It was Saturday 16th June, and I was on my way to Dublin airport. I had excitedly counted down the days to this particular day, the day where i would commence my 9 day cycle through Spain which would see me cycle from Santander to Malaga.
Waiting for my flight to Santander, i was hoping that my bike would arrive in Santander in one piece.
I had paid Ryanair an additional €60 each way to transport my bike, a bike which I had wrapped in bubble wrap and then placed in a bike bag.
We boarded the flight early and took off on time. After a great chat with Pedro, a teacher from Cantabria who had just spent the last 10 days in Dublin with a group of students, we started making our decent into Santander.
Flying above the coast in our approach to Santander, you can't but admire the beautiful landscape. The green fields, the fabulous beaches and in the distance the Asturian mountains which would be my playground during day 2 of my cycle.
Upon touchdown, I was welcomed by the sun and temperatures of around 20 degrees. The small airport of Santander (Seve Ballesteros airport) is easy to navigate and it didn't take long before i was reunited with my bike.
Where the bike bag is large, it wasn't large enough to take the entire bike. So the next hour was used to put the bike back together and getting everything ready for my adventure. And I must say I was delighted to find my bike in 1 piece.
Rolling out of the airport at 5pm, I knew that the cycle on day 1 was the easiest one in the saddle. With a total distance of 36 kilometers to the coastal town of Suances, I would take the smaller countryside roads to reach my destination.
As Seve Ballesteros airport is in a quieter area of Santander, navigating my way towards Suances was never a big issue, but what became apparent was that the countryside in Asturias isn't flat at all. Climbing up the first hill leaving the airport behind me, it gave me an immediate impression of what to expect on this adventure.
Navigating my way around another turn, I was greeted by the clanging of bells. Cows in Asturias have bells around their necks, and it is their movement which filled the green pastures along my route with a continuous clanging noise. But cycling through the Asturian Countryside is fun, especially mixing tarmac with gravel, and the time in thwe saddle passed quickly.
The last 5 kilometers of the day was a cycle along a designated cycle path along the river Saja, a brilliant location for birdwatching.
Rolling into Suances, it becomes apparent how popular this town is with Spanish tourists. Navigating the busy streets, I found my hotel for the night just outside the town. Hotel Albatros is located up a hill overlooking Suances and 2 beautiful beaches.
Upon check in, I was told I could place my bike behind the counter for the night, an offer which I gladly accepted.
Walking from the hotel direction town is beautiful. After a short stroll, i decided to eat in one of the local restaurants where I enjoyed Scorpion Fish pate, steak and a chocolate mousse, all washed down with a bottle of white wine.
The entire meal and the bottle of wine came to €12 , not bad for a great meal.
After the meal, it was an uphill stroll back to the hotel where i turned in for an early night with in mind all the cycling which had to be done on day 2.