May 08, 2007 GMT
UK to Gibralter 2007

We left UK on Monday 30 April via Condor ferries who were the one company that we found would give reductions for Senior Citizens ! They were good and secured bike for us.From Weymouth to St Malo and stopped quickly at Guernsey and Jersey.Arrrived 6pm to promptly get lost trying to find the hotel- road closed and diversions in place !

Through to La Rochelle on Tuesday and it was a cold and wet ride through Rennes and Nantes. A good drive though on deserted roads . Beware of filling up in France - alot of the garages will only accept French cards . We had to wait for a lady to pay on her card and we paid her cash!Petrol about the same price as UK.
La Rochelle is a lovely port area,pretty with the twin towers that guard the entrance to the harbour.All the children are still up at 9-10pm.

Stayed with some friends we had not seen for years on the Wednesday which was great.Then on to Condom on part motorway which you pay for but not expensive.This was a lovely ride in warmer weather at 14 -16 degrees. The no smoking laws are interperated differently here , in that there are areas in the bars and restaurants that you can smoke.
Condom is a medievil town and boasts a very impressive Cathedral with cobbled roads .We passed loads of vines as this is the Bordeaux district. The roads are deserted and it is a joy to be travelling.

Friday 4 May and into Spain via Tarbes and Lourdes and through to the Pyrenees.----OK then folks- who had to have 2 goes at crossing them ?!! It was cold, wet , foggy and 3 degrees and we failed to see the closed Col notice at the bottom.
Well , to be accurate, I did see it but didīnt register that it was 'our Col'! -----So, we had a lovely ride up and back down on a diversion route and Colin had no idea where he was as the map was too small a scale !Eventually ended up in Pau and traversed the Pyrenees via the tunnel! We agreed that coming down the P was more spectacular than going up- you just seem to descend for ages.Areas of no guard rails and just a vertical drop to the side.We have a lovely photo of the mountains in the fog but you can just see the snow capped areas in the background.

The other side was a different world- 20 degrees and we had a good trip to Huesko, Spain. These roads are also deserted and you can cover alot of miles in a short space of time. Petrol is 75p per litre and a bottle of beer and a Nestea is 2.07 GBP- cheap. Tourist menu of 3 courses is 13 Euro (1.4 E to 1 GBP) Hotels are about 60 Euro for the night including breakfast.Smoking is the same as in France, despite the rules ,they seem to make up their own mind which are the designated areas!

Sat 5 may and on to Requina through Zaragossa on quiet roads- even in the towns.The first part of this drive was very windy with cross winds that 'got you' on the high plains.Ther are plenty pf places to stop and eat on the side of the roads here with all amenities . Very traveller friendly.

Sunday and on to Jaen through the mountains that are spectacular on the N322 road.- Good biking road and the highest point was 3500 feet.Here you can stay on the bike as they fill up with the petrol for you!-- what an easy way of doing it! On the plains you have a panoramic view to the horizon of fields and fields of olive trees and cereal crops. Poppies are in abundance and there are no fields that lie fallow here and boy, are they self sufficient. Every house has a small vegetable plot.

Jaen is another town with cobbled streets and is old.It's lovely to sit in the square and watch the world go by - very civilised ! The restaurants donīt open till 8.30pm and often people are coming in to start eating at 10pm.We have managed to find a hotel nearly every night with secure parking as some where along the line we have lost the cover for the bike - hey ho- these things happen.

Mon 7 May and on to Ronda. It was a great ride and getting hotter by the mile !Took the 3221 which took us up through the mountains again and was a great drive - just as good as the Pyrenees.

Ronda is a lovely place with charecter and charm. Very old and is famous for the gorge. We actually got a hotel with a view right over the gorge. We were above the height of the birds flying and were able to see them nest in the rocks!The gorge is so deep you are unable to get it all into a photo.There are pavements that are marble or beautifully tiled.

Today we have seen oranges growing, so a sure sign that it is getting warmer.The roundabouts usually have a statue in the centre and the traffic lights in towns are above your head and are winking amber as you enter. If you do not slow down the flashing becomes quicker and then red.If you are first in the queue every one knows that it was you that was speeding !-- a good deterent and it really does make you slow down.

Tues 8 May and here we are at Gibralter. The first view was amazing in 30 degrees. Itīs actually smaller than I had imagined.We are off to visit the sights tomorrow - our first day off since we left home.

Posted by Dee Masters at May 08, 2007 05:24 PM GMT

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