The hope we had of continuing east had vanished and we must abandon our route around the world. This decision was harder than when we had to quickly leave Georgia half a year earlier. Back then we still could not imagine anything but this pandemic being a bump in the road. Now, we had to realize the virus would impact the world for quite a while and our cycling plans, which we had quit our jobs to accomplish, must now be abandoned. We could always stay here around Denia for the winter, but we had cycled through here in November 2018 on our first crossing of Spain, and the deserted tourist complexes and rainy winters wasn't very exciting then and would probably be even more desolate during a pandemic. We figured we would go and spend another winter in the Canaries and began cycling across Spain for the fourth time. Imagine that.
Crossing a country for the fourth time requires you to be a bit more creative when planning your route. We've already ticked off most of the sights in Spain we have been interested in and we prefer to see new things rather than return to places we've been. However, there were still some places left to visit, most notably the mountain range of Sierra Nevada. The first time we cycled in southern Spain two years ago it was winter and too cold away from the coast, and last time we crossed it was so hot it was almost unbearable. But now in autumn the temperature was perfect.
We plotted a route that only included new locations and avoided the places where we had already been. The upside of travelling to places you have never heard of is that you are much less likely to be disappointed and our fourth crossing of Spain might have turned out to be the best one.
|Ferrocarril Alcoy Gandia used to be a railroad, now it's for cyclists.|
|Camp outside of Alcoy.|
|Spanish drivers are the best in Europe, by a wide margin. Maybe the best in the world.|
|Santuari de Santa Maria Magdalena in Novelda.|
|Sofia in front of Santa Iglesia Catedral de Santa María in Murcia.|
|Getting on the highway, the only way to cross a river.|
|Dinner with a view in El Rincon.|
|Our cave apartment in Gorafe.|
|Hiking Ruta del desierto de Gorafe.|
|Scenic surroundings, a hidden gem.|
|Guadix. The area reminds us a bit of Cappadocia. A little bit.|
|In Sierra Nevada!|
|The autumn is here!|
|Acueducto del Canal de los Franceses.|
|In Alhambra, Granada.|
|Hiking Ruta de Los Cahorros de Monachil.|
|Leaving Sierra Nevada.|
|Inside Dolmen de Menga, one of the largest megalithic structures in Europe.|
|It was foggy when we visited Paraje Natural Torcal de Antequera, but it was still great.|
|Osuna with one of it's beautiful streets.|
|Plaza de Toros de Osuna, filming location for Game of Thrones.|
|Lots of sand in Parque Nacional de Doñana.|
|El Rocio is like an old town of the wild west.|
Our aim was to get to Huelva and take a ferry to the Canaries. With just one day to go before we reach the port, we receive news that the Canary Islands are imposing severe restrictions. News of the pandemic has been unreliable from the start, but we don't dare take any chances and decide to return to Portugal, where we know our landlady Tineke will welcome us back. Back home, it feels like.
|The Atlantic Ocean at Matalascañas, and we have crossed Spain four times.|
|Back on our roof terrace in Olhão, Portugal.|