Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland - Spring '16

Spring 2016. Yes, still on holiday. Oops wink

Quite enjoying the Costa Blanca (can certainly recommend this as a winter cycling destination) but as the weather warms it's time to head back North.

Trip to Germany for the snail's safety inspection - can you believe it's a year already?! Which leads to the obligatory stop with friends both there and in Switzerland. Passing through an as yet unexplored part of the Black Forest & home via the Giant of Provence. Lovely stuff.

We really love the Pyrenees though so this is where the majority of our time will be spent this year I think. Ahem wink And why not - a dream come true to ride the Tourmalet through walls of snow above one's head is just one of the benefits!


Delta de l'Ebre. Quite time of year, but couple OK-ish bird in flight shots. Ducks, Flamingos, that kind of thing wink


Evening stroll. Is cloudy but warm. No sand, but on the plus side, won't be find it in every orifice for hours! wink


Shots from today's ride. Lovely roads but a bit arid around here. Higher you go, greener it gets though. Oh well! wink


Beach front at Villajoyosa. This one's sandy: note the palms wink Can't say it's not colourful enough & rather like it!


Is tricky to find a good curry in Europe so just this once happy to enjoy some 'Brits Abroad' dining wink tongue Cheers! grin


Feeling very lucky... this was on the table 5 minutes after I got home from cycling! Yum! smile grin tongue #Refuel #Hydration


Today's ride: Deserted Costa Blanca roads. Surprisingly good riding here & it's almost hot! #TanLines #FullyPro wink


More fun in the Costa Blanca hills today. Around 90km with 1800m of vertical. Lovely & warm too. Niiiiice smile grin


Today's ride: Same route as last time, reversed. In 3½ hours riding only 34 sec difference - faster! smile #Consistency


Lunch in Villajoyosa. 12€ menu included a 'small' glass of sangria. This & my entrée the highlights. Yum! tongue smile


Spanish supermarket: Jamón a serious business here! There's a guy hand slicing it for your tasting pleasure too smile


Not all jamón here is cheap. This 440€ leg most expensive I could find. 49/kg? Anyone in Sydney want to comment? wink


Passed lots of orange groves yesterday. Paid 7 bucks for a bag of lovely, juicy fruit as big as Pratiwi wink Bargain grin


Ride from the Med coast up brutal climb (20%+ ramps), past vineyards, a castle & lakes. You know, the usual stuff wink


Old town of Sitges: narrow alleys and... erm... interesting shopfront props wink


Great tapas bar in Sitges. Fresh kebabs, sausages, etc. came round regularly. Yum! tongue Sangria seems effective too! wink


Outside bar in Spain. Cold day: I'm wearing sweater & Goretex shell. 3 pommies walk out in tee shirts & shorts & say, "Oooo... Tropical" LOL


Post lunch walk home along the beach. Think that sangria is still working on someone wink grin


Haven't done anything touristy for a while so: Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. Yes, it's tough being a tourist! wink


Green grass & warm evening sunshine - nice smile Even better: found a bottle of Czech beer in the garage. Cheers! grin


Today's ride: up a lovely little - 1,200m at the top wink - climb. Parc Natural del Montseny. Just North of Barcelona.


Sadly this is a Spanish baguette. But... it's still warm from the oven & I only had to walk 50m to find it. Result!


Back in France so lunch supplies are easy: Find boulangerie, buy quiche &... no idea what the other is but was tasty!


Plenty of scope for CX training on today's ride wink By the beach & through wetland. And yes, those dots are flamingos!


Still working on that bag of oranges. So sweet & juicy. There are worse things to eat morning, noon & night! wink


Welcome to Lyon! This is why we usually avoid cities, but GPS says it's best way North. Doh! cry Cool clouds though.


Love French obsession with bread. We might be in motorway services miles from anywhere, but there's still fresh warm baguettes available! smile


After bit of a long day on the road... simple things sometimes make the best treats. Ahhhh...


Lunch stop in the Alsace region. Very traditional looking restaurant has Italian specials. Who are we to argue? wink tongue


Post lunch constitutional. This little village is Barr, & although it's still France the German influence is obvious.


Evening stroll around Deidesheim before dinner. And a bit of... ahem... silliness wink Warmer than it looks... honest!


I'm sure jamón slicing is a very earnest business... just no-one thought to tell these two! wink Oh dear! grin


So now the girls have finished messing about (ahem!!), it's time to get serious. Hand me a knife! grin


I did say we couldn't get a whole leg due to lack of slicing equipment in the snail. Lucky we're visiting friends! smile


My first attempt at jamón slicing. Should be thinner, but still tasted great. More practice required. On no! wink tongue


Typical afternoon in Germany? #DoingItTough #ThesePretzelsAreMakingMeThirsty grin


German breakfast. Well... Only part of it to be fair. Because we didn't eat enough swine last night! wink Yum! tongue


Even up here in Germany, spring is coming... yay!


For somewhere called, 'Beer World', these guys seem to have an awful lot of whiskey! wink Love this place! grin grin


Spotted in German drinks store. Lost in translation? No! It's 'hell' beer named after the Austrian village, 'Fucking'


Sunrise from a German vineyard. You have to love the random parking spots they lay on around here (Rhine valley).


Snail's in for it's TÜV (can you believe it's been a year!) so what to do? Lucky we know this restaurant close by smile


Frosty Black Forest morn. Quite a shock as we were by the Med few days back. Can feel a beautiful day coming though!


Quiet, smooth, twisty, rolling roads through beautiful nature & charming villages. I love riding the Black Forest! grin


Back from an awesome ride, evening sun & few bottles from local monastery at hand. Hmmm... decisions, decisions wink grin


Short walk into the local village. Through the forest, naturally smile


Hearty lunch under dappled shade in a beer garden next to the Abbey & old brewery where that beer originates. Cheers!


