Spain - Retrospective
Overview of the route cycled.
Purple/blue is the way out, pink/orange is the way back.
Daily distances cycled this vacation.
On the cycling days we averaged around 169 km/day.
In total we have cycled 3412 km in 24 days, a bit more than last year. It was a lot more fun this time, mostly because the weather was good. It also was also an adventurous vacation. Especially with the 50 km long stretches of nothingness, all the wild camping, and climbing the Pico Veleta. It was nice we had enough time to visit Morocco.
I really enjoyed cycling in Spain. Maybe even better than France, although that is tough to beat. In Spain are many nice people, calm roads, and good weather. Compared to France the landscape is a bit less variable and the food less good. Spanish is not a difficult language, so it's easy to learn enough to make yourself understood.
Climbing the Pico Veleta was one of the most fun things we did this vacation. Climbing it from the north is easier, but the climb from the south is definitely more special. Probably this is only possible at the height of summer, otherwise there might be too much snow.
The bicycle bus is the least bad way to get somewhere by bike. The only better way is to cycle there yourself, but that takes a lot of time. If the drivers would be less blunt it would even be a good way to travel. Compared to flying the bus is more expensive, but less bad for the environment. The chance of your bike arriving in once piece is probably also higher. It takes about 19 hours to get to the south of France, it is faster, easier, and cheaper than taking the train.
Costs of this cycling vacation
This cycling vacation was a bit more expensive than our average. That was because of the bus and the relatively expensive food and drinks at gas stations. The campsites in Spain were also expensive, but we camped in the wild most of the times.
In total we spent 700 euros each for our 24 day vacation. Every day we ate and drank for about 13 euros per person. That includes breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, gas station break, dinner, and snacks before going to sleep. That is, on the occasions we had food.
The campsites cost around 28 euros per night, for both of us. The campsite at the Mediterranean was 30 euros, while the ones farther in land were 25. The one in Andorra was 13. As we only stayed on campsites 8 times this comes down to 5 euros per person per day.
Below is an overview of the total costs.
(eten en drinken = food and drinks, busreis = bus ride)
I liked navigating by GPS more than by map. By keeping it turned off as much as possible it would last about 3 days on two AA batteries. I carried 3 sets, so we only needed to recharge them once every 9 days. Following the route was quite easy this vacation. It is also nice that the GPS confirms you have taken the right turn, which prevents unnecessary detours. The biggest disadvantage of the GPS was the time it took to plan a good route. I used the website mapmyride.com and used a a map from openstreetmap.org. While there were some errors in the map it was generally up to date. As openstreetmap is made by volunteers (similar to Wikipedia) it is free but some remote areas aren't charted yet. For example, some small roads and villages north of the Pico Veleta weren't included. Using a combination of paper maps and a GPS seems the best solution.
Our bikes held up well this cycling vacation. We didn't have a single flat tire. Next time we will bring a better pump so we can keep our tires properly inflated. If we would cycle more over unpaved roads a different type of bike, with more suspension, might be better.