Friday, 8 July 2011

On The Road Again.... Spain

My regular readers will remember my good friend, Paul, joined me for the first two weeks of my tour of the USA last year. Yesterday morning, the two of us set out on a 2700 mile road trip heading for southern Spain.

We started out early and tried to dodge the rain which we did all the way to just outside Portsmouth where we were to catch the ferry to northern Spain. We chatted to five young guys who had bought old Honda C70 or C00, aka Cubs and were planning to ride them 800 miles back to England across northern Spain and France. They were a funny bunch of guys who had tried to make the small bikes look as cool as possible with stickers and even some fake fur. I am sure they were going to have a blast!



































We left the ferry terminal and headed past the Naval Dockyard where ferries rub shoulders with hi-tech navy ships....




















This is HMS Victory, best known for being Lord Nelson’s flagship that lead the British fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar...





















Paul on the back of the ferry as we made our way to Santander in Spain. The journey took 23.5 hours....





















We have planned to do the journey south in 4.5 days, stay at my house where my wife Jackie, Pauls wife Sarah and their son Jack will join us for 5 days, then Paul and I will ride back in 5 days. This is our route....



















This morning we arrived in northern Spain and we did about 150 miles today to arrive at a very old town called Santo Domingo de la Calzada, in the Rioja region where the famous wine is made.

This picture was taken on quiet back road in farming country....




















Northern Spain has quite a few mountains and hills. Some of the views today were spectacular....




















A Medieval Castle built on the rocks of a hillside....




















The monastery at Oña, built in 1640....












































The Leading Ladies in front of Puente de Frias, a 12th century stone bridge....


























The same bridge, looking upstream....




















Just beyond Frias is a church set against a spectacular over-hanging cliff. Paul is on the slender bridge over the river....


























This goat appeared out of a cave in the cliff to stare at us....




















Stopping for a coffee at a petrol station we were befriended by a very short guy who had an unusual motorbike. He enjoyed showing it to us and unbelievably it has a tiny 40cc Ducati engine....





















We are staying in hotels known as Paradores, which according to Wikipedia were founded by Alfonso XIII of Spain as a means to promote tourism in Spain. A profitable state-run enterprise, the hotels are often in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. This Parador was built in the 12th century in the middle of this historic town and sits opposite the Cathedral....

















































There was a funeral taking place in the Cathedral soon after we checked into the Parador....















We ate in the hotel. Respecting the common practice of some bloggers, I took a picture of my food. This was a white asparagus salad....




















The town square after dinner....


























The two of us in front of the main tower in the town....


























Overall a very successful first two days to the trip. Tomorrow we ride further south to near the capital Madrid. It chilly at times today in the mountains and hills, but it should get considerably hotter as we ride further south. Let’s see!

10 comments:

Charlie6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie6 said...

There be giants in the square!

A nice collection of shots for the start of the roadtrip Gary!

I really liked the one of the small bridge near the cave with the goat.

Dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

mq01 said...

FABULOUS! simply fabulous!

bobskoot said...

Gary:

we are always so envious of your road trips and picture candy and your thorough investigation of historic information. Again the good weather you ordered has arrived.

was going to say "Enjoy your Vacation", but you are already on permanent vacation. We can only dream along with you

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

ps: sometimes being HOT isn't so hot. A few sprinkles on the way to work today felt refreshing

SonjaM said...

Gary, you really make me homesick! I want to go to Europe NOW (for two wheeled vacation no less...), and maybe visit family in England and Germany on the way. Alas... work, work, work, and yet miraculously not much money in the pocket. Sigh! Please keep the lovely pictures coming, and enjoy your stay in Spain.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

I am astounded with the ease with which you move your bike to France (ferries and trains) and now to Spain (ferry). I am jealous beyond all get-out.

The initial pictutres you have taken in Spain have convinced me that I absolutely have to go there. Maybe even to ride there. Are the roas challenging to any degree? Wht about the traffic? Was it especially agressive? What would you advise someone riding there for the first time?

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Road

All Over The World said...

All the best with your present quest Gary....

FLHX_Dave said...

Wow! I just got to ride in Spain! You are a friggin' road whore brother. Thanks for taking us along. Great picts of stuff I have never seen before.

Much thanks from California.

Diesel Power Products said...

This is quickly becoming my favorite travel blog. (Love the foodie pic too!).

Gary France said...

Charlie6 / Dom – I really liked that picture as well. The bridge put the whole scene in perspective.

mq01 – It is fabulous and a great place to ride in.

Bob – Thank you. I like to add some information about the places I see, if I have time. It’s not really a permanent vacation, it’s called being retired!

Sonja – Sorry about the homesickness! I hope that you get to see your family in Europe soon. Spain is very enjoyable and more scenic than I imagined.

Jack – Even though we are an island nation in the UK, we are very lucky to have such good links to mainland Europe and getting there is relatively easy. Riding in northern Spain is terrific and so very full of history. Your questions are really good ones – indeed so much, that I tried to answer them all in my next post about “Head For The Hills!”

Tony – Thanks.

Dave – Going on road trips is something I have trouble resisting at the moment! I am pleased to be able to share what being on the road in a different country is all about.

DPP = I am glad that you like it.