21st January 2011
Day 101 - Tangier to La Linea/Gibraltar

I felt terrible when I woke up. Not enough sleep and no chance of a hot shower meant I just had time to shave and brush my teeth before heading out of the hotel to the port. It was just starting to get light, and as the boat finally got moving the sun was appearing above the hills overlooking Tangier. I felt pretty queasy as it was a little windy, and the swell was rocking the catamaran ferry just a little too much for me. I stood most outside on the tiny outside smoking deck just to get some fresh sea air.

As there was a bus waiting at Tarifa I was back in La linea by 12:30pm, and checked back into the hostel I was in before, in fact into the same room! I collected the bike (I missed it!!) from the bike shop, and they only charged me €10 for storing it for the last week :-) I decided to take a ride to warm the legs up a little for tomorrow, and cycled over the border into Gibraltar. I rode around the town for a bit and then settled down in the beer garden of The Angry Friar, the pub I found on the first day I was here. Steak and Ale Pie and pints of San Miguel helped me use up the last 20 quid I had left over, plus I found some Cadbury's chocolate and some extra strong mints! You cant get that stuff in Munich!

Washing my clothes on a daily basis in hotel bathroom sinks is something I will not miss! But it is a necessary evil, and one that must be done tonight... Just downloaded a few films though, so I should have a relaxing evening tonight with hopefully a good nights sleep before tomorrow's cycling.

22nd January 2011
Day 102 - La Linea to Marbella 66km

After a not so relaxing sleep due to some drunken people singing as loud as possible just outside my bedroom window for most of the night, I set off out of La Linea and cycled north for the first time since Holland. The weather was pretty miserable, with a strong wind blowing in from the sea. I took the Autovia A-7, and luckily for me the traffic was not so heavy today.

The trip started with a 10km climb of a few hundred metres, and then swept back down towards the sea. The Mediterranean looked so different. The stunning multiple shades of blue were now dark grey, and the beaches looked highly uninviting. The clouds were very low and it looked like it could start raining at any moment. When I cycled these roads on the way to Gibraltar, just over a week ago, the sun was shining and I got a little sun burnt! After over a week of not cycling my legs felt a little tired, especially as the wind was blowing me back quite hard. At one point I reached the top of a steep hill, but the wind was so strong that as I cycled down the other side, the wind actually blew me to a standstill.

I reached Marbella just before 4pm, and today I was couch surfing with some seriously cool people! We went out in the evening to a local shopping centre and firstly played a few games of Pool (it's been a long time!) and then went to a bowling alley for a game (even longer!!!)

Sometimes I forget that it is important to have a little fun! The weather forecast for tomorrow is awful... But as it will be the very last day cycling in this adventure, I will face whatever comes my way with a smile. Today my bike computer officially logged that I had passed 4000km. Not a bad accomplishment for what started out as a crazy (and drunken) idea.

23rd January 2011
Day 103 - Marbella to Malaga 70km

Hell... Reminded me a little of day 30, so long ago and back in Holland... The wind was much stronger than yesterday, and it was pouring with rain for most of the day.

In this whole journey, across Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and Spain I have only had 2 flat tyres. The first was in the south of France, and the second was on my very last day heading towards Gibraltar, just south of Marbella. I was joking with my couch surfing hosts when I was leaving that I couldn't possible have the bad luck to get another puncture on my last day... about 4km down the road my front wheel managed to bond with a 2cm long sharp piece of glass, and I realised this was not going to be a pleasant last day...

It took me 40 minutes to fix the damn thing, as I had to fix the puncture in the tube and patch up the rip in the tyre, as the glass had torn quite a big hole in it. I sat in the rain, fixed it all, pumped up the tyre and then hit the road again. The wind and rain were so bad that I could only manage between 10 and 15kph for the whole journey, and the spray and wind from the cars and trucks as the passed me (often at ridiculous speeds considering the weather) didn't help in the slightest.

