Sunday 13 August

St Malo is such a pretty port to arrive in.

Unfortunately I do not have such a pretty sight when I arrive at my house in Caro.

Someone has tried to break in. The porch door had held well as they had tried in 25 places to lever it open!

Unfortunately they hadn’t given up and had managedto gain access elsewhere.

Fortunately it appears they were just looking for money, tipping out a couple of tins and drawers, but nothing too bad.

The TV, stereo and an old laptop were still there, as well as all the booze phew!

Somewhere in the depths of my brain I remember the word for thief, and in my best Franglais tell my neighbours who are in their garden. They are shocked.

I walk down to Martin and Jennifers’ house, English friends in the village, to tell them what has happened.

Martin speaks to my neighbour who lives opposite who calls the Gendarmes.

It seems the break in happened either Friday or Saturday night as my neighbour had mowed our lawn on Friday.

The Gendarme arrive within half an hour, pretty impressive as its Sunday and the start of a Bank Holiday.

They take fingerprints. The garage had also been broken into, but nothing appears to have been taken.

I thought that 50 euros left by my parents had been stolen, but having spoken to them on the phone I find it.

Ironically the thieves have missed the only money in the house.

The police leave, I have to report to the station at 3pm tomorrow.

I head into Maelstroit hoping the supermarket will still be open, but it closes at 12.30 I have just missed it.

The restaurants are all full, so I ride home via Guer to see if my friends Dave and Sally are over. They aren’t.

Luckily I’d had a large breakfast on the boat, so last out till later in the evening when I ride to Ploermel and get a Maccie D takeaway. The french burgers are so much nicer than ours.

Not the start to my holiday I had hoped for, but I am thankful as it could have all been so much worse, and Im glad it was me who found it and not my Mum and Dad.


Tuesday 24 May 2016 To Caro

Last night, with a little help from my neighbour John I reverse my bike into my little green shed for an easy exit in the morning.

My new Held bag is packed and attached to the bike sent with Rok straps. I’m really hoping this might be THE bag! Over the years I have spent a small fortune on bike luggage and it’s never been quiet right. This bag could do with an outside pocket but other than that I think it’s pretty good: waterproof, roll-top along the length, handles and shoulder straps, good ring fittings and at 30l the right size…in the past I’ve had a tendency go for larger bags, but not needed now I have top box for waterproofs.

I wake up about 4 times in the night, my brain is obviously worried I’m going to sleep through the 5.45am alarm… But I don’t and I leave bang on time at 6.30am.

Those of you who know me will know what an achievement that is!

It’s a lovely ride down. Traffic gets heavy around Chichester, but not a problem on a bike.

I get to check in a 8.04. which is perfect timing as within 5 minutes I am waved straight on board- there’s none of that waiting around in a second queue like you get in the St Malo overnight crossing 

I’m the first on board, I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll be the last off!

What it does mean is that I have my choice of seats :0) so nab one at the front,giving me leg room and a view, but even more importantly it’s next to a plug,  so no need to worry about my phone charge…sorted!

The boat leaves Portsmouth at 9am, it’s a 3 hour crossing to Cherbourg, so with the hour time difference we will arrive at 1pm.

I tuck into the ham and cheese rolls, that I’d prepared earlier,  with just the small thought in the back of my head that I am turning into my Mum! I’m not even going to try and justify them, OK well maybe a little, I’d hate for you to get the wrong impression – the food on this ship consists of overpriced pain au chocolat and expensive sandwiches in flavours I just don’t like…so there!  But don’t worry, I plan to make up for it in overindulging in french lunches over the next two weeks!

The crossing is over in a relatively quick time. 

When I head downstairs this beautiful car is parked next to my bike. 

As I thought the ride to Caro was fairly boring- motorway all the way to Avalanches, including a long stretch with only one lane and a 70km speed limit.

From Dinad onward I picked up the normal route I’d take when I’m coming from St Malo.

My petrol light comes on, but the clock says I have 50 miles left in the tank so decide to push onto Ploermel – it’s the first 200 miles on one tank I’ve ever ridden!

I get to the house just before 5pm, and after scurrying around: opening shutters, getting garden furniture out and unpacking my bags and head back out on the bike back up to Ploermel to get the groceries. 

