Cycling the GR 48
We had one more route to bite off before we made the jump back to the land of bills and responsibilities. To keep it interesting, we picked a nice section of the GR 48 footpath from north of Seville east to Cordoba.
There are hundreds of thousands of kilometers of long-distance footpaths etched throughout western Europe. The once foot-beaten trails are now made up of a mix of surfaces including gravel, rock, singletrack, dirt, and the occasional slice of tar. Some of these tracks are unique to just one country or region, but many of the numbered footpaths pass through several countries.
The walking routes make use of an ancient network of national and local trails such as the GR paths. The ‘GR’ stands for Gran Recorrido in Spanish; in French it translates to Grande Ranndonée, which sounds a bit more inviting for bike travel.
The GR 48 (Sendero de Sierra Morena) is a 590 kilometer route that starts in Barrancos, a small village in eastern Portugul. It’s the longest path in southern Spain and mostly located within the Sierra de Aracena and the Sierra Norte de Sevilla Natural Parks, some of the country’s most uninhabited areas. Fine by me.
The portion we cycled was indeed remote. It carried us though dark forests, past long abandoned ruins, across acres of wooded farmland home to the iberian black-footed pig, and eventually into the endless groves of orange and fields of sunflower. There were days when we saw no one. One night we made camp just feet from the road and didn’t have a worry. The trail was broken up by tar sections through small towns which made interesting pitstops for coffee or sundries. We were only in the grasp of the GR 48 for a few days, but the remote riding and ever-changing landscape made me regret not delaying our flight and tackling the whole thing.
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