Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ignorance was bliss

Hola, Bonjour and alright!

I have had to most random 8 days of the trip so far. Everything has been soo random, the people, the weather and the wildlife. I have crashed, starved, laughed and I had a wonderful christmas day cycling around the middle of Spain tryin to find a bloody village that had a public phone. It was worth the effort in the end to get to talk to my family, to hear about the fry they had for brekkie, I had museli. After hanging up I went to the nearest bench and made some coffee in the glorious sunshine, in the mid teens anyway. I had to behave myself as I had a guest for lunch, some random woman, stinking of last nights booze, came out of her house and just stood in front of me staring in awe at my camping stove. It was just gas craic trying to explain it all to her with no language, she did not seem to even understand my sign language. Just when I was about to hit the road again she gave me a pat on the back and that near melted my heart, just random love...

I fell here and it hurt, ice is harder than titanium

I got another super present for xmas. Since the start of the trip one of the really special pleasures I have is in watching all the different birds of prey hunting. Spain has really taken the piss in this matter over the last few days. Looking up at huge soaring vultures, hovering kestrels and massive hawks. Another great moment came as I whizzed down from another wonderful hill with a steep drop off right beside the road. I turned a corner and there was a massive hawk cruising along, he was a couple of hundred meters off the ground but their we were only a few feet apart gliding along at the same speed. UNREAL! I have alot of dreams I want to come through but I never thought that one would be topped in the same week but it was. On chrsitmas day I seen my first confirmed kill. I have watched probably thousands of these birds on this trip but never seen a completed hunt. It was a kestrel hovering at the side of the road. Usually I end up spooking them but this one must of already had his eyes on dinner. He dove, I held my breath and rolled closer for the millionth time, not believing I would see what I have dreamed about for months. Wings tucked tightly in, supreme stealthy speed, you could almost see vapour trails as he cut through the air. The mouse, sitting pretty, munching on some left over corn, trying to keep fat through the winter, he was wearing the christmas socks his kids gave him for the third year in a row, he had a little handful of corn to bring back to the hungry waiting family. Alas it was a meal they would never get to enjoy, snatched up and torn apart before he knew what hit him. It was the Kestrel family on the next block that would have the extra portions for christmas dinner. Heffo on the sideline whooping and hollering, blood in my eyes, I cheered on the kill like a spectator in a colosseum of old.

The start of the sunny weather, somewhere in Spain

Then all my innocence was shattered in my last couple of days of riding through Spain. I stopped for a quick stretch and drink when something caught my eye on the road. It was a dead snake, I didnt know Spain had snakes haaa. Had I of known this I probably would not of slept in my tent with it wide open on hot nights. For all I know they could of been crawling all over me during the night. Highly unlikely I know but I deffo would not of had the bloody door open haaaa.

Wishing for hills

For my birthday I promised myself I would get into Portugal, so began one of many long days on the bike. Outside of Madrid the road was pretty flat so I covered some "big" distances. I always wondered how they came up with borders of countries, obviously the Pyrenees sould of given me a better clue as to what awaited before Portugal. Yes another great hill, I was told on the way down to go back by some boy racer as it was too icey and slippy, started to put the shits up me but I was not going back. Turned out to have a bit of frost and alot of sheep. As I got closer to the border I wanted music so I flicked on my Ipod shuffle and on came Bob with Like a Rolling Stone, just lovin your work Bob! An amazing valley with all sorts of rocks piled in unusual piles haaa, and only half an hour of pain up the otherside, camped out at the side of the road looking out over the valley, extra chocolate for the birthday boy!

