I'd get excited all over again!

The "green" way was full of wonderfully coloured wildflowers. This was possibly the "liveliest" stretch of the day!

I arrived into Chipiona and things improved even more. A proper marina where I could park up and wander around just looking at boats.

It's funny. People are amazed at where we can go on our bikes, the notion of climbing on a bike on one side of a country, never mind a continent, and cycling to the other being something that they struggle to comprehend. Me? I look at boats, especially sailing boats, and am amazed at where they could take me. I can be lost for hours imagining the journeys. Even barges. Stick me beside the Rhine and I'm pretty close to Heaven.

One interesting thing I noticed is that none of the boats had a "home" port. I'm used to seeing the boat's name and beside it the home port. It gives my imagination fuel.

Not really my kind of boat (but I wouldn't say "No!" ^_^, but she could have ben named for me ^_^.

Scorched on the outside but chilled on the inside I explored the town a little. They seemed to be setting up for a fiesta with marquees and mobile bars. Truthfully, with the ocean just over there the town held little interest for me.
There is a stunning church, though. As I stood there being buffeted by the wind (it was hard to stand upright in the gusts!) I tried to imagine what it was like to build the thing! Amazing architecture to be sure but some amount of strength and bravery to raise it up!

We get a better class of street art in this part of the country!

Now that I'm on the coast I don't have to worry too much about camping spots - there's a pretty regular supply of campgrounds which I presume are open. With no pressure I could just be.
I moseyed along the coast and got a taste for how the public beaches (they're all public, it seems) are set up. I found it very interesting.

A bitterly cold beach town with an amazing church. (Chipiona)

Each beach, it seems, is separated from the others by dunes and wild vegetation and is pretty self contained. There are toilet blocks (nearly all closed today) as well as drinking water (and sometimes for dogs too!) as well as (cold) showers to wash all that sand off. The bigger ones will have some type of bar/restaurant/concession stand and there is always ample parking nearby. There are often wooden walkways to the beaches or even over the wildlands between beaches. They are really set up to be used by anybody and everybody.
There are regular boards up with rules and no camping (with a tent symbol) is pretty prominent despite the fact that there are often campervans parked up. I imagine that in summer these beaches are packed but today I have them all to myself!

The "wildlands" between individual beaches. I was very impressed with the set up, how well cared for everything was, the facilities and the simple fact that they were accessible to all.

I also came across a traditional method of catching fish that dates from Roman times. In a nutshell a grid is built of low walls in the shallow parts of the sea. As the tide goes out fish are trapped in the grid and simply plucked out. It's still done today!

I found a campsite and checked in, showering, doing some laundry and cooking up dinner. Then, for dessert I walked down to the beach to watch the sun sink majestically into the Atlantic. Google tells me I'm at the Gulf of Cadiz. How exotic does that sound? ^_^
The happiest bike tourist in the world!

Sun setting on the Gulf of Cadiz. I must be the luckiest ****** ever!

Day 24 Wednesday April 20
Wild Camp to Playa de Aguadulce 42 km Total KM 1095
Min Meters -12, Max Meters 56
Total Climb 342, Total Descent 334
Min Temp 11 Max Temp 30 Ave Temp 19

CycleTravel Here

Strava Here

The Towns along the way
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Not bad going for an armchair cyclist Hobbes :whistle:

Seriously though, it is great to read and see the lovely pictures, must be some great memories for you going back over your trip. I haven't fully caught up yet with all your entries, I know, I know I'm a bad travelogue reader:laugh:, however, I'm going to sit down and read some more now.

Thanks, Chris ^_^

i'm totally spoilt!

I'm getting to write up this trip. Now I have a Chromebook and everything is so much easier, especially with decent Internet.
I've got my "old" Google account back and that is set up on my phone for Google Photos so every day I get a "this day last year...." or "this day two years ago...." Today was Colombia, yesterday México. ^_^
And I'm s l o w l y reading the TBBT (and able to look at all the extra photos I have).

The fact that I've taken notes (and some voice memos) have really helped to embed the memories. I didn't do anything like that for my first few tours and regret it now. At the risk of sounding like a broken record I heartily recommend it to everyone.

Take your time! ^_^ This is another long one! And witht he way things have gone over the past few weeks it may not be finished! ^_^

Thank you for taking the time to reply
I too am loving reading your travelogue, have you got more pics of your camping set up and what equipment do you carry?

