Many of you will know by now that we have sadly decided to come home. In reality we had no choice. 2 days ago we arrived in Lucena, after a long hard day, which I only managed with a lot of support and encouragement from Dave. Diverting inland to avoid busy roads made the cycling much harder, but the hills were beautiful in a rugged / barren fashion. Cycling through olive groves, smelling the olives, citrus groves and the fragrant blossom. Villages nestled in the hills. Cafes or garages along the way for coffee, chocolate or lovely plates of food. In Alora we were the only people in the restaurant, in Lucena we couldn’t find any where open to eat at 7.30, it was quiet but not shut down, we did manage to find a bar for a beer, but food was brought from a supermarket.
That evening we knew that the ride was not possible as a number of borders were closed and Spain had announced a state of emergency. Dave booked the next available flight from Malaga. By Saturday the situation had changed again, people were only allowed on the road if buying food, gas, pharmaceuticals or going to or from work. The roads were noticeably almost deserted, made for a lovely ride back to Antequera. We were lucky to be able to stop for both coffee and lunch on the way, I had chorizo, fried eggs and chips, Dave had scrambled egg with asparagus and cod ! This was the last time we have been able to eat in a restaurant. Antequera is a beautiful place, but we were not able to explore, other than what we saw on the way to the supermarket, which was an amazing one (Gemma and Abi would have loved it!!)
Today we cycled over the mountains (again) back to Malaga, we were joined by wind and rain. I don’t know whether it was carrying heavy legs or a heavy heart but I did walk up all the steep sections, especially when heading into the wind! On a normal bike, without luggage it is a spectacular cycle! On the way down I was joined by swallows dancing across the road in front of me. I always try, and find the good things to remind me of how lucky we are!
Malaga is like a ghost town, few people wondering around looking for the supermarket or looking happy as they carry dinner back! The hotel lobby and restaurant (closed now) full of people eating the food they had purchased. Yes drinking wine too!
So now we need to sit out the next few days. We have food, wine, beer and chocolate! We are still hoping for an option to keep our bikes, but with no bike bags and shops all closed this may not be possible.
We are both well and have had an amazing winter training camp in Spain or a dry run! I know what I won’t take next time!
Thanks for following our blog which has been a lot shorter than planned! This is not the last post yet!!
A bit more from Dave: we are sat on our hotel bed drinking cold Cruzcampo from a plastic cup. It wasnt meant to be this way! The last few days have been very mixed. The cycling has been the straightforward part. Load the bikes start peddling and follow the bike computer map which we programmed the night before. Ride up some hills down some hills and enjoy the views which have been spectacular in many ways. The traffic has been very quiet and the road surfaces excellent which make a nice change from North Yorkshire. Just stopping at a roadside cafe for lunch or a drink and enjoying the local food has been a joy. Not pre planned just impromptu. Very few people speak English away from the coast but almost everybody we have met has been friendly and helpful. We would certainly like to come back and spend more time in the region when the current crisis has settled down (hopefully)
In many ways it has been an emotional rollercoaster; we still dont know for sure whether we will actually fly home on Thursday. As I type a bus has pulled up with nobody on it!
We are safe and it is just a matter of keeping occupied over the next 3 or so days. Neither of us are very good at doing nothing. We did bring a game of Uno and its likely that will make an appearance soon. I might even start writing a book!