Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal - Autumn '15

Not that we didn't absolutely love Norway, but it wasn't really that summery up there. Sure, we did see sunshine, but also snow. Say no more!

So come Autumn and return to the South I had in mind at least a few weeks of sunshine to make up for that lack of a real toasty summer. This kindof worked, but, then there was a change of plan.

You see: we were supposed to travel all the way to the bottom of Spain or Portugal for winter, but only made it as far as Porto (beautiful place that is too) before returning to France to attend to some business. Oh well, but it will hopefully be worth it.

At least, after the Norwegian experience, we know how to make the most of cold, grey weather wink

22:21

Dear Norway, been an amazing 7 weeks, but passing ferry terminal in more rain too much of a sign! Thus we find ourselves in Denmark tonight.

09:45

Good morning Denmark! smile

14:16

Sipping beer in Rembrandtplein. Got to the 3rd before remembering to share wink Used to hang here a lot in a past life!

12:08

Being a tourist in lovely sunny Amsterdam, where I once lived & worked. A whole lot better without the work part wink

14:23

Few drinks & a wonderful lunch by the canal in Amsterdam. It is really very nice here on a day like this. Cheers! grin

16:10

Pratiwi fattening up dinner?! A wonder so many plump chickens like this survive on sites full of hungry campers! wink

12:57

Visit to Castle De Haar, Netherlands. Immaculately restored and kept, it's just beautiful.

13:43

Feeding deer at Castle De Haar. They were loving acorns that we collected from an Oak tree just out of their reach.

15:10

We got lost walking in the centre of Maastricht this morning. Which was actually a bonus as it's such a lovely place to wonder around smile

15:30

Dropped into a Dutch bakery. Just a sample of the wares we picked up... wink Nom, nom, nom! grin tongue

14:49

Felt guilty skipping Sweden on our trip so... Swedish lunch somewhere more ubiquitous to make up for it! wink

12:47

Overcast & chilly in Odenwald, but out for nice loop anyway. Rolling hills mean nothing flat here. Great cycling grin

19:00

Just 'dropped in' to friends in Germany & completely spoiled again. Thank you guys, best pork ever! Nom, nom, nom! tongue

20:56

OMG! Walking back into a French hypermarket after months away is, as Pratiwi said, "Heaven!" Sooooo muuuuuch goooood foooood. Dribble! tongue wink

12:51

Stroll along the coast around Cancale. Past local festivities. Oysters everywhere! Don't worry, we had some later tongue

18:28

Post stroll, pre-dinner drinks in last of the afternoon sun. Very nice choice by our gracious host. Cheers! grin tongue

10:23

Breakfast by the river Tarn, at Moissac. Nom, nom, nom... best get the bike out! wink Lucky it's a beautiful day! grin

12:55

French sunflower fields in Autumn. So sad cry Nice little ride in this area all the same.

13:06

Today meant to be all DH from half way so smashed up Mente & Aspet. Imagine my joy finding 2 more cols after that! wink

15:41

Need some sugar post ride? French apple pastry thing not sweet enough? Drizzle it with honey grin That's better! wink tongue

12:28

Little 'recovery' ride this morning wink Climbed Portillion to Spain then Peyresourde. Love, love, love the Pyrenees!

12:14

Climbed up Port de Balès. 19kms that just get steeper & steeper! It's lovely! wink Descent to Luchon even more so! grin

12:33

Hike up to Lac d'Oô. Lovely autumn colours & beautiful views. Pratiwi being brave with the locals too. Mooooo! wink

16:09

Driving over Col de Peyresourde. Not as fun as the bike, but yeah, you can still appreciate the view I guess! wink grin

12:21

Moving on from Loudenvielle. Shame to leave when the sun is shining like this, but we do have vague plans you know!

13:14

View down to Arreau as we drive the Col d'Aspin. The clouds rolled over as we climbed so was a bit nippy up the top!

08:23

Sunrise walk into Lourdes along the river Gave. Chilly but beautiful. Brrrrrr...

