Saturday, June 05, 2010

Spain: Ronda

Our first big bike adventure was a couple of days ago, we rode from here on the farm to Ronda, which is about 60km´s away. On the map it looked loke a pretty easy ride, but unfortunatley I don´t have a topographical map, so we weren´t aware of the mountains we were going to ride over. Aside from the tough ride, insane heat and lack of a big breakfast it was an awesome ride.
View towards Pruna and Olvera from Sierra del Tablón
Southern Spain consists mostly of the Province of Andalusia, and we got a good tast for it riding through many small villages, over the mountain ranges and around fields of grain, olives and pastures. For me the best part is not the amazing scenery but the numerous tight little villages, the Moorish ruins, and massive churches everywhere. Its totally unlike NZ in that so much has happened in such a small space.. the Romans, the Moors, the Catholic influnce... and much more.


We passed through many cool towns, Olvera was atop a hill with a big church and good ice cream... Setenil de las Bodegas was built in to a cliff and had excellent meats.. and even the little towns that to a local were probably little nothings (like Geraldine..? ) seemed to us to be pretty and exciting with there plazas, narrow streets and refreshing little cafes.
The edge of Ronda.
We got into Ronda at about 8pm.. it was a long day, but we took lots of breaks and a long siesta along the way... also it was also our first big ride and it got to 38 degrees! We got a room at a nice little pension (cheap hotel) then went out and got some good tapas.
Steph and I looking over the edge. Its a good 80m down.
The next day we did some proper exploring around town. It was a little touristy, but for good reason. The town is situated on top of an 80m cliff, with part of it on another out crop connected by an big old bridge.
The gorge that runs through Ronda.
The town was built by the Moors back when the controlled this place. The Islamic history is really really interesting.. Andalusia is named from al Andalu and the locals say oholallah (sp?), which means the same as inshallah (God willing).
The "New Bridge" that spans the gorge. Built in the
So we rode back from Ronda a few nights later, and were stoked to discover the first 40kms of the return leg was generally downhill. So we got to Pruna, which is 20kms from the farm, in time for a late breakfast. We are not so sore and are looking forward to starting our big trip, during our siestas on the farm we are looking at different routes and places to visit.

Thats all for now, next time I post will be in a few weeks, probably from Seville, or Cordoba... or somewhere else in Europe..


Spain: Villanueva de San Juan

Steph and I are in Spain! We arrived here on the farm near Villanueva de San Juan via Malaga. We were one night and a day in Malaga, but that was spent putting out bikes together and fixing flat tyres... we saw a little bit of the town, and had a nice seafood dinner. From there is was a 1.5hr train to Almargen where we were picked up by a friend of the farms owner and dropped here. In case you were wondering, we found this farm on, we look after the farm and have a free place to stay. Win win.

The entrance to the farm... this photo is deceptively green.
The farm itself is not so large and sits in a beautiful Andalusian valley. Surrounded by lots of olive groves, dry hills and the occasional non-olive tree. We are currently responsible for about 6 dogs, 14 chickens, a large plot of potatoes and some tomoatoes. There are apricots for the pickin, and we are prepping the house to be painted. But when you are getting up at 10am, and siesta is for 4 hours in the afternoon, you don´t have so much time for work...
Two of the dogs we look after... good dirty outside farm dogs.
Before we left Portland we got outselves a couple of touring bikes, panniers and all, so that after our little farm stay, we can head north and explore Europe. They have come in really handy here too as the closest town is 3kms away. Although I say we are in Villanueva de San Juan, which is a small village about 3kms away(population approx. 500), Algarmitas is a flatter and easier ride. It has about 5 bars, a supermarket and about 500 people as well.
Algámitas, our local town.
We head there for a Cruzcampo (the local brew) or a tinto de verano (red wine and lemonade) and to get some food every couple of days. Tractors, horses and old people are always cruising the streets which is fun. Most of the people in the towns are either retired or children as there isn´t much work here.
The view from our bedroom door.
So thats abou it really. We are just hanging out on the farm, eating dinner at 11pm, learning a little Spanish, biking to nearby villages for a drink, and trying to stay cool (its 35+ degrees every day!). Sometime within the next few weeks we will be heading off on our big biking adventure... if anyone knows any nice flat routes from the south of Spain to Dusseldorf in Germany (we fly out from there September 8th), do let me know.
Looking down the driveway along the valley.