Seville

It is pouring with rain in Seville. An escape from the Cornish winter seemed like a good idea, I had a cheap flight to use, felt a need for some sunshine and, with a two-wheeled return to the Andes imminent, some solid miles on a bike could be useful…

It was sunny in Faro a few days ago on my arrival, gloriously so. I felt particularly smug at hearing tales of a weeks worth of rain in a day and gale force winds at home. I think I must be somewhat low on karma credits, it’s been raining for 3 days now. I’m happy enough to spend a weekend in rainy Seville, it’s a lovely city and I needed to stop to try and sort my head out… the last few days I’ve been feeling as flat as the surrounding terrain… a journey with a lack of difficulty is the most difficult kind of journey I think so the sooner I reach the mountains the better.

Faro. Most tourists make a beeline from the airport to the resorts of the Algarve, as such it's a pleasantly quiet, small town with a bit of charm.

Faro. Most tourists make a beeline from the airport to the resorts of the Algarve, as such it’s a pleasantly quiet, small town with a bit of charm.

I have no plan as such, or a flight home – I did have a loose sort of idea but that’s changed. I figured I’d just end up in one of the many spots in this part of the world it is possible to get a cheap flight from… after all I have my laptop and some work with me. Originally I thought about a mostly dirt road and trail traverse east towards Alicante.. recent experience of dragging my bike for 2km through a shin-deep swamp have somewhat tempered that idea.. It has been a very wet winter down here as the apparent shortage of unseasonal vegetables in the UK supermarkets will attest. I’ve seen a fair chunk of southern Andalucia on previous trips so from here I think I’m going north for a bit to where the map looks deliciously empty and there are plenty of contours to keep me interested. The forecast is for sun again come the middle of the week so hopefully the land will dry out a little and I’ll be able to ride some trails without the mud gumming everything up to the point of making the bike unrideable…

Faro. At this time of year the town conducts its business to a soundtrack of hundreds of nesting storks clacking their beaks. There is a pair nesting on the bell tower of this church.

Faro. At this time of year the town conducts its business to a soundtrack of hundreds of nesting storks clacking their beaks. There is a pair nesting on the bell tower of this church.

As a footnote I dithered over whether to give this post its Spanish title… you know, pretentious… but it does sound so much better than “Seville in the rain”…

As far as camera goes I brought my small fixed lens Fuji x100s. I'm rather enjoying having to work within what is the equivalent of a 35mm focal length.

As far as camera goes I brought my small fixed lens Fuji x100s. I’m rather enjoying having to work within what is the equivalent of a 35mm focal length.

Faro

Faro

Heading east from Faro I was able to hook into a network of trails consisting of singletrack, bike paths, and traffic free dirt roads that took me all the way to the Spanish border on the Rio Guadiana.

Heading east from Faro I was able to hook into a network of trails consisting of singletrack, bike paths, and traffic free dirt roads that took me all the way to the Spanish border on the Rio Guadiana.

Pleasant riding rather than thrilling. I'm using my Surly Crosscheck. With 1.75" wide rubber on it is useful for both road and dirt.

Pleasant riding rather than thrilling, my route took me through coastal wetlands with attendant birdlife, and a string of villages. I’m using my Surly Crosscheck. With 1.75″ wide rubber on it is useful for both road and dirt.

Flower-lined lanes through olive groves.

Flower-lined lanes through olive groves.

The 8.45am ferry across the Rio Guadiana from Vila Real de Santo António in Portugal to Ayamonte in Spain. A bitingly cold, fresh northeasterly wind.

The 8.45am ferry across the Rio Guadiana from Vila Real de Santo António in Portugal to Ayamonte in Spain. A bitingly cold, fresh northeasterly wind. It is only a 20 minute trip but arrives one hour and 20 after leaving.. Spain is a different timezone.

From Ayamonte there is a via-verde that runs all the way to Huelva.. most of it is pretty nice.. I stopped here for lunch.

From Ayamonte there is a network of trails that runs all the way to Huelva.. most of it is pretty nice.. I stopped here for lunch.

Strawberries... no doubt coming to a supermarket near you soon...

Strawberries… no doubt coming to a supermarket near you soon…

This innocuous looking section of track very rapidly deteriorated into shin deep gooey mud that clogged my bike to the point of malfunction. Committed to the trail I had little choice but to drag it through the muck for a couple of km, low overhanging brambles tore holes in my jersey and left blood running down my arms. Once in the dry the mud set so hard I had to chip it off with a knife once in Huelva.

This innocuous looking section of track very rapidly deteriorated into shin deep gooey mud that clogged my bike to the point of malfunction. Committed to the trail I had little choice but to drag it through the muck for a couple of km, low overhanging brambles tore holes in my jersey and left blood running down my arms. Once in the dry the mud set so hard that on arrival in Huelva I had to chip it off with a knife.

Leaving Huelva I decided to have a break and take the road.. the forecast was pretty rainy. Being mostly flat on a good road with a howling headwind with no shelter the day was mentally challenging rather than physical. The road is very quiet and passes through mostly empty countryside and a few little whitewashed villages. Frequent rainshowers swept in on the cold wind. I didn't stop anywhere, it was a bit of a slog taking almost 6hrs to cover the 100km thanks to the strength of wind. Given the weather the scenery can only be described as 'bleak'.

Leaving Huelva I decided to have a break and take the road.. the forecast was pretty rainy. Being mostly flat on a good road with a howling headwind with no shelter the day was mentally challenging rather than physical. The road is very quiet and passes through mostly empty countryside and a few little whitewashed villages. Frequent rainshowers swept in on the cold wind. I didn’t stop anywhere, it was a bit of a slog taking almost 6hrs to cover the 100km thanks to the strength of wind. Given the weather the scenery can only be described as ‘bleak’.

Seville in the rain was rather lovely. Blue sky can be terribly boring at times... having said that can't wait to feel some sunshine on my face again :-)

Seville in the rain is rather lovely. Blue sky can be terribly boring at times… ;-) having said that can’t wait to feel some sunshine on my face again :-)

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

 

Seville

Seville

Seville.. waiters having a fag break.

Seville.. waiters having a fag break.

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville

Seville's rather wonderful cathedral houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus

Seville’s rather wonderful cathedral houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus

I thought I would go and pay my respects.. after all had he not apparently 'discovered' the new world we wouldn't have our modern day Tronald Dump.

I thought I would go and pay my respects.. after all had he not apparently ‘discovered’ the new world we wouldn’t have our modern day Tronald Dump. The cathedral is magnificent.