Sevilla and Cycling around Andalucia, Spain

We had a few days in Sevilla before our language course started and we had to move in with our Spanish family. So we did all the usual sightseeing and getting lost down narrow streets.

In Seville we went on a cookery course and learnt how to make paella. I am not exactly a natural cook but it was good fun
Adding the rice. I hadn’t realized that paella never contains seafood, (except for tourists) it should only be rabbit or chicken.

The day after we arrived was the Sevilla Marathon. They closed all the roads as they ran around the historic centre of the city. So after watching the fastest runners come through we got our bikes out and had a car free morning exploring the city.

The early runners on the Sevilla Marathon
Enjoying the car free morning during the Marathon

Then it was time to move in with our Spanish family for 10 days in the hope of improving our Spanish. Unfortunately they couldn’t accommodate our bikes so we booked them into the Bell Hop for the duration, which is a really useful place if you are just visiting for the day and need somewhere safe to leave you luggage and/or bike.

Putting our bikes into storage for a while

I won’t go into Spanish school life except to say that it makes my brain hurt. But I will say that Sevilla is made for cycling. Apart from being totally flat it has a fantastic array of two way, fully joined up cycle paths all over the city. In the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town you have to go down the road, but they are usually one way and not too busy. The main problem facing all the cyclists are the hoards of tourist pedestrians who don’t understand the system.

Our early morning commute took us past the Cathedral and the horse drawn carriages waiting for the tourists to arrive in an hours time
Cycling down one of the many cobbled streets in the old centre
Heading over Triana Bridge near where we were staying
One of the many cycle routes that criss cross the city

Sevilla is a lovely place to spend some time in as there is so much to see and do here. One of my favourite things here, apart from the flamenco, are the tiles.

These tiles were inside a run of the mill pharmacy with the old medicine bottles above
Wonderful reflections at the Alcazar
Some of the many tiled arches in the Alcazar
One of my favourite tile arches

One of the pleasures of cycling in the old town is peering down alleyways and into houses inner courtyards.

Don’t you just love this guy

After 6 hours a day of learning Spanish for 5 days we needed a break. We also desperately needed some exercise. So we broke our bikes out of their storage and set off for Constantina in the Sierra Norte, the hills to the North of Sevilla.

The first 40 km was pancake flat and we were surrounded by fields of artichokes and potatoes and orange, almond, cherry, peach and nectarine plantations. There were also fields of newly planted olive trees, planted close together and clipped like hedges.

Young olive trees grown close packed like hedges

We stopped for a long lunch in Tocina. As it was only 1.30 we were the only people sitting in the sun outside the restaurant. But by 2.30 large family groups, usually 3 or 4 generations, started to join us. Although most of them don’t start lunch until 3 p.m.

It was really hot by now, 25 degrees C and rising, and we were just about to start climbing. First we passed through some charming little villages.

As we climbed up the Sierra Norte the essential oils from the aromatic plants was released by the heat. The smell was incredible and unusual so early in the year. It seemed more like mid-summer.
Stopping to take photos of the plants was a good excuse for having a bit of a rest.

Lovely White Cistus
There was French Lavender everywhete
Wild Roses were just coming out
Purple Cistus
These Asphodels were all along the roadside
The aromatic vegetation along side the road

As we climbed higher the countryside opened out into green fields full of evergreen cork oaks.

This oak has had its cork bark removed revealing its red cambian layer. The outer bark will eventually grow back
This is the sort of road sign I like. On the whole Spanish drivers are much more considerate to cyclists than English drivers

We had set off fairly late. That coupled with a very leisurely lunch meant it was almost dark by the time we found the Finca (farm) hostel were we were staying. It turned out to be much grander than we expected for the price and the fact that it was a hostel.  

Arriving at the Finca
The rather grand dining room. As it was a hostel there was no evening meal available although we could have cooked our own if we had brought any. Lucky we had a big lunch! Nuts and sultanas it is then.

We got a nice traditional breakfast though.

Lovely traditional breakfast of toast with pureed tomatoes and wonderful olive oil, Iberica ham and coffee of course.
The view from our room in the morning

It was even hotter as we headed back down towards Sevilla, about 30 degrees C.

I had wondered what they did with all the oranges that grew along the streets

Eventually back into Sevilla.

Families were out on the streets in the hot Sunday evening having BBQ’s

Today, Thursday, is Andalucia Day and everything is shut and everyone who lives here spends time with their family which usually involves lots of eating and even more talking. As we have no school we are heading out to the Dehasa de Abaja National Park near Coria Los Rio.
We had heard the park was a great place to cycle, but getting there by bike was more challenging. After half an hour cycling around housing estates we gave up trying to find a back road and just cycled down the shoulder of the dual carriageway.
As we approached the park we saw about 50 storks circling in the thermals. They were nesting in the stork reserve and the clattering of their beaks was almost deafening.

It was nice to see storks nesting in trees rather than on chimneys or pylons

The park was pleasant to cycle round

Some of these Asphodels are really tall.

All the paths in the park were sand, some bits deeper than others. So it wasn’t long before my wheels sunk and I took a tumble. Nice soft landing though.

We went through a farmyard and a shut gate. The reason I then stopped is in the next photo.

This bull was right next to us but didn’t seem too bothered so we didn’t hang around.

We had a lovely cycle though the woods which were full of spring flowers.

Then headed back to Coria Los Rio where the manic family lunch gatherings were just thinning out enough for us to get a table for tea and icecream.

Before heading back along the river towards Sevilla.

4 thoughts on “Sevilla and Cycling around Andalucia, Spain

  1. This looks like a fun trip. Are you fine tuning your Spanish for another long journey? I noticed you didn’t have your fat tyres…was that just because you’re cycling more in towns?

    1. Hi Hilary
      Yes we are hoping to cycle in Peru in about September or October. It will be our highest to date at between 4000 and 5000 metres so will need some time to adjust. We were wishing we had our fat bikes with us as we are just about to head up the Camino, Ruta del Plata, which is all off road.

    1. Hi John, heading to Braunton is wow for the group, hope you don’t have too much wind. We were cycling at 45 degrees today, nade me laugh so much I almost fell off.