Camino!

We are so way off track it’s not funny! We were “supposed” to be doing one of the Camino walking tracks on Daisy through the north of Portugal and Spain on this, our #SevenFerries trip. We hadn’t locked in anything yet other than Ferry number Five from southern France next Tuesday, but we had a whole ten days to look around the place and work out which tracks were actually ridable and find some we could manage on Daisy (and I could manage with my health).

We stopped in Porto for a couple of nights and had a blast. I still need to blog about that I think, but I’m too busy living, writing, and hanging out with him, that there just isn’t enough time. Not that it’s all a bed of roses mind you, we are working our butts off on writing/publishing, we’re working on the stuff we’ve taken this two-year sabbatical to do,  and we’re working on our plans for our Second Half which is set to begin, God willing, towards the end of next year.

We thought we could see the world (or at least much of Europe) in these two years but we’re nearly halfway and we haven’t even begun!! Anyway, I digress (much like this trip) and one last minute decision after another and we found ourselves in the south of Portugal with not enough time for Caminos in the north, pouring rain (so no riding) and trying to find the fastest route to our next ferry port in France yet desperate to get in at least a few days riding!

And that’s when we discovered the Camino Natural Via Verde de la Sierra. Vias Verde are green belts across Spain which are disused train tracks of varying lengths which have been restored for walkers, cyclists and travellers. Much like other Caminos or trails, they are tranquil and beautiful, but unlike many of the older paths which now run alone roadways, these are void of all motorised traffic, and they are wide and flat (both in width and inclines and declines – because that’s what trains do).

In true Spanish style, the rules about no livestock, no vehicles, no animal poop are thoroughly ignored, and I look forward to putting up some videos of us riding through a herd of newborn lambs, one with a death wish.

Yesterday, we rode the Sierra route which is 36 km long, but because we always have to land up in the same spot, we had to ride it both ways! It was the first time I’ve covered over 60km (we did 74 in the end) first time I’ve climbed over 700m in height over a ride, and the twice as long as my longest day with four and half hours in the saddle! We also rode through 60 train tunnels!!

That shows how easy it was and reminded me to dig out my very first Pino ride to show you how it works. (I’ll post both videos on my Facebook author page too)

Anyway, I’m way behind on Why We Don’t Tell which has to go to the final editors in a couple of weeks, so this is a brief catch up.

Tonight was our first sunshine in a week and we’ve moved camp to the edge of this olive grove that reaches as far as the eye can see in every direction… A new via verde tomorrow and then we have to zoom north as fast as we can. And somehow I’ve got to find the time to write!!

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Updates:

On writing… not as much as I’d like, but certainly having a “Writing Buddy” helps and I’m way more organised. Watch out 2018…

On Unpacking… getting nowhere but oh well, there’s always next year…

On Daisy… we’re doing great! Today was ride number four and not only have I done nearly a hundred kilometers already, but many of them have been uphill (a few times with only me pedalling I might add… to see if I can).

We had our first fall today, a slow one where we took off and immediately toppled right over (into a parked car which was thankfully so bashed and scratched it’s hard to tell if we damaged it). Many people have questioned why I have my harness and today reminded us why as it earned its keep forever. Without it I’d have been sprawled across the road (at best), but instead, apart from some scratches and bruises, I stayed firmly in my seat.

The other fall came at the end of the ride. It’s hard to explain my difficulty with walking yet ability to ride, but in Daisy my seat is tilted right back and my feet are raised. I can turn the pedals without putting weight on any of my joints. At the end of a ride it’s so easy to forget I can’t walk. But worse, my joints have moved into “riding position” which for me is not the same as “walking position” and I can’t get up off the bike and certainly can’t walk till my joints resettle. Today I forgot. Yes, I gingerly climbed off (no chance of getting off any faster), waited a few seconds, took one step towards the curb, and just like that both my legs folded under me and completely collapsed.

Thankfully I was unhurt, but it was a little embarrassing fully slumped in the gutter at my front door. There was no way I could get up again for a while either… hence no photos other than once I was on my feet again.

The scenery in Malta never ceases to amaze me, even though there’s rarely anything close to flat or smooth. Apparently this is good training for me!

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Meet Daisy!

Today we took Daisy for her a maiden journey! Yes, she’s been around the block a couple of times, once when I collected her from Tom, and last night after dark once we’d put her back together again.

But today we really put her through her paces and she was everything we’d dreamt of and more! She loves the Malta roads and countryside and I’m confident this’ll strengthen my muscles and give me some level stability back.

Here I’m getting used to setting up Strava on my phone. This will be a big part of keeping track of what I’m doing. As fun as this all is, it’s my rehab, and will become the most vital part of my strength and health rebuilding.

My captain and champion! On every level, I couldn’t do this without him. I have to fully trust him in every ride, in every way. my job is to pedal … and trust.

The countryside around our small town is just beautiful!

We’ve swapped hippo signs for hedgehog signs!

Watch this space, as it’s only a matter of time before someone has an accident staring at us. Talk about making ourselves stand out!

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The Weary Travellers!

Sunday midday and all three of us were home safely in Malta! Exhausted but thrilled to be back again.

Daisy and I completed the last leg of our journey over the last twenty four hours, off to the airport in the upgraded rental mini (thanks #SixtLuton !!!) with Daisy safely wrapped in two seperate parcels, a 3:45am alarm, flight, #wheelchairassist followed by a flight over the #FranchAlps, across the #MediteranianSea, and a bumpy landing into #malta where #Molly was there to meet us!

We haven’t put Daisy together again yet, but all pieces are accounted for and look fine! Out cake the Thermomix and in the blink of an eye we had delicious risotto for lunch and homemade pizzas for dinner!

Nighty night from one VERY happy little household!!!

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Thanks!

Truly, deeply, thank you!!!! -to Natalie, EDS-UK Danny, Linda, Roger, Tom, Nige, Michelle, Phoenix, Cat, Sue, Steve, Anne, Majka, Roger, Ashleigh & Lauren ….for putting up with this sore-sorry-for-herself-sad-sack the last 16 days!

I’ve had an almost endless supply of hot water bottles, cups of (hot-of-course) tea, warm beds, wonderful chats, warm meals, the odd snack, two AMAZING roast dinners, and most everyone has done all the thinking for me through the brain fog!

I hope I haven’t come across as too unappreciative! Because I truly truly am so very thankful! You’ve all, one way or another filled my love tank, gently pushed me on to the next step… and now, just a little way to go and Daisy and I will be home in Malta!

Thank you all!!

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