Made me reconisder my "planned" trip through
South America by donkey

Stopped for food in some silly little village the next day and had a jam sambo. As is my routine just before I jump on the bike I have another quick coffee, one for the road, just then two teenagers came over and offered to buy me a hot drink, it was kinda cold out so I said of course. They bought me a single espresso and I got the coffee shakes, I love them haaa. Thiago and Anna, beautiful little kids full of questions. I asked them all about their xmass, Thiago got a guitar and Anna got shoes and stuff. They go to an English bording school so it was cool to be able to chat in English, they also gave me the change of the tenner their parents gave them to buy me a drink. I obviously refused and told them to tell their parents I took it and that they should buy sweets with it but their grandad came into the cafe and made sure I took it, so I did, and I bought Pringles and three slabs of chocolate.
Anna and Thiago

I have a theory, I have developed many since starting this trip haaa. Now dont get me wrong, its just a theory, a lot of theories didnt pan out, The Lone Gunman, Algebra, haaa gotta love Joey. My thoery is that dogs are the reincarnation of people who have been killed by touring cyclists. My evidence is in the fact that every single time I pass a garden that has a dog, in every country, it will quickly run up and start barking its head off at me as I pass. If the garden is fenced it will bark and run along to the end of the garden and bark as best he can through the fence. If the dog is chained it will run towards me as hard as he can and bark until he almost cuts his head as the chain takes the slack. Even if the dog is way up in the hills they still bark at me and thus warn the dogs around the corner that a murderer is on his way so they will start barking. I even find myself barking back at them only to have the owner give me the weirdest look as the pop their head up out of the flowerbed. Sometimes it seems like the sound track to this trip is fecking barking dogs. And the next story has cemented the sound track in stone for me.

Proof of the maneaters

It was just another day up in the rugged hills, where the hardy folk dwell. The inbred farmers busy tending to their goats, adorable in a purely ugly way. Ye get them everywhere I suppose. They still smile, obviously with only a few teeth but a smile is a smile. The odd one will give me that reaction that inspires me more than anyother. As I cruise past they thump their hearts twice and then the air in salute to my trip. I do the salute back, we laugh and then I am gone, hoping the next farmer gives me the same salute, I usually get a few each day haaa. I had been pushing hard all day and had climbed my last hill of the day, I had been holding a number one and a two as the going had been good and I promised my organs I would releave them of the pressure at the camp site. I found a nice out of the way quiet spot to camp beside an abandoned house overlooking a steep lonely valley. I set the tent up and sat at my front door pondering life with a cup of coffee looking down into the dark abyss as the last of the light faded away. My bodily urges had left as I was sitting so I lay down for a bit. Then the church bells rang, aww thats cute they are playing Silent Night, then I heard a bark, then another and another and they were getting closer. So began the night of all nights, the seige of all seiges. A pack of ferral fucking dogs surrounded the tent. Now it was not just a bit of barking, it was barking to end all barking, growling and snarling like I had just killed one of their children. It was pure madness, but sure they will be gone soon enough. Ye tell yourself these things all the time but it does not mean it will happen. Before I got a glimpse of them I imagined them to be some whimpy little jack russels. I had one side of my front door open and I got a look at one of them, a massive German Sheppard, I mouthed to myself "bollox" and closed off the tent door.

I wished I had a front door like this

So I played the waiting game, stay silent, they did not see a human enter so for all they know its just a random empty tent. So I lay as silent as I could. It was as if I had been removed out of the galaxy, pure and utter stillness. Any time I moved I thought the sound of the sleeping bag was like picking up a bag full of shattered glass, so I didnt move a bloody muscle. When I could hear my pulse vibrating with the sleeping bag at my neck I moved it, thats the sort of quiet I was aiming for to try get rid of the hounds. For two hours they ran around the tent in a crazed state, at one stage one of them was howling like a wolf, sweet jesus. I was hungry but my food bag was outside, I was gonna cook up some popcorn of all things, not tonight my friend, I dined on hunger cursing the dogs. They finally went silent, so I waited a while to make sure they were gone, delighted, nature was calling so I made a move for the door. Up the dogs jumped and continued their frenzied barking. Holey fuck they had actually just sat down and had been waiting about twenty minutes. So they got all worked up again and I got all silent again, as pointless as it was as they clearly where super smart genetically modified intelligent army dogs. So I lay in my bag in the dark praying they would not rip the tent. I was doing a Ghandi with my peaceful protest. I drew the line at damage to my house, if they started to bite it I was gonna pull a Magyver and fashion a spear out of a spare tent pole and use my leatherman knife and kill me some dog. At one stage I was getting ready mentally for a show down, thinking yeah I will get biten but I will take a couple of them down and then get to the next town for stitches and a tetness shot haaa. I was bursting and I considered dumping into a plastic bag but I could not bring myself to do and it would of stank to the high heavens, I thought maybe I could hurl the bag at them or something. I know its madness but I was brainstorming as best I could. Eventually they went quiet and I resigned myself to getting some sleep, hungry and holding onto a peepoo but I was even to be denied sleep as the church kindly offered to sound the bell every hour and wake the dogs from their quiet vigil of my tent. Silent night my ass at 4am, 4fuckingAM are you guys for real, 5am, 6am, SILENT NIGHT driving the dogs mental. But I dont blame the dogs, I blame the idiots who probably bought the dogs last christmas and had got bored of them and just dumped them up in the hills like they do back home. The dogs didnt attack and eventually there was silence at the 7am Silent Night Remix so I had a quick look out the tent to find the beasts were gone so goddamit if I didnt just pack that tent up, load the bike and hit the road in under twenty seconds flat laughing my head off in the early morning darkness. I got into the next town and found an early bird cafe and did some serious damage to the toilet bowl, I also ate two of the most delicious custard filled sugar donuts...

