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  1. #1
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Spain tour report

    My wife and I just returned from a VBT tour in the Andalusia region of Spain. It was a good trip with a great group but not quite up to a VBT tour we took in Italy a year and a half ago. VBT tours are expensive, although no where near as pricey as Backroads or Butterfield and Robinson. These are tours for someone who wants fully supported light, scenic riding with excellent food and lodging.

    We started with a pre-trip visit to Seville. Biking began about 60 miles south east of Seville where we stayed two nights in an old monastery in the town of Palma del Rios. We then moved to Cordoba for two nights with a day off for exploration. Cordoba is ancient and beautiful. In addition to visiting the town and eating at some great restaurants we spent a relaxing few hours in an Arab bath (Hammas) complete with a massage - ahhhh. Outside of Cordoba we biked to a Botega (winery) where we drank a good deal of excellent sherry. Then we moved to a nice hotel in a small town called Cabras. From Cabras we rode on a rail trail called the Subbetica Greenway which runs on an old olive old train route through the mountains. Several of us took a hilly side trip to a beautiful town in the mountains above the greenway. The tour ended in Granada where we saw the wonderful Alhambra. A few of us went to Barcelona for a couple of days after the tour. Barcelona is the Paris of Spain - very cosmopolitan, excellent food.

    Below are a few shots from the trip. If you are interested in a lot of photos from the ride and more from the cities we visited, drop in on my family web site photo gallery and click on VBT Spain..




    Barb at the Plaza de Spana on a rental bike in Seville. Seville has a great program for renting bikes for almost nothing but we had a problem registering so we rented a couple of beaters from a shop.



    Barb's backside (on the right) on a road outside Palma del Rios



    Barb and me outside Palma del Rios



    A herd of goats along the rail trail.



    Riding to the town above the rail trail.
    Last edited by donheff; 11-28-08 at 04:07 PM.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  2. #2
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Wow. Looks like fun! Thanks for the pix.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

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    Awwwww DAng

    HI,
    I know the area I lived in ROta for 5 3/4 years at the Naval Hospital Rota SPain.
    GOsh Its a nice place to live.
    I haven't been back in a while its probably changed alot since they joined world market, pre euro..
    The good old days,
    DOug
    Last edited by djnzlab1; 11-28-08 at 06:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    Fun pics. It had never struck me until I was talking to a friend who had taken a long bike excursion -- take your own saddle. Did you do that?
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Slim View Post
    Fun pics. It had never struck me until I was talking to a friend who had taken a long bike excursion -- take your own saddle. Did you do that?
    I didn't, although several others did. I also left my pedals behind. I figured the distances were not so great (30-50 miles a day) that I needed to worry about it. Also, we went with the standard flat bar touring/cross bike VBT offers with 32C tires. We thought about getting road bikes but I liked the touring bike we took on a previous trip so we stuck with that. For this particular trip the wider tires were good. The rail trail was crushed gravel and much nicer with the wider tires. Also, a number of the road bikes got flats while none of the touring bikes did. I think some of the other VBT trips (Tuscany hills, France) would be better on road bikes. Next trip I will take my pedals (I missed them). I won't bother with the saddle unless I go on a trip with longer rides.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  6. #6
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    Looks like a great ride. My family and I spent a week in the area (Marbella, Sevilla, Jerez, Granada) during Holy Week one year. We loved Andalusia, going back and seeing by bike would be fantastic.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
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    Surly Girly Yen's Avatar
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    Wow, what a trip! I'd love to do that some day. Nice pics too.
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  8. #8
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Great trip and pics.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  9. #9
    lube addict
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    Nice pics of a great adventure! Please tell me you did partake of Jamon Iberico de bellota with perhaps a snifter of Lepanto Oloroso Viejo?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Looks like fun! Did you get a chance to ride on our bike paths while here in Seville?

  11. #11
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pictures...they were beautiful
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  12. #12
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chainstrainer View Post
    Nice pics of a great adventure! Please tell me you did partake of Jamon Iberico de bellota with perhaps a snifter of Lepanto Oloroso Viejo?
    Multiple times. I liked a few nips of Pedro Ximenez after dinner as well. Also brought home a couple of bottles of olive oil from a family farm/business we visited.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  13. #13
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    What a trip! Planning on going to Spain in March but my wife is not a cyclist so it will be just as tourists.

  14. #14
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    Looks like a great trip. Thanks for the photos and description.

    As an aside, I wonder why US organized tours are so much more expensive than ones booked directly in Europe. We have used Rotalis, on a fully supported Umbria/Tuscany tour - excellent. And this year we used Cyclomundo, on an unaccompanied tour in Burgundy. Again excellent and less expensive than US companies. I have no connection with these companies, apart from being a very satisfied customer.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artmo View Post
    Looks like a great trip. Thanks for the photos and description.

    As an aside, I wonder why US organized tours are so much more expensive than ones booked directly in Europe. We have used Rotalis, on a fully supported Umbria/Tuscany tour - excellent. And this year we used Cyclomundo, on an unaccompanied tour in Burgundy. Again excellent and less expensive than US companies. I have no connection with these companies, apart from being a very satisfied customer.
    Thanks for those names, Artmo. I'm going to look into those. I've done touring on my own in France, but not (yet) in Italy. My Italian is not nearly as good as my French, so I'll likely want some sort of support, either accompanied or not.

    Nice pics, donheff!

  16. #16
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Another place in Spain that's worth considering and, is not too expensive is Montefrio. I have not been there but, a cycling friend has spoken highly of it. Its 40 minutes west of Granada and, is one of the few remaining "white villages". Everything around is rolling roads through olive orchards, many old Moorish and early Christian ruins, and lots of food. Easy access to the coast and to Granada. An expat Englishman owns, and has restored a bunch of small stone homes which can be rented.

    http://www.donlorenzo.com/

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