After 7 weeks of biking through 4 countries and meeting many incredible people, we are very happy to say that we arrived at our destinationn with 2740 km. And not only this we also reached our aim of getting 1000 CHF together for our chosen association ADES. The charity runs still till the 21.8.2016 and we appriciate any further donations. We thank every donator for your generosity, which gave us a good boost for the end. We are very happy to have made it. Also many thanks to all the people that were so kind and open to us on this adventure. We thank all those who showed us directions, offered us food or drinks, drew us pictures, gave us medicine, beeped at us to cheer us on, shared their stories with us and listened to ours. We heard extremely touching and encouraging words from so many people.
And of course, it wouldnt be a proper end to the trip without one more puncture 10 minutes before we arrived!
Reviews of our Equipment and further posts with tips and tricks will continue again after the festival.
Thank you all,peace, love and unity 🙂
Leaving Ciudad Rodrigo we didnt have many km’s left to reach the Portugese boarder. It was an easy journey until we got into Portugal and had a lot of heat and many hills again. We reached a small town called Vilar Maior where we saw some people at a small outdoor bar so we decided to stop for an ice tea before finishing the last 20km.
At this bar we met the most amazing and welcoming people. We sat with them for a few hours before deciding to stay in their village for the evening. We had great fun drinking, talking and playing games with them until late. They were so sweet and even made a small collection for our charity.
These past couple of days passed by quickly, we had very little sleep because we tried to sleep during the day and ride at night due to the heat, which didn’t work out so well.
We both didn’t feel well when we left Burgos but as we wanted to get there in time we had to make a move. Actually we even managed to do about 90km to Valladolid. We arrived at around 10pm, got some food and then headed to a nearby forest to get some sleep. We decided not to put up our tent and to sleep on the floor with just our sleeping bags and mats. We hoped to sleep for a couple hours and leave at 4am to avoid the heat. We ended up sleeping on and off between 1am and 7am and then started our 110km journey to Salamanca.
We rode about 26km’s and found a big tree where we thought we could sleep under during the day and then finish the last 84kms at night. Unfortunately we couldnt sleep at all and at 11:45pm decided to just get going eventhough we were so exhausted. The roads were dark, but flat, smooth and basically car free.
We managed to ride for about 3.5 hours and got through 40kms. We stopped on the side of the road for a break and to look at the stars as they were so bright and there were plenty of shooting stars. We ended up falling asleep and after an hour got out a sleeping bag and continued sleeping.
We woke up at 7:30 and struggled through the last 45kms and finally reached Salamanca and the campsite at noon. It was a tough couple of days but then we had the next 2 days off, which were much needed and well deserved!
We both really liked Salamanca, eventhough we spent most of the time at the campsite. We met an absolutely adorable Dutch family, and spent a lot of time eating and speaking with them. We had such a lovely time together and really appreciated their kindness and generosity and we even got a picture painted of us by their 2 daughters.
Looking forward to the next days and whatever adventures they will bring.
Dear follower, dear friend 🙂
As we were so busy with school and work just before we left we have not had much time to promote the charity we would like to support.
So far we have raised around 600 Chf and we would to thank everyone that has donated so far. We really appreciate your generousity and it is such a huge help, so thank you all so much!
Our final aim is 1000 CHF and we would feel really happy if we can make this happen with your help. In order to actually send the money, we need to get the full 1000 Chf, otherwise the money already raised will go back to the people who donated. If we can get anymore donations or you can tell others about this initiative we would be very grateful!
ADES produces solar cookers and energy efficient cookers. But also they educate people about the environment and the ecosystem in madagascar.
Liebe Freunde und Bekannte
Für die bereits eingegangenen Zahlungen zu Gunsten ADES, welche Ihr für unsere Velofahrt von Zollikon nach Portugal überwiesen habt, danken wir euch sehr herzlich. Die Sammlung ist bis zum 21. August befristet und deshalb freuen wir uns auf weitere Geldspenden. Es müssen mind. CHF 1000 eingehen, um die Spendeaktion erfolgreich abschliessen zu können. Übrigens ist unsere Fahrstrecke nicht nur 2200, sondern fast 2800 Km lang. Wir danken jetzt schon für weitere Spenden an ADES und deren Solarkocherproduktion in Madagaskar.
Herzlich/warm regards Rafaela und Matthew
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.