TransBike Europe is my friend Bart Bloem pedaling from Malaga to Aurich. He says in the description: Many things inspired me for this adventure but, at the end, there are three main things that I plan to achieve with this trip. First of all, I plan to start in Malaga (City in Spain where my mother comes from) and to finish in Aurich (a small village in Germany from where my father comes from). I’ve never felt from a place, so this is like a journey to connect those both places, while finding myself in my European identity. Secondly, there’s one place I plan on stopping with a special significance, which is Athens, as a symbolic place where the Olympic movement started, and as a way to reaffirm my sport Identity. And thirdly, I would like to meet fellow trans activists along my journey, and learn more about trans activism and rights throughout Europe. Let the adventure begin!! “We travel to change, not of place but of ideas.” (Hippolyte Taine).
I was covering on Twitter and Facebook his first three days of this bike trip, in connection with the time he was in Andalusia. He was sending me some pictures from the different towns he stopped at. This was in February and I can not believe I haven’t written a post yet, but I hope it is not late! The idea is to leave his experience on my blog. Moreover, in case any reader of my blog is thinking about doing a bike trip in Andalusia, next proposal could be a nice itinerary.
1st DAY. Malaga-Alozaina-Yunquera-El Burgo-Ronda (around 70 km)
In the heading picture of this post we can see Bart in the Alcazaba of Malaga, from where he started this trip. This Alcazaba, the best conserved in the Iberian Peninsula, is from the 11th century, built during the kingdom of Badis ben Hadus. Next to it there is also a theater from the Roman period.
Alozaina was the first town in the itinerary and Bart took a picture of the three horseshoe arches built in 1951 in memory of Al-Andalus. Later, on his way to Yunquera he saw a pinsapo, a famous endemic fir tree in Sierra de las Nieves (The Mountains of the Snow). I asked him to take a pic of this botanic jewel in the very moment he see one of them!
Once in Yunquera, the highlight chosen was the watchtower, where there is a modern astronomical observatory. The tower is originally from the 19th century and it was very important during the war against Napoleon empire.
In El Burgo, locals are proud of their river: El Turon, so Bart took a selfie in the most bucolic place, which is the Malaga bridge and the Turon River. Finally, in Ronda, the scenery chosen was the famous New Bridge. It was built in the 18th century, and the purpose was to join together the old and new areas of the city. It took almost 50 years to built this bridge that span the 120-metre (390 ft)-deep chasm.
2nd DAY: ZAHARA DE LA SIERRA-ALGODONALES-EL CORONIL- ALCALÁ DE GUADAÍRA (around 100 km)
Originally the idea was to start the second day in Setenil de las Bodegas, where some streets are literally under the mountains, but it was not possible to do it, so Bart went directly to Algodonales, but at least he could send me a picture of the white town Zahara de la Sierra and its small Nasrid village and Castle.
In Algodonales Bart stopped a little bit to cool off in Fuente del Algarrobo (Fountain of the Carob). This fountain with its 12 pipes provides water to the urban area and also to irrigates the countryside. Very close to it there is a traditional washing place from the 19th century.
The purpose of this second day was to pedal as much as he could, so no more stops were planned, but Bart saw a donkey in El Coronil and this picture was obligatory. Finally in Alcalá de Guadaira Bart met the dragon who guards the castle from the 13th century. The town is located on the banks of the Guadaíra River, where a modern bridge has the shape of a dragon. It is also known as Alcalá de los Panaderos (Alcalá of the bakers) because it provided most of Seville’s bread.
3rd DAY: SEVILLE-HIGUERA DE LA SIERRA-ARACENA-CORTEGANA (around 115 km)
The last day in Andalusia started in Seville. I said to Bart: You can send me any picture you want from my city, except a picture of the Pelli Tower. So thank you for sending me the view of the river Guadalquivir and the Alamillo bridge built for the Expo 92. 🙂
The next towns to visit are all of them in the mountains of the province of Huelva. The first one was Higuera de la Sierra, where Bart stopped at the square of San Antonio, a meeting point for the local people in town in its most famous working class neighborhood. There is a small hermitage from the 16th century and the fountain.
In Aracena, apart from the beautiful narrow white streets with no traffic, there is a lot of interesting places like Gruta de las Maravillas (The Cave of Wonders) and the castle with its priory church that still conserves the minaret from the previous mosque. The place chosen was finally the church of La Asunción, because it is enormous! It is understandable while the construction started in the 16th century and was not finished until 2008.
The last place Bart visited before crossing the frontier to Portugal was Cortegana. He first sent me a pic of its castle, which is from the 13th century and it is part of the Galician Band: the line of castles in Sierra Morena that acted as a fortified frontier for all the region. He also spent the day with the students of the course “Expert in Activities in the Natural Environment”. He talked to them about Transbike Europe and and they cycled all together the first 16km of the day.
At the very moment I am writing this post Bart is in Croatia. After Andalusia, he has pedal through Portugal, Northern Spain, France, Italy and Slovenia more than 3.000 kilometers, but he still has to do more than 7000 km to complete his itinerary. You can follow his next adventures in his facebook page Transbike Europe. He also says he accepts “host, sofas, showers, meals, roof, or anything you can and want to offer along the way 😀 Also, if you want to join me for a few days, you’re more than welcome!”
Good luck, Bart!