[EN] Day 3: My hands smell like onions (22:45 06/08/2016)

I’m in my tent. It’s freaking small, like… so small I have to curl down my toes so they don’t touch against the end of the tent. But it’s awesome, because I can hear the sounds of the ocean right next to me. I’m at this massively huge beach (40 kilometers long) about half an hour away from Bayona, which was supposed to be our next stop. Alejandro is still with me (his gf comes to pick him up tomorrow, sad day for me), but he’s sleeping outside on the sand right next to my tent, cause he’s my slave and that’s how I roll.
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Yesterday was awesome. As I wrote in my previous post, we slept at an empty crack house with the coolest views of the mountains ever. I had never had so much fun hammering nails against the walls to make hangers and moving shit around to build our one-night home. The story, however, really turned sideways overnight, to an extent that borders the surreal… Let me explain. Turns out, the crack house was empty that day because they had called the cops the previous night, as around 60 people had been illegally partying all over the building, consuming drugs, having sex (on the mattress we were sleeping in) and an 18 year old kid had thrown a fireball against one of the neighboring houses, causing serious damage to the woman’s living room. The cops showed up but the party was so out of control that they had to call in a dozen extra police officers to calm things down, and ended detaining 28 people. The rest ran away through the forest. Lucky us that we decided to sleep in that building precisely the day after that huge mess had happened. Apparently one of the neighbors saw the light coming from my headlamp at around 2 am when I woke up to pee, and called the cops. By the time I was falling back asleep we were surrounded by blinding lights. They laid us flat on the ground, checked through all our stuff and asked us questions for what seemed like an eternity. We finally convinced them that we had nothing to do with what had happened during the previous night, but they kept insisting we couldn’t sleep the rest of the night there, and took us to sleep at the police station, which was in the next town. I never thought the beds in jail were so comfy! They even gave us some extra pillows hahaha My god, I still can’t believe this happened. Okay so maybe it didn’t :b I’m sorry I just felt really creative hehe.
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The truth is, we slept quite well that night, had a huge breakfast the next morning and took off with our bikes to Hendaya. We are awesome at cycling, or so it seems, because it took us just a few hours to get there and we had time to buy food, explore the area, cycle a bit more until we reached a small town in France (NOUS SOMME A LA FRANCE!!) called Saint Joan de Croix, settle down in the middle of a small beach and go for an amazing swim. Reaching the ocean is awesome. There is something exhilarating about cycling relentlessly through mountains and valleys awaiting the moment when they will give way to an infinity of blue.
For you this may just be a new paragraph, but for me it’s been an entire day since I wrote the previous sentence. I fell asleep last night and haven’t been able to write until now, 60km up north. I guess I should continue from where I left off, let me see…Ok yes, yesterday was a beach day! I got so tanned I look golden :D. First we had an early morning swim at the beach where we slept (in Joan de Croix). Then we cycled up and down very steep hills, came across this type of scenery…
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And kept going until we reached Biarritz, a surfer town where we went for another swim, because there was no saying no to this…
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I havent been mentioning food but we eat aaaaall the time. I always have a huge piece of bread right behind my seat and munch on it ever now and then, and we also stop and eat some of the homemade energy bars I made. They were supposed to be for an emergency in case I am dying in the woods, and we already ate 1 out of four bags. Oh well.
After that we kept going and reached Bayona, which is a much bigger city. Here I got excited thinking we would find a place to upload all this word porn I’m creating, but still no freakin free wifi anywhere. The thing is, there comes a point during the day when we need to start hunting for supermarket food and looking for a place to sleep. I must say that it’s very exciting to not know where you will sleep the following night, and even more exciting to think that that place can be anything, from a park to an old closed-down building. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me go back to food. So it was food time and we were hungry. The problem is, we were also lost. We tried reaching a carrefour but got so lost that Alejandro started losing it and swearing at all the pigeons like an insane person. He’s funny. In the end Alejandro had to turn on his roaming service and we used Oh Lord the Savior Google Maps Amen to find the closest Carrefour, which still took us about 45 minutes to reach. Then, visual foodgasms. Multiple ones. I’ll skip this part.
Fully loaded on nutrients we went looking for a new home for the night, and happened to come across what looked to be another awesome place to sleep… An old and abandoned radiology hospital! The place looked insane, it was all locked down but you could see through a hole that it was all destroyed inside, exactly like the type of scenery you would find in a zombie movie. We couldn’t wait to find a way in and spend the best and worst night of our lives in there. Eventually we found a way in but the problem of the bikes remained, so I went exploring behind the building to see if I could find a way to get the bikes in with us. I surrounded the building and found an open window and right beneath it a perfect spot to leave the bikes. Problem is, the window was on the second floor. So I climbed on to the roof parkour mode and peeked in. All good. Then, I turn my head to the side… Slowly… And I see it. Looking into me, nakedizing my soul, raping me from the inside… A huge, shiny and very threatening… SECURITY CAMERA. Right when we crossed ‘eyes’, the freakin loudest alarm started blasting in and outside of the building. So I got off the roof as fast as I could, walked along the road as normally as I could, got to Alejandro, who was laughing his ass off because he knew it was my fault, grabbed the bikes and ran. No problemo. How exciting! xD
So without a plan to sleep, we cycled until we reached the train railroads, which we had seen before, and decided we could camp by them. 10 minutes later we were on our bikes headed as far away from that place as possible, as it was infested with spiders and other nasty critters, and Alejandro, who does not have a tent and sleeps out in the open, was not willing to have the things crawl in his nose and ears.
We decided we would cycle a bit further up until we reached a really long beach that looked like a decent place to sleep. And indeed, it was…
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Best decision ever. We saw the most beautiful sunset ever while eating the best tasting beans with spaguetti (don’t judge, when you’re this hungry you’ll eat boiled stones if they let you haha). The small things in life (which are also usually free as well) are the best.
And now, I am finally back to where I started, with me inside the tent in the beach and Alejandro sleeping right beside me, but outside of it. Never slept better in my life :).

