(Spain) Is it your first time to visit Europe?? YES!

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[13/12/30~14/01/12 (D+865) Spain/(to Algemesi)] Is it your first time to visit Europe?? YES!

I am crossing the ocean to finish African trip and to start Europe trip. When I was 20 years old, my dream was to visit Europe. Now I am going there.

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

At the last day in Africa I found my multitool which is the most important gear and held on the frame was gone.
While the way to Airport, a taxi got a flat tire. A driver said he can fix it. So I waited and waited. But he failed it. I had to take other taxi.
Ex-driver didn’t pay properly to a new driver that I had to pay more again.
A new driver did not know anything about airport. There was sign “Terminal 1” where I must go. But he kept asking me the direction in Arabic to me.
Receptionist said he can not give me a ticket, because I don’t have return ticket. I kept begging.
He said he can never give me the ticket which I booked and paid until I bring out-ticket from Spain.
I ask to use internet to buy any cheap ticket. He said “Nope”.
I kept begging. He said finally “Talk to our manager.”
So I went to a manager
“Sir, please.. blah blah blah”
Manager said at the last
“I agree with you”
So I got a ticket!

I feel a bit scared. Is there only thing left is plane crash?

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

My ticket is weird one that I must stop at Saudi Arabia which is too far from Spain. But it is really cheap. From Cairo through Saudi Arabia to Spain is only 246$!
It is better to me, because I love flying.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Food in airplane.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

After three or four hours, I get to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. I met Korean family at the Cairo airport and heard some shocking thing. In Saudi Arabia, the woman must not drive and go alone.
Egypt is more freedom that they choose about to wear scarf or not.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Around 1 am, I get into plane again, but it is almost empty.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

After hour, I arrive in Jeddah. I don’t need changing plane, because it will be the same plane. In Jeddah, many passengers come and it is all most full of people in the airplane.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

As starting, I got some snacks.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

And breakfast. It means I am almost in Europe.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I couldn’t see the beautiful view because of the night. Now I can see everything and become nervous. I am close to the land of new continent.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

At the airport in Spain, it was so easy to get a stamp. I don’t know why the receptionist rejected to give me a ticket in Cairo, Egypt.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

My host comes to the airport and we cycle from an airport of Madrid to host house. So so so fantastic ever!!!! Cars don’t honk the horn at me!!!!! People never shout and scream out at me!!!!!!!!!!!WOW!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! Even cars wait me until I pass. The weather is a bit cold. But I think day time will be okay to cycle. It is time to cycle in Europe!

 

Spanish Food

My host cycled to Croatia last year. I ask him so many questions as if I’ve never cycled before. I am being nervous about finding the place to sleep and setting tent. (One of things I am worried about is people will be too cold to the stranger in Europe)
When we close to house, he asks to have something to drink. I order a cup of coffee and he orders a beer in the morning. Later I see many people in Spain drink beer from the morning sometimes. But I’ve never seen people drunken yet in the morning.
The photo is just before lunch. The next to beer is called “Tapas” which means small food for a beer. It is good to me, because in Korea we always have tapas with drinking. When I was in Canada, it was a bit difficult, because they only drank beer without anything.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Surprising! Wow. What is this???
It is a super huge jerked meat of pig’s leg. I’ve heard that many of Spanish love Jamon (Ham) so much. It is said they just love the pig so much. Even there is some word that Spanish loves even the way the pig walks.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

They were so kind to invite me to their special holiday.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Another surprising thing! A baby pig! I heard about it when I was in Panama. A baby pig drank only milk! Maybe it’s three months old? But how tasty! It is so so so so smooth. It is the tenderest meat I’ve ever eaten. But I am a bit sorry about this baby pig’s short life. Sorry.. ..hahaha..

 

Spanish Food

It is their culture that they eat the grape before counting 10 to New Year. Yeah, it is true that to spend new year in the land is much fun than in the airplane.

 

Spanish Food

The next day just before going to the town, we have a small breakfast. This is another interesting item. Lots oil and mashed tomatoes on a toasted baguette. I am so excited to experience a new culture!

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Long time no see civilization. Hahaha..