The rain finally ceased about 15km from Malaga, and I managed to pick up a little speed as the wind died down slightly. I finally rolled up to my destination at 5:45pm, about 2 hours later than I had expected. I was totally exhausted, and still soaking wet, but happy to have finally finished. I now have two days here in Malaga to sort out my bags, and buy a bike bag to enable me to fly with the bike back to Munich on Wednesday.

24th January 2011
Day 104 - Malaga (20km around city)

This morning, after loitering without intent for a while, I jumped back on the bike and cycled off to the Decathlon store, a massive sports warehouse chain that are scattered all across Europe, but sadly not in Munich. Luckily they had exactly what I was looking for in store, a bike bag to transport my bike on an aeroplane. Total cost was €100, including two separate bags for the wheels. This will allow me to take more holidays with the bike in the future, as I could, for example, fly from Munich to Venice and then cycle back!

25th January 2011
Day 105 - Malaga

Today was spent attempting to dismantle the bike and somehow fit everything into this enormous bag! After removing the wheels and deflating the tyres - apparently they could explode whilst in the plane and burst through the plane's fuselage... and then removing the rear derailleur to stop it getting damaged, removing the front bag frames, lowering the seat, rotating the handle bars, removing the pedals, and then fixing everything in place so it wouldn't move around, packing the bike bags with clothes and placing them around the bike inside the bag, wedging my sleeping bag between the front forks (to hopefully stop them getting damaged) it seemed like the plan was working. However, the bike bag now weighs 24kg! Should be a fun trip...

I left for the airport in a taxi at 8:30pm, and would then spend the night in the nice new Terminal 3. Unfortunately the only place open inside was an incredibly over-priced cafe, so after an expensive sandwich and a cup of tea I found a bench in a corner and managed to get 4 hours sleep.

26th January 2011
Day 106 - Malaga/Madrid/Munich

So, the big day has finally arrived! My flight from Malaga to Madrid was uneventful, due to the fact that I slept through the whole thing. My only worry during the trip back home was that something would happen to my bike... The change over at Madrid was only 2 hours between flights, and I used up the last of my Spanish phone credit by calling Cristina. However, soon I was on the last leg of this adventure and flying back to Munich. It was a shock (although an unexpected one I guess) when the plane descended through the clouds and Bavaria was covered in a thick blanket of snow. I patiently waited for my bags to roll out onto the bag, and although my rucksack came through fine, what a surprise... No Bike!

The staff at the "sorry we lost your bag" counter were more than unhelpful, but they said that they would phone me when it appeared... So, bearing in mind that all of my clothes were packed into the bike bag and assembled around the frame inside the case as extra protection (and my sleeping bag was also in there) I knew that this would be an interesting few days.

I jumped onto the S-Bahn and finally arrived into the Hauptbahnhof at about 5pm. First stop had to be the office and to say hello to Sonja! Then it was a quick dash into the centre with Kevin and Keith to find some new boots. Both pairs of trainers that I had taken on the trip had ended up in pieces, and offered zero protection against the snow and cold. I managed to find some sturdy boots for €50 and then we walked to Augustiner am Platzl and did the things that I had been dreaming about for the last three and a half months - we sat down and took a Maß of Edelstoff. Perfect!

A little later a few more friends arrived and we continued out little party eventually at the Euro Youth Hostel bar. Its good to be back.

27th January 2011
Day 107 - Munich

After a few phone calls this morning to Lufthansa, it turns out that my bike had been found, and it was currently being delivered to the 4YOU Hostel, where our company office is. Everything seemed ok, but the bike bag was looking a little worse for wear. I will need to find someone this spring to sew up the rips that had appeared, and maybe reinforce the contact points with something stronger.

Something strange was up however when Sonja told me that someone from the delivery company was outside and wanted to talk about the bike? Confused, I walked out crossed the street and followed Sonja's directions to a white van, only to find to my complete surprise that Cristina was standing behind it. What a great setup!! I couldn't believe that she had said nothing on the phone to me yesterday about coming here to Munich for a few days.

The evening was spent with a few friends in the warmth and chaos of the Hofbräuhaus with a couple of Maß and some Chicken with Potato Salad.