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Thread: Spain 2010!

  1. #1
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    Spain 2010!

    I'm heading back to Europe after a haitus with travel and will probably rent a bike while there. I'm flying into Madrid, though I do want to go to Andalucia. I've only got just over a week, so I'm wondering if there are some places I should keep in mind. I'm not really into the map stuff... I can usually drop into a country and just blend with the locals and stuff. I'm just wondering what's out there.

    I'm also thinking about linking in a Picasso tour with the bike. I mean c'mon... it's his home country. There's bound to be tons of odd, off the beaten track Picasso stuff. I did a backpacking impromtu trip through Mexico several years ago and saw some fantastic Diego Rivera stuff. All impromptu and very much worth it. I'm wondering if I can do the same in Madrid for Picasso pieces.

    koffee
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    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Koffee Brown.. Great to again hear that name... You will see the Guernica in Madrid.. There is a Picasso Museum in Malaga.. I had thought the museum with the greatest number of his works is in Barcelona... take a bike lock.. Cycling friends in Barcelona tell us bike theft is popular.
    Enjoy.
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    ^ Since January 1, 2012

  3. #3
    biciclista girona's Avatar
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    The best Picasso museum is probably the one in Paris, after all Picasso spent most of his life there. Even Guernica spent 50 years in exile in NYC. That's what 40 years of fascist regime will do to the culture of a country.
    Besides Madrid's Museo Nacional Reina Sof�a, home to Guernica and other Picasso artwork (and Dal�, Mir�, etc), and the Picasso Museum in M�laga (Andaluc�a), there is not much else in Spain in terms of Picasso (Barcelona?).
    If you are into more classical Spanish artwork, you will be able to find paintings by El Greco, Vel�zquez, Zurbar�n, and other lesser known masters throughout Spain.
    Basically any major cathedral or monastery will have masterpieces.
    As far as renting bikes here, there are touristy-type bike rental businesses in all major Spanish cities, although not all major Spanish cities are bike-friendly (Madrid).

    If you want an off the beaten path art tour of Spain, look into primitive cave paintings. Lots of not-too-famous sites in Southern Spain, I am very fond of Cueva de la Pileta, for instance.

    Cheers.

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    I know about Paris, but the likelihood of me ever reaching Paris is LOW. So... I just like to go off the beaten path and see where Picasso was born. Where did he grow up? How do they honor the man in his home country. :-) Can't wait to see this!

    I'm wondering about those cave paintings. They sound fascinating, as does the idea of exploring the city for lesser known artists. I'm beginning to enjoy art hunting over the years while travelling.

    Cyclezealot, thanks for the additional tips.

    koffee
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    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

  5. #5
    biciclista girona's Avatar
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    I hope you do go off the beaten path, although there are some places on the beaten path worth going to. Museo Nacional Reina Sofa in Madrid is worth going to and it is free on certain days/hours. I am currently living not far from it and enjoy going there from time to time. The best time to visit is 2:00pm or so, Spanish standard lunch hour. It's got a great bookstore too.

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    Thanks. Yes, I do plan to just wander for a bit. I'll probably grab a very basic map or something from the Embassy here in DC, but I do plan to keep it very unscheduled and under researched. I've found these days that just taking suggestions and wandering around gives much better and authentic experiences. Thank you for the suggestions- with the dollar worth so little, I'll need to be careful when I'm out there.

    koffee
    i'm koffee brown, dammit!
    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

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    I'm also headed to Spain (though for a bit more time) in the summer. Where would be a good place to actually find a road bike to rent? I'm starting my journey in Madrid, and that's all I know... for the moment....

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    If/when I find something out, I'll let you know. I'll be looking around for a bike to rent when I get there.

    koffee
    i'm koffee brown, dammit!
    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

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    My girlfriend and I are touring Spain for 3 weeks in May, so we'd also be interested in good places which rent bikes. We're flying to Barcelona and then leaving from Madrid, with Sevilla, Granada, Andalucia and the coast along the way.

  10. #10
    biciclista girona's Avatar
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    Are you planning on renting a bike for bike touring? or just to ride around each city?

    I am not aware of many businesses that will rent bikes on a semi long term basis (any thing over a couple of days) but that does not mean that they do not exist.

    There are lots of people that come to Spain to ride (or walk) El Camino de Santiago (pilgrimage trail from the French border to the town of Santiago in Northwest Spain) so there may be some businesses that cater towards tourist cyclists in need of a rental bike. This year is special (it's called Xacobeo year) because of some obscure Catholic rule and if you do the trail you get extra points in heaven or something. This happens once every few years. The moral of the story is that this year is going to be superbusy along that trail. I would stay away from it if you are not into crowds.
    On the other hand, there is quite an infrastructure of cheap hostels and shelters along the way so no tent/camping equipment is really needed.


    Cheers.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by girona View Post
    Are you planning on renting a bike for bike touring? or just to ride around each city?


    On the other hand, there is quite an infrastructure of cheap hostels and shelters along the way so no tent/camping equipment is really needed.


    Cheers.