Wishing for a flat road

I had picked out what I thought would be a nice hilly route through Portugal, I was planning to go to Vigo but changed my mind when I seen the most squiggly road of all time. It definetly has more bends than the Enniskerry road. Squiggles, which where also my fav biscuit in Welly, mean hills so I was pumped up for this one. The Dourro river flowed all the way to the Atlantic through Portugals wine region. Sandemans was about the only name I recognised. Man if I didnt just roll along the side of the river in glorious sunshine and happiness. Then the road takes to the hills, then down to the river, then to the hill, down to the river and back to the hills and ye get the idea. Man it is just a beautiful area, the farmers are all out picking the last of the olives, trimming grape vines and burning leaves. Which filled the valley with smoke, not enough to put you off, just enough to create all sorts of shapes with the sunlight. The smell of lemon trees, manderines and even near the end there were ecalyptus trees to add to the beautiful aroma.
My first night in Portugal

So I arrived into Porto thinking it was New Years Eve, its the eve of eve haaa what a muppet. I am in a cool hostel for the night but its full for tomorrow so I might hit the road and enjoy the big night from the hills haaa. So far I like what I have seen of Porto, to sum it up in the few hours I seen, Oldschool.

Skinny legs and skinny arms

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A million shades of red...

With so much time on my hands, I get thinking about the most random moments in my life. Mostly happy moments, some scary moments, some drunk moments. Its funny how when trying to recall a situation I can only bring back a single moment. Like trying to remember a whole conversation, when I know we talked for hours yet all I can remember is the smile at the end.

I would of loved some roasted marshmallows for this one

I am close to my 29th birthday now and I am trying to think about what I have done with all that time. Cycling down so many roads on this trip gets me thinking about how I ended up on this particular road. So much time spent in school, college, working, relationships and travelling. Yet if I was pushed to sit down and write about what I have done so far I could only jot down a snap shot at best. Life is just a collection of moments. Even looking back at what I did last Monday, I can only recall a few funny things that happened. I suppose I am happier now knowing that the moments are ticking by the way I want them too.

Bring on the new day!

I got another Nat Geo mag today and it had the Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1: All humans are born free. Thats definely true for me and most Irish people. Yet why am I only starting to experience a true sense of freedom now, 29 years later. I grew up in just about as normal house as ye can get, granted the inmates in the asylum probably argue along those lines too haa. I dont feel the rigid structure of school and college was right for me but there is no alternative so ye have to go. I just never got into it, something was always just a little bit off. There is no doubt I had some serious craic in uni but that was definetly because of the crowd rather than the fine educational institute of DIT. Travelling helps increases the sense of freedom, cycling increase the freedom tenfold...

Thats some good thinking boy

Now I have had to delete a pretty big rant I had spent a long time typing. Just stuff that I felt needed to be said. So once I put it down on and reread it, the therapy was done for me. So this is a vastly alterted post, not sure what the point is in even telling you. Maybe its just for me, to jog my memory of the post that could of been...