13:31

Lunch at Auberge Le Bouic on a lovely sunny day in the mountains. Great food here too. Nom, nom, nom! tongue

15:08

Relaxing in late aftenoon sun above Pierrefitte-Nestalas. Some tricky decisions to be made come morning! wink Hmmmmm grin

13:35

Stunning riding above Gavarnie today, on 40km climb to Col de Tentes! Final 11km is HC in it's own right! #Broken wink

13:53

Just wondering in the hills above Pierrefitte-Nestalas on an Autumn day. Love the Pyrenees! smile

13:27

The valley near Gazost (French Pyrenees). Last time I was here, was on the bike & saw a couple of deer. Lovely place.

14:05

Great 3 course lunch in Nay. Cold meats plate, steak, amazing potatoes & crème brûlée for 12.90€ Can't think why we like it here! wink tongue

12:43

Hola España! Not a bad spot nor day for a first Spanish encounter. May they all be as sunny & picturesque as this! smile

15:49

Beautiful rolling hills inland from San Sebastian. Aside from the main road to get here wonderful riding smile

19:26

Sunset above Zarautz. Say no more!

15:48

Rode up to Puerto San Glorio today. Wasn't going to but weather came good. Down to short jersey on the climb! #Toasty

08:31

After 6 months of living in the snail we have a break this week. Miss it already, but view from the bedroom helps! wink

14:27

Lunch at Asador Llorente, Potes. Yum! And most of these dishes are entrées! We all left feeling a little stuffed! tongue

13:29

Chores around the home are never ending! wink All round clean for the snail today. Nice & easy with the terrace here grin

14:15

This was the 'warm up' climb on today's ride: cat 2 up to Cahecho. Went on to Fuente De but got cloudy so no pics sad

10:04

Lookout few kays from Puerto San Glorio. I was here before, but today is a chance for those who don't ride to see tongue

10:41

The view from Mirador de Pandetrave and again just a little down the road. Shaping up to be a great day! smile

11:00

Sights from the road on the way to Cares Gorge. Moooooo! wink

11:40

Starting out on walk through Cares Gorge. Bit cold, dark & damp in the opening section despite being close to noon.

12:41

Obligatory 'Pratiwi is the red dot' pics walking along a path cut into the cliff face! Awesome & not scary at all! tongue

12:44

Continuing on... Getting a little sun in this deep gorge in the afternoon was very welcome! Amazing place!

13:29

Having fun in Cares Gorge. Perfect day for a hike! grin

13:35

Some of the tunnels (although these are very short) cut into the cliff face in Cares Gorge. Yet more amazement!

13:38

Yet more, 'Oh look, we're walking along a cliff' pictures. It's like this a lot of the way and just spectacular!

13:57

Most of this has been downhill... until now. One small bump to get over to reach the village at the end of the trail.

14:27

Hallooooooooo... Apakah anda ingin bergabung dengan saya sebagai kari kambing? tongue grin wink

15:18

Well... they almost got the timing right wink Not bad for a bunch of old folk taking it nice & easy though! grin

15:34

Post hike refreshments. Although to be honest, only one of these is actually refreshing. Am I right? wink tongue

17:04

More roadside randomness. Approaching Potes on the way home. Beautiful countryside around here! #StateTheObvious wink

17:32

What has been our home this week. Not a bad spot I guess wink Thanks to the olds for having us! grin

20:45

No lens or perspective trickery here. That's just one bloody big steak! So tasty! Nom, nom, nom... nom... nom! wink tongue

08:55

Great colours on the Picos de Europa mountains this morning! We're moving on today, but it's a nice send off smile

10:16

Not much clearance on this gateway. Tricky because of the hill we're turning onto. But it got in, sooooo... all good!

13:15

Passing the church at Niembro cove & thought it pretty enough for a picture. The joys of random travel smile

13:54

The rather rocky & wind-swept beach at Vega. Only 1 sole surfer braving the elements here. Oh, & me (not Pratiwi!) tongue

15:56

Another deserted Spanish beach. This is Playa de la Griega, our lunch (well, very late lunch) stop for the day.

