Malaga to Nerja (Mar. 18, 2018 / 50.1 km / 340 m / LINK TO ROUTE)
After one last visit with Elena, Zoran and Rocco at a beachside restaurant, we said goodbye and cycled off along the coast towards Nerja. Nerja was picked as the destination because friends from home were going to be there at the same time, plus it was a beautiful little place nestled between the sea and the mountains. The ride along the coast was really quite beautiful with many of the 50kms along a cycle path. Canada has a long way to go to become this cycle friendly!
We spent 2 days in Nerja with Brian and Tess, check out that blog HERE.
Nerja to Laurie and Annie’s (Mar. 21, 2018 / 70 km / 1,623 m / LINK TO ROUTE)
It was a big ride today with a lot of elevation gain to get up to Laurie and Annie’s olive and citrus farm. This couple hosted Torin on his first wwoofing experience and when Torin mentioned that we were cycling through, they invited us to stay with them. This worked out well for us because I really wasn’t sure where else to stay in that area. The price was paid however, in extra elevation to get up to their farm (culminating with their very long driveway at a grade of 35% according to RideWithGPS), but it was so totally worth it! The hospitality we experienced that evening and the next morning was over the top. That afternoon and evening were so enjoyable from the great conversation, dinner, wine, tea and a beautiful bedroom with a view of the mountains. The next morning after breakfast Laurie showed us around the property and explained all the hard work Torin did for them… liking hauling wheelbarrows full of compost/manure up the side of the hill to fertilize the trees at the top.
Laurie and Annie’s to Granada (Mar. 22, 2018 / 41.12 km / 625 m / LINK TO ROUTE)
After a great morning of visiting and touring the farm, we loaded up with oranges and a bottle of 100% organic olive oil and headed for Granada. It was a substantial climb again today and yet again, the scenery was stunning.
We spent 5 days in Granada, check out the blog HERE.
Granada to Alhama de Granada (Mar. 27, 2018 / 56.87 km / 935 m / LINK TO ROUTE)
Beautiful ride today meandering out of Granada and picking our way to Alhama. We rode with the Sierra Nevadas in sight for most of the way, and the snow pack slotted between the blue sky and green fields made for countless stops for pictures.
Alhama de Granada to Malaga (Mar. 28, 2018 / 80.26 km / 564 m / LINK TO ROUTE)
It was a tough start to the day… 6km of uphill starting from the doorstep of our guest house. But after that… check out the graph on the “link to route” above… we dropped from a high point of 1,136 m above sea level right down to the sea where we followed the coast back to Malaga. I had made arrangement to have the bikes boxed up at one of the local bike shops but they had to be in the shop by 4pm. We cut it close, I left Mary with the bags on the doorstep of the apartment we rented, waiting for the landlord, and I cycled the two bikes over to the shop. The bikes were boxed up by 7 and we went back to get them after soliciting some help from another Salmon Arm family that we connected with.
As we drew near to the conclusion of this trip, I recalled similar feelings from our year long trip back in 2006/2007. We kept a blog then too (check it out HERE) and I remember writing about my expectations of the transition. The one evening in Granada with Mary and Torin I pulled up that particular blog and read it to them. It hit home as much as it did in 2007, and I decided to re-use the material to wrap up this trip…
As we moved into the final days of our trip, I began to reflect more on what we experienced and what we were about to experience as we make our way home yet again. There is certainly some excitement about seeing friends and family again, and being back in our house with all its familiar comforts.
That said, life seems so normal packing up our gear and getting back on our bikes every day, sitting in sidewalk cafes, sipping café largos, listening to all the foreign languages around you and of course watching the different cultures and all that it entails. It truly becomes the norm – everything we do, everything we eat, all the things we see, the places we sleep and how we operate on a day to day basis is so radically different than how we operate at home.
You may see that as more difficult and complex but there is definitely a simplicity about it as well. I think that comes from accepting all the differences and just sitting back and enjoying the ride. It is this simplicity that one gets accustomed to… it just doesn’t matter if you wear the same clothes day after day and it’s really not so hard to do your laundry in the bathroom sink and hang it up to dry where ever you can. Granted, we had the funds that allowed us to travel like this, but we have definitely learned to live with very few possessions, our bikes and what we can fit in our panniers.
When I’m in such an environment and I think about the fast paced, high pressure, materialistic world that we left and are about to return to, immediately I’m yearning to be on my bike riding through the green hills of southern Spain. Though I realize that life is naturally more complicated at home, I don’t understand why. We’ve talked about the re-immersion process that lies ahead of us and have come to the realization that our “problem” lies in our inability to handle routine for any length of time, and routine is a natural outcome of staying in one place. As Mary puts it… it just means that we just need a larger playground than most people.
Right now, we’re going to savor the moment for what it is and reflect on the many memories that the past 2 months has produced. When we’re back in Canada and settled into that routine, I hope we can still remember and enjoy those moments for what they were.
So please understand when you see us get a far away look in our eyes and a slight smile on our lips, that we just need a moment to re-visit one of the countless memories that are forever imbedded into our minds and hearts.
Whether it is watching Torin enjoy several Broas de Mel atop a castle in Sintra, or enjoying chicken salad in the tiny Ice.Come. Maybe it will be thoughts of the beautiful hike along the Aquaduct outside of Evora, or wandering the empty streets of Ferreira do Alentejo, or maybe our lunch spot on a sea cliff in Porto Covo. For me it might be watching Mary manhandle the mower at Pedro and Maria’s. It might be the thought of trying to stuff our bikes into the tiny elevator in Malaga, or the countless times I had to stop and take a picture of the Sierra Nevadas; and there is no doubt that many of those memories will be the enjoyable moments spent with Elena, Zoran and Rocco in Malaga.