Monday, 1 May 2017

Parking is the new camping

Dusk and a cool descent ahead... what a day, along the rattle track.....

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... past all the camping cars, parking in campsites, camping in parking bays and wild parking in the wilderness..... camping is the new parking!
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Bolnuevo, a little glimpse of unspoiled mediterranian, a couple of beautiful and bumpy kilometres...
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... until - bwop! you´re in amongst this! Spanish vegetables....
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... the entrance to the most hazardous garden shed we´ve ever seen.....
We avoid buying Spanish vegetables wherever we can... which makes cycling in Spain a bit tricky...

aaah and then up up up.... the local guy on his little evening training run overtook us twice climbing this here hill.... the views are fantastic... except those aren´t lakes, that´s plastico.....
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Ooops!
A little bit of cycling infrastructure to entertain us..... there´s plenty of entertainment in Spain....

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Idyllic wild camping spots abound along the coast, unfinished abandoned building projects.... five star hotel that is! Kept away the wind, comfy sand as bedding.... perfect....

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Now the real beauty!!! Cabo de Gata, ssssh... is definitelly still unspoiled... for the time being at least.
Plus we stayed in a real windmill ! With a gale blowing... luckily it´s not a working mill any longer. But almighty was it windy when you stepped out the door...
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Beaches, coves, whole villages only accessible by foot, boat or beasts...
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spring....
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wild camping in the wild....
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... the road out is a tough one... closed to vehicles, gravel and cliffs, innertube melting steep descents. It really feels like we´d been somewhere different, a little Shangri la.
If you go, visit on foot or on bike!
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The other site of paradise lies Almeria, a fun, friendly and real city! We really enjoyed our stay!
Much thanks to La Oficina, a creative place where things happen... soul brothers and sisters! 
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And then of course surrounding the city of Almeria the garden of Europe where tomatoes get delivered from heaven by the skip load, cucumbers grow in big holes in the ground, already shrink wrapped in plastic... and funky bike culture is betrayed by over priced campsites.... it is a real garden of Edamn....
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Ups and downs, here we go to Malaga. At last the motorway is free now and we have the road to ourselves. A lovely cycle into Malaga, apart from the actual entrance into the city.. as usual... and then some real genuine bike culture... Yeaaaaaah! Recyclo! A very funky, cosmopolitan place with some lovely lovely bicycle folk! Soul brothers and sisters!
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On the way out of Malaga we decided to camp in the parking with the other campers and parkers at El Chorro! The campers were asked to move on... the parkers were not, they´re only parking, or are they? It´s difficult to tell these days.... The Camping el Chorro, in the village is a ruin, the nearest campsite is 12km up the hill. Climbers paradise...
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We got rescued by a fellow cyclist, just returned from cycling in India that same day. He put us on the right track, a less bumpy road, invited us to his house for the night, fed us delicious food, packed a lunch for us for the next days ride... a cycling soul brother! And the Via Verde from Olveira to Puerto Serrano was magnificent, too!
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Another little bit of entertainment and truth... decontaminate the planet!
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Overnight stay in an Aerodrome in Gibraleon. What a night, full house of cycling vagabonds!
Soul brothers and sister!
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We got there! We got to Portugal just in time for.....
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.... and not just one carnival but two! Loule and Armacao de Pera and us turning the N125 in between into a mini cycling carnival parade with sound system at full volume and all the car horns beeping. We´re dressed as "Parkers" Yo!
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Sunday, 5 March 2017

"La bici no es el futuro, es el PRESENTE"

Will the future look like this? The present in Spain already does... abandoned buildings, old ones, new ones, abandoned building sites, abandoned roads, old ones new ones, some going nowhere, litter and fly tipping. Often it feels like something has suddenly stopped. Except there is new stuff and it is being used but the old and the unfinished gets discarded, thrown away, left by the wayside.
When we saw this picture it immediately made us think of Spain.
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The first day of cycling was nice until we got our first glimpse into planet vacance, la Costa Brava.
We had planned to follow the coast this time, to profit from the warm mediterranian climate and the bigger population along the coast. It was worth it for the warmth but it's as ugly and depressing as everyone told us. Never mind.

We met Fuet the dog, the first of many dogs during our spanish winter, and of course his lovely owners too, one of the first warm and friendly warmshowers hosts along the way.    
Our first wild camping - or is it parking? totally illegal in a tent in the paintball arena muito frio !!! We got caught out by siesta, as usual... and the wrong spanish time zone... it all takes a bit of getting used to here.
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Wonderful happy glorious welcome from the Cicloamics de Sabadell, after a tough tough cycle ride, mucho coche, muy horrible, we hate cars. Our first Masa Critica, with tiny little children, in the dark, leading the ride...  followed by a wonderful show, our first in Catalonia, Cicloamics are Go!
https://cicloamicssabadell.org/

This is fun! Dibuja y Pedalea!Get your pencils out and join in!
https://www.facebook.com/dibujaYpedalea/?fref=ts
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Lovely to see old friends from Bristol and meet Bosh and Truc their funny dogs.
Followed by Gina the big fluffy talking dog. Dinner with lots of cats and catalans. Molt be!