I’m determined not to go as mad as I usually do with food shopping when I first get here and I do manage to restrain myself.

Back at the house and my Tiger is happy to be in the French garage.

We are lucky enough that our neighbour mows our lawn for us. Its not a small job! And I don’t know how he does it, but it always seems to have been cut when I arrive. Can’t wait to crash out on the loungers!

Fresh Prawns for tea…Yummy!

A little later and I get a lovely suprise text from my friend Sara who lives in Le Mans, asking if I’ve arrived and could she stay the night,  as she is heading to sell her ceramics at market tomorrow.  The answer is a big Yes!

So after a little more scurrying – I wasn’t expecting visitors and had dumped most if my stuff- those of you who have toured with me will know what this means :0), Sara arrives and wr enjoy a pleasant evening chatting and drinking wine.

Monday 29 August Day #7 Benalmendena 

Another lazy day. Coffee,swim,eat,drink,sleep, repeat!

The pool

View from the Balcony

Late afternoon we pack up our bags ready to set off on stage 3 of our holiday tomorrow, riding up through Spain and France with the Goozees.

In the evening we walk to Plaza Espana.  Debs and I stop off at a couple of shoe stores on the way, rude not too!, and I can’t resist these sparkly plastic shoes,  but I have to count out the change from our “kitty” purse as haven’t brought my own purse

We get to the Plaza expecting the boys to be on at least their second beer, but they are not happy as still not been served,  so we move to another bar!

We go for bucket of beer with tapas and bottle of wine with tapas, 

And then follow that up with Chorizo en Inferno,where you cook your own sausage. Very yummy! 

A really good spanish guitarist is playing in the square, and I’m more than happy to throw a euro in his hat when he comes round

Closely followed by “Elvis” who isn’t so good, especially with his blonde plastic girlfriend.. Miaow :0)

Sunday 28 August Day #6 Benalmendena 

Another very lazy day for me, although I do manage 50 lengths of the pool.

Whilst I’m lazing by the pool, Roger, Dickie and Debs take a walk to The Battery Park, with lookouts dating back to Napoleonic times.

In the evening, we walk to another of the Goozee favourite bars,

where they dont do chips!

We eat at an all you can eat buffet. The choice is amazing,and  includes all this seafood that you can have cooked to order.

We leave there totally stuffed!

Onto another bar where at last they sell 43, although I only have one as the measures are generous!

Saturday 27th Aug Benalmendena Day #5

Today is a lounging round the pool and lying in the sun reading day.

In the evening we walk down to the seafront and join the thousands of others promenading and admiring the sand sculptures. 

We go one street inland for dinner at a favourite restaurant of Dickie and Debs. Its easy to choose what we want to drink, but not so easy choosing what we want to eat.

We then stroll back, along a street lined with bars,restaurants and shops.

A few more drinks and a pool challenge, which Roger and I just win, before heading home about 1.30am 

Friday 26 August 2016 Day #4  To Benalmendena 

We collect our bikes from the secure garaging and load them up outside the Hostel. 

Back onto  N502, and a great biking road. 

What a fab way to start a days riding.

We stop in Almaden for a coffee. As we plan to stop for a proper lunch today, it doesn’t matter that the bar  doesn’t seem to do breakfast.  

The style of houses we ride past changes from orange mostly tatty old houses to whitewashed walls.

As does the scenery, which is much more barren here.

We join the N432, which gets a bit boring, but I’ve spotted some interesting wigglies on the map so make a last minute decision to turn off into C3408. 

A fab little road, tight twisties and a view out across Cordoba, which I find reminds me of the road above LA, that I did with Tyler a few years ago.

We stop for lunch in Cordoba.

Its ok. But not a good as I hoped. 

The “soup” is made with bread and lashings garlic.

After Cordoba, we blast down the motorway for quite a long stretch.

Thought it’s quite odd to see this sign at the motorway service station.

We turn of at Antequerra to pick up a lovely looking twistie section of road.

But that isn’t as easy as it sounds as there are roadworks on the turning we need to go on. 

I have to turn left up a steep cobbled Street but no bloody diversion signs when we got to the top. So round and round in circles, on cobble stones   getting more and more stressed.

So I head out of town, stop on a horizontal flat surface to try and sort out where we can go.

