Tag Archives: cycle touring

Cycle touring in El Hierro

Having been back on dry land for a couple of weeks and we have been reminiscing about the latest stage of the trip Western Canaries and probably the wilder Western islands compared to the East, though the landscape is dramatic there too. What looks like small dots on the map amid a huge ocean encompass their own countries or even mini continent of desert, volcano, pine and lush rainforest, often surrounded by flower meadows. This is El Hierro!

Of course a bike is a great way to travel, particularly where there is such diversity of landscape but the small islands have a surprisingly high altitude, rising steeply out of the sky.

Up through the cloud forest! (Click to enlarge)

A mixture of persuasion and foreign ignorance helped to find our Two bikes on the bus which strictly only allowed ONE! This did make the whole difference or I (or one of us!) would only be remembering a hot sweaty slog up for three days as oppose to abit of up and some then some of the spins of our lives going down through every topography that you can imagine.

At the end of the day we would be camping somewhere. The fun of camping is that you could end up anywhere, I mean really anywhere and that first night was spent on straw in a goat cave surrounded by little candles whose light

Our cave for the night! (Click to enlarge)

glistened off the contoured wall. I practised how I was going to explain and excuse why we were sheltered in the goat herders cave if he was to appear! A coat rested on a stick suggesting it might be inhabited. However, much more surprisingly given it was in the middle of nowhere is when the next day a cleaner appeared and started bustling around with flowers, taking no notice of us and then opening up a shrine with a huge gold framed picture of Mary in the cave next to ours.

As we left with our bikes, around the corner a huge celebration for the church had just started with most of the people on the island arriving who would no doubt have been visiting the caves too so it was lucky we cleared out in good time.

Traversing the pine ridges! (Click to enlarge)

The rest of the day was spent wizzing down passed mini volcanos of all colours, gnarled trees blown over by the strong winds and then twisted around and then salt flats . An abandoned house turned art gallery of bizarre ‘objet trouvez’. Then signs to watch out for rocks slides likely from above the road pitted with where debris had fallen, suddenly our tired legs took as to 30mph without problem.

With the intention to stop for a spot of lunch we came across an area of historic healing waters, lunch inadvertently turned into a longer stay after a little overindulgence. However, during this we were lucky enough to discover one of the islands beautiful ‘charcos’ this is a swimming hole in the sea which is been tastefully installed often using the natural rock and wood to create platforms and steps into the sea. We were only just in time to enjoy it with waves starting to crash in giving an interesting frissant to the swim!

Charcos, a swiming spots in the lava fields (Click to Enlarge)

In the next two days a successful circumnavigation of the island was completed by pedal power. Are few more pics!

Cycling the Picos De Europa

After sailing down the Brittany coast and then spending a few days enjoying La Rochelle, we departed in the evening with a good forecast for at least 3 days. The Bay of Biscay is notorious with sailors but being only 230 miles, how hard could it be! The first few hours we very rough but only because of a headland we had to clear, and once around, it was plain sailing.

We first saw the snow capped peaks of the Picos De Europa towering out of the sea on the horizon. Since the sea was calm we were able to enter the small Spanish village of Ribadesella, the nearest harbour to the Picos de Europa national park.

We then did the hard slog of 50km up, up, and up to the start of the national park and then spent another few days exploring and camping in the Mountains.