Day 1: Tarifa to Posh Campsite
Back to Spain. Back to Andalusía and back to beer.
After arriving to Spain and spending the night in a field next to Tarifa, I began taking the N340 north-west to Cadiz. It was in stark contrast to Morocco: a wide hard-shoulder, pretty safe traffic speed, more flat than hilly and easier to breathe without those putrid car fumes. Given this I covered a lot of distance rather quickly.
Passing a huge wind farm (owing to the tailwind pushing me along) and fields of solar panels I cycled down to the coast at La Barrosa / Roche hoping to sleep on the beach. But it was cluttered with 5 star hotels. The whole area seemed a bit posh with it’s golf courses and all, but I managed to find a small place to camp in an empty field with overgrown grass, spiders, and snakes and sat eating some cereal watching the sunset over the Atlantic.
Day 2: Posh Campsite to Cádiz
A very, very foggy morning turned the tranquil hills around the coast into an eerie and cold start to the day. But at least I could be lazy as I was sure nobody could see me. It wasn’t long before I shed my jumper and hat again due to the infamous heat of Andalusía. I began cycling “along the coast” but discovered that there aren’t actually any roads on the coast and so I was confined to the main road to Chiclana, with it’s tram network but no trams. Nice place though.
Wanna go to Cadíz on a bicycle? Good luck!
Getting from here to Cádiz required a little bit of trial and error. Although it’s not immediately clear on the map, Cádiz is on an island – “Isla de León” – and there are only three ways to get there: by a huge motorway suspension bridge in the north (no bicycles obviously), a main road crossing an older bridge further south (no bikes either) or a motorway along a thin strip of land to the south (strangely, bikes allowed). Luckily I found an old service road running the length of the motorway which made for a gentler cycle next to the largely impassable salty marshlands this area is famous for.
I also passed this guy living the dream on probably the dirtiest beach in Spain, which made me laugh…
Did I mention the power lines? There were power lines.
Even though it’s an island it certainly doesn’t feel like it because of the car traffic. The old town is situated to the north which is a little quieter and where the good but really busy beaches lie. Apparently the city is over 3000 years old, one of the oldest in Europe, though it really doesn’t feel like it. That’s because most of the old buildings and ruins are underground, and many lie undiscovered. If you want to renovate or build a new building here it could take decades, much like in Rome, because the chances of finding an ancient Roman or Phoenician ruin are pretty high. I made a quick tour of the city before hitting up some wine and sleeping like a baby in a (much too expensive) hostel.
Day 3: Cadíz to Smelly Field
I went on a “free” walking tour of the city today, the type where you leave a tip at the end. It was pretty good, and found out some peculiarities of the city like the old Napoleon cannons placed at the corners of many buildings to protect them from the carts, now cars. Or these bricked up windows to avoid paying a late 1800’s window tax.
Then it was onto the city’s famous speciality: fried fish…
As the day got on I decided to leave but as I’m heading north, rather than taking the 27km detour south, and back across the “bicycles allowed” motorway…I decided in protest to just take the main road across despite the “no bicycles sign” and saved myself over an hour of cycling in five minutes.
I camped not long after in a smelly field next to a power plant.
Day 4: Smelly Field to Rabbit’s Leg Field.
A rather plain day today. I cycled a lot in the morning on the main road to Seville and stopped in a café in the small town of Los Palacios y Villafranca to watch Italy beat Spain 2-0. The mood in the town was rather sombre after that. It’s hotting up now that I’m heading inland, around 35 degrees and too hot even at night, though I’m used to it coming from Morocco. A few beers later I camped up in a chunky mud field with olive trees, as wild camping becomes more difficult around Seville. As it was dark, what I thought was a stick at the door of my tent turned out in the morning to be a rabbit’s leg, the consequence of a tractor previously churning the soil.
**Sorry to finish up on such a gory note, but I’m in a café, it’s getting dark and I need to find somewhere to camp. Part two coming soon! Cheerio 🙂