A Bientôt France, Hola España!

We made it to Spain a couple of days ago, arriving in San Sebastian through more wind and freezing rain, unfortunately the weather stayed pretty crap the whole time we were in France other than a few glimpses of sunshine here and there. We thought things would improve once we got further south and to the coast but the weather there was crazy, going from clear skies to pissing down rain and back again over the course of a few minutes.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, there were heaps of awesome places along the way that we enjoyed despite the bad weather, one of which was Cognac, the birthplace and home of the drink Cognac (surprise surprise). We went on the Hennessy tour which took us through the process of making Cognac and found it pretty interesting, now we know why it costs so bloody much, the whole process just seems a bit convoluted to us, but what do we know.

On our way into Bordeaux we had a bit of a tense experience when we accidentally missed the entry to the bike lane and ended up on the highway going over the bridge into town, the motorists weren’t happy to say the least, it felt as if we were riding with a burning French flag strapped to the back of our bikes, pretty much every vehicle passing went out of their way to slow down, sit on the horn and yell abuse at us. We don’t know what they were looking for though because we were obviously stuck on our course until the end of the bridge, there was a high barrier between us and the cycle path and there was no way we could’ve turned back, and on top of it all there was hardly any traffic!!  We were really surprised because on every other road, cars have happily sat behind us for kilometres without complaining. It was a mistake frenchies, just relax and eat a baguette or something...

When we got to Bordeaux we met Tess and Carl, another couple cycling around Europe that were also from Sydney just around the corner from our place, so we setup camp next to each other and had a fun time exchanging stories and travel tips. We took the next day off in Bordeaux to check out the city which turned out to be prettier than we’d expected, like a mini Paris.

Our last stop in France was a really beautiful town that we’d never heard of before called Biarritz, we hadn’t planned on stopping there but as soon as we saw the place we fell in love with it and decided to take a day off to explore and take some piccies.  We’re so glad we did, Biarritz is our favourite place in France so far next to Paris, it had a bit of everything, beautiful buildings, beaches, palaces, cathedrals, and it all just looked so picturesque and perfect.  One day stretched into three however when the weather gods decided to hammer us with non-stop torrential rain, we weren’t going anywhere!  On the third day our tent started to feel like a prison, so we decided that we’d pack up and continue the next morning rain, hail or shine.  Unfortunately we got rain. When we got into Spain and checked the forecast for the region it didn’t look like it was going to get any better for at least another week or two, so we thought screw it, let’s catch a bus to some place warm, we’re sick of having to wear ten layers of clothing every day, it’s summer god dammit, we should be in shorts and singlets!

We’re now in Santiago de Compostela on the northwest corner of Spain, we spent the day sightseeing in lovely 26 degree warmth. We’re hitting the road again early tomorrow morning and have set ourselves the challenge of riding 21 days straight without any breaks, we’ve been inspired after watching survivor and want to put ourselves through a bit of hell so we can really enjoy the reward at the end of it.

Tags: Cycle Touring, Adventure, Journal