From the Basque Country to Apulia
via the Pyrenees, Andorra, Catalonia, Sardinia, Campania, and Basilicata
June 25 - August 21
We have received two invitations to organize summer rides in 2017. Both very attractive! Saulius Prabulis proposed to come to the Basque Country, he admired its people and landscape. This is a fantastic region in Spain and France, where people speak the mysterious very old Euskara language. There are two theories, which say where the Basques came from: one says that from Caucasus, another that from the Atlantis. The second invitation came from Italy, Giulia Brotto asked to come to Apulia. The invitation was repeated by Carlotta Dall’Aglio. The Basque Country and Apulia have plenty of colours, good food, cultural and historical particularities – both deserve your choice! But for what to choose, better to connect destinations! There will be more different attractions on the way.
The route begins from the largest city in the Basque country – Bilbao. We will ride to meet the Atlantic coast in Lekeitio. It is a typical fishing village, but at the time we visit it, there will be going on the San Pedro festival, which fills the village with people and a wonderful atmosphere. Following the Bay of Biscay coast, we will enjoy beautiful panoramic views up to San Sebastian. The next famous festival we will meet in Pamplona – San Fermin with Encierro (bull runs). Full of bull energy we will ride to the Pyrenees – more to the East, drier. Don’t be afraid of climbing high passes, they are amazing. We will cheer Tour de France on one of these passes, before visiting a place important for pilgrims – Lourdes. Then we will come to Andorra and climb the Pic Del Comapedrosa. The next main point of our route is Barcelona, where we will take a ferry to Porto Torres.
In Sardinia we will cycle far away from the touristic areas, discovering its wild west coast, with crystalline sea and rural villages in the inland. After seven days we will take another ferry – to Naples. Johann Wolfgang Goethe said: “See Naples and die!”. We have a hope not to die but climb the Mount Vesuvius, watch Pompeii and continue cycling through Campania to Basilicata trough steep hills of the Dolomiti Lucane, rocky and sharp mountains with picturesque villages. We will visit Matera, the UNESCO Heritage Sassi di Matera (Matera Stones), old houses digged into the stone and inhabited till 1952.
In Apulia we will enjoy the marvellous clean sea and plenty of watchtowers built by the Spanish on the coast to defend themselves from the attacks of the Saracen. There are many sights on our route: Gallipoli known as “The Pearl of the Ionian”; the baroque town of Lecce; the little white villages built on top of the hills like Ostuni, called “The White City”; Valle d’Itria and Alberobello with the Trulli, typical and unique houses with a conical roof; the reddish colour of the soil in contrast with the intense blue of the sea; and Apulia sky and a green blanket of thousands of olive trees until the eye can see!
The route leads across the Italian Peninsula to its heel finish in the Bona Sforza (queen of Poland and Lithuania) hometown – Bari. We will enjoy there not only tasty “wůoszczyzna” (in Polish the name vegetables brought by Bona to Poland, Italy = Wůochy in Polish), but excellent meat, fresh fish, wonderful dairy products, delicious and strong wines especially red wines, the Taralli (typical dried little ring bread), the extra virgin olive oil and… the warmth of the people.
The coordinators: Sigitas Kučas, Maryla Zielińska, Giulia Brotto, Carlotta Dall’Aglio.
GMPR Lithuanian Fund: +370 686 59 375, email@example.com.
CROTOS – Travellers’ Association: +48 663 266 553, firstname.lastname@example.org.