Leg Day

Today was the ride to Ronda, relatively short but with a mountain to climb through amazingly scenic hillside villages.

Wasn’t super steep, so we got in a rhythm and got to the top. It hurt the worst after we had to much to eat at lunch. I tried the “callos”, an Andalucian tripe stew that was good and hearty.

Checked into our campground, showered, setup tent, and then walked the 2km to Ronda, where we met up with an old friend of mine who used to be a Palm developer back in the day. He and his business partner moved to Spain, and they joined us to show us around Ronda and have some beers and catch up.

Off to bed, lots of sight seeing to do tomorrow, as we ride through Ronda again and then El Chorro to Antequera.

Bird shit in the country

I hope every day will be like today…

It started off a bit rough with a 350m climb up to a field of wind turbines with side winds so fierce we had to walk a few km of it, after being literally blown off the road a couple of times. But after that we spent most of the day riding through farmland in mostly sunny comfortable weather.

Lunch was a tuna fish sandwich with manchego cheese that we made from a supermarket and ate on the side of the road to the bemusement of a few people walking by.

We were really enjoying a section of dedicated bike lane through the country when suddenly the air was filled with white spray from a bird above us. I (Tim) ended up with the bulk of it on me. I guess it was bound to happen eventually, only the second time in my life. Blech!

The rest of the ride was enjoyable, even knowing that tomorrow’s ride to Ronda is 3 times as much climbing. We passed through Los Angeles (not that one), and climbed up to our hillside home for the evening at a lovely RV park sandwiched between pastures of sheep and cows. The campground has an on site restaurant. We were the only guests except for a few locals at the bar. Our waitress spoke only a few words of English, and we had a really fun time laughing and all trying to speak each other’s language. The food was delicious home-style cooked Spanish food; we just ordered whatever she recommended – a salad, a tasty chicken and potato dish, and a tart for dessert. Halfway through dinner, the owner spent 20 minutes figuring out how to evict two birds from inside, which we applauded.

In parts of Spain it’s been difficult to get a smile out of strangers, but in this area, we’ve encountered a lot of super friendly and welcoming people!

Everywhere seems to have a non-alcoholic beer for Steve!



Morocco spoke to me a bit more than I expected. This is a place I want to come back to and understand more of, but in a way where I can avoid all the annoying “false guides”.

We made the purposeful decision to do our own self-guided tour, and it was the absolute right decision. Rather than be encased in an air conditioned hermetically sealed bus with dozens of other tourists seeing the same things that every tourist sees, we got ourselves happily lost in the Medina; stumbled upon dead end alleys with beautiful flowers, random kitties, and friendly locals; had a whole restaurant to ourselves enjoying live music and a cous cous dish; sipped mint tea from a cafe overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar; people (and traffic) watched on Avenue Pasteur while enjoying the delicious fruit smoothies known as a panache; bought delicious pastries at random in some bakeries by just pointing at things that looked good; wandered around the Kasbah; shopped fresh strawberries and other fruit in the meandering hectic busy streets; practiced my French with various shop keepers; stumbled into a bar for a beer, where the hospitality was honest and welcoming – the bartender bent over backwards trying to understand our request and invited us to enjoy several complimentary appetizers, making us feel like an honored guest; walked along the beach with its new construction going on and with men renting camel and horseback rides on the beach.

Of course, we did get hassled by quite a few of the “false guides”, coming up to us offering friendly advice at first and then demanding money for the advice or their families. Usually a firm “no thank you” in Arabic would do the trick, but one fellow followed us walking for half a mile until Steve finally gave in and gave him the rest of our pocket change (we had no use for the local currency anyway). I feel for the situation of these folks who feel that they have to act dishonestly in order to make a living, but it does leave a small scar on this otherwise beautiful city. We knew this was the trade off for doing a self-guided tour, and it was never so annoying that we regretted that decision.

We are happy to be back in Spain tonight; though everything feels so mundane here by comparison. We’ve made the decision to take 4 days instead of 3 to get to Granada (we were going to train part of it), and camp the next 3 nights, going at a comfortable pace, as we get into more hilly terrain. We’ve both felt too rushed the past week or so, so it will be nice to take some more time to smell the roses.

(Despite how they look, these small fried fish were absolutely delicious! A mild white fish, tender and juicy. Anyone know what they are, precious?)

Los dos mares – The two seas

Tonight we are in Tarifa, a simple port town who’s main point of existence seems to be the several ferries to Morocco, one of which we will be taking tomorrow. To the west of Tarifa is the Atlantic. To the east is the Mediterranean. From now until we leave Turkey, we will be riding along the Mediterranean.

So that we could ride at a more relaxed pace today, we took the 8:40am train out of Cádiz to the next station down, a 10-minute train ride that saved us an hour of riding on dirt roads, and got us going early.

