November 26, 2007 GMT
Back in the Saddle

20 to 25 Nov 07

Although there was still much to be done in Australia, we flew out on 20 Nov bound for Hong Kong, London and Barcelona. We arrived in Barcelona on the night of 21 Nov, missing two days sleep, but otherwise intact. A late night dinner of local sausage and white beans and a few hours sleep reset the gyros for Spain.

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Architecture in Barcelona is varied and interesting these two apartment blocks are typical. Many apartment blocks are very elegant and interesting.

On the morning of the 22nd we walked to the BMW dealer and found the “Elephant” moping around the back of the workshop, fraternising with shiny new bikes whose owners washed them and probably treated them very well indeed. No place for our beast of burden.

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Marc Muòoz brings out the “Elephant”.

The service cost about half the asking rate in the United Kingdom and the dealer, Mutaòá BMW, was very professional. We thanked Marc Muòoz, the service manager, for looking after our bike and gear for three weeks, paid our bill and got the bike back to our hotel to start getting it ready for the next leg of our adventure.

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The mechanics unload new BMW ready for its first service. Space is at a premium in Barcelona, but this dealer had a spacious and well equipped workshop.

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This little charmer was in the BMW workshop. I could just see Burkey riding it up to the Outback Café on a Sunday.

During the time back in Australia I had made up two additional storage tubes to be fitted to the bike to increase the volume of space on the bike to accommodate our cold weather gear. One of the problems with the itinerary has been that we need to carry gear for very cold weather, but we don’t need to use it all the time. The cold weather stuff isn’t heavy, but it is bulky and we simply didn’t have the lockable storage to carry it.

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Fitting up the new storage boxes in the Barcelona hotel room.

The remainder of our day and well into the evening was spent fitting up the storage kits to our existing boxes. When the job was finally done and all of the gear loaded, we were both too tired to go out for a meal and collapsed into bed hoping to catch up on some sleep. Unfortunately, the hotel was old and thin walled. The noise from the street was annoying but the noise when the gentleman in the next room took a folk dancing lesson from a professional instructor was enough to wake the dead and was certainly enough to wake us!

We headed out of Barcelona at 1030 on the morning of the 21st after giving Kylie (the GPS) Valencia as our first destination. It was about then that the day started to go wrong.

Jo reckons it was my fault. She claims that after not speaking to “her” for three weeks I shouldn’t have re-started our relationship by saying: “come on you old tart, get your sorry arse into gear and let’s get this rock show moving!” Whatever the cause, Kylie gave us clear and unambiguous directions that took us west and inland onto the central plateau rather than straight south down the coast to Valencia. I only noticed there was something wrong when the road kept climbing and when I checked the altitude we were at 760m and my hands were numb with the cold.

We stopped for coffee, warm clothes and a long hard look at the map. I punched Kylie’s buttons firmly and set a course straight back to the coast. It was 1400 by the time we were back on the coastal road only 100km from our start.

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There are interesting pieces of public art everywhere in Spain. This piece in the middle of a round bout is typical.

For the next day we headed south rolling along on the minor road through towns and villages across endless plains of orange orchards and around huge sprawling industrial towns with every kind of factory. Every now and then our minor road crossed under the auto-pista with its traffic flashing by, but we were happy weaving our way through Spaniards going about their daily business.

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Orange trees are everywhere in this part of the country. They don’t call it the Orange Blossom Coast for nothing. We liked the use of the orange trees in the main streets very much. Not only do they look great, you get to eat the fruit!

Every few kilometres in the rural areas a young lady dressed in the traditional costume of Spanish folk dancing instructors sat by the road on a plastic chair waiting for students from among the long distance truck drivers and tourists who mill around along the coastal strip.

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Bugger! I know it is under here somewhere.

Our destination town of Calpe is a large tourist centre catering to German and English seeking a place in the sun. Off season, with the cold wind whipping white caps onto the normally calm Mediterranean, it has a seedy and unhurried charm. We will be pleased to have a few days here in a comfortable (heated) apartment to get our selves settled again.

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The Mediterranean on a bad day looking like the South Coast on a good day.

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Calpe has a lot of German expats, but also some English. This place was full of them for Sunday lunch. It is a strange cat indeed who would choose English food over Spanish regardless of where they grew up.

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Something lost in the translation.

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Plenty of WiFi in Calpe,but the down jacket is a bit much!

Posted by Mike Hannan at November 26, 2007 08:38 PM GMT

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