[continue III] and meeting Thomas :) it's a bummer that I coudnt cycle the last bit from Nantes to St Malo to get the ferry, but I'm wasn't looking forward to 3 days cycling in the rain.
So today I'm getting to Les Mans, staying in a hostel and tomorrow to Caen , I had to change the city I was getting the ferry because you can't get by train to St Malo. (Or the line doesn't leave from Nantes but from Paris so it would be much longer time in the train anyway).
I've cycled 43 kms today. And that's probably it. Now ill probably just enjoy the city of Caen before taking the ferry on Friday.
I had an amazing time, and I've definitely learned a lot, mostly from the bad moments.
It's amazing how strong your body is, and a lot of times I wanted to quit but my body was still strong and my legs kept cycling. A lot of times I thought I couldn't cycle any longer but somehow I did.
And now I'll have a bike in the UK so I'll keep cycling over there :)
Total kms cycled: 43km
[continue II] before I left Spain.. I planned everything for Spain and I didn't spend a lot of money... Now in France I thought I would just follow the "eurovelo" (cyclist route signposted) that would be easy as. But now I'm spending all I didn't spend in Spain just with trains in France :/ oh well... We learn!
When I arrived at Nantes I stay in a really crappy hostel that I had to pay €33 euro just because they made me bought a "auberge card" (mandatory) to get discounts on other HI hostels... (Which I didn't want). The hostel was €22 for the room and €11 for the card... Ouch. I couldn't find any other hostel in Nantes tho... and looks like a big city!
Then in the morning I decided to cycle 43km to save €5 in the train ticket. The ride was fine but when I got to the city I needed to be it was pissing down with rain. And it doesn't look like its gonna stop (the whole week). So I guess that's it for cycling... That's the end of my cycletour. I'm getting to UK on Friday and [...]
When I woke up it was still raining... I had to cycle at least 20km to the city with a train station (I was going along the coast and the train doesn't go that way). Due to the weather I decided to get to Nantes quickly by train, but when you buy last minute it's so expensive... €15 euro for around 70km... And I bought my ticket online 1 day before from Bordeaux to Nantes for €30 (and its more than 400km).
Trains in France are so expensive... In Spain I was paying 6 or 10 euros for a train.. Here is always at least €15 for the same distance. I guess if you live in France and use the train a lot you can get some passes and make it cheaper... So yesterday I arrived at Bordeaux, and I had 3 hours to wait for my next train; but as I haven't planned anything for France and how to get in the ferry, I had just to stay in the train station planning... Where to sleep, what options I can get to bring my bike (train, bus...). Planning is very time consuming, I should have planned before [...]
The last bit of road... And raining.
5 April 2016
[continue V] so I decided to face the rain (it wasn't too bad) and go to town (1km away) find a wi-fi and power to charge my phone.
And I found a great cafe inside a hotel. I bought a coffee and started planning the cycle/trains for the next day. By the time I was ready, it was dark. (10pm) and I've got some lights on my bike, but just today, when I really needed it, it didn't work. :( it was fine for most of the way because there was lights everywhere in the city, but at the campsite... It was pitch black. I had to go with my torch AND my phone illuminating the way. Eventually I found my tent and could sleep. What an adventure :P
Total kms cycled: ~75kms
And he looked at me and after a moment considering (which makes me thing he knew exactly what I was planning when I said that), and said "yeah ok". ("Merci merci merci!!")
I got back there to put the mat and the sleeping bag inside the circus but then... I spotted some spiders.. :/ considered what to do, after all the risk I've token to use the place, I decided to set my tent inside the circus. Lol. No it didn't work. But what about the deck? Yeah! After some trouble putting some rope around to make the tent stay up (it's one of those tents that needs pegs to stay up - doesn't stay up just with the poles). It worked. And I was sheltered :) voila!! (Look at the picture)
Then I cooked my "truta" (fish) and ate with rice and mushrooms. Was pretty good! But the day didn't end there. After everything was set it was still around 8pm, and I wasn't going to sleep just then. There was no power and the wi-fi was pretty expensive. [...]
