Sevilla en la Lluvia

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.

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.

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.
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, 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.
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 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…
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’.
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.. waiters having a fag break.
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. The cathedral is magnificent.




8 thoughts on “Sevilla en la Lluvia

  • Brilliant pics Mike, that 35 fixed lens always seems to complement your style perfectly. And even when I too am on the road I find your stories inspiration. Keep at it old fellow and have a great trip, wherever the path may take you.

  • I love reading your adventures. Honestly, I feel like I’m on the road with you. Sadly, I wouldn’t make a great travel buddy as I’m a fair weather guy. Your blog would be a constant description of how you had to keep rescuing me. As always, great pics and words. Where we going next?

    • ah! It’s you! Off to next… somewhere north of here I think… couldn’t give you a place name, just north… through the Sierra de Morena..

  • The winter is being apparently quite rough in Spain, with snow even in SE Spain, something unheard of. How long will you be in Spain for? Only Andalucia or are you planning a longer trip? In Andalucia there are some nice “vias verdes”, although they may be a bit too tame for you. Alternatively, you could do the “Trans-Andalus”, apparently very nice and demanding in some parts. If you do plan to cycle to other areas, going through Cordoba into Cuenca would take you into one of my favourite regions in Spain as far a as cycling is concerned…, although it may still be a very cold in February… On second thought, you’d better stay in the south…
    And don’t forget to try some good salmorejo… :-)

    • hey Hugo, great to hear from you. The weather has been consistently minging… I’m writing from a hotel bar while drying my tent and sleeping bag out. This morning I came through the Sierra de Moreno, it’s very beautiful but I’m using roads as the ground is so saturated with rainwater that everything else is just thick mud. I’m going to spend a couple of days in Cordoba, then drop down to Malaga and fly home. I’m in Peru in May which will help quench my need for excitement. the riding here is pleasant but not thrilling, I think better with someone. I have all the waypoints for the Trans-Andalus in my GPS, I had originally planned to make use of it but not having seen the mud… I will be back for a longer ride in Spain however, there is much I want to see. I’ve cycled the coast of Andalucia and the Sierras around Granada previously. This time just getting out of the UK for a bit seemed like a good idea :-)
      I hope your travels are going well!

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