I made the owner an offer, it still pending

The things I have experienced this week have made me happier than ever. The places I have seen and the loving that I have done haaa. I feel like I am really starting to live on the edge now. Not on the edge of danger or of human endeavour haaa. On a different edge of my life. Living in the right place at the right time, all the time.

So many canyons and mountains rolling on forever

I have stopped in Madrid for a few days. Usual madness of backpacker hostel, madness that I am no longer involved in. I was chilling out in a Starbucks, not actually that bad for once, and I got chatting to Laura (Madrid) and Denise (Columbia). Awww they were loving the beard man, dont blame them either. Ended up going to the cinema with them but there was no dropping of the hand! Went to see My Blueberry Pie, cemented my love for Norah Jones, just simply smoking hot. I love the buzz of rocking into a city and getting chatting with locals. The anonymity of travel by bicycle is amazing. But whats more amazing is the open nature of strangers to chat or offer help.

New horizons everyday

How exciting is it to look at a map and be able to go almost anywhere on it. To spend a chunk of time in my tent at night picking out the most interesting route. Only to chose a turn at random in the morning just to see what might have been. I am truly in love with the random nature of my journey. Where ever I end up will be completely my own fault. The whole curiosity with the dead cat lark. I struggle to sleep with excitement even this far into the trip.

If the road is quiet enough I can afford be really lazy

Mixed emotions about Madrid to be honest. Supposed to be resting my legs yet have found myself walking around the city for hours. Maybe I walked so long because its hard to find what is nice about Madrid. Dont get me wrong, I like it but I am not sold on it like Paris. I did a bit of museum stuff, just was not feeling it. It was an exhibit on 1914 avant garde and the great war. I did like a penciled sketch of a Belgium officer but that was about it. Nature trumps most art in my opinion. Its like watching a DVD on Planet Earth, or even a blu-ray disc haaa, it pales in comparison to real life.

Maybe I am yearning for the outdoors too much and not letting myself get into the run of things in the city. It is just packed full of christmas shoppers, possibly 50 million people today. They seem to have a weird christmas wig tradition here, very bizare and they also litter pretty fricken badly too. Everyone running around spending obscene money on obscene things, stepping over homeless people and averting eyes. Once your eyes have been opened its very hard to close them again. Its been a few years since I have really enjoyed christmas, probably since I left for Oz. Its hard to find joy when you know what poverty and hardships people go through, which I presume are multiplied at this time of year. The money spent over christmas makes me sad. The amount of disposable income we have and the choices we make in spending it. I think its why I didnt go to Malaga to meet Mary for christmas, combined with wanting to see Portugal haaa. Its all just wrong in my opinion, completely upside down.

Fingers of god pointing the way

Well there have been some sweet moments in the last week. Here is the highlight reel:

They could not of dug out all that rock just for a cycle path?

Another moment doubting the directions of a stranger. Why should I doubt them? Well when you ask how to get to Navaroñ and they point you towards a muddy track, doubts get raised. He looked like an extremely sweet old man, not dissimilar to Yoda. So I trusted him and went on a pretty wild ride through a slushy muddy track and eventually got to Navaroñ, which was a shit whole and I cycled right past it haaa. It will be a while before Celona forgives me for the mess I put her through but we did get a sweet spot to sleep.

A road = Tarmac, not mud

I had the quietest moment of my life. I had camped out in a nice little spot, I was hidden away off the road up in a little woods, just got the tent up when the weather got good. The sky started to poop down sleety crap and then it turned to hard hail. After a while we got the good stuff, big chunky snow flakes. After a couple of hours when everyone was tucked up in their warm beds at home it got real quiet. An erie silence like the kind you find in scary novels. No wind, no cars, nothing. At one stage I tried to pop my ears just to make sure I was not all bunged up. You could almost hear the flakes falling on the snowy floor.