[continue III] and went for a look around the campsite. Then when I was reaching the parking lot (near the reception that I thought it was closed) a guy approaches me and says "hello are you looking for a place to sleep? I saw you coming in with your bike..." I started sweating because if he saw I put my bike in there... I would be in trouble! So I said "yes yes just for tonight, camping, how much?" And he said "ahh just you? 5 euro" (cheaper because the place wasn't properly set up yet). I said "ok... Do you have change for 50?" And he's said: ok I'll get it and I'll find you. Search a place you want to put your tent." So when he turned around... I RAN. I ran to the circus and got my bike out as fast as I could. And I was quick because I've got out of there and he appeared. He didn't saw... Phew!!! So he got the change and I don't know, I think we were about the rain and I said: "I had a look on those tarp accomodations... Would it be alright if I camp in there?" And [...]
[continue II] with cars and trucks... I saw some cyclist getting out of the cycle lane so I thought that would be more people around this time. And I cycle alone for a while until I saw a women running alone in there. So I got pretty relaxed. It was pretty safe!
I got to mimizan and the lodge was closed :( I was pretty disappointed to have to camp... When I got to the campsite I saw no one on the reception (sometimes you can enter and pay in the morning), and the campsite was pretty rough (they just started for the season and it was a bit of a ghost city among the bungalows and caravans to rent. I was raining very lightly too so the mood was pretty depressing... Then I found one of the "tarp accomodation" (looks like a small circus) had just a zipper and you could go inside. It wasn't dirty, there was just mess everywhere (and leaves) and all dry. I thought it would be a good idea to sleep in there with my sleeping bag. So I put my bike inside the circus (no one saw) and went [...]
At the beginning I had the adrenalin pumping and was enjoying a lot, but after 45 min without seeing anyone around you start thinking "what if my bike breaks... What if I fall... What if..." Etc. and if you let that feeling take over you, you get distracted (and it's easier to make mistakes), so I had to put my "bravery" face on and keep going and get focused to get there. And then when I saw one other soul I was all happy and no fear. Half way was "conti beach" and 5 min after I got there it started raining... Quite lucky as I could find a shelter there (there would be nowhere in the forest to escape from the rain!) so as it was lunchtime I made some potatoes with ham and tomatoes :) (I found a nice area in front of a bike shop with a roof and tables, the shop was closed but I used the place haha, thanks Conti bikes!) I waited a bit until it stopped raining and was thinking which way would I go... Get the 14km in the woods again or go sharing the road with cars [...]
The next day I knew it was going to rain in the afternoon, so I was ready to leave the hostel at around 9am, but I tried to pump and it wouldn't pump the bike's tyre (not a major problem but when your tyre is not full it's easier to get a pinch). So I had to wait until 9:30 for a bike shop to open. I went for a stroll around the city, and the beach was stunning! Too bad it's too cold :(
After my tyre was okay I left to reach mimizan, another beach around 60km far from there.. And my plan A was to get to a hostel that looked as good as the previous one, but that one didn't really say when was open (again). My plan B was a campsite but yeah camping in the rain is not too good :P
Almost 30km of the whole way to mimizan was completely "lost in the woods" the bike path crosses a forest and for a while I've cycle without anyone else around. Just me and the birds. It was beautiful, guess sometimes we can enjoy a little bit of solitude. But then... It's funny how fear works, [...]
4 April 2016
[continue I] was lots of rain. So I was hoping for a bed. Anyway I pressed the buzz and someone appeared. And there was a room for me! And there was two girls in the hostel that were both cycle tourists :D so that was great! I had a great chat with the two French girls about cycling, they were just on holidays that time but they had done a bunch of cycletours already with their familys and boyfriend. (Not alone, although they agreed alone is fine too around here. So that hostel was super clean, the bed was so comfy and the shower was amazing. Probably the best place I've stayed in this trip! How your day brightens when you find nice people around.
Total kms cycled: ~70km
Ok... Yesterday: I got out of st Pierre de loux heading north of France.. And now I could see how the cycle lane worked. Pretty well! The cycle lane (that should cross the whole France) was beautiful and there were lots of cyclists. I've passed Bayonee and had a coffee. Then a kebab for lunch. I head to the place where I've looked on google maps (my opinion 1) and by the time I got there I was pretty tired. I was hoping that would be open (it didn't say on the website and some hostels just opens for summer)... And it wasn't :( so it was time for plan B which was 15km ahead. It doesn't seems much but when ur tired... That one I was sure it was open because I've seen on the website but it didn't have reception hours. So I headed there with my fingers crossed. After 1h I got there it almost 6. From the front it looked closed and I was thinking "if this doesn't work I'm gonna cry". (Of course the plan C is camping which is 100% sure it works but the forecast for that day was [...]