[EN] Two days to go… (22:00 2/08/2016)

Okay, so picture a moderately handsome intellectual-looking guy on a bus eating his last tortellini with wooden chopsticks. As he swallows with deep sadness (because there are tortellini no more), he stares out the window and sees this…
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The guy is me, (except that I’m probably more handsome than the guy you were picturing), and the landscape is what I see from the bus, road to Pamplona, where my actual cycling trip begins. Quick question… If I say biking trip, does it imply that it’s a motorcycle trip, or is it also used for bicycles? Anyways, it’s happening! I managed to pack all my things into the saddle bags, wrap my bike spider-man mode and fit it in the bus.
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I thought it would be interesting to share the 40 kgs (wtf?) of stuff that I am taking on my trip. Here it is, all neatly spread over my bed…
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To prepare all the gear, I looked at forums, survival guides and used my common sense. But most helpful of all was my cousin Gonzalo, whose previous experiences (which may be checked out at www.gonzaventuras.com) have taught him what to take and not to take in such an adventure. I guess I could go over every item, but I won’t because it’s very boring and time consuming. imageIf you’re curious about any particular thing, just drop a comment and I will get back to you. I will say, though, that I made myself 2 kg of organic cane sugar nut bars. They are for when survival-mode is on. Then I covered them in vegan protein powder from Peas.

NOTE: some of you may have noticed that I have blog posts in both English and Spanish. It’s because, as a Spaniard, I have friends and family who are not comfy with English, so I thought I would make it a bit easier for them. I will try to keep a high level of purity in my writing, but if stuff starts to sound Mexican at some point, this is why… 馃槈

I also wanted to share the following pic with you guys…
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These two great fellows from www.secondbikemadrid.com have given me their undivided attention for the past two weeks, helping me prep my bike for such a long journey, mentoring me on how to react to certain situations while on the road, how to repair the bike, etc. A special thanks goes to both of them. David and Fernando, you guys are awesome!!