By chance, in Reus we meet Guillermo, one of many Argentinians we met on the way... and his solar panel powered bicycle. We'd heard stories about him in the south of France... He invited us into his house full of cyclists and we had traditional Norwegian friday tacos with norse folk Sondr and Charlotte. The Norwegians were wise to stay some extra days with Guillermo. We thought a little rain can't do us any harm. It didn't harm us but it was a big day with big, big rain, big hills. A beautiful ride through and up the mountains, into the clouds (this is where the really heavy rain starts...) Fortunately the day ended with a big feast, a warm house and a washing machine!!

We like this car eating monster. It was prowling on a round about, looking very hungry...
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A faint message on the tarmac of a broken road reminding us to remember nature, to pay attention and to not believe big businesses...( 'Shell knew': oil giant's 1991 film warned of climate change danger and then they tried to hide the facts )

On the rio Ebro we take our first winter break with Geode, ex urban cowboy, his wife Stephanie and their extended family of goats, horny Midnight, Boots and co, Prissy the dog and scottish Gordon and Jordan. For a couple of weeks we herded goats, made a kitchen sink, a standing stone, a happy birthday and lived completely off-grid. Fires and stars.
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Next stop no hot shower but a bucket of hot water it was heaven after a week of fire and goats.

Cycling into the night, lucky to find a beautiful wild camping spot.,or is it parking? Oh, no we're in a tent, that's not allowed. On the cliff top we enjoyed the plentiful shimmering stars and the glorious sunrise over the sea.
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Oropessa del Mar nearly killed us, saved by the gardener who sent us back down the steep hill to the vias verdes, all flat through the tunnel to Benicassim and then on to Castellon de la Plana. A super show in the park after a biketastic funfilled masa critica, plus dancing in the park to django jazz.

Castello en Bici rocks!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Castell%C3%B3-en-Bici/179512712067471




And everybody is talking about the Pitiusona, Criticona Masa Critica Interplanetaria. In Ibiza 2017!

The Eurovelo 8 out of Castello isn't getting approved because of the embarrassing prostitutes spoiling the view. Never mind the containers full of oranges being dumped on the side of the road... there's plenty of other embarrassments around. At least the prostitutes have an honest trade.
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Kekazo! Siete enanitos (grunon, feliz, dormillon, estornudo, timido, doc, tontin), dos perros payasos, una perra abuela potato eater, un mystico and tristan the wise. What a bundle of banana cabezas we spent christmas with! Our second winter break we labored hard in the fields built a royal deluxe compost toilet, ate brodo brodo brodo, had fun walking the dogs in the hills and met a smiling cliff.
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Our next ciclo amics we met in Torrent, close to Valencia Collectiu Soterranya, a very active and activist bunch  http://soterranya.blogspot.fr/
Leaving Valencia, no signpost anywhere we meet a cycling poet

I love my bicycle
poetry art ruedas
on the road again

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At dawn in the Albufera de Valencia forever cycling in circles and back again, a labyrinth of rice fields.
The wind is blowing us south to our next camping in yet another ugly deserted holiday village, oranges everywhere, we're stuck on the main road for most parts. In the harbour of Denia the boat to Ibiza was waiting for departure, soon to be filled with hundreds of cycling activist...

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El dia de los reyes, kings everywhere, the deserted holiday villages are turning into deserted holiday towns, the deserted holiday towns are turning into holiday cities, yikes.... Cycled round the back of the Mont Go, away from the coast we find very lovely little villages , peace and calm...up up up the hill to find our host in La Nucia. We're both splittering and splattering with a cold, struggling up that hill. Reward of course, beautiful views, a warmshower and a new friend.

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Yep, this is not the future this is the present...
   
We took the train from Benidorm to Alicante. We couldn't face cycling on the nacional all day, up and down the hills with lots of traffic... the train was easy, metro style ride on, ride of, cheap, great!

Masa Critica on Saturday with lots of cyclists, a little AC/DC dog in a basket and a show afterwards in a fun association, El Taller Tumbao.  We meet Fran and Yogi the dog. Fran is the cyclist to know here in Alicante. He's part of it all, Masa Critic, Conbici y Alicante Ciclo Turismo http://valenciacicloturismo.com/

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In Santa Pola we were touched by angels! The weather turned and we got offered to stay in a bungalow for a week, que vida bonita! We did two surprise shows en la asociacion cultural Millor-Art and in the Cycling Port http://www.cyclingport.com/
Went on a little excursion to Murcia, http://www.murciaenbici.org/ show canceled because of snow! In Murcia we went to see a little presentation about cycling in Iran. It took place in the Hospital de Bicis, taller loco, a bike workshop with a sense of humour! http://hospitaldebicis.com/taller/bicicletas/murcia 

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We left our little house in Santa Pola, cycling through acres of greenhouses  and golf courses, with africans on rusty old bicycles and rich white folk on golf buggies, feeding off of each other... what a weird world we live in.