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Head east, don’t die (part 2)

The Spanish Cycle: Suffer hills, heat, retreat, repeat

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The thing about Granada is… it’s beside a mountain range. Although our route from Málàga did not take us directly over the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, such as Mulhacén, Spain’s highest continental peak, when pedalling is your only transportation “foothills” are not nearly as gentle as they sound. During this ordeal, without the saving graces of beach showers, we were able to define “the two absolute stages of filth.” Stage one: you attract flies. Stage two: you don’t mind the flies.

Amazingly, aside from the tourist-trap of its Moorish palace, the Alhambra, Granda was worth the pain, worth the 13 km straight of uphill battling. An eclectic, friendly, mountain-set, manageably-sized city with gypsy homes carved into the hills was the perfect remedy for aching quads.

As is always the case when content, our departures were premature. Cartagena, Valencia, Barcelona and a veritable alphabet soup of other notable Spanish destinations would fly by… but not before encountering one more hurdle on the way out of Granada. It was time to meet the Spanish policia .

To be fair to the police, In Seville we had witnessed first-hand why Spanish highways forbid cyclists. To be fair to ourselves, on the other hand, Spain is a large country, and there was no bloody way we were going to bike through it entirely on winding, inefficient back roads.

So when we were “pulled-over” (can you be pulled-over when you are already on the shoulder?) by moped police, we played the part of the co-operative tourists. Satisfied we would simply take the next exit, they left, and we continued on our merry (high)way.

It would not be our last encounter with EU police officers, as we cycled our way north to France, along the stunning Costa Azul.

A book detailing this journey, head east, don’t die, will be published in May 2008. For more information visit jensourom.com