Roads are quiet enough to make coffee anywhere

I had my wild animal moment. I was cruising along the prettiest narrow valley of all time. It had a small stream which had probably spent its whole life carving out the valley for me to cycle along. It was cold, quiet and there was a bit of mist hanging on the side of the valley walls. Then thirty feet in front of me a big furry fox runs across the road and up into the hills and he stops just up off the road. I get closer, staring him in the eye, he didnt flinch, he just sat down and stared right back at me. I didnt go for my camera because the moment would be over before I had a chance to take a shot. So I slowed down and pulled in right beside him, he was only about ten feet from me and we just looked at each other for about twenty seconds and then he scampered off up the hill.

The only chimneys around

Time is my next topic of thought,
especially seeing the "river" that carved this

I had my Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moment (minus a hot girl on my cross bar). Wheeling along in the sun, yes Spain does actually have weather other than the snowy kind. Long flat land, sun beaming down, just the merest hint of a tail wind. So there I am, simple me, in the middle of a huge bowl like valley surrounded by the snow capped mountains I have been struggling over. Sitting on the side of the road eating a few strawberry jam sambos, an orange, a pear and coffee. Soaking up the suns rays, its amazing how much it can revitalise you. It was the first day in a long, looonng time I have been able to sit on the ground, so I did for a couple of hours and watched the birds dance around the sky.

Alex wanted to be in a pic

As easy as living gets

I had my camping in an abandoned house moment. Spain is dotted with derelict houses and I have been itching to get into one and spend the night. The house had only the four walls left, so I pitched my tent in it and started cooking up dinner. Well holey moley when the sun went down I was treated to the darkest night sky of the trip. It was like something out of a Holywood movie, tucked up in my sleeping bag hanging my head out the door of the tent star gazing. Where the ceiling should be was just deep black sky with every single star out, I counted them and they were all there! Even the windows and doorway had a perfect night sky in them. It was just dead romantic, Celona agreed.

My home away from home

This tree was outstanding in its field

I had my easiest hill moment. What is the craic with the Spaniards and straight steep climbs eh. Finally I found a hill that had a glorious winding road up it. So I strutted my stuff all the way up in third gear, this hill climbing lark was finally easy. When I got to the top, I was stretching my neck out to see what the view would be like, it was absa-toot-ly breath taking. The scene in front of me was simply colossal, the biggest view of my young twentysomething life. Why do I feel it should of been harder work for it?

Shhh did you hear that

I want to squeeze every last ounce of energy out of this body before it fades away forever. To see my world. To bring happiness to others and somehow make a difference. To live every moment with real passion. I realise that this life is a one time offer. There is no coming back to do it better. There is no tomorrow, only this moment. Simply, I want to live...

This is why I left home

Now imagine for a single second if we could live like these guys sing...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The mountain troll


I have sat and browsed the net for a bit, listened to some music on youtube, so hopefully I have restored my pulse to a reasonable level, its been at a 180bpm since I last posted. The decision to go the mountain route has been a huge step up in terms of adventure for the journey so far, a moment in history for me. It also marked my two month point. So I have been trying to put some perspective on what I have done so far. The only thing I can come up with is that all the effort and excitement I had in the first two months was but a mere warm up compared to the last week.

The most tranquil camping spot so far...

I was sitting down on the side of the road staring at the horizon about 100kms away where the mountains started. I got so lonely, the size of my planned trip has never seemed so big. It was only day 60 of 365. I have never felt so small, the world is so big, Spain alone is too big. I felt like a grain of sand on a beach. Its not exactly the feeling I wanted going into the hills but in the end it was the right one to have.

The attempted star jump is masking my nerves for the road ahead

My place in the world is small, I am nothing compared to the land I see before me. Its only out here that I have realised its ok to know that I occupy a tiny space in the world. Knowing this I can give the planet the respect it deserves. Natures energy can be scary when you are alone in your tent at night. I have to admit that a couple of the nights I was truly praying that the weather would not get any worse. Trying to sleep in a tent that feels like its on a roller coaster. Trying to sleep when your toes are bloody freezing even with two pairs of socks on inside your sleeping bag. Another 3am spent furiously wanking my toes trying to warm them up has been a dream come through, a smelly dream at that.