Sorry for the lack of update Internet has been pretty hard without 3G! I'm in a campsite and tomorrow heading to Nantes! :)
Finally had a nice photo of me taken! (In front of the hostel)
3 April 2016
Today I'm in one of the best hostels I've been, it's called villa tiki in Vieux Boucau (a surf village in the south of France.) I did around 70km today l, hard work. Will update more tomorrow!
2 April 2016
[Continue III] but my phone wasn't on roaming still, so I could use my 3g. I found the way but still got lost and in the end I was using Google maps every corner. Until I got to a weird place where there was just uphills... I went to the top of the mountain and down to the other side trying to reach the other city. At least it was a beautiful view. And then i was trying to find a campsite and cycle around for hours because most campsites are closed as its not summer yet. I've finally found one and I'm happy spending whatever euros they want. That was it. I thought about a hostel but as its Saturday most of them are full. I'm happy in this campsite, lots grass and a cat in a leash. Pretty funny. It's not cold. It was incredible I've crossed to France and suddenly it was all sunny and warm and people in the water surfing :) I'm not risking getting in the water yet but the guy at the camping said the pool was 26 degrees (Which is not too bad!)
Total kms cycled: ~45kms
[Continue II] (Not that I haven't peed in the wild before) but there were no place really hidden, so i kept cycling and cycling until I found a gas station and could use the loo. And it was at the border of France lol. Well I had to go back to that perfect pic nic area. I thought it was close., so I went back 20 min cycling just to have lunch in a nice place haha. Well it was nice, and the burger was delicious. The only problem was the wind :P it was very windy and my chopped tomatoes felt twice in the table (from my plate) well of course I ate it! Anyway got back to finally cross the frontier and had the biggest disappointment as there was no sign "welcome to France" or "farewell from Spain" :( it was just a bridge... Oh well. I was following a sign from the La Velodissey (the name of the cycle way that cross France) and when I arrived in hendaye there were no more signs.. I was lost for like 1 hour trying to find the way, it was a bit stressful but my phone wasn't on roaming [...]
Cat on a leash. Weird!
The way into the mountains.
Today i left legasa early in the morning and as it is Saturday I knew there world be lots of cyclist on the road. And there was! The way to hendaye (the first city in the border of France) is all a big cycle way. It's called via Verde (one of many in Spain) that has been an old railway and nowadays converted into a cycle way. It was really fun! Until... It became gravel... And I had to go quite slow. But it was paved again. And mostly all the way was a mixed of terrain. It was quite an adventure going in the tunnels (as it was an old railway it still has it tunnels), some of them were quite wet and with pots of water! And some of them were dark... I got to the border at almost one, and I bought some meat from the shop in the morning to cook for lunch (It was very cold so I knew I wouldn't spoil), but before... I really needed to pee. And I've passed a couple of great pic nic areas looking for a toilet :( at those times I wished I was a guy. [...]
1 April 2016
[Continue III] but going downhill there was the cold AND the wind caused by the speed. It was a beautiful view and there was almost no traffic, I could go very fast but went very very slow :( which is no fun for a downhill... When I got to the bottom all I could think was "hell no I'm not camping on this cold". I knew this way it's part of the the Camino de santiago so there's a couple of cheap pilgrim accomodation.. And that's where I am. In a nice "albergue" alone in the shared room cause most of ppl start walking when its summer :P and the shower was the best thing ever. I can feel all my fingers now :D
And tomorrow... Francia! Finally. This is my goodbye from Spain, it's been great. And let's see the French route how it is.
Total kms cycled: ~55kms
[Continue II] so I was lazy to get everything out and organize it again. I've cycled with my fingers frozen for like 1 and half hour. It was painful. Eventually I stopped for my second breakfast and decided I had to find it. And I found it (not after disorganizing both panniers). Anyway it was much better!! Warm hands :) until.... I started climbing the pyrenees... And it was cold. Very cold. It was probably around 2 degrees on the top (There were patches of snow), where I thought it was the best place for cooking my lunch. Yeah it wasn't. My feet was like a block of ice. It wasn't too bad to cycle cause I didn't need to move it but when I got out I felt the frozenness. So put two socks and 4 jumpers. Until I was warm. But my feet was pretty hard to heat up. Anyway I cooked and ate and left for the downhill....... Which was even more painful than the uphill. Going up I was swearing and it was ok going slow and getting my excitement up for crossing the mountains.. But [...]
