Thumbs Up – vol.1

Thumbs Up – vol.1

An idea to rate each country I cycled through has been on my back burner for a while. I knew it is not an easy task, but I believed it could be a good summary of my cycling adventure. There are six parts to this rating, which include all 26 countries I cycled (sometimes I pushed) my ‘truck’ through… The rating ‘touches’ on the quality of the roads, accommodations, affordability or any other personal experiences.

GIBRALTAR
Although I haven’t really cycled through Gibraltar this was however the place where the whole crazy adventure started. It was a sunny morning on March 28th, 2018.

Overall Rating 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️ out of FIVE

ROADS Gibraltar has around 55 km of tunnels, nearly twice the length of its entire road network. Some dating back as far as late 18th century. 
ACCOMMODATIONS – n/a

ADDITIONAL NOTES
– The Gibraltar airport (GIB) separates Spain from Gibraltar, consequently serves as the border between two countries. Neither Gibraltarian nor Spanish taxi drivers are allowed to cross the border with passengers. So, if you arrive at the GIB airport with an intention of heading to Spain (cheaper accommodations) be prepared to carry or drag your goods for about 200-250 metres to the border checkpoint, then you’ll be able to catch the cab.

Rock of Gibraltar – 426 m
GIB Aiport

PORTUGAL
Up until now I visited Portugal only once. That was back in 2014 when I spent four days in Lisbon, the capital city.

Overall Rating 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️ out of FIVE .

ROADS mainlnarrow, very few with a shoulder to ride your bike on. The TIR truck drivers omit the main toll highways and use the secondary roads. In effect, the roads are busy, damaged and even dangerous to cycle on. The cycling infrastructure? Hmm…in its preliminary stage, but slowly expanding. 
ACCOMMODATIONS – clean & affordable 
AFFORDABILITY – good value for your money

ADDITIONAL NOTES 
– great pastry
– storks, storks, storks. The white storks are everywhere

SPAIN 
Back in a late 2013 I spent seven in Barcelona and I fell in love with the city. Incredible people, great food, fantastic climate and a good bargain overall.

Overall Rating 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️ out of FIVE

ROADS – surprisingly good, some with a wide shoulder to ride your bike safely. Watch the service roads though. They can be quite brutal to get through. You may even need few extra tubes and tyres if that’s your choice. 
ACCOMMODATIONS – reasonably easy and safe to camp off road. The campsites generally clean and reasonably priced (€8-11). 
AFFORDABILITY – a great value for your buck

ADDITIONAL NOTES
– Stop at the Calmera bike shop in Madrid. Great service and inventory.
–  The camping gas is not easy to find. Generally only the hardware stores (ferretería) sell it.
– Always ask for the price good before you open your wallet, specially at the corner stores
– You have to try the cold beer (cerveza fría) with the green olives. Heaven on earth on a hot day!

Mmm…
Wild Camping in Spain

ANDORRA
A beautiful place to spend few days. Of course Andorra is all about skiing, but if you are an outdoorsy individual there are enough things to do around. If you identify yourself as the shopaholics than you are in the right place. Andorra has a quite wide selection of stores you can choose from. A great place to shop for the wristwatch.

Overall Rating 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️ out of FIVE

ROADS – easy access from Spain, but fairly busy when cross the border. There are few available bicycle lanes. 
ACCOMMODATIONS – The Valira Camping clean and reasonably priced, under €12 
AFFORDABILITY – manageable unless you shop for the watch 🙂A

ADDITIONAL NOTES
– very good, fast and inexpensive (€18) bike service at the INTERSPORTOUTDOOR.
– Don’t hesitate to visit McCafe. You’ll be really surprise how good coffee is served there.

The ‘Nobility of Time’ by Salvador Dali in Andorra la Vella

MONACO
Stunning and beautifully situated paradise for rich and famous. You can feel and smell money here. Having said that, you can still get a bottle of wine under €3. Of course, don’t expect miracles that bottle of wine will not be aged.

Overall Rating🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️ out of FIVE

ROADS – are winding and hilly. And I mean…hilly! 
ACCOMMODATIONS – there are no campsite options in Monaco. If you’re on budget consider booking a room on French side. Much cheaper and you won’t even know you are outside of Monaco. 
AFFORDABILITY – pricey, but hey…you are in Monaco after all 🙂

NOTES
– Steep terrain, have comfortable shoes with you.
– If you here in late May get ready for the Monaco Grand Prix F1 Race or simply use some disposable cash and try your luck in the Monte Carlo Casino.

Casino de Monte-Carlo – Opened in 1863
It is darn steep in Monaco
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2018-12-14T08:57:41-08:00 December 14th, 2018|Freewheel|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Keith R. Inman December 16, 2018 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Jacek this is a really good way of finalizing the various country merit points. All the comments make sense especially he great tubes saga we had on that last day ride into Madrid. On the above picture had you ran out of money and were staging a holdup or something of equal financial gain LOL!

    • Jacek Laszkiewicz December 17, 2018 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      LOL…you’re right of course. Yeah, the great tubes saga was something. During the first two weeks I lost more tubes than in the entire trip. That was a total, but memorable disaster!

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