Roger spots that from this road there is actually a diversion sign so we follow that. Result!, wr are on the right road.

The view back over the town is stunning,  white houses scattered on the hillside and a fortress above the town, but I’m too wound up to stop.

But more stress is about to come as the first bit of this road is super windy,  and one of my pet biking hates after cobblestones is gusts of winds, especially when they take the bike. 

I am not a happy bunny :0(

If I’d been on my own I probably would have turned round and gone back on the motorway. But as it was I persevered, the downside being that even once the wind stopped I’d lost my mojo a bit and found it hard to get into my rhythm,

But luckily  eventually I did,when the roads were as good as this.

Where’s Roger?

Back on the main roads and we are soon at Dickie and Debs, with the bikes parked, 

And it’s time for that all important first beer!

Time for a swim

Before we go out for a chinese 

Thursday 25 August Day #3 Burgos to Herrera del Duque

We have planned a 300 mile ride today, so aim to leave by 8.30am.

Roger decides his monkey needs to sit at the front of the bike,  poor thing!

All packed up we are ready to leave our secure parking by 8.45, just a little later than we hoped.

We head out on N234, past this statue of El Cid.

The road is deserted at this point, although it does get a little busier further along.

We turn off onto BU901, onto what I term a “greenie”. 

Let me explain,wherever possible when riding in Europe I use Michelin maps. These mark scenic routes in green, thus “greenie” and the plus point is that scenic routes often mean great biking roads. 

We stop for breakfast in Leonardo De Yague.

My first Cafe con Helio of the holiday, Coffee with ice, with a lovely doughnutty cake 

We turn right, and I wave Roger on ahead  so as not to slow him down as this is a wiggly greenie, S0920, or so I think!

But we have gone  spectatuarly wrong. The GPS keeps telling me to turn left, but I ignore it as I think it’s trying to take us onto a main road rather than the greenie I’d plotted. 

We stop in Penarado De Duero,with its magnificent fortress, as I realise we’ve gone wrong but I’m not quite sure how!

I reset the route so that the next stop is N110. We get taken down a very bumpy bit of road, then onto the motorway. 

But I’m even more confused now as the GPS is saying it is much further to our next turn off than I expected.

When we stop for petrol we realise that somehow we are on A1, the opposite side of a triangle than I’d planned. Duh!

But at least we are now back on route. N110 to Torrecaballeros,where we turn left onto a small white road, before picking up CL601, a lovely riod with kits of twisties taking us up to Navacerrada, where we stop for a cold drink.

We continue south through Monasterie De El Escorial, where the whole town appears to be part of this huge monastry. Not sure what happened to that vow of poverty!

The temperature is now  soaring  into the high 30s , so when we stop for petrol and a cold drink I quickly soak my wet vest.
Oh what bliss when we start riding!

We reach Talavera De La Reina at 5.30pm. This was where we had originally planned to stay, but we can’t spot any hotels and my wifi connection won’t connect, so we decide to continue  South a bit further, perhaps as far the lakes- we both like being by the water. 

We are now on N502,a road Roger remembers as being a good one.

We had earmarked Castiblanco as a possible stopover. But as we ride up a tiny road off the main highway,  past 4 old guys looking at us as though we are mad!,both of us realise that this place is unlikely to have a hotel. This turns out to be true.

We continue to Herrera del Duque. The first hotel on the corner is closed, but just up the road is a Hostel. 
There’s a little bar where with the help of the Google Translate App I adk for a double room. I get taken upstairs to look at it, it’s basic but at 40 euros a night what do you expect,  but it does have air con and secure parking down the road.

After a much welcome shower, we are both hot and sticky we walk 100 yards to the centre of town, where everyone seems tobehanging out.

As usual those first beers are much welcome and hardly touch the sides.

And with every beer, a little plate of tapas!

After a couple of beers we leave to look for a restaurant,  but none are obvious, so we head back to another bar which dies appear to serve food ad well.

But it’s  getting  late now  so after more beer and more tapas, the decision is made to “dine” on tapas.

And Roger has already made the strategic decision to drink small beers,  as you get a dish of tapas every time you order:

Chicken wings,spicy sausages, fish, fried aubergine, olives  croquettes and cheese 

An absolute feast! And it’s free!