Beginning A Spanish Winter on Bicycles: Madrid to Badajoz

WVA_7596

This is a cork tree that has recently had its cork harvested.  This happens every ten years.

Spain Map

Madrid -> Talavera de la Reina -> Trujillo -> Caceres -> Badajoz

Spain Close Up

It was fall until the day we began cycling.  We spent ten days living in an apartment within walking distance of the center of Madrid, enjoying warm sunny days and temperate nights.  The food in Spain is amazingly fresh although organics are hard if impossible to find, and bread and cheese are cheap and of great quality.  We learned that only corn and soy are genetically modified here.  Companies are required by law to state if their products contain genetically modified foods however they often do not do this.  Our diet here consists mainly of olive oil, basalmic vinegar, bread, cheese, salad, pomegranates, satsumas and olives.

And the biggest change in our trip:  A wedding present from Mom and Dad for Europe, a tandem!

WVA_7458

The tandem is really different from two bikes, it is faster, more unwieldily, carries less stuff, but in general is a ton more fun.  We get to have a lot more conversations, are always together and attract a lot of attention.

WVA_7470

Although Rasham doesn’t have much of a view looking ahead, she has the luxury of being able to gaze from side to side for longer periods of time.

WVA_7476

And we have to pile our gear so high that sometimes our shadow looks like we have a third person!

WVA_7463

But starting with a new bike has been difficult and we have had some mechanical problems including a broken chain which required Trenton to walk 10 kilometers back to a bicycle shop for a new one.

WVA_7516

On a day when we were lost without maps on a lonely dirt road, a cyclist named Emilio came up behind us and spent the whole morning showing us around a few villages and getting us back on the right road!

WVA_7545

WVA_7570

WVA_7565

WVA_7532

WVA_7540

He even took us to the monastery San Francisco, which sent out monks to the America’s in 1521, founding several areas.  It slowly dawned on us that this small monastery we by chance happened upon was more than likely the origin from where San Francisco got its name!

WVA_7538

I don’t know quite what we expected cycling the winter.  I think we imagined moderate sunny days, cold nights and warm cafes.  We have experienced these things, but when it rains, it is miserably wet and cold with little respite.

WVA_7496

We heard from several other bike tourists that it is illegal to camp on the side of the road in Spain.  I’m assuming that this is because it is so easy to do!  It seems every night we find the most picturesque spot concealed amongst an plot of olive or cork trees, down some deserted road that no one travels.

WVA_7446

WVA_7461

WVA_7443

WVA_7440

WVA_7525

However clear the sky is, every morning the tent is wet and we have to stop and dry it out somewhere while we eat lunch.  WVA_7509

In the center of every pueblo there is a church and somewhere around the church is a tap that gives drinking water.

WVA_7514

So far we have cycled through two days of rain and five days of sun.  WVA_7486

WVA_7503

Spain has a lot of great food and possesses a certain placidity revealed in the slow pace of pedestrians and the long hours of siesta.

WVA_7628

Our second night on the road we stayed with our first non-American Warmshowers host, Daniel.  Despite accidentally showing up a day early, Daniel still welcomed us in, fed us and took us out to a birthday party to meet his friends!

WVA_7483

WVA_7577

This is the river Tajo which we have crossed a few times.  The air is incredibly clear and appears to have little pollution.  At night, the moon is full and bright.

WVA_7437

In general there is very little traffic and some roads even have special bike lanes!

WVA_7613

Every village also has a Plaza where most of the shops are.

WVA_7609

WVA_7624

Some nights it gets so cold that our tent gets frost-bitten!

WVA_7621

WVA_7601

WVA_7536

Many villages have small castles.

WVA_7562

In Spain we have passed many solar farms like the one in picture above.

WVA_7491

WVA_7479

We are now in Badajoz, Spain, a few miles from Portugal and a few days from Lisbon.  We plan to spend about a week in Portugal before returning to Spain and cycling the Mediterranean coast all the way to the tip of Italy!

18 responses to “Beginning A Spanish Winter on Bicycles: Madrid to Badajoz

  1. First what an amazing gift from your parents. The view is incrediable. The things you have learned about a country. Wow or wow, the people you meet. This world is not as bad as the news makes it out to be. You both are amazing people. Keep doing what you do! Keep posting for me, I wish you were coming by my house again….God Bless You.

    • Thanks Connie. I hope all is well in Mount Carmel. I was thinking about that breakfast you took us out for the other day. Say hi to your neighbors for me! As amazing as Europe we are missing some parts of home! Hope all is well!

      Trent and Rasham http://www.freelifebybike.com

      >

  2. Now this is the way to travel. And by “this”, I mean, sitting at home, at my desk, following you crazy kids across the world. :) Holy Cow….What an Adventure!! Following you guys is very similar to owning horses. I really have very little to do with your path but because I helped feed you and care for you, I feel like we’re in it together. Every once in a while, my horses run and it’s exciting for me. Every once in a while you get us all caught up on your trip and I love it! Thank you guys so much for allowing me to be a part of your journey….this is so much fun!! Buenas Suerte y Vaya con Dios!

    • :) feed us and care for us you did! Thanks for following Chad! Hope all is well in the wonderful city of Louisville!

  3. Hi Trent and Rasham,
    I am excited to follow you across Europe and beyond. I just returned from Piedmont Italy where I toured small farms. I found a new Italian friend who invited me to come next year to bike with her biking group. That would be fun to meet up with you two!
    Congratulations for making it across the USA. Consider writing a book or touring and speaking about your experiences!
    I love Spain! Enjoy!
    Ride safely and have a happy holiday. Love, Carrie

  4. You guys are looking GREAT! Love the new wheels! We sure enjoy reading about your journey from chilly southern Illinois. Wish we were riding along with you…we’re a bit jealous as winter weather sets in here and we’ve slowed down our riding considerably from this summer. Take care, Joyce & Clyde

  5. Wow, Enjoy the pictures, It,s like we are seeing some of what you see in real time .. Tandem, whose idea was that ? :-) Be safe and enjoy,, John and Vicki in Kentucky,,

    • Yeah we didn’t plan on the tandem but we stayed with several people on our way to New York who toured on them and it got us thinking… Then mom and dad offered to get us one for a wedding gift and we jumped on it! Glad you are enjoying the blog!

  6. Dear friends. Chance has done we met on the road of life, I really go well with your journey to joy. Living life intensely and love everything that you see in passing. Meeting you was lucky for me, I talked about it with my friends bike. Very beautiful photo, a hug and that you continue pedaling for life. Emilio

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s