A Travellerspoint blog




Ah Ronda...there is something about this place. It's like the weight of the world disappears when you are here. You can lose yourself to the views across to the sierra. I went for a wander to the edge of the drop and found a small park backed onto it. There was a guy playing the guitar, and I tell you I could have sat and listened to him, while watching the view, all day. Either that or fallen asleep there and then. But I managed to rouse myself and go see the bridge and explore the otherside of it more as I didn't get a chance last time.

Lots of tour groups, some Spanish others mainly Americans so I hid in the cafe that is down below the bridge. This time a wine wasn't what was called for..g&t time. And food of course. then back to the hostel and passed out in the deepest sleep i have had for a long while. Obviously this is where I have been going wrong..instead of abstaining from the booze I should have been embracing it.

Before dinner I went for a walk and caught the sunset over the mountains. There are some images that will stay with me when this is all finished and that was one. I really don't have the words for it and the pictures I took just don't do it justice.

Earlier on I found a veggie restaurant! So am being a good veggie and supporting the cause tonight. It might not be authentic Spanish but it's Damn good.

Posted by louisebenn 11:35 Archived in Spain Comments (0)



Distance: 98km
Total ascent: 1131m
Time in the saddle: 4 hrs 38

A day spent rolling along familiar roads with weird flash backs to last time round. It was a weird weather day too..starting off at about 11° and staying at about 15° for most of the morning. That is until I reached the beautiful Olvera where of course the sun was out and the temperature rocketed to 30 odd in a matter if minutes, scene with dark grey clouds threatening to the side. After a mean shortcut, one that I remember being nasty the first time round too, I came to the more civilised main road that headed towards Zahara and it's embalse. Both still stunning. The road followed the embassy until I turned off to Montecorto.

Not much to report about Montecorto..a small picturesque white village half way between Algondales and Ronda. Staying in a nice place..quite swish. Excited about cooking my own dinner tonight! Stupidly so. Also watching one of the dvd's here. Ah it's the little things in life....

Posted by louisebenn 09:07 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Antequera once morr


Distance: 133km
Total ascent: 1766m
Time in the saddle: 6hrs 25

I got up early yesterday and headed to the Alhambra. If there were no online tickets to be had it meant waiting in the q. Not something I really relished the thought of. It was quite odd walking up to the ticket office though as the gardens were so green, almost like a tropical rainforest. After weeks of dry brown vegetation it was quite a sight. There was even running water in the channels. I'm not sure if they pump all the water up there from the mains or it's from a natural source but it's still impressive. Still not feeling great it was quite a hike to the top. And then there was the queue. Ugh. Too many people, and it meant lots of people inside too. Not what I felt like so I kept on walking and carried out round the gardens and down the other side. It was blissfully quiet there, no one but the gardeners who's work stirred up the mint and released it's scent to the air. Time for breakie. The rest of the day was spent pottering..I went to see the outside of a few more sights, found an internet cafe. Found not one but two good bike shops where I stocked up on a few bits. And of course sleeping.

Today was a good day...aside from a fuzzy head in the morning. Granada got lots of brownie points for being super easy to get out of. So it was back into the countryside with nice rolling hills to warm up on. There is something very distinctive about the mountains in southern Andalusia. I can't quite put my finger on what it is yet. This side of Granada also felt very familiar and I really enjoyed the ride, though it was a long day it seemed to go really quickly. One slightly tense moment when there was a test of the maps..Garmin vs Google. I had used Google to plot this route and it said that there was a little road that I could take that would mean I could cut a large corner. When I got there however Garmin said nahuh, roads end and no way across. There were a couple of possible starting points for this road..the first just ended in field..gulp. started to think how big a detour I would now had to do...but the second road was a winner, and I thanked my lucky stars for that. You really do never know which is going to be right so it's good that it doesn't happen to often. Oh the other thing about the ride today was that it was cold! I had my gillet on for most of it and was still cold. Ok it was 20 odd degrees but brrr! Am going to have to dig out my arm warmers for tomorrow. I think maybe that's why the ride passed easier..the temperature. It also meant that for the first time in a long time..I got hungry. Food and I have had a funny relationship in the heat. Hot subdued hunger but I have to eat for fuel. It's been quite difficult. But not today.

So yes..back in my old friend Antequera. It's one of my favourite towns down here..along with Ronda. it's quite strange to be back though..I remember it but there are blanks..like el torcal..I knew the name but had forgotten what it was. Seems so long ago. How different I was then..keen and energetic where as now I am worn and weary! ;). Without realising it I had booked the hotel where I had dinner last time I was here. Lovely not to have to do the sightseeing thing too. Which is a good thing as a couple of hours after getting here it absolutely tipped it down with rain. So sleepy now..dilemma now is dinner or sleep..

Posted by louisebenn 10:40 Archived in Spain Comments (0)



Distance: 109.75km
Total ascent: 1464m
Time in the saddle: 5hrs 9

It turns out that Murtas is on and just below the highest peak of the Alpujarras. The only spot where you can see the whole of the region and all the surrounding coastline. That makes me a feel a little better for slogging it up there...

In the end there was one other person staying staying at the lovely hostel..an older chap from London. He was in the area to scout out properties as he was bored of all the paperwork and politics in his places in Italy and France. We had a chat about money, politics and the lack of petrol stations in the area. He liked to talk and I found the English conversation refreshing. I ended up having lunch, dinner and breakfast at my hostal..and that plus the room came to a grand old total of 37€! Bargain.