I have bazillions of pics ^_^ However, I don't think that CC could survive me posting them all without melting down the servers.
I'll make a point of including some more if I can, probably as an extra "look where I camped!" post ^_^

From the old thread
Bike 'n' stuff
Gear List:

Other than leaving the Xtra-Wheel trailer behind in México that's pretty much what I have. Too much for Spain but sure, what am I going to do with the extra? I'll need it again some day!
I'm thinking large coffee table picture book @HobbesOnTour . 😃

You and your books! ^_^
My photos certainly aren't of a standard to be published.
And I don't have the slightest urge to publish one.
As I've said before, these Travelogues are for me. To be able to go back and read where I was, what I was feeling and thinking, backed up with photos that illustrate all that is a great gift for myself.

(Someday, though, when I'm more settled, I will be creating some picture books - but they'll be for me.)

I have had an idea knocking around my head for one specific book for several years, involving a kind of bike touring but that would require a whole lot of research and I'm not in the right place nor do I have the time to do it properly.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I'd half an idea to write semi professionally about following in the footsteps of Don Quixote but the realities (and zero preparation) quickly flummoxed me.

One thing I'm picking up from reading TBBT is that the role of editor is crucial. Never mind the typos and misspellings, most of which I can blame on typing it all up on a phone, the occasional repetition, but there's too many instances of paragraphs that made perfect sense to me at the time but which must be a struggle for anyone else to understand. Grand for something like this but not a standard for publishing.

Anyways, I'm glad you seem to be enjoying them!
Day 25 Thursday April 21

Slowing Down at the Seaside

When I arrived at the campground yesterday evening I had a little snigger that someone had left their clothesline behind them. I had thought of swiping it but someone else beat me to it. My sniggering came back to bite me on the ass though because I went off without mine!
I set off with no plans. At all. Cadiz is the next big place and there's an option of catching a ferry to get there! A boat! That's from El Puerto de Santa Maria and that's only a hop, skip and a jump down the road. I could probably have made it last night but what's my rush?

Inland it may be but boring it was not

My route today was mainly inland and I didn't have any problem with that. Flat, but interesting country with lots of plants and a surprising number of donkeys. Is it a sign of madness or a sign of contentment to stop and have a chat with a donkey?

Boring to some but I was feeling very contented


I arrived in El Puerto de Santa Maria at about 2 pm with all the time in the world. It was quiet at that time so I could explore easily enough, finding the huge bullring and navigating from there.

El Burro. Lots of donkeys today

It's a port city and they are always interesting. There's always great wealth on display but there's always a seedier part too. Another Spanish town with ruined buildings next to "normal" ones. It also has a castle! With straight, flat streets that are a bit wider than other medieval centres it's a bit harder to time travel.

See? Interesting!

Pushing the bike around a woman stopped me to ask me where I was from. Then, confusingly, started asking me about my flag as if it was the Irish flag. My flag is a Mexican roadworker's safety flag, a (now sun faded) orange colour with a high Viz stripe (still incredibly effective in the dark). I understand Latinos not being familiar with a small European country's flag but in Spain?

The impressive Bullring that I used to get my bearings. It's not a very big place, but, me being me, getting lost is not difficult

I had a coffee on the Plaza to admire the wonderfully detailed church. No photo will do it justice - it requires time. The time (and a bit of walking around) revealed some dilapidation not immediately obvious. The café was closing and when the Jefe (the boss) told me I went to chug the rest of my coffee. "Tranquilo", he said with an easy smile and pointed to where I could leave my cup when finished. Spain, where time is different.

Spanish towns are very interesting. The old and the new, the ruined and the restored or preserved, the wealthy and the poor. Some streets were little stretches of fantasyland

I wandered out to a very big campsite where a very friendly assistant checked out the ferry for me. Not today, apparently, because of the wind but tomorrow was always an option. I wasn't sure whether to take a day trip or to go loaded and continue on from Cadiz and one factor was that due to weather I may be able to go over but not return (with the bike. In bad weather there's a replacement bus service with no place for bikes).

A glimpse of the castle. A big dollop of fantasism adding to my wandering

The very impressive church. Closer inspection reveals quite a lot of dilapidation


My camping spot is wonderful, a designated tent area, so very quiet, on raised terraces so I can cook comfortably and there's an onsite supermarket, very well stocked and not a ripoff like many campground stores are. Not a bad place at all!


