Day 21: Malaga to Cordoba: PART 1 - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

February 27, 2024

Day 21: Malaga to Cordoba: PART 1

Road block protest!

The hotel came around to being at least a bit helpful, allowing our bikes into the luggage room yesterday afternoon. That way they could come out and wait patiently for the shuttle van, with us, near the hotel door.

Former second class citizen bikes get a place in the hotel lobby.
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Our plan to get to Cordoba somehow began to further work out, as the lady with the van we had booked showed up on time at the hotel. Because of the walking zone, we had to walk the bikes and ferry the luggage a short distance, but it was ok. Not so ok was the sleek Mercedes van, with two rows of back seats. The lady and us went to work to figure out just how to fit the bikes in. Three cooks on this stew was not always the best, but each contributed, with the lady moving the seats forward and us pulling off the front wheels and then laying the bikes just so.

The sleek Mercedes van.
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Two bike loading cooks. The third one is trying to stay out of it!
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OK, they are in there!
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At last we set off through Malaga, initially following the dry river, towards the mountains.

Those mountains were what must have triggered us months ago to not plan on cycling to Cordoba. And yes, a RWGPS track made from the back seat of the van shows 2779 meters of climbing over 200 kms. That would not have been fun for us, even over three days.

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We watched with interest as the Autovia wound over some hills and through tunnels, but in fact it did not look all that bad. Of course, on the bikes we would not be on this road.

I turned to Dodie and said "Well we really dodged the bullet, because here we are actually on the way to Cordoba!"

Oh, look at those mountains ahead.
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Looks quite hilly!
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The autovia climbed and also went through tunnels. It didn't look so bad, strangely. The magic of being in a car!
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Got to see a black bull cyclists would miss!
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Karen PoretBut..where’s the raptor? Oh..that was the “other” bull…;)
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1 month ago
Gratuitous little mountain.
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After a bit the hills appeared to be behind us and we entered what seemed like a plain, all covered in orchards. 

It got lots flatter than this as well.
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We were bowling along through this, when with 57 km left to go to Cordoba,  it all ground to a halt. Traffic on the Autovia totally stopped. The reason was one of the farmer protests that have been sweeping across Europe. The farmers are peeved for several reasons: excessive imports, imported goods not subject to the same regulations they face locally, measures needed to combat drought, general inability to make a living, and no doubt others.

The yellow vested protesters.
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Scott AndersonOh, my gosh. Jackpot!
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1 month ago
The travelers trapped on the road are being used as pawns with no respect for their rights in this, I say.
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(That was 2 hours ago. As I write this, there is no indication of when we might move again. Some drivers have taken the step of turning around and going back on the shoulder. We have a lot of sympathy with the farmers, but I was thinking the thousands of people now stranded on the highway should just go up there and throw the road blockers in the ditch. That of course won't happen, because those thousands of people, put out or even put at risk depending on their medical status, are not organized. The Guardia Civil, technically their reps in a case like this are not taking any steps. Well, it does give me time - hours - to begin this blog entry on the phone, slowly letter by letter.

I will post this now at mid day our time, because it's kind of breaking news, but without the photos. Unlike some touring events, though, it is not an emergency. By tonight the situation should have had a resolution. Maybe! If you happen to be reading at this stage, tune back in for the thrilling conclusion (and photos).) Actually, if you are reading this now, just keep reading this page and then go on to part 2 for the thrilling conclusion of today.

FLASH:  As I was writing this, a police car pulled up beside us and advised that we too turn around and go the way we came, on the shoulder. This was in fact easy, because the police had already turned back the people behind us, leaving only the hard to turn big trucks.

The Guardia explains the plan.
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OK, turn around here.
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These truckers are still stuck.
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New arrivals are diverted from the trouble area.
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Everyone likes to use the national flag to promote their cause.
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Or two flags!
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What a Field Day for the Heat
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The workaround that the Guardia was proposing was to take a secondary road through Lucena, bypassing the intersection of A-45 and A-318, where the protest was. Dodie had spotted this on her phone an hour earlier, and had been quietly chirping to me about it since.

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Eventually we were on our way, passing the cute hill town of Monturque, and arriving at the outskirts of Cordoba.

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Once we got to Cordoba, a whole new phase of the day opened up. Go on to PART 2 to see about that!

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Scott AndersonSo are you paying for your ride by the hour?
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonFortunately we were given a flat rate before we started off in the morning. Good thing too, because the 2 to 3 hour trip turned into a 5 or more hour slog. If it had been by the hour that would have just about doubled the price.
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1 month ago
Andrea BrownWe were sitting in an Indian tea shop in Bangkok and the tv was on with an Indian news station playing a very similar protest nonstop. Farmers were protesting by blocking traffic with their tractors. This footage played on an endless loop the entire time we were in that teashop.
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1 month ago