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Biking Spain

Exchange rate: Rand 1 (R1) = Euro 0.049 (0.049€)

29-30 May 2023, La Linea de la Concepción, 25.84km
Pension La Estaponera €28 [R569]

We missed the 0815 FRS ferry to Algeciras, Spain. This was not the disaster it might have been as we were able instead to take the noon ferry, which dropped us in Spain just 90 minutes later.
Algeciras sprawls on the west coast of the Bay of Gibraltar, with the Rock prominent on the east coast, and the mountains of Morocco still visible to the south.
We missed the ferry because instead of doing our own homework, we obeyed the (mistaken) instructions of our host, who said the entrance for those travelling by bike was not directly opposite our apartment, but at the first traffic circle just 500m further on. This proved not to be the case. Initially officials at the port authority said we could proceed with the foot passengers, but the customs officer would not allow us through and we were directed back to the road and told to take the third circle right "just three minutes" away. Not only was the vehicle entrance three hilly kms away, but another two or so kms, also not flat, had to be traversed within the port area. We arrived at the ferry as the back ramp was closing at 0816!
We are spending two nights in a pension in a Spanish suburb called La Linea de la Concepción just north of Gibraltar. We need a visa to visit the Rock, so will be admiring it from afar only.
The 25km that lie between Algeciras and our narrow pedestrian street were challenging because quite a lot had to be cycled on the busy, fast-paced autovia. Cycling a motorway is not terrible as there is usually a shoulder, but the on- and off-ramps are hazardous. Here you must dismount and run your bike across one or two stress-inducing lanes. Where we could, we cycled the service roads running parallel to the highway, but two rivers had to be crossed on highway bridges, and additional sections forced us onto the considerably busier option.
Once we could turn off the autovia, the riding was a pleasure, some of it on purpose-built cycle lanes painted green. Where the road narrows, the cycle lane narrows to one-way and here is painted blue and includes a traffic light limiting right of way!
On the main road that runs along the Mediterranean, were posters advertising a bullfight. And on our block are two pavement cafes that pack away their chairs and tables in the evening, completely altering the look and mood of our short street.
We had a one hour time change, putting us at the same time as South Africa, an hour ahead of the UK. We arrived at our accommodation at 1830. By the time we had showered, taken a stroll and tracked down a supermarket at which to buy dinner (bread, cheese and ham), we found ourselves eating at 2240 local time, just as the light was fading to dark. Aside from the cost implications (more later), I think we are going to like it here!
Wearing a bike helmet is like exercising with your head in a sauna. Not to our liking at all, besides which we look silly…
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