Coldest (greatest) night of my life by a country mile

I am not trying to be a drama queen, I know I am not in the artic. But I cannot deny I did get proper nervous a couple of times out there. Again its about not trying to lose the run of your thoughts, focusing on one step at a time. Eat, cycle, drink, cycle, eat haaa. I know I have enough water, food and fuel for the stove so I can take my time and deal with what comes up. There is no rush, I have no short term time limits. All I want is an adventure and to see as much as possible. I love having the fall back that people go through much worse in more remote and dangerous places. I love getting back on line and reading what other people are up to on adventures, even reading about how peoples plans are coming along for future expeditions. I love being out there struggling, planning ever harder trips. Treating this as training. Its beautiful to dedicate myself to the outoors rather than to fucking myself up partying.

Too many hills to think about

The first few days where warm and sunny. Hard hills but the weather was amazing, even had the tent front door undone at night. It gradually got worse (more fun). I thought I knew what hard work was. I thought I had seen mountains. I thought I had been cold. No, now I know better. But its worth it because this area of Spain is unlike anything I have ever seen. It must be a geologists wet dream. I have never even seen photos of anywhere half as beautiful. The rock formations, arid land and general scale of everything is what I thought only far away adventurers got to see. The sort of place you one day hope to see before you die.

Who gave planning permission for this?

I got to see it by random, just taking a turn off a road for the laugh. I have realised what great patience I have in climbing hills. I dont listen to music on the way up just so I can listen to the demons inside me. By demons I mean my weak side telling me to stop, the puny me telling me to go around. I like hearing myself argue with the demons. Its funny how proud I am when I finally get the demons to shut up.

I can retire now but then I would not find out

whats around the next corner

I have pushed myself on the Handall court before but this is different. Its such a sadistic pleasure to push so hard on your body and not for Everest, for a hill that does not even have a name. One of the weirdist changes has been my ability to shovel food into me on an industrial scale. If I did not burn off the food in effort up a mountain then I would have to spend hours on the toilet dumping it out.

Pressure, pressure, pressure, geological pressure that is

I shite on like its only me out there but its been team effort. Celona (my bike) got grumpy with me one extremely cold morning when I gave her a golden shower to de-ice her brakes. We had a big argument on the way down the hill but she has since forgiven me and seen the light on how necessary it is to have brakes on frozen roads. I had used most of my hot water de-icing the tent poles so I could pack them away and I was trying to keep as much water as possible to drink. It was a rare moment of genius I thought, Celona did not see it at the time though. Then Alex from Guinness book of records (my shadow and photographer) also got a bit lippy with me one night in the tent, he made a smart comment about me not putting in the effort. It was a few days before I even spoke to him again.

I recently watched a short clip of another cyclists camping

spots hence my effort to show you guys where I sleep

Even in the mountains I cant escape the sea

My last shower had been Barcelona about 10 days ago, I stank like the inside of a dead tramps arse. I was sweating and panting like a beast. I finally realised that I had been stopping every five meters to catch my breath. The land was just so wind swept with zero cover so I pulled in at a tiny little overhanging rock. It was raining and the wind was roaring down the hill as I tried to cook up some pasta. It was too wet and cold to sit so I had to hunker down and lean against a rock as I inhaled the food. I was even making a strange grovelling noise as I ate, it was as close to being an animal as I have ever been. It was then that I seen the mountain troll, it was my reflection in a pool of ice. I just had to laugh to myself, I could just picture one of you guys driving by and seeing me.

This is where they make the wind

So I am now taking a couple of days off, my soul cries out for more but my legs are truly empty. I have been aiming at a town called Teruel since I left Alcañiz. Looking at maps aiming at certain towns, they become a kind of mythical beacon to try and reach.

Wheres Wally?

Well Teruel in its first hour, after a long shower, has already been incredible. I went straight to the funkiest looking cafe and was ecstatic when I was charged only 80 cent for a coffee, plus I got two free bars of chocolate when I proudly informed the lady of my momentous journey to get to her cafe. Haaa we got chatting, not sure how you spell her name but its something like Balene. She ended up taking me for lunch, tons of tapas. I had peppers covered in bacon and cheese, potatoes covered in fried egg and bacon plus chorizo and some bread. Good laugh chatting about language difficulties while on the road, her travels to America, Japan and her life in Spain. So far I have spent all my time in the middle of nowhere, it was a pure delight to have a good old natter to a local.