Because of the recent rain, we chose not to follow the more scenic route our WarmShowers host recommended and instead found a mostly-highway route, though we did choose to make a detour through some cute seaside towns and 1km of hiking trails along the coast in order to see some ancient Roman ruins on the beach.

We stopped for lunch at a touristy but comfortable restaurant on the coast and ordered the paella. We know it’s not an authentic paella, but it was very tasty and much better than the average one from the states. Steve made me eat all the shrimp that had eyes; to be honest they were too much work to shell.

When we started out on the hiking trails, we came around a corner and found a lighthouse overlooking Africa. I have to admit that I took out my phone to figure out what were those mountains across the sea, and I confirmed to my astonishment that it was, in fact, Africa. It was surprising to me that you could see it 40km away! The first time in our lives we’ve laid eyes on that continent.

Since we blew our budget on paella for lunch, we are making dinner at home from grocery store sale items. Lucky for us, we are in Spain, and the jamón curado, ibérico sausage, and manchego cheese were all on sale. A homemade bocadillo that’s 10x better than what you’d get in the US. Yum!!

And tomorrow, to Africa! We are a little nervous about our time in Tangier, Morocco; we chose to do our own self-guided tour, so we’ve learned a few words in Arabic and I’m brushing up on my French. Any suggestions on what to see? Leave a comment or message us! (It’s Tuesday, so some things are closed…)

Tocino del cielo

What a difference a day makes for the weather. Still windy, but much warmer and no rain until after we finished riding.

Before leaving Jerez, we sampled some tocino del cielo, a flan-like dessert invented in Jerez 500 years ago. Yum!

Our WarmShowers host gave us a phenomenal route to Cádiz, with plenty of bike lanes, hard-packed gravel roads with no traffic, and scenic waterfronts. We even shared the route with a local mountainbike race at one point. The route took us by salt flats built by the Romans and on paths by the train tracks.

I wish we had more time to enjoy Cádiz, but we have a pre-paid ticket to Morocco Tuesday so we have to get to Tarifa tomorrow. Really enjoying this cute friendly city and had some great fried seafood, beer, and dessert!

You got to keep on moving

I’m not going to lie. Yesterday was one of those days. I could try to spin it and talk about overcoming obstacles and how discomfort and pain are distinct from the suffering you allow yourself to experience. But the truth is, riding in 48°F downpours with a 20mph headwind just plain sucks.

We warmed up in a small town and made our way to Jerez, where mother nature gave us one last “fuck you” and dumped buckets on us for the last few km.

Our saving grace was our welcoming and much appreciated WarmShowers hosts, Ana and Diego, who completely understood our misery and made us feel right at home and warm, and fed us a traditional Spanish tortilla for dinner (nothing like a Mexican tortilla, by the way!).

Today we are off to Cádiz for the day, hoping the rain stays away!

Day trip to Cordoba

Based on recommendations from friends and people we’ve met, we decided to take the train up to Cordoba for the day. Unfortunately, given our route plan, it wasn’t realistic to ride there.

The mosque/cathedral was absolutely mind blowing… So glad we took the time to see it! Very scenic city; here are some photos…


A bunch of random pictures from walking around Sevilla today. Did a free walking tour, saw a flamenco performance, and had a nice dinner at an Andalusian restaurant. Really like this city!

El Toro, rain, and the ibérico experience

We have been so blessed with tailwinds almost every day but today really took the cake!

Our generous WarmShowers host cooked us probably the best fried eggs ever, over-medium and lightly salted from her 10 hens who roam free on many acres of land. It was really sweet of her to ask what we usually had for breakfast and when she heard we hadn’t had our usual fried eggs in weeks, she pulled out a frying pan and whipped some up.

We finished our 100km ride in record time, under 4 hours, thanks to some stiff tailwinds through endless farmland and orange tree groves. Along the way, a friendly bull cheered us along.

It didn’t start raining until after we arrived in Seville, while we started munching on some amazing tapas at a local place our hostel recommended. We tried ibérico ham for the first time in our lives, and I’m not sure I’ll ever appreciate ham again… OMG!

Our pension (a kind of hostel) is super cute, and our room is the last on the open-air hallway on the roof of the place, next to the outdoor lounge area with views of neighboring downtown buildings. We added an extra day stay so that we can take the train out to Cordoba Friday. So two rest days in Seville and Cordoba!

But before we have any fun, we must do our stinky laundry. It’s been over a week…

Tonight we will explore a bit after the rain ends, and tomorrow we find a free tour in the morning and continue wandering afterwards. It is taking us some adjustment for meal times; here in Spain, they typically eat lunch 2-4pm and dinner after 9pm, much later than Portugal!