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It starts raining and in 10 minutes my socks are totally wet. I didn’t know I had a problem with my shoes in Africa, because there was no rain since I bought them in Sudan. It is an emergency because I bet there will be lots of rain and every time it rains I will get wet. Maybe I should buy some new shoes.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Yesterday here was full of people. But we spent a new year around the town.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

When I come back at the night, a parcel arrived.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

My ipod was broken in Kenya while local people tried to fix it. I thought to buy iPhone will be much better than to buy iPod. One of my friends sent me his used iPhone 4, but condition is totally like new. I feel like I am totally entering to Civilization’s world.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Next day, we come to the city again to buy stuffs for me. The advertisement is funny. What is for? Strip club?
Oh.. advertisement is for a hotel. That makes sense. Haha.

 

Spanish Food

My host, Pablo introduces me so cheap tapas restaurant. One dish with one beer is 2.5 €. It is so cheap.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

But there is no chair. I guess an owner will hate if somebody stays longer at his place. Today it is raining as well and my socks are totally wet. It is stressful and cold.
At first we visit the camera shop, because my lens (17-85) was broken at the New Year. I don’t know why my zoom was broken suddenly without any shock, maybe I guess there was too much vibration for a long time while my camera stayed on my bike. The worker says it costs €250 ($359). This lends was second hand, and I paid $200 that I just laugh as he said weird price. These days I need to buy many things, I guess. Hahaha.
I have to buy sim card and many things in the city, so we walk a lot. My host is so kind that he tries to help me anything which I need.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I buy two tubes. And I try to buy a new multi-tool. My host tells owner about me nicely that an owner get impressed. He gives me his old nice milti-tool, a new T-shirt and water bottle for free and discounts tubes.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Surprising gift! Thank you so much for you guys kindness.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

This is the shoes which make the problem.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

There is a cheap and famous shop all over the Europe for outdoor stuff, which is called Decathlon.
Shoes €37, Water proof pants €15, Rain Jacket €9. I sent some letters to Korea, it costs €40. My simcard €15 and more things I bought today.
Total I spent is €140 ($200)
Too much. LOTS!

Actually I got shocked when I got money from ATM. I got only €300, but when I checked my account, $450 was out!!!!!!! NO way!!!!! You are kidding me.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The next day I start cycling in Europe finally. But from the first day it rains too much. I get another shocked that I am not wet at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!It is my first experience that I’ve never been wet during raining. It is a new world!!!!!!!! Wow!! Is this reason many people put more money on gears? Hahaha.

 

Spanish Food

I keep getting lost while trying getting out of the city. It seems I must not cycle on the main highway. But it is extremely hard to find the secondary road. I can’t imagine how I will cycle without iPhone in Europe. In Africa I don’t need iPhone, but in Europe I must need iPhone to find the road.
At the afternoon I visit a big market. Here is my receipt for European food.
Bread 0.75 €,
Long ham 0.99 €
Cheese 1.15€,
Two dried hams 1.45 €
Salsa sauce 0.99 €
Pasta 1.99 €
Two tomatoes sauces 0.98 €
Toothpaste 1.75 €
===========
€ 9.55 = $13
Not bad? It is for three days food. I bought some food for camping. I feel good that I want to start wild camping.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The rain stops and I can see a blue sky. I am being nervous that my mind is changed. I can’t do (don’t want) wild camping. hahaha

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I went to some small village, but it looks too poor as much as African small village. Even everywhere there are dogs barking at me as if “I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU ENTER TO MY OWNER’S HOUSE”. Spain is like the North America that there are too many dogs. It makes me too hard to talk to people for asking tent.
I gave up and got out of that weird village. I cycle hard and find some gas station. The owner of restaurant allows me to set up tent at parking place. It is too cold in the night.
When I wake up in the morning, I see the police car. But they don’t bother me. After coming back from the washroom, a police car is gone. I guess if I am in US, the police will treat me like illegal worker. But here is more relax. Good.
(Later I heard wild camping is illegal and penalty is € 500 in Spain. Maybe they asked the owner about me and owner said “I allowed it”. So maybe that’s why I didn’t pay penalty? Or they are too kind to penalty?)

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The morning is so quiet.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Passing small village

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Another small village

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Finally it is downhill.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I enter to another small village. But I can’t find the place to sleep. I ask two people, and they say to me “go to the city hall”. So I go there. A police asks me at first about this “Have you eaten something?” with super kind big smiling. I ask him “Nope, but I am looking for the place to sleep. It is much important than food.”
Then he starts calling to somebody.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

He finds the place, village gymnasium for me. What a kind police ever with a big smiling. And finally he gives food, which he wanted to me when he saw me first. It is impressing that not all of them are cold to a stranger in Europe :

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It is too cold that I set up the tent in front of washroom.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The next day, it is foggy.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Lovely morning

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Mist at the morning

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Today is a holiday that all of market is closed. I ask some people and one local guy guide me to Chinese shop. It seems they never close shop. There are many people waiting for buying bread.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It is time to get nervous. Where can I sleep tonight? The sky is so beautiful.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Many cities in Spain are like a ghost city that it is hard to see people on the road, and every window is blocked with their blind.
When I wander in the village, one local married couple shows me a big smile and save me from the cold street.

