Viva Espana!

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emma
Member
#

Q and I are flying to Spain tomorrow to bike the length of the Pyrenees mountains, in celebration of our tenth wedding anniversary (!!!!).

I don’t know how much we will be posting along the way, but probably a little, and I know Q plans to do some tweeting (@hrdtrvlnq).

I figured you guys are likely to have at least a passing interest in this adventure! I am sure we will both write up trip reports when we get back. I love reading multiple accounts of the same trip, from the perspectives of each participant. Maybe that’s interesting to other folks too!

Adios, and see yinz in October!


Drewbacca
Participant
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can’t wait!!! take lots of pictures! safe travels!


bikeygirl
Participant
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Nice!
Some folks and I biked “The Santiago de Compostela” early last month from Leon to Santiago in Spain, and while not the same to the pyrenees, the “Cordillera Cantabrica” portions that we crossed near Lugo were humbling to say the least.

Safe travels!


Marko82
Participant
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What a wonderful adventure! Be safe and enjoy the ride.

oh, and Happy Anniversary !


Mick
Participant
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Have a good trip, Emma!


emma
Member
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Hola, Pittsburgh!

We are two days into the bike trip. I am delighted to be out of the cities and into the mountains. We stayed at a hostal in Doneztebe last night, which is evidently on the route for some Basque Country mountain bike race. The people who run the hostal also run a bike rental service, so we got to put our bikes in the shop overnight. And tonight, in Aribe, they are in a barn, next to a tractor.

Love it.

I think this is a mushroom growin region. Setas everywhere! In gardens and on road signs and there is a big textbook sized book about mushrooms at the desk in the hostal tonight.

Tomorrow, we get two peaks taller than we have gotten yet. So far so good, but we will see how we are doing tomorrow!

We rode a stretch of the via verde, getting out of San Sebastián, which was crushed gravel. It had approximately one million tunnels. They were all lumpy inside, instead of being carved smooth or bricked or tiled! I loved it. Ever so slightly spooky.

We met another guy traveling by bike yesterday, who found an airline that will do roll on/ roll off bike service for 20 bucks. Air tran sat, maybe? Reminding myself to investigate! He was flying out of canada, though….. Apparently you can RORO on Lufthansa as well, according to a fella in an awesome bike shop in Barcelona. One day!!! I feel like most of the expense of his trip is the bike transit! But damn does it feel good to be doing this on the ol trusty steed!


Mick
Participant
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Good thing you are in the mountains! (What with rain and plains and all).

More reports, pls!


emma
Member
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We are really truly in the mountains now! We did a loooong (12km-ish) climb up an unnamed mountain, and an old man running down the mountain shouted “you’re almost there!” And just a few minutes later, some motorcyclists gave us the international hand gesture for “keep turnin those pedals!”

Brightened my hot and sweaty spirits a great deal!

The descent was slow and crazy. Guard rails. Aragon don’t need no stinkin guard rails!

But again tonight we are in a beautiful hostal in Anso, on the recommendation of some touring cyclists we met. Again, bikes in the garage, without even a question!

All the drivers are so aware of their surroundings. It is incredible! I love it so much. I don’t mind sharing the road at all! It is so….. Not scary at all.

Tomorrow we have two big mountains to go up and over, and two long tunnels. Pumped!


emma
Member
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We hit the jackpot today.

Yesterday’s ride kinda had some of everything:
– flat-ish boring road with lots of trucks, swarms of gnats, and buzzing high tension lines (uh, and stunning mountains too)
– a long hot climb up a mountain in the blistering sun, only to be surprised to already be at the top, since there is a tunnel!
– 30km in the rain!
– rolling into a town and staying in a grungy hostal that allows smoking in the rooms!! What! And discovering that there is a big festival in town, featuring such acts as “cartoon band” and “Jamaica show.”

But today!!!

Today we rode a long slowwwwwwww climb from Ainsa to Campo (campo seems basically like ohiopyle. We sat outside a kayak rental shop eating snacks and listening to their awesome Spanish punk and rock bands playing on the stero inside. Adventure dorks are adventure dorks everywhere!).

Then we rode through this insane gorge with a rushing river below. Totally epic and incredible. Most of the rivers we have come across are nearly dry. I think they are all mainly fed with snow melt in the early summer. The gorge ruled so hard, not just because it was coooooool and shaded and a glorious respite from the sun. I have never been so deep in a gorge on a regular ol road via bike!

We are in a town called Castejon de Sos, staying in a whole little house with three floors and a kitchenette and a living room and the most comfortable bed, for 60 euros. I might stay here forever and just ride back and forth in the gorge!


willardsbruce
Member
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That’s awesome!

A year ago today I was hiking in the high peaks region of the Pyrenees on the border of Aragon and Catalunya, outside of Vielha.

*The weather gets dicey fast over the mountain passes


emma
Member
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We did it! 550ish miles, both the longest distance and the longest duration 11 days) we have done, as well as the biggest climbs. We are chillin’ in a hotel in Girona, having most gleefully washed our clothes.

Our Spanish is now a very muddy mix of Spanish and Catalan, sure to embarrass any native speaker of either language.

In the toughest two days, we covered about 90 miles with about 8300ft of climbing. Strong like ox!

I am wildly jealous of your hiking adventure! But also, man, I like to backpack alone and I think the Pyrenees are toooooo remote for me to do that confidently. There are some seriously isolated places!

We have only seen a very few other folks with loaded bikes. We encountered a couple organized groups though.

One of the absolute highlights of this trip has been how accommodating of bikes all the hotels and hostals have been. Every single place we stayed had a spot for us to put our bikes, inside and secure, without missing a beat.

We are, of course, already dreaming of future adventures……. I keep thinking about how much less of a hassle it would be to have a folding bike, if we weren’t doing anything super strenuous…… And I keep thinking about how these mountains compare to others we might ride.

I think I just don’t really care for flat places all that much! Today’s last stretch to get into Girona on the via verde was a bit of a drag in parts, though really beautiful in others. It is funny to see how patchy and strung together the bike connections can be in other places too. I am so excited to come home and see all these changes that have popped up this month! But first, some regular old foot and train tourism!

Keep the home fires burning!


Drewbacca
Participant
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hurray!


emma
Member
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Hey, we uploaded some photos and added a bit of commentary. Fairly incomplete, but a good overview of our experiences, I think.

Flickr link


Marko82
Participant
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Thanks for sharing the wonderful pics. That’s some serious climbing you did there, but the scenery looks like it was well worth the effort – as well as some of those plates of food! What a great adventure.


srpit
Member
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Great photos! Great adventure!


emma
Member
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I wrote up a more detailed journal of the ride, here:

Riiiiight here

More photos, more “I feel so slow!” and “this hill is so long!” type talk.


Mick
Participant
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@ emma … more “I feel so slow!” and “this hill is so long!” type talk.

???

That sounds like me in Pittsburgh.


Mick
Participant
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That “7% grade” sign was pretty impressive!

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