Biking Andalusia: Alhama de Granada to Colmenar

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Lying in bed we can hear the rain pounding the pavement. Not how I imagined our bike ride through Andalusia.

We’ve asked for an 8 o’clock breakfast and we stick to the timetable – shower and show up in our warmest cycling gear. The rain has puddled at the entrance to the breakfast room. It’s dripping into the lobby of the small hotel. Our mood is in the toilet.

We down a few cups of hot, milky coffee and our perspective changes a bit – but not enough to stop us from going back to bed for another hour. Early starts (for Spain) be damned.

"Scenery 20 minutes outside of Colmenar"

Scenery 20 minutes outside of Colmenar

By 10 we’re ready to load up at head out. It’s only sprinkling at this point. Leaving the pretty town of Alhama de Granada, our only regret is the lack of time to explore the gorge.

It’s uphill right off the bat – which shouldn’t come as a surprise to us by now. We make our way across the agricultural plain of Zafarraya where you see fields of vegetables and the ubiquitous ham in live form.

"What time of ham will this be??"

What type of ham will this be??

"Fields of lettuce'

Fields of lettuce

Then it’s off through beautiful rolling country on quiet roads with views of the Sierra de Alhama. The Mediterranean can be seen in the distance too.

"Quiet roads and plenty of downhill"

Quiet roads and plenty of downhill

"Views to the Mediterranean"

Views to the Mediterranean

We roll into the town of Periana and look for somewhere to eat. We find a bar with several old men busy playing video games. We’ve seen this a lot in Spain.

Lunch today is fried eggs and bread; somehow it takes almost 40 minutes to prepare. Tomorrow we decide will be a picnic lunch – we’re really not interested in listening to video games for an hour.

"Rooftops in Periana"

Rooftops in Periana

The afternoon brings more climbing but interesting rocky hills appear. So do orange and lemon trees as well as wild rosemary and lavender.

"In the vicinity of the town of Rio Gordo"

In the vicinity of the town of Rio Gordo

Our last climb of the day to Colmenar is a long one and we’re trying hard to outrun a storm. My husband suggests waiting it out in Rio Gordo but I opt for going. Bad idea. It’s not the rain we mind so much – it’s the fact our shoes don’t dry quickly – and become close to unwearable because of the smell.

"It's not looking good"

It's not looking good

We do not succeed and get thoroughly drenched.

Our hotel for the night is Hotel Belen – and not one I’d recommend. Our room is small. There are stains on the bed covers. The window blinds don’t open. Even the soap is dodgy. I wouldn’t have rushed if I’d known.

We drop our gear in our room and head for the bar. At least it’s a bright and cheerful place where we can hang out to avoid our room.

And so ends our second day of biking the white villages of Andalusia.

Other posts pertinent to this ride you might enjoy:

Leigh McAdam

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Twitter: @hikebiketravel

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