 

Spanish Food

They let me sleep at the inside because they are worried about being cold at night.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

They are so kind from the first to the last. Even their dog is super kind and friendly to me.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I finally see the special their culture thing. They make jerked meat by themselves. So interesting. It seems many Spanish loves ham (pork) and cheese so much ever. But they are not fat as much as some of North American. I am wondering why some of North American are too fat than other country people. Butter, Pork, Cheese, Drinking. Coffee. Most of the things they eat are the same……… What makes difference? Is this DNA problem? Or…….. McDonald and Coca Cola ruin North American?

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

At the next morning there is interesting sign.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The weather is so clear today.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The sky is so beautiful, but the road is ugly. There is no such a long secondary road in Spain! The big challenging in Spain is to find the road while avoiding a big highway, meeting horrible road, and keeping getting lost. Oh.. Yeah..Don’t let’s say challenging, but let’s say it is more adventure in Spain!

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

At the front of city, it looks like North America that there is no big building.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It looks like Calgary, Canada. Before entering city I got a flat tire at the back and the front. I though European road is so nice that I can cycle more with my worn tires.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

At the night I arrive in Warmshower’s host home. At the next day while I dry my clothes after laundry, I drop some. Oh……. Thanks that my host saves it. I ask them how many times they drop. They say “Never”. I ask how long they have lived. They say “One year”. Oops..

Thanks to them I could have relax resting one day.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Next morning, it is very interesting to see teenagers going to school. Why it is interesting? I don’t know. I just came from Africa that everything is so interesting.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It is not a factory, but a library. In my experience, the most amazing library was Vancouver’s one.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It is 2, in 9 am. But it is not cold, and even when I cycle I sweat.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

There are many castles in Spain. But I am used to see it from Latin America that it is not the new interesting stuff to me. Their culture, food, and the way to live are more interesting to me.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I want to see inside, but it is closed. (Library bus)

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It is too small to find a big market where I can buy cheap thing. It is really hard to find the bakery even, because there is no any picture in front of shop. The window is not the transparency as well.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Two baguettes 1 €, Chocolate bread 0.7 €, some bread 0.7 € = 2.4 €
Not bad..

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I stop in Almansa for the night. There is a big castle as well and the city looks touristic place. I find one information center and ask them if there is any place for the tent.
She at the information center is extremely kind to me. She calls some house of pilgrimage to get permit for me. I say to her that I don’t have religion and I don’t walk in Santiago. But she says it is no problem. Even she writes the letter for me about “Here one Korean cyclist is. She is traveling around the world and now she needs the place to sleep.. ..etc”
Then she writes her name at the last of the letter and signs and even sets a seal of information center. What an impressing. I though she will be too cold to me as saying that there are plenty of hotels. But real thing is she did all her best for my safe night.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

At the next day, I see some sign of Santiago.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

15 small tissues 1 €
Choco sand – huge as much as my bag – 0.95 €
12 sweet breads 1.45 €
=============================
3.4 €
If I use a big market, food is really cheap. But the problem is other things are expensive in Europe.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

A big castle in the city

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

As I cycle more, it starts mist. It makes me too cold.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

It looks like Jejus Island which is my favorite place in Korea. There are full of orange trees.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I arrive in Algemesi at the night again. The sun goes up around 8:30 and down 6:00 pm. I usually start cycling at 9:30 am and I am slow that I cycle in the night these days, which I don’t like. At the late I, my host, and his friend go to Valencia together to have drinking. We laugh and have so much fun.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The next day we visit some vegetable shop. I don’t know her, but she is so friendly that we take some photo together. Hahaha.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Every Saturday there is a local market on the street. But they close when we arrive.

 

Spanish Food

My host asks me “Do you know Palleas?”
“Nope, what’s that?”
“Seriously? You’ve never heard?”
“C’mon, I just came from Africa.”
“Pallea is our typical Valencia food. We eat it usually on weekend together.”

 

Spanish Food

First step: frying chicken.

 

Spanish Food

Put vegetable and rice

 

Spanish Food

Put water and cover with cooking foil

 

Spanish Food

Yeah. Here we go!!