[Continue I] so there almost no clothes in there :( I went to one... Didn't find gloves. I went to the other one... And there was 2 pairs of something that looked like a bikes gloves! Score! €2 euros for that.
I went happy back to the city and later I realized I should really try them. And there were two of THE SAME HAND. Two left hand gloves. And the other pair in the store was probably two right hand gloves... I really didn't wanna go back there as the weather was crap. I was waiting for my bike to get ready from the bike shop (it was fixing the light), then after I would go to the couples house. Very luckily later on my way I thought I was close to the 2nd hand store. And a quick check on Google maps showed I was! So went back and swapped one hand :D happy! OK back to the pyrenees story. I left pamplona at 3 degrees and after cycling 5 minutes I remembered I got gloves! But... i forgot to leave my gloves in an easy place. So they were buried deep inside my panniers... :( [...]
So I've crossed the pyrenees. The mountains that devides Spain and France (kind of cause I'm still in Spain). I was in pamplona yesterday with a lovely couple from Waemshowers (the cyclist community) and luckily I was in their house and not camping because it was cold and rainy! But today was better. It was very very cold (~3 degrees) in the morning when I left pamplona but it wasn't raining or windy. And then got a bit better late morning BUT I need to tell you about the saga of the gloves. I went to some stores in pamplona trying to find gloves. Bike gloves are usually €20... Even on decathlon! So I was thinking I was ok paying €10, but no more. I went to a outdoors store and they didn't have, so I asked if there was any second hand stores in pamplona. The guy told me there was 2 good ones! So I went 15 min walking in the rain. And the stores were "cash converters" those stores that you go an bring your €100 thing and they pay €10 for it to sell at €90. So there were almost no [...]
31 March 2016
In Spain they speak more than 5 different languages!! After leaving Barcelona /valencia which they spoke a lot of Catalan I came to the Basque country (pamplona and North) which they speak Basque! So confusing!
Me and my friend from New Zealand Jesus :) he picked me up from marcilla by car so yesterday was just 10km cycling... Easy! Then we had a look around q castle in Olite that was quite nice. I spend the night at the small village at Barasoin where he lives and there's just like 600 ppl living there Hahaha. I was going to cycle to pamplona today but look at the weather :( so Jesus brought me here by car again Hahaha!! So lazy eh? Tomorrow I'll have a gap in the rain so I'll try to make the most of it :)
France is close!
29 March 2016
[Continue II] In some places the police does a good job by sending to jail bad people. So we all can do what we love freely.
So today I'm in a camping in villafranca. Already met a lovely couple that are tent neighbors from the UK that have a nice little dog :)
About the cycle today... The road was turning to the wind's direction and I thought I would have a nice tailwind but NO as the road changed the wind changed aswell and got on my side :/ luckily it was a small ride today hehe
Tomorrow I'll meet Jesus my Spanish friend from nz :) and hopefully by the end of this week I'll be crossing the Spanish border.
Total kms cycled : ~45kms
I've cheated a bit by taking the train out of Zaragoza til Tudela, it would save me some time cycling in those outskirts of the big city, which is usually not very nice.
I was missing cycling tho! I stayed two nights in zaragoza and was enough to get excited about traveling again. I made some friends there and while they had admiration for what I'm doing I'm still perceived as "crazy" which is getting tired...
Which comes to... Why am I doing this. I'm doing this because I love cycling and traveling and I believe all women and men should be allowed to do so. The would is not as dangerous as they show on TV. What am I doing is going around and having amazing experiences and showing that yes a women can cycle alone. And camp. And have fun. And comes to "what I am not doing" Im not getting drunk and camping. I'm not drinking and cycling. I take precaution with all my stuff locking inside my tent with me. I'm not "asking for trouble" and such thing doesn't exist. [...]
27 March 2016
[Continue II] I might stay another night tor rest. The city is nice!
