Leaving Pamplona behind we still had quiet a bit of up and down hill to do. The temerature was also really hot. As we were travelling the same way as the Compostello de Santiago we passed by a wine fountain where pilgrams could drink wine for free so they can continue strong. This fountain in Irache has been there for about 100 years, the wine was delicious so we decided to fill up some empty bottles that we had 😉
We continued on going up and down some very steep hills and riding along some very rocky and bumpy roads. We made it to Logroño and decided to spend the night camping there, it was about 20km before our scheduled stop but it was already quite late.
The next morning we left early as we had 97km to do and a lot more hills to conquer. We left nice and early but the heat at lunch time made us take a long siesta under a tree. That afternoon a few rain spells surprised us.
Close to the end of the day we arrived at the top of the highest hill/mountain. The route to the camping we chose earlier was going off the main road and onto a pebel road downhill in a different direction to where we needed to go the next day. So we shortly decided to just continue the route to burgos which was for about 30km, but although it was late it was all downhill, so it was very quick and a lot of fun. We ended up doing 116km to Burgos in the end.
Bugros is a very pretty town with loads of tree allyways. It used to be the capital of Sapin a long time ago. I ended up getting the flu on our break day in Burgos so we had to use up our second joker day for me to rest, it was the first time we had two break days in a row.
Bike, eat, sleep – next post coming soon!
When saying goodbye to San Sebastian we also said bye to Beau, we wish him all the best on his travels. We started off with a slight upwards pedaling for about 40km. It was very nice going through the mountain vally and we where able to make good progress. We filled up our bottles with beautiful spring water from the mountain, which we really needed as the last 10km we had to climb about 600m above sea level. It was tough but totally doable after having cycled for as long as we have. Arriving ontop of the Mountain Azpirotz was a great feeling. Also knowing that this was the biggest climb of our trip and something we had been uncertain about how tough it would be. Driving up the mountain people would beep at us or shout nice encouraging things at us when driving which always brings a huge smile to our faces. Thank you beepers! From the top we had 2km of downhill to our campsite.
After having camped in Lekunberri we again had mostly downhill with about 200m uphill. So we arrived in Pamplona quite early and were able to have a look at the city and eat some tapas. It is a very beautiful old city with interesting arcitecture of different time periods. The Camino de Santiago also leads through this city. After having a break day here we are heading in direction Burgos today.
We spent our last two nights in France camping in the wild in the nice basque country, which was really great. The closer we came to the border of Spain the more up and down we had to ride. We passed the beautiful city of Biarritz and drove on to Irun, Spain. On the way there we met Beau an American cycler who then continued on with us to San Sebastian. It took as a while to figure out the way as we came off the Euro Velo route.
We spent nearly 5 weeks in France and it was an amzing experience. We met many helpful and kind people and saw many beautiful sights. Finding water was sometimes a bit of a struggle but we asked locals and people in their houses, who were always happy to help. The bike signings are at times questionable nevertheless we can only recommend France by bike.
Spain welcomed us with a lot of rain. Actually the most rain we had on the trip so far. We arrived later then we expected and had to ride up on a 600 m over sea level hill to camp at 11pm in the dark and pouring rain, it was quite tourtureous.
We are happy to have made it to Spain and are looking forward to the last part of our trip, although we will miss France a lot!
It has been quite tough since we left the beautiful island of l’ille d’Yeu. After our delay getting off the island we were a day behind schedule. We had some bike problems, our charging stuff was stolen and the heat started to get quite intense. Rafaela was also feeling very ill one day so we couldnt ride too far, but she did very well to do 50km while not feeling well at all. Luckily we have 2 safety days so the delays have not affected us getting to Portugal on time, but now we only have one safety day left, so hopefully no more major problems.
We have had some amazing days riding along the coast and seen some extraordinary things. It is completley different to the beginning of our trip and a lot more expensive as it is quite touristic due to the beaches.
The really cool thing about this part of the trip is that most campsites are next to a beach so in the evening we usually walk over to the beach and watch the sunset and relax, it is undescribably beautiful. We went up the dune “du Pilat”a couple of days ago and that is something that we would suggest anyone to visit, its really incredible.
We had a great break day yesterday and went into the ocean and properly relaxed. So now we are feeling fit and ready to get to spain in a couple of days. The roads are a lot smoother here but the signs are not great so we still make a lot of wrong turns.
Again we have met many lovely people who are always willing to help us out and offer us different things. One thing we have noticed is that so many people are really kind and always want to give us a helping hand in any way they can. Wether it be offering us food, water alchohol, help with directions or fixing our bikes, giving us spare parts, letting us use their phones or chairs, tables or other useful things that we couldnt bring with us. Its been incredible and the amount of support we get from strangers is a real boost so thanks to all of those kind people. Everyone seems so interested in us and our trip and it means a lot to us.
We are feeling great and looking forward to reach Spain and the next stage of the trip, although I have to go to the dentist as my filling fell out a while ago 😦 Hopefully we make it to San Sebastian in time for my appointment.
Its really difficult to upload all the photos because of slow internet but we hope you enjoy the ones we were able to upload below.
When leaving Nantes we stopped by les machines de L’Ile. These are amazing and huge mechanical machines this year it was a huge spiders and last year it was an elephant which can move and walk. They are built in Nantes. We already up loaded some pictures of these machines with the previous post “Nantes”.