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Together is more fun!

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

I am ready to eat!

 

Pallesas

Surprising that we just eat together on the pot. It is totally like Korean culture. Hahahahaha. Long time no see!!!!!!!

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

There is raining at the afternoon. I am lucky that I am at the inside.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

In the night I cook some Korean food. Spicy one and UnSpicy one. We hang around until 2 am. What a nice fun night with more people.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The next morning I have to wake up early, because we are arranged to have the trekking. Another interesting stuff here is. The light is stuck on the wall, not with pole. Save money and the space.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

So lovely cat

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

When I arrive at the place for trekking, I am a bit nervous because everybody has outdoor clothes. Do we hike really on hard mount? Oh.. I am too tired..oh please….

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

The air is so fresh that I enjoy the morning.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

Actually it is not the hard mount, but we just walk a lot.

 

Spain (From Madrid to Algemesi)

After trekking we have a big palleas. But the taste is totally different from yesterday. If somebody asks me about what the best food is, I will say Palleas which I had yesterday is one of best food I’ve ever had. If somebody asks me what the taste was like. I am gonna answer “I don’t know.. I can’t remember.. But at that time I though it is the best food!!!”
I have so much fun with many friends these days, but I can’t describe all of things here.
I think one of the best ways to have fun for the life is to be with fun people. These days I am enjoying so much cycling. I am getting back to my normal life which loves cycling, talking, hearing, and exploring.


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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Nice to read you from Spain: african trip is gone :-)

    Do you plan visit northern Italy? I would be very glad to meet you and offer ospitality in Milano, if you need.

    Let me know and keep going!

    • Hello Marco,
      Right now I am around Montpellier. Definitely, I will visit Milano around 10th of Mar. Maybe we can have a cup of coffee :)
      Thanks!
      Jin

      • Hello Jin,

        you have my direct email, if you need. Let me know when you approach Milano, I can give you my phone number too. 8th of March is Carnival in Milano, so I’m on holiday with my familiy, but I’ll be back on 9th in the evening.

        Have a nice day :-)

        • Oh… Carnival!!! That’s interesting!! What kind of Carnival? Only one day?? I am afraid that I can reach after 8th! Good information! Thanks :)

          • In Milano Carnival is celebrated on saturday… in the rest of Italy, on previous tuesday. This is because in Milano Christian Lent starts an half week later.

            This year the saturday of Milano Carnival is March 8th, one day only. Biggest celebration is in the central square (piazza del Duomo, Duomo’s square) in the afternoon. There will be the final stop of floats, lot of music and shows until evening (Please, safe your bike and luggage!!!)

            I will be back in Cinisello Balsamo, 10km north Milano, on March 9th, in the evening.

            Have a nice day!

  • I have been following you for a few months now and I must say that this is one of your best posts!

    Africa can be really tough and if anyone wants to bicycle around the world then they need to know that parts of Africa will be very, very challenging. It is normal to get angry at things that are not right, and in the last couple posts you were clearly frustrated. However, if we are visiting then we need to try and adapt to their culture, even if it is difficult. The price for food is cheap in Africa, but the emotional price is much higher.

    But now…… the contrast between Africa and Europe is amazing!!

    Egypt is not the poorest African country, but I didn’t realize how chauvinistic they are. And they have some very third-world problems.

    But once you got your boarding pass, then everything started to change! Seeing your pictures made me excited to fly a plane again.

    The first photos from Spain are fantastic! You can see that it is totally a different world! People are used to cyclists. They are focused on people. And things are more civilized.

    I have lived in Africa for two years and I hope to go back soon. Yet I am sure that you are going to enjoy Europe so much more!!

    Don’t forget that there will still be problems in Europe! There are very nice, smiling thieves in Europe (and North America) who will steal your stuff when you’re not looking. Things are more expensive. And the weather is going to be much colder for a long while (we are having a cold winter in Canada).

    Overall, it’s great to see you happy again!

    I’m looking forward to more photos!

    • Hello Geoff,
      Yes, Africa was really tough for me. I guess many people who have never been in Africa will be hard to understand the meaning of challenging I had.
      It seems you have experience in Africa. Do you want to go back to Africa? That’s impressing. So far, I don’t want to go back. It was too tough. Maybe if I have the family or at least man partner, I might try to go again. I miss a little bit of African culture and people. :)

      Here the weather is okay although I catch cold after riding with raining.

      I guess Canada is too cold unless you live in Vancouver.

      Take care,

      Jin

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