Our first six months – a photographic synopsis
Over the preceding twenty-six weeks, or more accurately 184 days, we have passed through many stunning places, towns and landscapes around Western Europe. We have cycled, walked and swam in beautiful and varied locations, covering more ground and staying fitter than we would have during the cold, grey winters of home. We have eaten well, enjoyed the company of many friendly people, revelled in the noise of busy cities and the solitude of high mountains or rural retreats along the way. It’s been nearly impossible to narrow each of our adventure-packed months down to only a few choice photos, but that’s the task we set ourselves for this post, to create a quick and colourful, impressionistic overview covering many aspects and experiences in our new life to date.
September 2016 – Synopsis
Day one in France took us to Rouen to see the cathedral, then Giverny and Monet’s Garden. From there we enjoyed cycling to Mont St. Michel and Dinan, before seeing Poitiers and visiting friends in Chateau-Gontier and Moncontour. We then relished a few days exploring on Île de Ré. We headed south to first see Dune de Pilat then Biarritz, before crossing into Spain and stopping at San Sebastian. Next up were Bilbao and Santander, before we reached the Picos de Europa where we walked Fuente De and Cares Gorge. Then we headed west along Spain’s north coast, stopping in Gijon, Cudillero and finally Navia where we spent a few relaxing days on a clifftop with our own private beach below.
September 2016 – Photographic highlights
October 2016 – Synopsis
Tapia de Casariego was our next stop, where we cycled and walked portions of the Camino de Santiago, an experience we repeated from Palas del Rei. We drove the Spanish west coast to Boiro, then on to a rural stop in O Mundil, before crossing into Portugal at Bragança. We had long, rainy and tough cycles around Meda, Benquerenca and Idanha-a-Nova, before a more religiously influenced route took us through Tomar, Fatima and Batalha. We reached the Atlantic and west coast of Portugal at Nazare, before following it south to Sintra and Cascais. We visited Belem and the capital Lisbon and then spent long, lazy days in glorious sunshine at the beaches of Fonte da Telha.
October 2016 – Photographic highlights
November 2016- Synopsis
We tore ourselves from Fonte da Telha to visit further beaches at Porto Covo, Lagos and Luz, before turning east to Albufeira. Skipping the rest of Portugal, we jumped back into Spain and a fantastic city break in Seville. We loved the Via Verde cycling at Puerto Serrano and Olvera before escaping into the high mountains to see Ronda and Casares, where we encountered griffon vultures. We skipped through the busy Costa Del Sol, preferring to be back into the rural tranquillity of El Torcal, before reaching Granada and the sublime Alhambra. We returned to beach living at Playa La Carolina before reaching Totana and the Sierra Espuna where we climbed beautiful, rugged mountains.
November 2016 – Photographic highlights
December 2016 – Synopsis
We met up with Nicky’s mum for five days of exploring Murcia, Cartagena and the nearby coastline from our base in Torre Pacheco. We saw the groovy town of Castell de Gaudalest before arriving in the orange groves of Simat de la Valldigna where we enjoyed many mountain walks. We cycled around Carcaixent before an eye-opening visit to Valencia and a weather-beaten tour of Peniscola. We briefly visited Morella and hid in the deep quiet wetlands of the Delta L’Ebre for a few days. We visited Tarragona and ArtCAVA then had two days in Barcelona in glorious weather, before spending Christmas by the beach in Blanes. We visited musical Girona and Sant Feliu De Guixols to end our year.
December 2016 – Photographic highlights
January 2017 – Synopsis
Our year began with a beautiful coastal walk from Tamariu to Llfranc, before we headed back into France via Cadaques. We visited Argeles-sur-Mer, then skied in Los Angles in the Pyrenees. We saw Cathar castles in Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse, before working north through Quillan and Esperaza to Limoux, to visit friends Jan and Andy. We saw Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi, before heading west to Lagrasse. A visit to Narbonne was followed by windy beach walks around Gruisson. Further city visits to Beziers and Montpellier followed, then a long-awaited reunion of Nicky with her French pen-friend in Saint-Just. We saw Nimes and Saint-Gilles, then drove south to visit a rainy Camargue, before seeing Arles, beautiful Avignon and finishing deep into wine country at Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
January 2017 – Photographic highlights
February 2017 – Synopsis
We continued enjoying dégustations in Provençal villages, and a truffle market in St.Paul-Trois-Chateaux. From the peaceful aire at Domaine des Lauribert we next went to Gap, Briançon and onwards to meet friends for skiing in Serre Chevalier. We crossed the Col du Lautaret to Grenoble, staying at Visieu and Belley where we cycled peaceful canal routes. We visited Vongnes, enjoying wine tastings and nature walks. We cycled around Dôle, visited Besançon and the quiet lake at Vesoul, before an architectural pilgrimage to Ronchamp cathedral. We had a few restful days in Charmes, then a busy city visit to Nancy before arriving in Mareuil-sur-Ay in the heart of Champagne country.
February 2017 – Photographic highlights