On our way which from here onwards did not go along the EuroVelo 6 we had difficulties navigating with just google maps. Allthough we found our way in direction la Barre-de-Monts. It rained for quite a while but the fact that we saw so many otters along the way made up for it. Also we had this great feeling inside of us; we nearly made it across France to the Atlantic in just 3 weeks! What a feeling that is.
The aim for the day was supposed to be L’Ile d’Yeu which meant that we had to take a boat from main land to the island. We were aiming for the second last boat which left at 8pm. We arrived 5 min before departure. At the counter they said to us unfriendly: “Sorry your too late, you got to take the last boat at 8:30pm. And the last boad doesn’t take any bikes… ” after having this great feeling in us we were thrown down to earth by not knowing what to do next. We ended up having to leave our bikes behind and taking the last boat, which meant we had to carry all of our bags which was a nightmare. Despite this we had a great stay on this tiny but beautiful island. We rented a little car for the afternoon so that we could have a look around. The car rental people even let us have the car until the next morning as we have each 6 bags and thats not easy to carry with out having a bike and the campsite is a good 20 minute walk from the port. First thing in the morning we realised that someone had stolen our batteryrpack from the washing area where we left it to charge. This was really upsetting as it was our only way of charging our things. So after getting over that we loaded the car and as if it wasn’t enough the car didn’t start. So we first had to wait for the car rental place to open and then to bring someone to help. And of course we missed the boat we wanted to get and also the next one. Which meant we were only able to take one three hours later. This was especially annoying because we had 105km to ride and we needed an early start.Overall we loved our short stay on the island.
After having fitted the tyres we where only able to leave around 11am. With 101 km to go we knew that this was going to be a long day. This was our last day going along the Loir, and it couldn’t have been nicer. The amazingly beautiful river Loir showed itself in great beauty. At times coming closer to Nantes the paths was not good to ride as floodings have erroded the paths.
We started to realize that we would not make it to Nantes during the opening times of camping sites. So we decided to search for a spontanious place to sleep on the couch surfer app. At first we had no luck but then a couchsurfer told us that she was unable to host us but her friend could. We arrived in Nantes at 11pm and where welcomed by a sweet host. We slept very well having a proper bed and had a great experience. We had dinner and breakfast made for us by our host and a bit of wine as well.
We had just driven out of the city of Saumur when we realised that we forgot loads of food in the community kitchen of the campsite, but Matt was so nice to go back and get it. After the bad start we had a beautiful ride along the Loire. Now the Loire is very wide and loads of sand islands are around which look quite fantastic. By driving along side it you get a relaxing beach feeling.
Matt bought two new inner tubes while we were in Saumur and replaced the old ones as they kept giving him troubles by randomly losing air. So after our lunch break guess what happend, yet another puncture. We fixed it and looked for more punctures by putting the tube into the Loire and seeing if bubbles came out, we didnt see anything, so we put the tyre back on, re-packed the bike and rode off. Some how we didn’t realise that there was another hole. So we started the process again, fixed the other hole, put everthing back together, and then again it went flat….extremely annoying! We are at hole number 6 in just three weeks with his Bontrager tyres from Trek. We are both were very frustrated about it. The repair didn’t work properly and the tyre kept losing aie for the rest of the ride. At least the camp site in Angers was pleasent. The next morning Matt had to drive my bike to the bike store and get some more inner tubes, hopefully these ones will last a bit longer.
Driving along the Loire in the region of Pays de la Loire but also in the regions Centre-Val de Loire and Burgund there are over 400 castles. When driving “le Loire a velo” in the region Pays de la Loire you have the joy of seeing many magnifisant castles. We rode into Tours had a break and then continued 20 km so that the next day to Saumur we only had 50km to go. Which ment that we had time to have dip into one of the confluent rivers of the Loire. The days went quickly, putting up the tent, buying food and cooking a balanced meal takes up a lot of time. So when we arrived in Saumur in the camp site we both were really tired and happy to have a break day. Once again we where washing relaxing and walked around town. We spent some time by the outdoor pool of the camp and Matt enjoyed a swim and we played with the beach ball, we also had time to look at the castle of Saumur which was very interesting.In the evening Matt went to watch the football and I wanted to do some reading, but I met a nice English family and had a nice chat and some wine with them. Matt joined us later, and once again we went to bed very late.
We arrived in Orleans quite late, it is quite a big and beautiful city. We found a great camping place and they luckily were still open and had one space left for us. When we arrived there were many people watching the Italy v Germany game, so we joined them and enjoyed a cold beer. We spent our break day around the campsite as it was so nice and we also just wanted to relax and recover after 2 difficult days on the road. We had dinner in town and were surrounded by lots of football fans as France were playing that night. We got back to camp for the end of the game and had a nice chat and a beer with the camp owners, they were so friendly. It was by far our favourite campsite so far. We warmly recomend the camping d’oliviet.
On the road to Blois we parted ways with Norbert. We arrived in Blois at 4pm and still felt that we had quiet a bit of energy left so we decided to have a coffee and drive further. In the Cafe Douce Heure we had some delicious waffles and they gave us a packet of their home made cookies for free so we could have an energy boost along the way. We stayed the night in a comfortable camp next to the Loire. Now we are heading to Tours.
We are having troubles with the internet and up loading fotos so we’ll make a post with just fotos as soon as we can.