JohButer Trio, Nowhere man

One last thing, this song has become a bit of a theme song for the team. Its just a beautiful tune, bopping along, not all the words but most of them hit home for us...

Take it easy amigos

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I am not sure I can take much more of this...

I just put up some pictures of Barcelona in my last post, just incase my brilliant descriptions were not enough.
Breakfast channel

Why dont they wind the roads around like in France

It is too much, this should not be just for me. I have had the wildest few days of the trip so far. With water fountains everywhere I am missing a little bit of local interaction so I may start just knocking on doors again for chats. But the dip in sign language conversation has been infinetly surpassed in un-funckin-believable landscapes. Sorry for the nasty Irish habit of squeezing curse words into the middle of words. But its all I can do to contain my pent up happiness...
Sometimes I cheat and push

Pretty close to the edge, didnt mean too haa

Casear the chief mouth of a little village

After the conversation filled weekend with Dara and Orla I rolled on towards Madrid. Climbing again, climbing more and gernerally not really seeing a flat road for days. But they are not steep but just endless. The roads tease you like a flirty 16 yr old in a junior disco. They let you believe the hill will end just around the next corner. They dont, suddenly you find yourself wrecked and have pushed a bit too hard and are still no where "cool" to camp for the night.
This is what I hoped Spain would be like

Ass hole

So I stop, cursing the stupid idea of crossing Spain by bicycle. I make myself a coffee on a wind swept roadside, cold and feeling only nine out of ten in my happiness scale. So I get pumped up by the caffeine, ahh socially acceptable drugs are great eh. I trundle on and finally I come around the millionth corner and low and behold I nearly crack up. Why did I whine for fifteen minutes when I knew in my heart what was ahead. I know it wont always be hard, there is always a reward. Well I got it good. Easily the view of my life, not including girls naked, I mean a huge sweeping 300 degree view of a plain surrounded by jaged rocky mountains. Little Spainish brown villages dotted all over the place, 100km views across the plain. The tears came, not wussy girly night out drunken tears. Manly in touch with nature ones!
I want it all

I love the ramshackle tumbling buildings

My friend Libby has started a blog which you will find here. She is starting her position as New Zealands Youth Ambassador to the Antartic and I recon she will have plenty of adventures to keep an eye on. Good luck Lib!
A roadside abandonded mine shaft,
nice a warm inside so I made coffee and warmed up

They get boring after a while
I like to keep an eye on home affiars too

Well a while back I found a slick bookshop that had a good old English section. I grabbed nearly everything they had. One title which has provided me with the most motivations and laughter is "Round The World On A Wheel". Its about three English gents in 1900 or so setting off to cycle around the world, awww man its just priceless. The adventures they have are brilliant, fighting off horse backed bandits with their revolvers. I cant belive they did back in the day before goretex, comfy sleeping bags, stoves and all the gear we have now. I whip it out and only allow myself to read a few pages a day so that I can make it last longer. I will post it to who ever wants it after me, its a super adventure read.
Rolling on till the Atlantic I hope
Like the scarf?
Trying for the worldly traveller look

I dont really rave on about particular towns, distances I have done or other silly details like that. Mainly because its all good, one town over the next, with your eyes open there is magic everywhere. I am in Alcaniz now, tomorrow I will have to decide between a mountain road or a busy main road. I dont need to do a poll from you guys to know which you want me to take so its safe to say I will be taking the quiet mountain road. Doing my usual huffing a puffing up mildly steep roads while grannies in electric wheel chairs whiz past me. The last joy I will tell you about is the one I get out of music. When the going is easy I stick on some John Butler Trio or Jack Johnson and sing along, loud and proud. Really buzzing off the tunes is what its all about, not just listening but feeling the music, haaa.

UTV at 9pm has nothing on this

Exciting times!