    We did Portugal and Galacia, Spain . We even met a group of cycle tourists heading north . The actual pilgrim trail is dirt.. Most of the roads have wide shoulders. We were there in early October and the roads can be quite foggy.. We were told Summer can be impossible with the crowds... In Galacia, you'll unlikely experience Spains' terrible heat you get in the interior.. We also saw some tours carrying cyclist's about in vans.. In the countryside you'll find lots of pensions , but in large cities such as Santiago, we discovered hotels can be quite pricey, so plan ahead if it is not during the off season..
    .
    .Photos. A Galacia town on the Atlantic in late September..Rain in Spain.?
    . Eglise at Santiago..
    another coastal town in Galacia..
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    Last edited by cyclezealot; 02-07-10 at 01:01 PM.
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    ^ Since January 1, 2012

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    Pretty pictures.

    I guess since I'm going in early may/late April, I'm still in the off season, which means no fighting tourists, cheaper hotels, and not so hot!

    koffee
    i'm koffee brown, dammit!
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  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Koffee. In April, should you be heading towards Galacia , on the Atlantic coast, you might encounter such stuff as fog/rain. Late Last September , in Galacia, we saw a pack of cyclist struggling through such intense fog , that I thought their riding unsafe. . ....On the Mediterranean Coast , less likely..
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    ^ Since January 1, 2012

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    Thanks for the tip. This isn't planned to be an epic bike trip, however. I just would like to do some cycling here and there. The majority of what I'd like to do involves quite a bit of walking and touring. Maybe later, if I get to go back and I have the time, I can get a bike and spend some extra time out there. But I do appreciate the advice. I'll head over to the Mediterranean Coast and hang there. I'm due for some real nice warm weather these days!

    koffee
    i'm koffee brown, dammit!
    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

  15. #15
    Senior Member Consularrider's Avatar
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    I was living in Madrid from 2003 to 2007. One of my regular rides was heading north to Soto del Real in the Guardarrama mountains on a bike path that ran paralell to the M-507. On Saturday and Sunday there are tons of cyclists going out that way and it is quite common to see cyclists going up the mountain passes. Madrid also has the Anillo Ciclista, a 64 km long cycling beltway around the city. Sunday mornings are a good time to ride the streets and head to the Casa de Campo park on the west side of the city. Good paved roadways and lots of acreage for off road. There are place to rent bikes, but I only did that once after my stuff had been packed and shipped back to the US. Couldn't find a road bike rental.

    If you want to ride the Camino de Santiago, you can usually find a decent road running parallel, I did that in Burgos, Palencia and Leon provinces. I also enjoyed riding on the roads south of Madrid in Castillo La Mancha.

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    If you want to know the town in which Picasso was born, that would be Malaga, in spanish with an accent in the first a, it's the most Southern notorious town in Europe, that I know. You can take the high speed train AVE in Madrid which gets you in Malaga in less than three hours (bit expensive, but less than planes). If you like hills, in all the province of the same name, Malaga, and the neighbour Granada you can find all the hills you want, they are mountains that descend into the sea in beautiful cliffs, worthy to see, plenty of english and german people in the beaches, and very fun nights. Only of course that appart from being born in Malaga, Picasso has very little to do with this town, except a museum that I don't know very well if it has many pictures of him.

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    Well, went to Spain... saw it. Rode in it. Bor-ING! I wished for Italy the entire time I was there. It wasn't bad. It was extremely relaxing. The sky was totally clear the entire time I was there. It was hot but not humid. I was well rested. But I wished for Italy the entire time.... or even Sweden.... or Amsterdam.... or many other places I could have paid 20 euro to fly round trip with Ryanair as soon as I landed in Spain. *sigh*

    No regrets, though. I'm glad I got to go. The riding wasn't bad, the weather was good, Andalucia was beautiful, and I've wanted to go there for many many years.

    koffee
    i'm koffee brown, dammit!
    one of my new faves: http://streetknocknetwork.com

  18. #18
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Koffee . Was it all riding or what.. ? Did you see the Alhambra in Granada.. . Not too shabby.?
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






    ^ Since January 1, 2012

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    It wasn't all riding. Those days may be over for a while.... but I did get to go out there and rent a bike. I went to Andalucia, because it was a place I've always wanted to go. I stayed in Granada for a good part of the time. When I rode my bike all the way up to Alhambra to see the palace, I wasn't able to get in. Why? They didn't have a place for me to lock my bike! It was ridiculous. I asked them if there was a spot for me to stash the bike, and they said no. So I rode through the outside part and rode around the outside area, but wasn't able to go inside. I ended up going to the gypsy quarters on my bike and rode around a bit there and hung around there for the day.

    All in all, it was ok. Relaxing. Pretty. But just plain boring. Their siestas are way too long. They don't have enough of a tourism support system for tourists. I haven't often needed guidebooks and stuff like that, but I wish I'd brought one along this time.

    koffee
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  20. #20
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Koffee. That is an amazing story about bikes and the Alhambra.. Unbelievable.. Hard to believe such a thing could happen on the continent.. We've seen Madrid, not very bike friendly.. Barcelona. Very bike friendly.. But, Madrid , a chance to see Picasso's Guernica - well worth the time.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






    ^ Since January 1, 2012

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