Day 25 Thursday April 21
Playa de Aguadulce to El Puerto de Santa Maria 30 km Total KM 1130
Min Meters -7, Max Meters 58
Total Climb 387, Total Descent 287
Min Temp 12 Max Temp 31 Ave Temp 25

CycleTravel Here

Strava Here

El Puerto de Santa Maria
Days 26/27 April 22 23 Camping Puerto Santa Maria ☑️

An aborted trip to Cadiz

My first day was a washout in every sense of the word. Blustery wind and squally showers put a damper on all my plans. I got the bike washed and cleaned up though noticing a nasty bit of wear on my front rim that was replaced in México City. It's done some mileage since! And in some pretty extreme conditions. I'll need to be careful of that until I get it replaced.
The next day there was still no hope of a ferry to Cadiz so I decided to give it a shot on the unloaded bike. Cadiz is not an easy place to get to on a bike!

El Puerto de Santa Maria. Very pretty and not too big at all


I crossed the river and cycled through some glorious tidal lands then on a bike path pretty much the whole way to Puerto Real. The absolute highlight was coming across some chickens loose on the path! It was such a common sight in the Latin world and I recalled thinking it was a sight I would miss. Now I don't need to miss it!

There are a load of marshlands outside the town and this being Spain they are set up to be used and enjoyed by the people. Bike tracks, hiking trails, wooden boardwalks make it all very accessible. Wonderful.

There's a whole load of life around here. I dawdled far too long on the way out and only hunger stopped me from dawdling too much on the way back

Puerto Real is a town on the coast with beaches and boats. I lost a load of time admiring the boats ^_^

Puerto Real at 3:46 pm on a Saturday. Sometimes there can be a tangible eerie feeling to the towns

The unusual, extended Church building in Puerto Real

Two buildings, once upon a time identical.

I set off again but this is where everything got tricky.
If you look at Cadiz on the map you can see that it's actually an island connected to the mainland by three bridges but I wasn't sure which, if any, were good for cycling.
I knew the EV route entered Cadiz from the east (it terminates in Cadiz) and CT seemed to be suggesting that I could get across the "middle" bridge too. The EV option was by far the longest so I was sticking with CT.

Chickens! I can't describe the pleasure that coming across a bunch of chickens on the road brought me

Things were ok until I hit a "private road" sign but I managed to work my way around that. Then I was on an old road that petered out to a rough trail.

Yep! More chickens! Baby chicks!

Since joining the EU Spain has invested heavily in lots of new motorways and roads. Sometimes the old road replaced by a motorway is bliss for cycling because there is practically no traffic. Sometimes, though, that old road goes nowhere. And such was the case with this one.

That rough trail swung around and under twin motorway bridges getting mucky and very rough and eventually lead to ...... Nothing. I couldn't go forward without lifting the bike onto what looked like a motorway.
Back I went looking for an alternative but I couldn't see anything.

It was very frustrating - it shouldn't be this hard to get to a city. Then again, I had dawdled a lot and I wouldn't have had a lot of time to explore anyways.

I just liked seeing the exit 666!

I returned to Puerto de Santa Maria and was amused at the number of Stag parties wandering aimlessly around. I've always thought that Stag Parties in NL were a very good reason not to get married and it seems like Spain is following suit! Back to the campground hoping for fairer weather tomorrow.

Not the greatest of pictures, nor the greatest of locations as I manhandled the bike through sand and debris under two huge sections of motorway but these are crabs! Loads of the little buggers all moving around. In other places folks with buckets were trying to catch all they could.

Day 26/27 Friday/Saturday April 22/23
El Puerto de Santa Maria to El Puerto de Santa Maria 59 km Total KM 1189
Min Meters 1, Max Meters 21
Total Climb 239, Total Descent 248
Min Temp 16 Max Temp 33 Ave Temp 23

CycleTravel Here *
* To produce these I have linked my Wahoo app to Komoot and use it to generate a gpx file which I then upload to CT. (At last! Komoot is useful for something! :-)) I'm pretty sure Komoot "adjusts" the gpx track and I know that CT will so that what is presented is a close approximation of the route travelled. However, on a day like today where I was completely off grid for chunks you can be pretty sure that the mapping has been messed up. Looking at the map on Wahoo it's a lot simpler.

Strava Here
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