A Bike Tour In Spain: Quiet Christmas Cycling

It’s Christmas Day. The roads are silent. The skies are blue.

It’s the perfect chance to get out the tripod, put the camera in the middle of the road and snap a rare shot of the two of us together…

Just The Two Of Us

Despite cycling many thousands of kilometers together (yes, we still enjoy each other’s company, and no, we don’t know how that’s possible either), we have very few photographs together. Most of our photos look something like this…

Cycling Through Olive Groves In Spain

As it’s Christmas Day, we’re on the lookout for any excuse to treat ourselves. So much cycling has made our noses extra sensitive to any hint of food, so when we smell the aromas of food coming from a small bar we screech to a halt.

Inside, we’re soon sitting down to a plate of Spanish bar food.

Christmas Lunch

It’s hardly the typical turkey dinner. Instead, we tuck into a feast of pork – the meat of choice here in Spain. There’s chorizo on bread, deep fried chorizo and a few token chicken wings, topped with a handful of french fries. The name of the bar should have given it away. The sign outside reads: ‘Bar Chorizo’.

There’s just one thing missing….

Andrew brings the wine

Ahhhh, that’s better! With a glass of wine in one hand, we work our way through our meal. It’s all good, but the olives in particular are wonderful.

And the olives...

They’re totally different from the olives you get in a jar. They’re home made. Slightly salty (but not as salty as commercial olives). A little garlicky. Crunchy. Delicious!!

Fuelled by this lunch, we climb our way to the town of Arjonilla. The first thing we see is this church.

Arjoniila Church

The mosaics catch our eye, so we stop to have a closer look.

Arjonilla Church

Then it’s off down the old-fashioned main street. One thing we’ve noticed in small Spanish towns is that there are hardly any chain shops. It’s all mom-and-pop operations. Of course today, being Christmas, everything is closed.

Typical Spanish Small Town

The water fountain is open, of course. There’s always a drinking fountain in towns in Spain. Sometimes you have to hunt for it a bit, but it’s always there and it’s very convenient if you’re passing through on a bike! We fill up all our bottles because we know we’ll be camping that night.

Collecting Water from a town fountain

Cycling out of town, we pass field after field of olive groves. We’ll later learn that 70% of land in this area is given over to olive production. It follows then that our camping spot for the night will be in an olive grove. There’s little other choice. Around 5pm (about an hour before dark), we spot this trail and Andrew goes to investigate.

Up This Path?

Since the roads are so quiet (we’ve barely seen a car in the past hour), it’s no problem to get off the road without anyone seeing us. Soon our bikes are tucked under an olive tree for the night.

Bikes Under An Olive Tree

Our tent is also set up and we make the preparations for the evening. Slicing vegetables for supper. Pumping up the sleeping mats. Finding our long johns (it’s cold up here at night).

Tent Set Up For Christmas

We’re not in our house for Christmas, but we are home. After about 500 nights in our tent, it always feels like home.


  1. Grace Johnson
    31st December 2010 at 10:35 am #

    What a fantastic way to spend Christmas!

  2. Gavan
    3rd January 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Hey Guys,
    I’m really enjoying your updates. My wife and I are planning a week or 10 day tour in Andalucia in March.
    We are in the early planning stages, your site is a great resource.

  3. gerry
    18th January 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Great travelogue and well timed, since the spring weather is starting to hit the south of France…more motivation!

    By the way, the painting on that church you shot is of St. Roch, a local celebrity in these parts (and those parts, too, I guess). You can always tell him from his dog and sexy (yet scarred) leg.

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