Iberia - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

August 17, 2019

Iberia

We’ve been home from our Canadian tour for three days now and have worked through most of our maintenance tasks we had queued up for our return. I’ve got a clean slate here and some time to start filling it, so with departure just over four weeks away and a lot to talk about, we might as well get started.

We’ve already told you that we’re going to Spain, so I’m not revealing any big surprises here.  We’re not just going to Spain though: we’re going to Iberia.

I imagine most of you are aware of Iberia, but just in case here’s a map of it.  Synonymous with the Iberian Peninsula, it consists of all of Spain and Portugal; Gibraltar; Andorra; and a bit of France - presumably the narrow strip along the Pyrenees that would be considered part of the peninsula.

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We’re going to more than just Spain this autumn, and we’ll give you details later.  For now, just know that the whole three month tour will be in Iberia, and hold that thought.

We’ve been to Iberia on parts or all of seven different tours now, so obviously we must like it or we wouldn’t keep coming back.  Actually, we had mixed opinions about Iberia on our earliest visits here; but by now it’s become one of our favorite regions and one we have been returning to with increasing frequency.  It’s endlessly fascinating, amazingly diverse, full of the kind of quiet, empty roads and landscapes we favor, is inexpensive as far as European destinations go, and has a warmer Mediterranean climate that works well for off season travel.

Just for the record, here’s an index to our history with Iberia:

  1. Nice to Lisbon, 1997: we biked from Nice to Barcelona, rented a car there to drive to Madrid, and then biked from there to Lisbon.  A September tour, and too hot at the end for our comfort.  We didn’t really enjoy our experience in Portugal on this trip for multiple reasons, and avoided it for years afterwards.
  2. Cleremont-Ferrand to San Sebastián (not posted), September 2000.  Primarily a tour of southwest France, we ended it with a few days in the Basque Country.  This was a great experience, and introduced us to a region we decided we’d like to return to some year.
  3. Andalusia, 2004: our first fully Iberian tour, and another one we had mixed feelings about.  Spanning late September to early October, it was still too hot for us.  It of course didn’t help either that we lost our passports.
  4. Iberia, 2013: the first Iberian tour we were genuinely enthusiastic about.  Beginning in Faro and ending in Granada, we wandered through southern Portugal, Extramadura, and Andalusia.  In late October and early November, the weather was great.  One of our all-time favorite tours.
  5. Girona to Bilbao, 2014: Our first pass through the Pyrenees, and another of our favorite tours.  We began and ended in Spain, but crossed over to ride the French side of the range for the middle half of the tour.
  6. Bilbao to Sete, 2017: Along the Pyrenees again, west to east this time, completely on the Spanish side until crossing over to France at the end.
  7. Dubrovnik to Barcelona, 2018: our first longer, post-retirement tour, it ended with two weeks in Catalonia in the first half of December - a brilliant time to be there, we thought.

So, including the tour coming up we’ll have spun our wheels in Iberia in five of the last seven years.  We’re not sadists, so there must be a pretty good reason for that.  Come join us this fall, and see for yourselves.

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Jen GrumbyCan't wait!

¡Vámonos a Iberia!
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