Total kms cycled.. 65km
Today I left the albergue camping place at around 10am. It was freezing! I wasn't cold at night but in the morning I think it was around 9 degrees. I got my underlayer on and went.. For the biggest uphill... It was around 3 km of uphill I think. My legs were burning.. But I made it. To the top of the mountain. The only mountain! Then after that most of the way was downhill. And at 10am cycling downhill (without any sweat) and with a 50km/h wind... It was freezing. I had to stop to put my big puffy jumper on. But I couldn't really move my fingers as they were a bit frozen and i didn't have any gloves... So... I put socks on! (Dirty socks :( cause the clean ones were on the bottom of my Panniers) it worked. But I couldn't wave at any cyclists!! Not with my dirty socks on my hands...
That was until midday when the sun started to warm up and I took the layers out. Got at zaragoza at 2pm! Quite early. Had some time to see the city and make some friends at the hostel.... [Continue]
Something to remember from this interesting city of Zaragoza:
"La fantasía abandonada de la razón produce monstruos, pero unida a ella es la madre de las artes" F. Goya
Igreja Nossa senhora do pilar
26 March 2016
[Continue II]... Not far away, so not long after the muddy street I went to a normal street. Of course I continued relying on Google to tell me the best way. So I kept going and eventually a nice street with no traffic became a gravel road hard to cycle... But the little villages were nice, and people would wave at me and asked if I needed any water! Once on the way there was a nice downhill and nothing around just rolling hay (literally). And once when I was quite fast one rolling way rolled right on front of me! I guess the adventure gods were testing me. And after that test it was mostly all good the way, even got a nice tailwind.
So I've got to the nice city of cervezuela, which the local rural hostel let me camp in their garden. I met a cool local dog (Labrador) that I hope will make me company during the night.
Total kms cycled: 65km
Today was definitely the adventure day. Lots of off road cycling! I left montreal del Campo around 9am, and went through some really rural, very bucolic! I was trying to avoid the main highway and looked into alternative routes (on Google maps), it was all going fine until calamocha, where I did my weekly (nah 3 days) groceries and got a new sim card. Then from calamocha to lechago, a 6km street, it was leading me through some hills, in a gravel road. But Google maps haven't failed with me before and wouldn't fail with me now... Would it? Oh well... It did. The road ended in a river!! (Like, it went down to the river and on the other side you could see the road continuing...). Lol. Lucky there was a weird bridge on the side (I wonder who is that for cause it's not for cars), the bridge had a step to get in it of 20cm, I had to push my bike up (it's quite hard with 60kg+) but I made it. On the other side it was quite muddy, and got mud all over my bike wheels. Lucky I could see city...
Camping at albergue El tio Carreton today! No shower cause they just gave me a little space to camp for free :) at this tiny city of cervezuela.
25 March 2016
[Continue III] Then the wind got really strong... And completely against us... We're really slow against that horrible wind :( it was 40km that felt like 90km.
Got to Glórias place, a nice house in Montreal Del Campo, we had some fish (cooked by her, very yummy!!) and I'm in bed already ready to sleep. Today was the hardest day I think. The wind feels like you're going on an eternal uphill. Tomorrow the forecast seems better tho! :) (fingers crossed!)
Total kms cycled... 42km (with strong headwind all times)
... The other bikes, hoping the guy that checks the ticket wouldn't notice there was just supposed to be 3 bikes in there... And it worked! The bike and it's invisible cloak got well blended with the others haha. And then 3 hours later I was at Cella, ready to cycle to my next destination : Montreal del Campo. Ah one thing before that. In Spain they use the PIN number in the phones, and as a good Brazilian I checked my pin and puk out long time ago. So my battery died yesterday and when I charged and turned it on... It was asking for the PIN!! And it's semana santa and everything is closed and I couldn't solve it, lucky I had a MAP (a real one) and that my host at Montreal del Campo (Glória from Waemshowers) was cycling to meet me around 10km after Cella (where I started cycling). So half an hour later I found Gloria and everything was fine! Didn't need a map or a phone (cause in any emergency she had one). And we had a nice ride for the first... 10km of our trip. [...]
