LONDON  to  MONTREJEAU

 With our long awaited visas in hand, we bid farewell to our friends and set off again on our bikes – this time in the right direction – towards Australia!  The weather leaving the UK, was not surprisingly, bloody awful!  But despite the cold, rain and blustery winds, we still felt a little sad to be leaving.  The UK has been good to us, and we’ll both miss her (just a wee little bit).

We sailed by ferry to Santander, where Franky, our “warmshowers” host was waiting for us.  We were a little apprehensive to be honest, as we had met Franky through an online cycling community website, but the experience turned out to be brilliant and a great introduction to Spain.  We very much thank Franky and his family for their warm hospitality.

There is no question, cycling in Northern Spain is hard work.  You are either going straight up or straight down, there is no in between.  After nearly a month off the bikes, this came as quite a shock to our poor legs!  But it didn’t take long, and we were soon back in the swing of things and enjoying some amazing coastal scenery.  I never knew Spain was so green?

The transition into France was so effortless, you almost didn’t notice.  We simply boarded a commuter ferry and crossed the river from Hondarribia to Hendaye.  Strangely enough, you need a passport for just about everything in Europe, except for crossing international borders??

France promises everything a cyclist could possibly want – quiet roads, great scenery and lots and lots of yummy food!  Unfortunately, as we have found out, it also rains quite a bit.  With the famous Pyrenees peaks covered in cloud, we took a slightly more northerly route than first planned.  This hasn’t meant we have avoided the climbing though – like Spain there is nothing flat about South West France!

France is biking country and we are definitely not alone.  In fact, you see more lycra clad cyclists than you do breadsticks in this part of the world.  We’ve met a few tourers too, but most on shorter vacation style trips.  They almost fall off their saddles when we tell them we are headed for Australia!

So despite a little rain, it’s been a great start to our journey.  Western Europe isn’t going to be the “adventure” South America was, but it still offers challenge, and is importantly, enjoyable, which sounds just perfect to us!

We now ride down to, and along, the French Riviera, then head north, through the Alps to Switzerland.

We hope you enjoy the ride as much as we do…

Jules & Jess

 

Carl sending us on our way

Carl sending us on our way

 

Leaving London

Leaving London

 

Julia saying goodbye near Brighton

Julia saying goodbye near Brighton

 

Ferry to Spain, we'll miss the UK

Ferry to Spain, we will miss the UK

 

In Spain and back on the road

In Spain and back on the road

 

Hard work on the legs

Hard work on the legs though!

 

Stunning fishing villages...

But stunning fishing villages...

 

...and coastal scenery

...and coastal scenery

 

Jess breaking away from the peleton

Jess breaking away from the peleton

 

France is just over there!

France is just over there!

 

Its raining its pouring...

Its raining its pouring...

 

Misty Col d'Osquich, we decide to head north

A misty Col d Osquich, we decide to head north

 

France...great scenery

France...great scenery...

 

...quiet roads...

...quiet roads...

 

...and lots of yummy food!

...and lots of yummy food!