Cycling from one country to another is a wondrous experience. More than often, travellers simply cross borders in the air via the comfort of a plane seat. At other times, it is done by car but even that is not quite the same as peddling your way from one nation to another with the ground not far beneath your feet and the wind behind your back. Cycling can be a joy in itself but doing so whilst the language and culture around you change along the way makes every minute of leg pain worth it. The journey by bike from Badajoz to Elvas is a great way to experience this feat and one that can quite easily be accomplished without requiring the ability of Bradley Wiggins.
The bike ride from Badajoz to Elvas is a relatively short journey that is for the most part on flat land. Your average person, who doesn't cycle regularly, should expect the ride to take about two hours, whereas your more professional type with a better bike could probably get it done in about an hour. However long it takes you, there's no need to rush. The journey is a pleasant one and the road feels as if it were made just for cyclists.
In Badajoz, where the journey begins, there is a main road known as Avenida Elvas. As one would imagine, this is the road that takes you straight to Elvas. It is simple really. You just follow the path ahead of you and it takes you all the way there. However, there is something you should know if you want to stay safe and have the most enjoyable ride possible.
First and foremost, you should stay on the far left side of Avenida Elvas and here's why. There is a cycling lane that will take you to Badajoz's famous shopping centre, El Faro. You will of course, cycle straight past that monstrosity and once you get to the roundabout where stands a sculpture of a childlike woman with her arms spread, you will go on straight ahead, past the old customs office and Guardia Civil station, whilst staying on the small road that swerves just slightly to the left instead of branching off onto the motorway. You now have a clear path all the way to Elvas, a peaceful road with countryside views and virtually no vehicles. The ride is now yours to enjoy.
Once you come to a small bridge, crossing the River Caya, you are now officially leaving Spain behind and entering Portugal. This is, of course, a great place to stop for photos whilst caught between worlds. The first 'town' you will soon arrive at is the 'Bairro de Guarda Fiscal' also known as Caia. This is where the Portuguese border-guards used to live. Nowadays, it feels like a half-derelict village and service station. It is a cool place to stop for a coffee before you go on, past fields of the Portuguese countryside before eventually, you find yourself cycling uphill. It's tough on the legs but the good news is that at this point, you are arriving in Elvas, a gorgeous and sleepy town that feels light-years away from Spain.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” - Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
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