Travelling Africa on a KLR

Category: Spain

Spain II

I am sitting down quite late to write this instead of writing every couple of days so it may nothave as much detail as other posts in the past.

2016-10-14

I ride from Estepona to Cordoba. Its a fairly short ride but I am wishing I put my jacket liner in as it is fairly cool high in the mountains. Cordoba was a former Roman settlement with a number of buildings from the Roman era.

I manage to find my way in to the center and check in to a hostel. After that I find my way around the cities historical core.

The Roman Bridge is very impressive and makes a great viewpoint to see Mezquita Cathedral and Calahorra Tower

Roman Bridge

Roman Bridge

Roman Bridge from the South Bank

Roman Bridge from the South Bank

Calahorra Tower

Calahorra Tower

From the bridge you can also see the foundations of the old mills on Guadalquiver. The 11 mills were built in the middle ages and vary in completeness from just foundations to complete.

Waterwheel for Mill

Waterwheel for Mill

Mill

Mill

Beginning my ascent in to the town I go through the Mezquita Cathedral was built as the Grand Mosque of Cordoba during Moorish reign. Following the Reconquista the Mosque was converted to a Cathedral leading to some mixed architectural elements.

Campanario Tower

Campanario Tower

Mezquita Cathedral

Mezquita Cathedral

Mezquita Cathedral Bell

Mezquita Cathedral Bell

Roman Temple

Roman Temple

After touring the rest of historical district I settle in at the local craft beer brewer to give the local beers a try then wander back to the hostel.

Califa Brewery

Califa Brewery

2016-10-15

Ride in to Madrid, it is a long ride and I am glad I have left my liners handy as it is quite cold the whole day. As my hotel is quite removed from the main city I decide to check out the nearby mall to see if it is different from North America, which it isn’t other than you need to speak Spanish.

2016-10-16

I have developed a serious stomach flu but head in to Madrid to see the Museum of Archeology and a number of other sites in Madrid. if you are wondering how I visited an Egyptian temple in Spain, the Temple of Debod was rescued from the rising waters of Lake Nasser and gifted to the people of Spain for assisting with rescuing antiquities in Egypt.

National Library

National Library / Archaeology Museum

Austrolopithecus Afararensus

Austrolopithecus Afararensus

Lady of Elche

Lady of Elche

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod

Madrid Skyline

Madrid Skyline

2016-10-17

My stomach illness keeps me at the hotel but gives me a chance to tear apart and reassemble the pannier racks that I mentioned in the previous post.

2016-10-18

As the Northern Hemisphere is getting colder by the day I have decided to take a ferry from Santander Spain to Plymouth England and ride to Santander.

2016-10-19

I collect some supplies in Spain before heading to (more) expensive England then head to the Ferry dock. I meet a number of interesting riders in the line-up including a young guy from Dover who has ridden his Honda C90 all the way to Morocco and back (at 45 mph.) By comparison to his bike I look like a wuss riding my comparatively modern and powerful motorcycle. Another rider Jules who has spent 6 weeks on the road in Europe on his Suzuki GS550 from the 70’s joins us along with 80+ guys on BMW’s who aren’t interested in speaking to those missing the blue and white logo. Jules and I settle in at the ferry bar for the evening and swap road stories, troubles, and gripes. It is nice to speak to the other riders doing trips similar to what I am doing especially since most of us have been weeks since seeing other riders.

Honda C90

Honda C90

Santander Spain

Santander Spain

 

Spain

2016-09-16 Barcelona

I spent the day walking around the Gothic Quarter admiring the architecture and find some empanadas to eat. After eating I head to the harbour and check out the yachts, most are registered in the Cayman Islands, I am guessing these are the Panama papers people.

Cathedral of Barcelona

Cathedral of Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Yachts in Barcelona

Yachts in Barcelona

Afterwards I go to the beach then head to the Arc de Triomphe.

Barcelona Beach

Barcelona Beach

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

At the end of a long day walking around I head to NaparBCN to enjoy some local craft beers which were pretty good then head back to the hotel.

2016-09-17  to 2016-09-18 Alicante

It is raining in Barcelona so I head towards Alicante to enjoy a couple days by the pool in the sun. Without any parking available the bike gets to come inside the compound.

Bike Sleeping in the Compound in Alicante

Bike Sleeping in the Compound in Alicante

2016-09-19 Granada

I ride to Granada and check in to my hostel. After I check in I go to find a padlock which I have forgotten to bring. This becomes slightly difficult as my Spanish is limited to please and thank you, fortunately I have looked up what a padlock is so the lady at the hardware store hauls out a wide variety of padlocks from the back and I pick one.

Alhambra at Night

Alhambra at Night

Alhambra During the Day

Alhambra During the Day

Steps to Alhambra

Steps to Alhambra

Alhambra Gate

Alhambra Gate

I have come to Granada to see Alhambra but mess up and don’t purchase my ticket the night before so I don’t get to see the inside. Maybe on the way back I can stop and better coordinate this. Driving around Grenada is quite frustrating since it is pretty much all one way streets.

2016-09-20 to 2016-09-21 Estepona

As Alhambra is a bust I carry on to Estepona. There I enjoy swimming in the Mediterranean and get the oil changed on the bike.

