Firstly I’d like to thank everyone for their comments and assure them that I am living the gluttonous tour of my dreams. I have eaten and drunk my body weight on pintox, wine, jamon and pasteries while travelling from Pamplona, Vitoria and Bilbao. I’m now in Andorra, which is a tiny country between Spain and France. In a few days I will head into the latter which means that I will have to carbo- load with foie gras,* crossiants and brie instead.
I had an absolute blast in all three above mentioned cities, finding the sophisticated and incredibly cycle freindly. All had bile sharing programs which I now reaslise is the mark of a great city.
However, what impressed me the most were the people especially the cyclists- everyone I met was incredibly generous and helpful. In Pamplona some bike mechanics refused to take money for a map holder- then one tried to kiss me… Also I recieved plenty of offers of free accomidation.
On the road I saw plenty of pretty serious looking cycling teams. Whenever they passed me they’d yell “aopa!” (go – I think) or “muy bien!” (very good). Some teams even pumbed their fists on the air and clapped when I passed. It was very encouraging and I felt as though I was in the tour de france. Others joined me for legs of the journey- patiently conversing with me in Spanish, shaking my hand as they left.
In Australia the only encounters that I can with roadies similiar to this is when one yelled at me to get out of his way on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
What can I say but “aopa euskaldunak!” (go basques!).
Infact, I like the region so much that now I don’t know who to support in the tour de France. I bought an Australian jersy (in Bilbao of all places) and feel that I should wear it in support of the Australian riders especailly Cadel Evans ( pronounced Ka-del A-vauns here). However I’d like to show my appreciation to the basque people by wearing my euskadi cap. Another option would be the controversial basque jersy designed by Dario Urzay -
If you squint it looks a bit like a king of the mountains jersy… or a murder scene.
A final option is a shirt specially made for me by a very generous (and extremely high) couple that I met in Bilbao. It is loaded with E.T.A symbolism as well as some other images which I can´t quite decipher. I wish I could upload photos on this computer to show this option as it´s very “unique”.
Stage 10 of the tour goes through Andorra so everyone here has Tour fever. Symptoms include driving a very expensive bianci road bike to the site, donning a (tight) team kit, and taking the road bike for a token lap of the camp ground. I am brimming with self righteousness as I actually rode here ( sort of). Still, it´s a big day tomorrow so I should probably choose an outfit, have an aperitif and get some rest before the big day.