I think I’m going to cut this post short for now. I just spent 2 hours writing the previous post in Spanish and my brain is liquifying and oozing down my ear. Plus I think I’m falling sick because my throat aches and my stomach grumbles. Perfect, this way I can start my trip with loads of energy haha. Maybe it’s the stress of getting everything ready. Anyways, I’ve been on this bus for 3 hours now, and there’s still another 2 hours to go, so I might nap. When I get there, my cousin Alejandro (who will be riding with me for the first two days) will pick me up and take me to his place. Will write more tomorrow! Good night world 馃檪

NOTE 2: There will be a huge difference between the moments when I write these entries and the moments when I actually upload them to the site. This is inevitable, as I am not traveling with a smartphone nor do I have wifi on me, so I will upload entries as I get to establishments with free wifi. To make it easier for readers, I will always accompany the entry title with the original time and date at which the entry was written. My treat. 馃槈

[EN] 4 days to go…

Today I finally finished prepping my bike for the road/trail/whatever awaits. It’s a beautiful Lapierre mountain bike. Great for mountains, imagenot聽so much for long distance. Anyways, I won’t get into technicalities (unless requested). So with my bike all set, I took it for a spin. Any other rational person would have probably planned a 2-3 day trip to test out the gear and everything before the 4 month journey. Not me.

imageI learned two lessons from my 1 hour outing today.

  1. When you’ve never worn rigid cycling shoes before (these are the ones that cling to the pedals of the bike), you should take it easy and practice in a safe spot until you’re confident putting them on and off while sitting on the bike. Not what I did. I just took the road, and at the first stop I reached, I tried to set my foot on the floor but, to my surprise, it did not want to come off the pedal and so… I fell flat on my face, and the bike behind me.
  2. Don’t attempt to pitch a tent on dried out soil. I know this is quite straightforward, but I guess I just didn’t think it through. After countless strikes to stick the stakes into the ground, I broke the back of my knife-hammer in half. Ups! Had to use a cement block to keep the tent upright (really? hahaha). Anyways, that’s what my house for the next few months looks like. Wish me good luck…

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[EN] What is this?

Rabbits are green, it’s just that you never looked close enough… (Random Statement 1)

So yeah. Welcome, oh dear reader, to my somewhat lazy, slightly weird yet hopefully inspiring attempt at writing聽a traveller’s blog that will take you through a journey聽to the depths of my brain. In order to do so, I will write relentlessly (-not) about my thoughts on life, love (yuck!), our planet, (un)sustainability, the places I visit, the people I meet and the disasters that are bound to happen to me as I bike my way from Spain to God knows where (within Europe) for the next 4-5 months.

Why should you be interested?

For the following reasons:

  1. Because your聽brain is probably as messed up as mine, in one way or another, and this personal journey I will be writing about is one of self repair, from which you can probably also benefit from. Besides, it’s always cool to know there are others as mentally dysfunctional as you are – how selfish is that!
  2. Because I am a disaster as a human being (I leave stuff on top of my car and drive away, I ALWAYS get lost, I miss trains, buses, appointments, the pan when I flip a pancake…), and you will most likely have some good laughs reading about the ongoing list of calamities I will put myself through as days go by.
  3. Because you might be interested in starting a bike trip of your own, and all the info I will upload regarding聽my gear and my day-by-day experience should be of value to you. Since this is the first time I ever do something of this sort, my writings聽will probably also help you understand precisely what you SHOULDN’T do in order to get out of a long-distance bike trip聽in one piece.
  4. Because (jokes aside) I will discuss聽some of the most concerning topics our species has ever had to deal with (hunger, climate change, unsustainable developmental models, loss of biodiversity, etc.), and you’re DEFINITELY interested in them.
  5. Because you care for my integrity and well being, know that this might be my only channel of communication, and want to make sure I don’t end up licking leaves for water and lost naked in the middle of the mountains somewhere.

Okay, so hopefully I gave you at least one acceptable reason for you to tune in to this blog every now and then. Please feel free to comment on any or all of my posts, and mail me a sandwich if I don’t write in more than a week, please. Ah, and if you want to know more about me, don’t forget to check out the About Me tab on the main menu. Until my next post then!