Adios Espagne, Tick that off our list…

Posted by on 17, Jul 2022 in 2022 - Camino, Spain, Tilly the Tandem

Adios Espagne, Tick that off our list…

We had two days off in San Sebastian, the 2nd because it was a wet miserable day on the first, so we added a day to see the seaside resort in the sunshine.

Whilst we were staying the World Dance Championships were being held there and ‘Team England’ (why do they say it that way round? You don’t go round saying Apple Braeburn do you?) Seemed to follow us around restaurants.

The thing we always struggle with in Spain is food. I know, I’m a right fussy one, but it’s not just me having problems here, Linda does too. First there’s the eating at 8pm onwards, which is far too late for us as we are ready for bed then, and second there’s the choice of Spanish Omelette as the only thing you can eat at many many places. So when we are in a city we seek out an Italian and an Indian and on this occasion, The dance English Team (Braeburn Apple) turned up at both places at the same time as us! Fortunately we crept in seconds before them each time.

Oddly they didn’t follow us to our third meal out – Burger Vegetable (you see how that gets annoying!) But the Icelandic team were there not sporting shirts saying Team Iceland, but just Iceland.

San Sebastian is a lovely seaside resort. It’s architecture is very Parisian with grand buildings and wide boulevaards many pedestrianised and heaving with people storlling around the shops and cafes.

It’s cycle infrastructure is excellent, with both normal and electric bikes for hire all over the place and loads of 2 way cycle lanes off road or protected from the road. They do take extremely sharp turns at times which are a bit challenging for a fully loaded tandem, but we thoroughly enjoyed pootling about on foot and by bike.

Our last Spanish hills on the worst road we’d cycled on led us to the border. Its almost as if they don’t want you to leave! There is a cycle route to France but they’ve put it on top of a 450m high mountain and there’s no way we were going up that, so we took the main road along with the racing cycling teams over the very lumpy coast to Hendaye. It wasn’t pleasant, but eventually the road turns into a dual carriageway and we were able to hurtle down the side of the last hill in the inside lane at 45kph, with Linda hanging on for dear life at the back.

The border itself was naturally a huge mess of poo bags, lorries queuing and blocking roads, lack of staff and frustrated tourists trying to cross. Oh no, sorry, that’s the UK border…. Here, we sailed over, past a policeman who gave us a polite nod as it to say ‘See, this is how a border should work’ and there we were… in France.

We’ve loved Spain, the drivers are the best we’ve encountered anywhere towards cyclists. They are patient, give you the 1.5m of room required by law, don’t squeeze past once they’ve waited the regulation 10 seconds and won’t wait any longer and nearly all of them indicate to pass you (again a legal requirement). So Frenchies & Brits, if the Spanish can do it so can you.

The towns and villages are lovely and despite the eating late we have loved the way the squares fill up with families in the evenings playing games, drinking and eating and laughing and talking. The children run all over the place and no one takes any notice. They play football against the cathedral wall or skateboard and cycle round the square. Wonderful.

We’ve loved the huge range of Alcohol free beers, usually on draft and the fact that so many people drink them and, apart from the huge hills we’ve cycled, have marvelled at the beautiful scenery. The people have been so nice too and the slow paced life that starts so gradually each morning is really great for late risers like ourselves. It’s undoubtedly been our hardest cycle ever and involved a fair amount of pushing but we’ve really enjoyed it.

We’re not quite sure though, how we both managed to get a tick as we don’t go through long grass and are mainly on tarmac or gravel.. . Yuk! You can buy tick removal tools but we didn’t have one in our fix it kit, so had to make do with spraying the tick with our 75% alcohol hand sanitiser then tying a knot in some cotton and placing it over the tick and tightening it with a quick pull. The sanitiser, as well as numbing the tick in alcohol, allows the cotton to stick to your skin and therefore tighten at the ticks mouth, trapping any infection in it… hopefully we won’t be needing to do that again in a hurry…

So Adios to the ticks and Espagne, and Bonjour France…

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