The first leg: plane, bus, ship and m/c to Barcelona
Nine days in and we’ve traveled less than 900 miles by motorcycle, the only mode of transportation that counts on this trip. Yet, it does feel like we’ve been on the road for nine days as 90% of said 900 miles have been in the rain or near-rain. This is no big deal from a riding POV, but it does lengthen the amount of time it takes to get into/out-of the four-plus layers of motorcycle clothing required.
The biggest impact of the rain is that we’ve gone through my beloved Pyrenees Mountains in the rain and/or misty clouds, forcing me to go somewhat slower than I’d like on some of Spain’s best killer roads (that’s killer in a good way), but KR doesn’t seem to mind the lower speed:)
Here’s the headlines for those of you who have a life and can’t waste it reading this post:
- It took us a very full day to get to Southampton, UK via plane
- Retrieved NVII from a Southampton farm only to find that all of our m/c clothes and a bunch of other stuff had been stolen on the ship over
- We took a 24+ hour ferry ride on the Queen Mary of ferries from Portsmouth to Santander, on the northern coast of Spain. It was by far the best ferry ride ever
- Left Santander and went northeast to Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Jaca and then through the Pyranees and finally ending up in Barcelona
- We ran where the bulls run in Pamplona without the bulls. This worked for me:)
- In Jaca, we met two friends of Sam (Fred and Debra) and experienced a full-on street party celebrating a Moorish/Christian battle from Medieval times. I’m happy to report that there were no new casualties, although a lot of folks were trying to hurt themselves via drink:) Fred and Debra were great and its nice to meet some locals
- We’ve pretty much eaten and drunken our way through this tough duty. Nothing better to get one warm and toasty than tapas and vino.
- No problems with NVII as he ran beautifully. He’s waiting patiently as I’m slowly getting back to the Rhythm of the Road feel
Our general plan is to continue southwest along the Spanish Coast toward Gibraltar, but I have no faith that we’ll keep to “Fred’s Plan” as KR hasn’t really weighed in yet. I know I owe her lots of Medieval churches, houses, castles, and all things generally ancient.
Here’s what it’s looked like so far.
Who says that I don’t appreciate culture? (my wife). We spent a whole day visiting the works of Antoni Gaudi, Spain’s most famous architect. This is the outside of a house he designed around 1900 that takes its inspiration from a dragon and the skeleton of its victims..
Thanks for the pics, great as always….as is the commentary! Love the Basque region and Rioja region, looking forward to going back. Damn thieves on the boat, so wrong. Glad you two are having a good time. Hope to see you in SD this summer.
La luvia en Espana no esta on the plain solamente.
Barcelona was overcast and rainy when I visited La Sagada so did not get the full impact of the awesomeness inside. So glad you made it to Cadaques, my favorite little stop last fall. Hope you got to Dali’s house- a masterpiece!
Intrepid is but a meek substitute for your travel stamina and sense of humor. Carry on, mi amigos.
Hi Fred and KR,
I always enjoy seeing your photos and reading about your adventures, sure hope you have many more sunny days and less rainy ones ! Your photos bring back wonderful memories of my vacations in Europe 🙂 Have a wonderful time ! Didn’t you get ripped on your last trip abroad also ? So wrong !!
Fred, you two are an inspiration to intrepid travelers everywhere–and to those of us bound to a desk who dream of these kinds of adventures. And your blog is great entertainment. Keep it going, and safe travels to you both.
You strolled the Pamplona streets “without the bulls.” This was a very wise choice. Both my elder son and I did run with the bulls (40 years apart) and it is as crazy and dangerous as you would imagine.
Special thanks for sharing the pics of Gaudi’s work in Barcelona. We loved his architecture and the city as well.
Can’t believe that KR does your trip planning on route! But, whatever works…
Loved your “international man of mystery” photo. The perfect caption for the shot.
Thanks for sharing the scenes from Barcelona. Best of luck on the next leg. Safe journey.
We particularly enjoyed the opportunity to share Jaca with you during one of its most elaborate celebrations! Sorry for all the rain in the Pyrenees. Making it to Cadaques via N-260 (even finding Cadaques) proves your MC expertise and Karen’s bravery. Safe travels! W Fred & Debra
Holy shit Fred!!! I thoroughly enjoy your updates, but every time I read one I am totally disgusted with the number of things that are stolen off your motorcycle. For the price of lights paners, horns tools, parts—– would they be cheaper to put the damn bike in a box with a lock on the outside. Think of the time you would save. Obviously, we have the advantage of driving around the world in an expedition truck with double locks on every door. All of our lights are locked on. Any screw that can be easily removed is filled with JB Weld. Anything else that needs to be secured securely has a stainless steel quarter inch cable and a padlock. Are we paranoid? Yeah! But on the other hand we very seldom get ripped off anymore. Tip= put the bike in a box and lock it up. Pay somebody to stand there with a machine gun and guard it. Think of the time and aggravation and money you would save? Humorously and sincerely yours, Gary