Day 1: The Long Goodbyes and the Ride to the Airport - Grampies Iberian Inquisition Spring 2023 - CycleBlaze

March 2, 2023

Day 1: The Long Goodbyes and the Ride to the Airport

The maximum time for Canadians in Europe without a visa is 90 days. Longer stay visas are hard to get, so 90 days has become a standard.  If staying more than 90 days is not really possible, staying fewer than 90 days really makes no sense. Airfare is so costly, that you want to divide it among as many days as possible.  

All that being said, we only planned 75 days this time. We want to be back in time to have something of a garden before - what?  before charging off to Europe again. We have to be back 90 days before they will welcome us again. So if we return this time mid-May, we can leave  mid-August. And  90 days from then will only just put us into cold weather in Germany. 

With only being gone 75 days, one would think our friends and family would scarcely notice that we were not around. But that's not really the case, so we have been running around visiting. A really good visit is with someone, like Dodie's sister and brother-in-law. We had bugged off to Mexico with only a distant wave to them. We mentioned on previous pages our goodbye meal with Marius and Sandra and the meetup with the Classens, and who could forget one more opportunity to give a farewell hug to our dear oldest daughter, Joni.

Two of the friends that we tried to connect with were Marvin and Erika Paxman. You can see their blog for cycling mainly in Germany here.  Marvin and Erika do intend to return to Europe, but in the meantime they have bought a new house and significantly, now have  "Muffin" the dog. They have more pressing things to do than to spin around eating wiener schnitzel, right now.

We invited Marvin and Erika over, only very remotely to break the news to them that we are asking for a lift to the airport. It's not a problem, because Marvin and Erika have a deep well of kindness. In fact Erika, realizing that we will have emptied and turned off our fridge, offered to give us supper before the drive to the airport.


Well, it's almost time for Marvin to pick us up. We have spent the morning having a bit of a panic, as we realize "Semana Santa" (Easter - holy week) is coming.  Easter Sunday is April 9, and Semana Santa is April 2-9. In Seville, this is a big deal - meaning there will be lots to see there, and also that there will be no place to stay. The other trick is that to be in Seville at that time, we likely will have to drag our feet coming out of Portugal. And after Semana Santa, we will have to stomp on the pedals to get up the N2 and to Porto in time to fly home.

Dodie woke me up with all these considerations this morning. She had been testing her alarm clock for the trip this night, but had had no need of it. The planning thoughts had her up long before the clock. And now, me too!

We decided that yes, we will time it to go to Seville. And there is something else. Famous Cycleblazer Susan Carpenter will be there too! It will be another Cycleblaze meetup!

Dodie found a place for us in downtown Seville. We decided to call them to check about the bicycles, and I did that (not so easy to both find the phone number and a phone of ours that wants to call Spain). The man who answered spoke no English, and my Spanish was not good enough to convey why I was calling. We gave up, especially because in the photos the place looked like it had a narrow door and steep stairs. Instead we dug up one last piggy bank to smash from somewhere, and booked what we hope is a nice ground floor studio apartment, right by the cathedral! Seville could be great.

Another final preparation was to arrange our trapline - another time honoured Canadian tradition, except that the target should be beavers!

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Marvin picked us up and brought us to his place, where Erika and daughter Emily were preparing a nice meal to send us on our way. This also gave me a chance to fight Muffin the dog for his beaver. A Canadian will trap any beaver that can be found!

Got one beaver!
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We got a nice farewell from Erika and Emily, and even Muffin, who does not hold grudges. This set up the very traditional cyclist's bikes in back of van shot!

Thanks Paxmans! Great cookies Emily!
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Kristine OvensThe Paxmans are such lovely people.
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1 year ago
Classic back of van shot.
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First box repair.
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There they go!
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Victoria airport is as calm as an airport can be. The helpful oversized luggage people checked our boxes and helped to tape the tops. The handle cutout had ripped the moment we pulled on it, so we taped that as well.  We are optimistic that the boxes will be ok, but they have a lot of travelling still to do.

With any luck, our next post will be with family in Montreal!

Update: We've made it to Vancouver, but we think the bike boxes are already having a hard time. Here they are boarding. Despite all the this way up signs, one is already down!

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Down but at least nothing on top, yet.
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