This morning I didn't even know if I was going to be able to get in the train. Previously I tried to book the train with the bike and the seller said there was no place for bikes up until Sunday :/ not good! I didn't have accommodation in valencia anymore and had to leave... So I bought a ticket in the automatic machine and I was just hoping they wouldn't notice the bike or say.., I didn't know? (The automatic machine has no option for bikes) (=dar uma de João sem braço). So this morning when I got to the first guy checking the tickets before getting in the train, he asked me: "tienes un billete para la bicicleta?" And I.. "Ahnnn sorry??" Then him in English "do you have a ticket for you bike?" (Notice there was just 3 min before the departure time). And I replied.. "I've asked..." And before I could finish he said "ok go go"..!!! Yesss first part. Then I got inside the train and there's just 3 spaces for bikes, all occupied (of course) so I just left my bike leaning against the...
Cycling with Gloria
24 March 2016
Yesterday it was just touring at valencia and paparicando a sobrinha ❤️
[Continue III] And thank adventure gods for keeping the wind in the same direction, cause then after half way it was very easy! Tailwind and downhill :)
Then I got a bit more excited and decided it was still early and I could cycle to the next city to get the train a bit further. Next city... At L'alba the officer selling the tickets told me I couldn't get on any train with my bike, it had to be the 7:00 one. And it was 4. 3 hours waiting..?
Nah , decided to cycle for two more hours, to the next train stop. And in glad I did because the wind stopped and I went through some beautiful farmland and another beach before that stop. I must say I got there at 10 to 7 which was close! I forgot google maps cycling prediction of time is not really accurate for cycletourists bringing 50 kg. Hehe.
Anyway got to valencia safe at a Airbnb place. I'll stay here until Friday so probably won't update this!
Total km cycled: ~70kms
[Continue II] I tried to get some shortcuts back to the main road but It didn't led anywhere (just to some uphill that I could have avoided.)
Then I got to the road I needed to go, autopista -7... And I was told I couldn't go that way because cyclists are not allowed in the autopista!
I looked at the map and the other way seemed pretty bad.
Anyway around 11 I decided I couldn't cycle with that wind, and went to look for the train. There's was no one at the train station to sell tickets, and the next train was in two hours. So I went for a tour at the little city I was, the beach was beautiful. Then I went for a coffee and a croissant (so good!) then at 1 i got a bit more energy from the coffee and decided I could cycle some of the way and would get a train in the next city. I started cycling with a strong head wind, but I going north to go south again later (doing the long route) so I kept thinking soon I'll have that wind as a tailwind.[Continue]
Ok today was a big weird day.
It was VERY windy at the camping, but my tent hold it strong. It's good to buy quality material. I wasn't as warm as I thought I would be with the sleeping bag. It says good for 0 degrees and it was like 7 outside and I thought I would be roasting but it was just enough to keep me warm. (Which makes me think I can't really go under 5 degrees)
So I woke up at the campsite and took 2 hours to get everything re-packed in the Panniers and tent and sleeping bag rolled and back to the bag ( its a mission to get those to fit).
And at 10:30 am, when I was ready to go, it was still very windy. Going from the camping back to the city was hard (and I thought there was a way to go from the camping to the next city, but no I had to go back 5km). I was losing my balance with the wind, and when it was head wind I got slowed down to barely moving at a flat road. Really frustrating. [continue]
23 March 2016
On a train to Valencia! :)
Note: promised the guys at the coffee shop at the train station to spend next carnival here in Vinaros. They said it's better than brazil :P
L'Ametla del mar beach.
22 March 2016
I'm in a camping in L'Ametla de mar. Not really a nice camping... There's no grass for tents, it's a "camping" for cars. I hope not all campsites are like that!
Cycling out of tarragona was weird, it was all industrial areas. But a little bit out of that I could see some nature with mountains on the background.
Then I've cycled through 3 villages at a nice cycle lane at the beach.
I've got my first uphill with a nasty headwind! It was hard to cycle uphill, I think I've got around 40kg total of stuff...
Speaking of that, I think my bike is handling pretty well the weight. I'm glad I bought a touring bike rather than a road bike. :)
Tomorrow I'll get to Valencia somehow. Probably will cycle half way and get a train.
(Mae e Pai, nao se preocupem que meu saco de dormir aguenta até 0 graus!)
Total Kms cycled: ~60km
Cooking in front of the beach :)
Rice, broccoli, green beans and tuna for lunch!
21 March 2016
Didn't cycle much today... Got a train cause had to do a last minute sleeping bag shop! Arrived at tarragona at 5pm.
Total kms cycled: 10km