Friends, Family and Homecoming
Hello again good people!
We finally made it home after a false start. But before I dive into that, when we left each other last, we were on our way to Madrid from Cordoba. We had hoped to take a train there. Spain has an excellent train system, however, it is run by a bureaucratic mess and they don't allow bikes on them. Well, they allow bikes, but only on the regional trains, and only if they are taken apart and boxed, but sometimes just taped up with handlebars removed. It is possible to walk your bike on board, but only if you have reserved a spot for it on the regional train in advance, but it's nearly impossible to find someone to book that for you in advance, so you might try the bus system, but then you need to break down the bike to the size of a shoe box and then check it on as luggage. Like I said before, a bureaucratic nightmare. And good luck trying to find the person behind a desk to give you the correct information (and it will only ever be told to you in rapid-fire Spanish.) So, we rented a car again and drove with the bikes to Madrid.
We left the bikes with Ville's friend Jesse and his wife, Hanna, and then we caught a bullet train back to Alicante where we stayed with Ville's brother, Antti, his wife Berit and their two kids for four days. It had been over a year since we saw each other so we had a nice time catching up. It was also our first time meeting our new niece, Hedda. Somewhere I caught a cold, but tested negative for COVID and just felt crummy for about a week and a half until it went away right before we planned to head home. We took the train back to Madrid and met up with our good friend, JBro, who flew in from Germany to spend the week with us. Ville and I know JBro from hiking the Pacific Crest Trail together and have tried to see each other, somewhere in the world, almost every year since. We had a great time together in Madrid, sightseeing, walking through museums, eating lots of tapas and even made it out to the mountains for a hike with a Warmshowers host, Scott.
A couple days before our scheduled flight back to Oregon, JBro flew back to Germany and Ville and I had some packing to do. We found two cardboard bike boxes in bike shops around Madrid, took apart the bikes and had to wrap them in pieces of cardboard and packing tape in the hopes they would make it safely all the way home. We took COVID tests at a medical center (Germany required the PCR test within 24 hours of flying) and the results came back to us at 9:30pm, only six hours before we were to leave for the airport to head home. Except, I tested positive for COVID and the flight left without us.
As stressful as it was to book new flights home, we were both so grateful to be healthy and able to roll with the punches. I sat in the hotel room for the next two days until I tested negative and then it was off to the races. With an extra week in Madrid, we saw more museums, did more hikes, had dinners with friends and walked all over the city. A big thank you to Scott and all our new Madrid friends for making our time spent there so much fun!
Ville and I were able to catch our next flight home with minimal scuffs or bruising and my brother picked us up from the airport. Happy to be back in Oregon, we both jumped back in to work on the Book and Documentary with the hopes to get those out to you as soon as humanly possible! I am also still in the real estate game, so if anyone is in need of selling or buying a home in Oregon, I am your gal. We are also looking ahead to some very exciting speaking engagements coming up about The Bike Ride so stay tuned for the info. And last but not least, our website will be getting some much needed updates, so expect to be shocked, amazed and wowed soon.
Until next time, thanks for continuing to follow us and keep on keepin' on friends!
K.G. & Ville
In New Zealand on bikes.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson