The Ride starts Here, part 1.

The Mission: Six days to cycle from Bilbao in the North of Spain to Fuengirola on the South Coast. This is not a cliffhanger post, I made it.

Bilbao, the bike has been put back together after being disassembled for the flight over. A few hours to walk around and get a feel for the city. Rain clouds hold for the minute. Cool, damp air tempered your clothes. The mountains above gave me chills as I thought about having to climb over them the next day. The stomach rumbled and we curved round the Guggenheims structure towards the museums Bistrot.
Confited leeks in their own juices with broken potato. The juices made into a smokey broth, hand poured over the dish. Potatoes not to hard and not fall apart soft. Silken opposite to the crunch of the leeks. Pork cheeks with a vanilla celeriac purée, almost baby back rib like in taste and having the consistency of pork loin. Vanilla not completely coming through. The dessert, a rice cake with cinnamon cream and ice cream. My favourite dessert whenever in Spain being ‘Arroz con Leche’, and this was a re-constructed version. The rice in little cubes, but with all the flavour profiles of the traditional, space food Spanish style.

Small tomato filled with baby squid, cuttlefish risotto, Idiazabal cheese cream and 'ciboulette'

The meal came at a great price, including wine and was served in a whirlwind fashion. We were out the door and into the rain. Bellies content and Jeff Koons ‘Puppy’ outside receiving much needed precipitation.

Routes for the next day had to be sorted and final adjustments on the bike were made. Darkness hit, hotel exited and a light stroll over to the Plaza Nueva for Pinxtos.

The pinxtos in each bar were spread out over the counters like an edible flower arrangement. Grab whatever takes your fancy. Spinach croquettes, pulpo, anchovies in vinegar, cheese covered bread with fried shrimp and a cube of more cheese on top.  Slices of Morcilla, big ear like mushrooms, this just a sample, you could eat pinxtos for a week and still not have the same thing.  Wine as always in Spain warm and lovely, but here Basque Sidra(cider) was in order. Natural, tart and vinegary apple bile. Rough, ready and scrummy. A few more pinxtos ordered, then off out of the Plaza and back towards the hotel and another snack.

Flames licked the meat and the grill master flicked over the lamb skewers slapping them down hard, producing a grease sparkled flare-up.  the bar(Café Iruña) packed, a long line of people waited jovially to order direct from the cook, who stood in the corner, in his own little world, joking with customers in a slight mumbled delivery. The crowd more confused, than laughing. Money passed hands, skewers counted, dipped in a sauce, served with a plate of sliced baguette. The pinchos morunos grilled perfect, the sauce, cumin, paprika and thyme. A drizzle from a wedge of lemon, sharp, the fat softened by the citric acid. The skewers rooted in Moorish flavours, the name Pinchos choosen over the Basque Pinxtos a give-away to its heritage. This final meal of the night a hint of the road ahead. A journey across a whole country, landscape changing. Food adapting to different climates or even to historical events. The wheels gotta keep on turning. The road south was still over 1000km away.


This trip will be full of engaging food bites and a few cycle delights, but an important factor to this ride is the gaining of donations for the charity ‘Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’. I have known a few people over the years who have fallen due to this illness and want to give this charity a helping hand. If you are tickled by my shenanigans and reckon you can donate a little or big something then click on the banner below. Thank You.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving


Categories: Travel


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