Maastricht to Barcelona
May 13 to June 11, 2006

06/10/2005 Monique taking her brand new Trek for the first shake-down ride.

September, 2005
First of all I would like to introduce my wife Monique. She prefers to stay anonymous on the net so that's all the information she'll give up, sorry :-(
Well finally then, after several months of nonstop brain washing, she finally gave in and agreed to come along on a tour to Spain.
Seriously, as we both like new adventures, are willing to try different ways to enjoy our vacations, and seeing that I had such a good time cycling to Greece, she decided to give bicycle touring a try.
We chose Spain over Greece for a couple of reason's. First its the cost. We cycle to Spain and fly out, Barcelona to Brussels 19 euro PP and 30 euro per bike. For Greece we needed a return flight (min. 54 euro per person each way) bikes were the same price (30 euro per bike each way), also the logistics did not suit us, its difficult to cycle around Athens and getting to and from the airport is an experience on its own, secondly we've never been Spain.
Again using my trusty old Auto Route Express (Europe 98) and doing a lot of research on the net, we came up with the route you see lower down the page. Its roughly 1500 kms and we plan on taking 28 day's for the trip, so we will have a quite a few rest days in-between. This is just a rough idea, the route might change some in the coming months, but we feel the kms are just about right.
One area that we want to pass through is the (Massive Central) Mountains of France, according to many journals I have read its a very beautiful area to visit.
Also, if we feel fit enough, we would also like to visit Andorra, that's a bit more climbing into the Pyrenees though.
We'll just have to see how fit we are when we get near that area.
So taking advantage of
virgin-express first minute sale, we booked our return tickets to Brussels. I feel just as excited as my first tour. I just cant wait for May.
This doesn't mean that we wont be cycling around Greece in the future. I still believe Greece (especially the north), is very beautiful to tour around in, only if we could find cheaper tickets to and from Thessalonica maybe.

About the Route

After reading about this young couple who rode from Eindhoven, Holland to Barcelona using a book by Paul Benjaminse (Onbegrends Fietsen van Amsterdam naar Barcelona), we decided to do the route also.
It is two books Amsterdam to Cluny, France and part 2 from Cluny to Barcelona, and they are not cheap. We got part 1 as a gift so it wasn't so painful.
It's +/-2000kms and we have 28 days to get there, with some rest days in-between.
The first +/-700 kms seem relatively flat which will give us some time to get used to riding, so it's a fairly easy route.
It's a well traveled route with many km's of car free roads, there are many campsites along the way, so we wont have to worry much about the quantity and/or quality of the campsites, a problem I had last year.
There are many other options on this route, and it will still be possible for us to visit Andorra if we wanted to, we will see later on the ride whether we have time and are fit to do the 5%, 35km climb.
I have a feeling though that if we see the Mediterranean sea we wont go back to the hills :-)
The plan right now is to follow the blue line but we could still change our minds later on and do some red or the green line into Andorra.
I should mention that we don't intend to go anywhere near Lyon, far too big of a city, so that section we will definitely avoid.
And now we wait for May the 14th.

In memory of our good friend
Jo Mommers
who sadly passed away during our tour.