A Ride in France and Spain

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    Western Europe
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A ride from Nice to Cordoba through inland Spain.

Ready to ride out from my Sydney abode I am travelling light. 11.5kg not counting the lock and the bike. The only luggage I do not have is camping equipment because I’ll try to find Airbnb, pensiones and cabins at campgrounds.

This tour is to link up some earlier tours. One in Andalusia and one in France that ended at Nice. I’ve waited till September to avoid the intense heat of the Spanish summer.

Straight away I’m in the grape harvest season.

Google maps can be testing. The correct route is on the other side of that canal. This was a dead end.

Across the border into Spain but it is not Spain according to the locals. It is Catalonia! Yellow independence ribbons and flags everywhere.

Getting into the dry inland of Iberia in late summer there are almonds ripening on the roadsides.

Ah the indulgences you can enjoy when clocking up big days on the bike. The Spanish eat late but I need to be asleep by then so I normally buy things at the market and eat at the lodging.

The great thing about tunnels is that they cut out some of the climb. The road makers in this isolated region never expected cyclists so there is no shoulder, but the drivers were most careful to not harm me.

Stork nests.

Ah, google maps. Thank you for showing bike tourers the way through areas where paper maps have no roads at all. These tracks seem to exist only to service a vast network of wind turbines.

This should be a movie. The fog or cloud was pouring over the mountain like a river.

Arriving in old Castile. The roads in Spain are fantastic.

In a rocky, arid and mostly treeless region, huts like this, with holes in the top for smoke to get out, are lodging for herders. The rocks provide shade in the daytime and retain the day-time heat through the cold nights.

Beautiful natural scenery and wildlife. Why would you be riding along the tourist Med coast when you could be here?

Further south and the olives begin. These ancient trees are heavily pruned to give the new growth that produce the fruit.

It is fig season and there are plenty of trees along the roads.

This is a mechanised system to get water up from a deep well. The buckets are links in an endless chain. Powered by a diesel engine and geared right down the buckets tip into a spout and run into a channel to a vineyard.

Before stainless steel the wine was kept in concrete silos. Mostly tempranillo around here.

I am full of respect for the Spanish road infrastructure. It is extremely safe for cycle touring. Great signage. Very considerate and respectful drivers.

Coming into Cordoba, after 1,800km from Nice, and ner a drop of rain, my bike is filthy. All fixed for two euros in the self-serve car bike wash.

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