In the morning before I left I told the host I was going to Granada and he said oh no problem..it's all downhill. Now I had done my homework and yes some was downhill but it was still upwardly downhill as you can see in the total ascent for today. Damn Spanish and their 'downhills'. I set off up the final bit of the road to the peak along beautifully smooth new tarmac. Indeed a further along they were there laying some more. The road then undulated at about 1300m along the range, giving a beautiful view down to the sea. After about 20km there was some downhill toward the river valley, where the main road went along. The descent gave a fantastic view of the otherside of the range..towards the sierra Nevada and thé Pico valeta. And also of the big rain cloud hovering over it.

The Alpujarras is quite strange..it's very beautiful and all that but it'd quite unusual. You have the mountain ridges, and some dips/valleys between these ridges, but then down in the valley between the sierras you have mini mountains (hills?!) ..almost like a miniature version if the big scale sierras surrounding it. This was quite pronounced the Almeria side..but as I came to the edge of the other side it turned much more into normal valley like formations.

It was here that I got a surprise. I got rained on! What's all that about! Nice and refreshing, but luckily it didn't last too long. Rain and descending..not my favourite. The rain clouds soon left and it was blue sky and haze all the way to Granada. There was also a tailwind! Finally a tailwind home. Well it was mostly tailwind. It was a fickle and gusty wind, that seemed to randomly change direction and blast you, just to keep you on your toes. But it wasn't a full headwind so I was happy.

So into Granada..I had a little pootle about just to see what's what and of course find the supermarket. I soon realised though that Granada is a huge place and wandering completely aimlessly was perhaps not the best idea. I did find the cathedral which is a hotchpotch of styles if ever I saw it. Every side to it seemed to take a different facade and look. Kinda like a split personality. I found food and a map and headed home to cone up with a plan of attack and to get some sleep.

Woke up feeling horrible, think I have a cold coming :( but not to be put off I headed up to St Nicolas mirador to distract myself with the climb there and thé view across the plain and over to the Alhambra. But that was about all I could manage so tomorrow will be much more of a doing day. Tempted also to brave the peluquería and get my hair chopped..will see in the morning...

Posted by louisebenn 10:38 Archived in Spain Comments (0)



Distance: 111.42km
Total ascent: 2555m (!!!!!!)
Time in the saddle: 6hrs 27min

Yesterday was a quiet day about town..for me and literally for the town. I had a bit if a wander about to see the sights and barely saw a soul about. I think actually I saw more cats than people. Though there were a LOT of cats everywhere. They obviously take Sundays very seriously in Almeria. It's not very touristy which might account for why, but it does mean that those tourists that are there have a pretty quiet day. You also feel quite conspicuous. Well to be fair I do anyway...my bad tan lines on my legs for a start (my new bike shorts are longer than my normal shorts, so days off..it's not a good look), and then my trainers are noisey. Imagine if you will A lovely peaceful cathedral where people are praying and quietly going about their business...until there is a continual loud squeek squeek squeek as I walk past on the damn marble floor. Sigh.

Anyway so yes I went to the cathedral..very fort and butchlike..apparently cos of all the pirates. Inside was a little empty feeling I guess. Very strong smell of incense but thst was about it. It had all the usual alter and shrines about the sides but it still felt empty.

After that it was up to a big old Jesus statue overlooking the town and the Alcazaba...my next stop. It may not have the reputation of the Granada one but it's still quite impressive and they have looked after it well, nice gardens in the first wall..arranged around the cisterns and channels that move water about the site. Lots of cats loitering about the palace ruins. The views down to the city and mountains are impressive..would be nicer if the first thing you saw wasn't the working port but hey that's just me being picky.

The rest if the day was just plain lazy...watched enemy of the state in spanish, followed tour of Britain on Twitter and watched the Vuelta finale.

After that restful day you'd think I'd be all rested and on good form for today no? No. Of course not. That would be what far too logical. Today was a toughie. God what a toughie. Forget any of the others that I said were had..this tops them all. It didn't help I got a wee bit stuck in the one way system in Almeria, nor that there was a lot of traffic who wanted to get somewhere fast so drove badly. So this put me in a bad mood. Then the route was straight on the up but deceptively so, so frustrating. And it felt like the weight if the world was on the bike..although it was a weight only in my head. By 20km I stopped and stocked up on fanta to try and get a sugar boost (no lemon fanta unfortunately which is the best..only strawberry and then there was grape..don't recommend either of them!). But I kept going...the up kept coming and thé heat kept rising...Oof makes me tired just thinking about it. Few if any other places to stop to recharge. Anyway to cut a long story short, I was a little bit broken by the time I got to Murtas...what was I thinking choosing a place in top of a mountain?! Anyway I made it and that's the main thing. Well just..some random fella had to help me take my bike down the sleep slope to my hostal as I was in no state to be able to control that heavy lump. He was laughing at me until even he had trouble controlling it. So my hostal is lovely...so so so nice. Ok granted anything would have been lovely at that point but it really is nice. There is a lovely couple running it and my room is huge! It's basically 3 rooms..one massive bedroom with a massive double bed then onto a little room which has lockers and a chair, then the huge bathroom. Lovely bright simple deco too...there's even wildflowers in the radiator. To top it off the view is fantastic...back down the mountain all the way to the sea. They do food here and best of all it's as and when you want it. I am the only one here too at the mo. Another place to check out if you are in the Alpajuras...it's called something like el mirador de murtas. They actually own another hostal the other side if this Sierra, if I was staying longer in the area I wouldef check it out.

So lazy arvo in the shade and cool for me to recover. Munching on some local biscuits I picked up en route..no idea what they are but they are yum. Oh and checking that I don't have another monster day tomorrow too!

New annoying thing to go awry..both ny charging cables...for my phone and for my Garmin. strangely both have gone funny at the same time but basically they will only charge at certain angles..different angles for each cable. So I am spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to get things to charge and stay charging. Sigh..

Posted by louisebenn 09:24 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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