Estepona

Estepona

2016-09-22 Head to Morocco

I ride into Tarifa and catch the ferry to Tangier.

Spain from Tangier

Spain from Tangier

Pyrenees

2016-09-12

From Pau I drive in to the Pyrenees. A constant issue is the very poor quality of the directions provided by my GPS. It frequently leads me astray. Today it has led me up a steep mountain path. Knowing I am in the wrong place I decide that it is worth taking a look up the road anyway. I ride up the road for about ten minutes and reach a reinforced swale. It is at this point I am thinking the road is getting pretty steep and I should turn around. I make the decision to head up the road one more switchback and see how the road looks beyond. I am about half way up that segment when I lose traction in the damp soil. This combined with the bumpy road causes me to have a low speed fall over. I am fine and go to the work of getting the bike right side up. I flip the bike back up right and make the decision to resume going up the hill, I start off up the hill and it is back lying on its side in a foot. At this point I decide the ground conditions probably aren’t good enough to carry on up the road. Unfortunately the road is too steep and narrow to turn the bike around so I have to back it down the hill to the swale. After wasting a bunch of time backing the bike down the hill I head back down the hill toward the nearest town to figure out how to get where I actually want to go. On the way down the bike loses the rear brakes due to air in the lines. This causes two more low speed fall overs on the way down the mountain as no rear brake on steep rocky roads is not good. Unfortunately I smack my shin on the peg during one of these falls. This will later swell up a fair bit but I am otherwise alright.

Damage Suffered during Multiple Low Speed Topples on a Rocky Backroad in the Pyrenees

Damage Suffered during Multiple Low Speed Topples on a Rocky Backroad in the Pyrenees

After the mishaps of the morning I head down the hill to get pointed in the right direction. At this point the air seems to have worked its way out of the brakes but I will still get them bled to make sure. I end up riding with four guys from Great Britain as they seem to know where the turn off for the right road is. The rest of the day is spent riding up and down mountain passes through ski resorts.

These passes are all part of the Tour de France so numerous wannabe Lance Armstrong’s are on the road. I have gained a large amount of respect for those racers even if they are all on steroids as those are some very steep hills.

Grazing Sheep in the Pyrenees

Grazing Sheep in the Pyrenees

Sheep and cows are all over the road in the pastureland. The best part of this is the cows have bells that you can hear ringing from the road, the worst part is the ‘leavings’ all over the road.

Pyrenees

Pyrenees

That night I stay in Saint-Lary-Soulan and enjoy a few Grimbergen Blanche’s to sooth my sore body.

2016-09-13

I have a swollen head this morning from too much self medication and get started late. I look up where the nearest motorcycle shop is and drive to Lannemezan to have the brakes bled. I turn up at the shop and it turns out it is a scooter shop and with limited French I speak to the mechanic and determine he can’t help me and he sends me to Tarbes. I find an independent shop there and get the brakes bled with the help of a local riding an R1200 who helps with the translations. Unfortunately this has cost me half a day so I only make it to Saint-Lary that night. The hotel here occupies a section of town with rooms spread around the town. It is a picturesque location with a river running through the middle of town and narrow winding roads. The wood has been stacked for winter already and you can tell by the overnight temperature that winter is coming. I have a strange dinner that night. I ordered what I thought was trout filets but end up being served what I think was pork in stomach casing, this was to say the least not to my taste but I suck it up and eat most of it while Mr. Beaning (steak tartar scene) the rest away. Then a second meal, this time trout filets, shows up so I have no idea what the deal is but I clearly don’t understand what was happening.

Bike Outside my Hotel Room in Saint-Lary

Bike Outside my Hotel Room in Saint-Lary

2016-09-14

From Saint-Lary I head east. It is raining and very cold at the top of the last pass. As I am heading to Fox I stop at the Prehistory Park. The park contains a museum with reproductions of the Magdalenian art from the Caves of Niaux. I am cold and wet so I spend a couple hours in the warmth of the museum before heading outside to view the stone tool and fire making demonstration the museum puts on.

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Lion Carving in Antler

Lion Carving in Antler

2016-09-15

I start the morning by replacing the headlight bulb which has burnt out. It involves removing the front fairing, disconnecting the electrical then replacing the bulb which is fairly easy and having watched Dad do the same task on his R1200 GSA mine appears to be easier.

I am off to Andorra today. It is more cold mountain passes. Because Andorra is not part of the European Union it acts as a tax free shopping zone and French people flock there do their shopping. I stop in El Pas de la Casa at the well equipped motorcycle store to replace the light bulb. Continuing on to Andorra la Villa I go over Envalira Pass which at 2408 m is the highest pass in the Pyrenees. In El Pas de la Casa I see a  sign that says -1 C. It is darn cold so I believe it, however, at the pass the temperature says 5 C.

Envalira Pass Temperature

Envalira Pass Temperature

Top of the Pass

Top of the Pass

I think the gas stations at the top of the pass are a bit of an odd sight but I suspect they are from before a 3 km tunnel was bored under the pass.

After Andorra I head towards Barcelona as bad weather is moving in. The highway to Barcelona takes me through Cadi tunnel a five kilometre long tunnel which is quite interesting, unfortunately the action cam batteries are dead so I don’t have any footage of it.

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