14:07

Random trundle around valleys in Northern Spain. Lovely & green. Nice hills too, descent back to coast great fun! grin

12:54

Prosciutto in a Spanish supermarket. More of a staple than luxury. Which is how it should be to be honest! Yum! tongue

09:27

Cathedral Beach, North Spain. Fabulous 'almost winter' morning exploring. Low tide here is a must. Well planned! wink

19:34

Amazing what there's time for when it rains solid for 3 days! Fun with wine & drawing wink https://youtu.be/7TXEZ4tP06c

14:17

Sightseeing in Santiago de Compostela. Not much here aside from the cathedral with a rather ornate interior though.

15:42

When in Spain: tapas lunch in Santiago de Compostela. Followed by ice cream for some reason... even though it's cold!

16:15

Lunch in a restaurant in Spain. I literally LOL'd when the waitress asked if we were splitting the bill. Like I have a choice any more?! wink

12:37

Gotta love a climb where last few kays are 10% pavé! Cattle here impressive too, esp. ones with the odd udders! wink

12:28

Walk on the beach near Facho (Portugal). Bit grey & windy, but there's still fun to be had looking for treasure! wink

11:29

Entering Porto Market (Mercado do Bolhão) we found an entertaining band of musicians. Nice way to start our day here.

11:31

Mercado do Bolhão in Porto. Lots of seafood & fruit & chillies & colour. Oh... & some Port Wine for the tourists wink

11:57

A few random sights from Porto while wondering from the market to cathedral. They like tiled buildings here!

13:10

Love these colourful rooftops in Porto. This is the view from right outside the cathedral.

13:16

Inside Porto cathedral. Nice light patterns from the stained glass.

13:33

Porto's old city & river from Luis Bridge, which is actually rather high & railing low so not for those with vertigo!

13:42

Happy times in Porto. What an wonderful, beautiful place. Especially on a day like today. We loved it here! smile :) smile

14:22

Lunch in Porto. But Pratiwi loves sangria... soooooo... who am I to say no?! wink Nom, nom, nom tongue

15:52

After lunch... time to try the local wares while we sit & watch the world go by. Just a lovely afternoon.

16:54

Food & drink done, it's time to enjoy more sites of Porto on the way home. These are mainly by the river & old town.

17:46

One of my last memories of Porto: this corner shop smelt divine. Look at all that prosciutto, cheese & Port. Yum!! tongue

09:06

Woke up to this view right outside our front door. So beautiful! Misty hills down the road weren't bad either!

17:34

Short evening walk after parking up for the night. Imagine if this was your local single track? Where's my MTB?!

20:44

Parked by a pocket of woodland tonight. Stars picture just about possible despite light pollution from nearby Tarbes.

09:00

Slept in a woodland clearing last night. Woke & stuck head out of skylight to see wild deer nearby before he bounded off into trees #Magical

09:12

Another day, another spectacular view to wake up to... [sigh]...

12:31

Not been riding much? Try 2xHC climbs (Soulor/Spandelles) when a little out of shape! Beautiful day for some pain! wink

15:58

Out riding today a Kite (bird of prey) flew directly at me, dived to the road literally 10m ahead & scooped up some fresh roadkill! #Amazing

09:56

Plateau de Benou is one of our favourite spots. Even better when you wake up here on such a beautiful morning! smile

11:06

As we're here: short walk up to the ridge & back. Funny how the cows pick a spot with the best view to relax, huh? wink

13:53

Col du Tourmalet today. Can you believe it's almost winter!? Few mins off a PB but came home strong. #CantComplain grin

16:16

Remember Tourmalet is 2115m up, amazing weather this week! Snow coming so cyclists: get up there while you can! grin wink

18:56

Tonight's stop: Up at la Croix Blanche just East of Lourdes. Enjoying the tranquillity and a rather nice sunset.

09:29

Early morning views around la Croix Blanche. More great trails & lucky cattle up here smile

11:09

More woodland adventures...

13:18

End of the road today: Pont d'Espagne. Clearly has more popular times but forecast to be snowed in tonight! Brrrrr!

08:54

Not sure the solar is going to be doing much work today! wink Glad the snail has a nice heating system though. Brrrrrr!