Moving on from Córdoba was a little difficult, I’d found a terrific little place to stay (http://mayflowershostel.es, recommended), made the acquaintance of some nice folk, and really liked the atmosphere of the town. I fell into quite a nice little routine of morning coffee at a street café that somehow merged into a lunchtime beer. A few hours after lunch catching up with bits & bobs of work followed by tapas at a bar watching life go by.
I realised in Córdoba that actually what I needed was a holiday rather than a bike journey, they are not always the same thing, so having got that out of the way I really enjoyed the few days ride down to the coast at Malaga. The first two days were on dirt.. a mix of vias verde, vias blanco, and just plain old dirt tracks through the olive groves. The sun shone on day one, day 2 was kind of rainy with a lot of really sticky mud.. so on day 3 I took the road… Incidentally wikiloc.com is a super resource for routes such as this.
Córdoba.. little & large
My route out of Córdoba was perfect.. riding over the stunning Roman bridge in the center and straight onto a dirt path along the river that subsequently hooked into a rather lovely Via Verde that wound it’s way through rolling countryside.
..through stands of bamboo..
..and vast swathes of farmland.
After 40km or so I joined a ‘via blanco’ .. it was super, a hardpacked surface through orchards and groves carpeted with wildflowers.
The spectre of all that rain never very far away however… the countryside is still flooded in spots, I mostly managed to keep my feet dry.
This is the village of Santaella. My route took me along a canal path for 20km from here… I eventually stopped for the day at just 80km in the unremarkable town of Puente Genil. I was a bit tired and hungry :-)
Day 2 from Córdoba took me mostly through olive groves.
Overnight rain and ongoing showers left things really sticky in places.. I had to stop a few times to declog my bike…
But it was still an interesting ride that took me through remote pueblitos..
It was raining heavily by the time I reached Antequera. It had been quite a hard day slogging through the mud so after 70km of that I was happy to stop. I stumbled across a hosepipe on my way into town so was able to clean myself and my bike up a little before presenting myself at a guesthouse for the night :-)
Antequera is a lovely town. I’d been there before many years ago but more than happy to renew my acquaintance with the place. It pissed it down then too..
It hammered down all night in Antequera so I was happy to take the road in the morning.. besides, it is a super road down to the coast in Malaga. I’ve ridden it on my road bike in the past, to revisit it was no hardship at all.
From Antequera the road goes straight into the steep-at-times 13km climb of El Torcal. The northern slopes were in thick, cold mist..
The cloud began to break over the pass and the southern slopes were bathed in warm sun. I love climbing and found my climbing legs for the day so thoroughly enjoyed the 60km ride through the mountains to the coast. I had good legs too, catching and passing a number of local road cyclists out for a spin, and eventually joined by a pair of locals who thought it very funny that a chap on loaded, fat-tyred touring bike could make their legs hurt in the mountains on their lightweight carbon machines… I confess I enjoyed that part very much. We enjoyed a superb romp through the mountains eventually finishing on the waterfront in Malaga city for a beer and pizza lunch where my new friends left me with an open invite to go riding any time I’m in town :-) Arriving into town in the company of local cyclists is always a highlight of any bike trip, and the Spanish cyclists are so very open and friendly.
So.. Malaga Town. I’ve been here a couple of days and I’ve decided I like the place. It is not very touristy, most of the tourist traffic heads straight from the airport out to the coastal resorts. Happily. Rather it is very much a bustling, very Spanish town with a great vibe. I’ve enjoyed a spot of street photography here, I apologise in that it probably doesn’t document Malaga very well at all but rather might give a bit of a feel to the place. I can only be bothered to point my camera at things that make me think “oh, look at that..”.. and even then not always…
Flying home in the morning feeling much refreshed and in a much better place for the somewhat more challenging riding back in the Andes :-)
Thought this little chap wielding his balloon swords was ace.
The center of town has what looks like a large storm drain or river bed running through it. It has been fitted out with all sorts of useful community things like ball courts, skate and BMX ramps and so on.
Speaking of skate… I stumbled across some of the locals attempting, and succeeding, to hurt themselves.. I think I’ll stick to bicycles and kayaks.
Sunday evening in Malaga
Malaga. I suspect Instagram has something to do with what is going on here…
Malaga.. the Romans had a strong presence in Spain.. presumably this centurion left his chariot in the underground parking… hate to think what the charges might be, it may have been a while.