Leaving Spain - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 20, 2024

Leaving Spain

We’re staying at a higher class place than is usual for us, the Silken Colliseum - fine facilities, a welcoming and professional staff, and they served us up a good lunch yesterday.  No doubt their breakfast would be high quality also but Rachael has scouted out a bakery two blocks away that sounds appealing and opens earlier so we opt for that.  Afterwards we return to the room and mark time in various ways until checkout is required at noon.  And after that we sit around for another hour in the lobby until it’s time to walk down the street for lunch, leaving our panniers and bikes in the hotel storage room.

An hour later we’re back, collect our belongings, and depart for our last ride in Spain for this time around at least - an eight mile loop west to the tip of Magdalena Park and back, ending at the security gate for our ferry departure.  It’s just the right-sized relaxed outing we need to fill a couple of hours and it gives Rachael her chance to see the park and me to look more closely at parts I passed over yesterday because of the rain.

Another elaborate art nouveau bank building, in the Plaza Porticada.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Entering Magdalena Park.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Magdalena Palace. Built between 1908 and 1913, it was the summer residence of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia.
Heart 4 Comment 0
A brighter look at the Isla de Mouro lighthouse.
Heart 6 Comment 0
To the north is the Cabo Mayor Lighthouse, watching over the entrance to the harbor since 1839.
Heart 3 Comment 0
La Balsa, the raft that legendary adventurer Vital Alsar (born in Santander) built and then journeyed on from Ecuador to Australia in 1970 - a voyage of 8,600 miles, which was the longest raft journey in history until he repeated the journey and travelled 9,000 miles three years later.
Heart 5 Comment 4
Bruce LellmanI love that there are guys who do stuff like this!
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanI do too. I’d never heard of this man. He apparently got started down this path when he was inspired by reading Kon-Tiki when he was growing up.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanGrowing up on a lake I, too, was inspired by the book Kon Tiki so I made a raft with three logs and nailed some boards on top. I imagined I was a great explorer as I poled it along the shore.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou should have someone back there check. Maybe there’s a replica of your craft in the park there!
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Another exhibit honoring the voyages of Vital Alsar. These are the three brigs (the originals, I believe) that he built in Guayaquil 1977 as replicas of Columbus’s ships and then sailed them down the Amazon before crossing the Atlantic to reach Santander, a distance of 11,000 nautical miles.
Heart 4 Comment 0
The Sirena Magdalena, the masthead for the flagship of the fleet - the replica of Columbus’ Santa Maria.
Heart 5 Comment 0

Video sound track: Baia, by Laurindo Almeida, Carlos Barbosa-Lima & Charlie Byrd

Biking to the ferry here is very easy, once you know how - but I had a hard time finding out.  The Brittany Ferries website gives reasonably detailed directions on how to access the port, but only by automobile - and they aren’t detailed enough to tell you precisely where you’re going.  They basically just state to follow the signs to the ferry starting from a few key directions.

By bike though it’s very simple - starting on the downtown waterfront, just begin biking west on the waterfront bike path - there are signs for the ferry along the way but just stay on the bike path, which ends at the security gate.  If you’re attempting the same thing yourself someday you might bookmark our route today as a guide:

This shows our whole ride, but you can start anywhere along the waterfront of course. The security gate is at the west most point, at about mile 7.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The ship is huge!  It’s the Pont-Aven, the largest and fastest cruise ferry sailing these seas.  And we’re not alone for a change - there were at least a dozen other bike travelers boarding with us.

Into the leviathan.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Keith AdamsKinda gives you a feel for how Jonah must've felt doesn't it?
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago

Our ship doesn’t set sail until 6:30.  Bikers are instructed to arrive an hour early but we arrive at about 5 just as boarding is commencing.  It is all very easy to navigate, and when we passed through security our bikes we were given disposable door keys for our cabin so we just let ourselves into our room once we boarded.  

Our room was very comfortable - we each had a foldout bed on the ground rather than bunk beds, and a reasonable amount of space to work with.  We were on board for nearly 24 hours, but it was quite comfortable.  We slept well, there were many comfortable spots to sit and relax in the common areas, and they even had serviceable WiFi (at a cost).  It was quite a contrast to our nightmarish experience taking the ferry from Barcelona to Mallorca at the start of the tour.

Leaving Santander.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Playa de Puntal, the 2 km long and spit at the entrance to the harbor. I left Santander thinking of all the other places nearby here that I’d enjoy coming back to see someday.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The view east along the coast. I think that’s the lighthouse at Cabo de Ajo in the distance.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Magdalena Palace.
Heart 3 Comment 0
A last look at the north coast.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The back side of the Isla de Mouro lighthouse.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Deck life.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Adios, España.
Heart 4 Comment 0
As good as it gets, but not good enough for us to sign up for a cruise.
Heart 6 Comment 4
Steve Miller/GrampiesShot with the smartphone... is it not a bug to then merge with the Lumix, or was today all smartphone?
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesCorrect, shot with Rachael’s phone because it does so much better with indoor lighting than the Lumix. Everything else is Lumix though. Merging from different sources is no problem at all though. Ones from the Lumix I download directly to the iPad, and depending on quantity Rachael either emails shots to me from the phone and I save the received image or she’ll upload to Google Photos as a transfer platform I can download from. The iPad is the merge point though, and the source for everything uploaded into a post.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonThe iPad as the common waystation before Cycleblaze is a wise policy. Between Rachael's phone, the email, and Google Photos there are lots of places for photos to float around. If I take shots from a phone, I have a tendency to cheat and put them straight onto Cycleblaze (if they are going in at all), leaving them unarchived and abandoned on the phone.

btw, I feel badly for the 1000's of photos that did not make it into the blog. These languish uncaptioned, though their day of a tour is known. Chances are they will never be looked at again.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Steve Miller/GrampiesElectrons are cheap. If you're like me you shoot dozens more photos each day than you will ever use, but they can hang around for years- decades, even- waiting to be rediscovered. It's all good.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Warming up for the UK with a pint of Murphy’s Stout.
Heart 7 Comment 1
Patrick O'HaraAh....A Murphy's Stout. Brings me back to my time years ago hitchhiking around Ireland. Slainte.
Reply to this comment
3 weeks ago

Today's ride: 8 miles (13 km)
Total: 1,629 miles (2,622 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 13
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Keith AdamsNot all sailings from Spain to England have gone so well for the participants...
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago