Day #3 – Deia, Valldemossa, a parade and a col

Today was day #3, and it started bright and breezy with my usual breakfast – a cup of coffee from my moka pot (and coffee) that I brought with me. I needn’t have bothered as my wonderful Airbnb host, Mia, has several pots of varying sizes. But, she doesn’t have cream. And what’s the best thing to have in coffee, apart from cognac? Cream! Or montar, if you’re looking for it in a Spanish supermarket.

So coffee’d and packed, I headed for to Deia and Valldemossa. Turns out that attempting to miss the summer fiesta fiasco in Spain is harder than it seems – coming late September is not good enough. The roads were pretty busy with many coaches and cars again, but as I was earlier today, I had an easier time on the road.

Deia was lovely, Valldemossa even lovelier and heading into Palmanyola, I was stopped by a parade of sorts. The road was blocked and there were people on horses and people in horse-drawn carts. I thought we’d moved on, but apparently parts of Spain have not. However, with the power of the Googles in my back pocket, and the kind Spanish policeman who let me through, I was able to plot a new route and soon was back on the road. Happy days!

I landed on the motorway and seemingly, this is fine in Spain, and soon was making good time towards Coll del Soller.

This has 61 hairpin bends up and over towards Soller. This is insane in just 14km! The road is graded very nicely and seldom nudges over 6%, making it simple enough to just spin up and enjoy the ride. The hairpins themselves are the fun part and I got good acceleration out of each on the way up. Down is another story – I kept having to look down the mountain to see if there was traffic coming up, and if not, I was able to take wide corners, using the whole of the road. So much fun! The reason that the road carries so little traffic is there’s a tunnel through the mountain that cuts the travel distance in half, leaving the old road to the cycling community. Thanks Spain!

After the descent, I trundled on to Port de Soller and had ice cream. I thought it was just desserts! Literally!

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Category 1 climbs. And more…

This would be Puig Major – a mere 14km climb that my GPS eventually recorded as a total of 1000m. The road (MA10) was eerily quiet and birdsong, sheep bells and the swish-swish of my tyres were my anthems for the day. And my heavy breathing… But, being on holiday, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and I took it really easy. Because the climb went on forever. I knew there would be a pay-off later in the day when this would be a forever-descent back home… If I was to survive the day.

Day #2 of my Spanish cycling fiesta was always planned to be Puig Major and Coll del Reis (King’s Neck) depending on the weather. Friday turned out to be a nice day ( only 30 degrees or so at midday), and with my bike prepped and ready to go, it was out the door at around 9am. While my bike was prepped and ready, my legs certainly were not. The day began with a category 1 climb out of Soller.

There were tunnels, military areas, lakes and sweeping descents (that would be climbed later) and views that took what breath the road hadn’t already taken away, away. It was hard, but so, SO pleasurable.

And then on to Coll del Reis. It’s also known as Sa Calobra, which is actually the town at the foot of the climb and is nestled in a picturesque bay. Getting there was arduous; it was a lovely warm and sunny day, and the road was filled with coaches and cars. Not the greatest for a cyclist, but I managed to get a decent opportunity to zoom down with little interruption. With each and every turn of the wheels, I knew that I’d be putting in a considerably greater effort on the way back up. Boy! Was I right? But, made it up I did. And then there was more up and up and up, and finally, I made it to Tunel Mirador and from there it was fast and sweeping for kilometre after kilometre, through Fornalutx and home to Soller.

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The roads of Mallorca

What to say about Mallorca? Well, first off, unlike Columbus, I’ve come to Spain, not left it, on a voyage of discovery. It’s a two-part affair – the first part a week on the island of Mallorca, cycling its magnificent roads, and the second part, a week in Barcelona, presumably eating tapas.

I’m staying in an Airbnb in a small town in the Serra de Tramuntana, about 4km inland from the coast. And good golly! These mountains are unlike anything I’ve ever cycled. They’re huge. And close. And quite lovely to witness.

Today is meant to be day #4, but owing to the blight that is unexpected high-speed hairpins, it’s actually day #3. But since I still have to do it, only two have been checked off so far. Say tuned for further reports.

I’ll leave you with a view of the mountains to the north, towards Puig Major, a stunning 1000m elevation gain to one of the most magnificent views I’ve had in cycling. Ever.

Below is the view over the edge of town towards the mountains. Simply stunning.

     Aperture: ƒ/5 Camera: X-T3 Focal length: 23mm ISO: 250 Shutter speed: 1/2200s
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It’s that time again… Next week I’m traveling to Spain. Well, technically, Mallorca and Barcelona. Mallorca will be for cycling and Barcelona will be for eating. I can’t wait

     Aperture: ƒ/1.7 Camera: SM-G950F Focal length: 4.2mm ISO: 200 Shutter speed: 1/50s
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London City Hall – #2

Close-up this time… Enjoy

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City Hall – London style!!

City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority (GLA), which comprises the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. It is located in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames near Tower Bridge.

It’s an amazing building, especially at night.

     Aperture: ƒ/5 Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Focal length: 70mm ISO: 10000 Shutter speed: 1/8s
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Brewdog – a kind of pilgrimage

Brewdog is a world-famous Scottish brewery. Known for it’s out-the-box thinking when it comes to beer, their brews are always worth attention (read: tasting), so when I found out they had a pub not too far from where we were staying, it was on out trip bucket list. It did not disappoint.

     Aperture: ƒ/2.8 Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Focal length: 70mm ISO: 4000 Shutter speed: 1/60s
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Thames #2 – Fluffy clouds downriver

Such a lovely scene – HMS Belfast in the foreground and Tower Bridge behind

     Aperture: ƒ/6.3 Camera: Canon EOS 60D Focal length: 20mm ISO: 100 Shutter speed: 1/640s
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Thames #1 – Moored boat

The River Thames… Quite an amazing spectacle, no matter the time of day.

     Aperture: ƒ/5.6 Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Focal length: 24mm ISO: 800 Shutter speed: 1/50s
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In need of a bite?

Never to let the weary traveller run out of sustenance, the friendly nutrition kiosk is at hand. They sell pretty much anything you could wish to stuff into your face. Or NOT stuff into your face, as the case may be. Be that as it may, these are sure to be colourful and vibrant and kiosk workers are a good place to ask for information if you’re a bit lost.

     Aperture: ƒ/4 Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Focal length: 28mm ISO: 200 Shutter speed: 1/40s
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