I love travelling, moving to new places, discovering different cultures.
My friends who know me are not surprised when I tell them about an upcoming move around the world. My family gave up noting down my current living address. That’s me. I love the adventures, the new experiences. Boredom is definitely not on my agenda.
Beginning of this year, I decided to move to Europe after having spent two years in Australia. I say Europe, because I wasn’t sure where to move to. But then I had to start somewhere. I looked at a map, talked to a few friends and decided my first stop would be Andalusia, Southern Spain.
Awesome weather. Amazing cycling terrain and friendly people. That sounded like a great promise!
A month later, I landed in Malaga with only my bike bag (Turkish Airlines wanted to charge me 1000$ for my suitcase so I left it in Australia) hired a car and hoped for the best driving on the other side of the road after a 30 hours flight.
I don’t speak Spanish. I don’t know anyone and I have never been to this region.
Yep, it would be an adventure.
Through a friends’ connection, I got to Motril, a small town 90km East of Malaga – away from any tourists and international industries. It was a very, very Spanish place. English would not get me anywhere.
I learned about a group ride that starts every day at 9am from the church in town. The next day, I showed up and met the group. No one spoke English. Everyone smiled at me and had a very Spanish conversation. I smiled back. I had absolutely no idea what was talked about.
But once we started riding, the language barrier became smaller and smaller. The way of cycling is the same anywhere I have ridden in the world. Tactics, attacks and heavy breathing are pretty clear ways to communicate. We spoke cycling now.
I loved it. Since that day, I showed up every day at 9am at the church in town. I slowly got to meet the entire group (All men). We did easy, hard and epic rides. I learned the strengths and weaknesses of every rider. I could guess from the intonation of the voices what was said. I was learning cycling vocabulary and surprised the group when I could answer a question.
Once, I heard a word over and over. I became too curious and asked them what it meant.
Bingo! It was one of the rougher cursing words.
The remainder of that ride, the group made sure I would learn all other cursing words as well.
By solely watching the group, I learned so much about the Spanish culture, the interactions and the mentality. I got to ride to places that only the locals knew. I learned things about the area I would never otherwise have guessed.
Cycling with the locals is a great way to immerse oneself into country’s culture. I would strongly recommend to try it out! It gives you an immense sense of adventure and cultural experience!