Our plan was to take the train back to Bilbao. This involved a regular service to Ferrol and then two days of narrow-gauge back along our coastal route.
After finding it was too late to ‘mail’ our bikes and guarantee delivery in Bilbao before flying back to England, we checked into an unremarkable hotel and then went walkabout, looking for the necessary materials to wrap our bikes for transport on the trip to Ferrol on the RENFE rail network. In the morning, we rode to the station and were looking for somewhere to disassemble and pack our bikes when we were approached by a kiosk-manager offering to perform the service for us. Why not?
He was very efficient and had clearly performed the operation hundreds of times. Both wheels off but only one pedal. Handlebars removed and saddle lowered. Wrapped in plastic. Done!
After the fairly short train journey to Ferrol, we unwrapped the bikes, reassembled them and rode off in search of our chic little pension; it proved to be adjacent to the FEVE narrow gauge line. With a combination of sign language and our (Bev’s, really) limited Spanish, the landlady indicated that we could catch the train at a nearby station. Better safe than sorry, we decided we would head back to the main station in the morning.
Up early the next morning, too early to find coffee! Which turned out to be a very good thing: the train journey to Oviedo was over seven hours, had about seventy stops (only a few seconds each) and no bathrooms!
It was a pretty ride, back along much of the route we had ridden. For the FEVE, we could just push our bikes on to the train – no packing required.
We spent a day in Oviedo rather than an extra day in Bilbao. A good decision; it has a spectacular cathedral.
Another pleasant but lavatory-challenged day brought us back to Bilbao. Time to repack the bikes again, for flying this time. Bilbao to London. Cycling trip over.
Blog over, too. Until summer 2016.