Part of the beer shop in Alpirsbach - next to the Abbey which founded this brewery. 2l bottle of beer anyone?! wink grin


Dessert time: Black Forest gâteau & more local beer. Like there's another choice?! Love a bakery that serves beer! grin


Today's ride: bit grey but always something interesting to see. This is on the dam wall at Stausee Kleine Kinzig.


Evening forest walk & a few trees are blossoming. Been great but allegedly it will snow here tomorrow! Time to leave!


Time for lunch so pick a spot to park up. This is Eglisau (Switzerland) on the banks of the Rhine. Wet but beautiful.


Swiss motorway services: beautiful, clean, modern, efficient... and rather expensive. Luckily we don't need any fuel!


Random view from the road en-route to Provence. This is on the hill above Puy-Saint-Martin. Lovely day smile


Yes, we did just squeeze though that archway, somehow defying the laws of physics! Love medieval French villages! wink


Passing through Vaison-la-Romaine. In 2012 I spent several hours on an IV drip 100m from this square. Fun times! wink


Rosbif lunch. Désolé monsieur, it's better in the UK wink Mousse for dessert was to die for though. Nom, nom, nom! tongue


When in Provence... grin 3° up top + 70kph wind chill equals completely numb fingers on the descent. Fun times! wink grin


Post ride snack. Despite it being a bit nippy up Ventoux looks like I got a bit sweaty somewhere on today's route! wink


Lazy day so will just walk into village. Someone is late so forced to sit & wait on sunny terrace. #Hardship #Sigh wink


Awesome table spotted outside a bar in Bédoin.


So... another difficult day draws to a close... Ahhhhh... smile


Random lunch stop in Remoulins. Not the prettiest of places, but this corner was still photogenic.


Ride from Lac du Salagou into the hills. Wonderful area with huge vistas & beautiful villages - like Lunas seen here.


Driving along that road from Capvern to Mauvezin. Always amazing views here, even on a cloudy day.


Local couple gave us the tip to go to this spot & collect wild garlic. Tasty in salad & cooking they said. We agree.


First evening back in the Pyrenees. Little walk around the new neighbourhood & introductions with the locals. Mooooo!


Busy day, but got out for lovely spring evening's spin in the Baronnies: tiny, quiet roads & plenty of punchy climbs!


The scene from our doorstep tonight: last rays of sunshine on the Pic du Midi. Yes, yes, with a very long lens! tongue


Cyclists should know this guy: He spends summer atop Col du Tourmalet but prefers to winter in the valley it seems wink


First Tourmalet ascent of the year. Last 3km closed to cars, but not bikes! grin As usual, sucks to be a car driver! tongue


Today's ride: foothills then Chiroulet, which is in the valley between the 2 main peaks in 1st pic. Beautiful day smile


Impromptu dinner invite. Lots of excellent Asian food, especially that beef rendang! Nom, nom, nom! tongue :P


Rest day done right: just lounging around our 'garden' - aka. the campsite wink - in the evening sunshine. Ahhhhh... smile


Big week of riding ends with loop to next valley & home over this little climb. Stayed dry despite the clouds. Phew!


Rest day stroll. Got a little carried away & ended up going 8km to the next village & source of the Crastes. Oops wink


What passes for an easy local loop these days wink Couple of hours smashing round beautiful, empty roads like this! grin


Impromptu dinner. French moule frite very nice, but sorry, still not as good as the Belgiums! Great dessert though tongue


Indonesian's don't drink, huh? The one's in France do! wink grin What I had to endure at a local 'Arisan' gathering wink tongue


I never do coffee stops but beer & pizza is mid-ride break I can get behind wink 122km & Hautacam PR today. Love it! grin


Things to do this arvo, so little spin up the Aspin & to Lac de Payolle was all there was time for today. Oh well! wink


Toasty today at 34° in the Baronnies! View back to the snowy peaks from near Capvern. Hmmmmmm.... snnnnooooowwwwww wink


Col de Beyrede (some dirt & gravel on the climb) & Hourquette d'Ancizan. Cos you can't do famous cols ALL the time wink


A few locals obviously thought phone I pulled from my back pocket was food. Sorry! Will bring carrots next time! wink


Schoolboy error: Out riding & remembering there's only 1 bottle of beer in fridge! Masterful save: It's a 3 Monts! wink


... some time later... smile Just enjoying the evening sun with a few tunes & amber refreshment. It's a hard life! tongue grin


Accidentally plotted a cycling course up the wrong hill & ended up here: Plaine d'Esquiou. Could have been worse! wink


More French hardship: tough choices to make in the patisserie wink BTW, we went the gateaux fraise & it was to die for!


All I could find in the fridge... Leffe & Duval. How terrible! wink Cheers! grin


Another back to back tasting test. Duval v St Bernardus Tripel. Verdict: too close to call. More testing required! wink


Bit of a struggle up the Tourmalet today. What with heat & running out of water after going long way round. Oops! wink


Salt on jersey is normal but I took ass-sweat to whole new level today wink 100km Tourmalet loop & still 30° at 1700m!


Fresh baguette delivery in France. Bread here is seldom wrapped & clearly throwing it in an old pipe isn't an issue!


Helping friends collect cherries from this beautiful tree in their yard. Yuuuuuum! tongue


When you drop round to friends for lunch... and are served a four course gourmet meal! Nom, nom, nom tongue Thank you! smile


Evening 'snack'. Nom, nom, nom... tongue


Last day of spring evening ride with my beautiful - if a little slow... ahem! tongue - riding partner. Niiiice! smile grin