In travel mode now
So here we are again a week on and the sun is definitley shining again.
The ride from Santander to Salamanca was terrible and we rode 5kms up the side of a mountain only to be turned back by too much snow! You would have thought we would have learnt that the higher you go the colder it got but we pressed on until snow was pretty much covering the whole road. Coming down again was fun though. I had my feet out and we pretty much "skied" all the way down.
We eventually made it to a more major road but it was still snowing and Jo was cold to say the least (tears and all!!). It took her forever to get off the bike!
Salamanca was a welcome change though and we have had sun ever since. We spent a few days "relaxing" and taking in the sights of Salamanca, mainly the main square where we drank coffee on and off all day.
From Salamanca we headed to Lisbon which was a lot closer on the map than it was in real life. The scenery was changing fast though and was much drier and warmer the further south and west we headed. The Spanish Motorbike Grand Prix had been on the day before so there were literally 100īs of bikes hooning past which kept the ride fun. Jo was expecting another stamp in the passport when we crossed into Portugal but had to be content with a "Welcome to Portugal" sign over the motorway.
It was still another 4 hours ride to the campsite and was getting dark, the roads were bumpy, and I was riding with the sun in my face. We arrived at the campsite in style though by falling off the bike when we came to a stop. It was the first time we had dropped the bike but we managed to pick it up again without a problem and wasnt damaged at all. (Oh and no Jo wasnt damaged either!)
NB - We have now decided to limit the riding to 300miles a day max!
The next day made all the hoo haa worthwhile and we found a desrted beach without a single footprint on it. It was a beach straight out of "Survivor Thailand" complete with caves etc. We both sat on the sand looking out over the ocean in amazement at where we were and how beautiful it was.
Lisbon was the first capital city we had been to on our trip and it felt funny being around so many people and cars again. The locals didnt waste anytime in offering me some very strange smelling substances with a quality that was gauranteed to impress. I wouldnīt even know what to do with the stuff they were selling and wasn't sure whether I should have been honoured or appalled that they had chosen me to pick on.
Apart from that Lisbon was great and we spent the day walking around and up and down some seriously steep hills. We finished the day off at the "Ghandi Palace" for a nice Chicken Tikka and Samosa's!
We met our first travellers on the way to Seville when two German bikers stopped for a chat at a Service station. Although we don't know much German we could still look at a map and understand what they were saying about great motorbike roads and excellent mountain scenery. They have also assured us of a bed for the night if we go to Dusseldorf so we hope to meet up with them again when we are in the area.
And now to Seville where we have been since last Thursday (I think!). Riding into a city we are normally presented with great views but the only thing we could see in Seville apart from buildings and motorways were cranes. Oh and Horse & Carts being "driven" down the motorway at evening rush hour. They weren't even carrying tourists. Just father and son out for an evening ride.
We were proven wrong though and once you are in the city it's a very different picture. There was a Bull fight on the day we came into town and everyone was dressed in their Saturday best to watch the match. Not quite the same atmosphere as watching Arsenal Vs Chelsea but there was certainly a buzz around the city. We visited the Seville Cathedral which was huge and amazing, including a great view of the city from the top. We enjoyed some tapas and sangria and well and truely joined in with the festive atmosphere.
We spent yesterday in Cadiz just people watching by the ocean and strolling along the beach with an ice-cream - tough life!
We will visit Cordoba tomorrow and then on to Granada and more mountains - hopefully without snow this time. Fingers crossed the weather stays kind to us.
Posted by Garry Scutcher at 05:46 PM
The rain in Spain falls mainly on our tent
Our trip across the world didn't start the way we had planned. There was no setting sun ahead of us due to the fact we left 6 hours late and it was dark and cold. We didnīt make it to the end of the A12 (40 minutes down the road) without a drama. The bike cover was strapped to a side pannier and at some point fell off. We back tracked for an hour to look for it. Scanning the side of the road with your visor up and in freezing conditions is not our idea of fun and adventure. Needless to say we didnīt find it. We did find a blue carrier bag containing a magazine of questionable quality. I told Garry now was not the time to flick through looking at the pictures!
We made it on time to the ferry at Plymouth the next day after being soaked by pathetic English weather. But the sun came out as we set sail and we admit to feeling sad as England disappeared into the distance.
Arriving in Spain we were really excited and for the first time both felt the adrenalin pumping about travelling rather than about organising travelling. We had a nice ride through the mountains to our campsite at Cabuerniga (GPS coordinates: N:43.13.622, W:004.18.079), 50km south west of Santander. Great idea to camp in a valley with mountain views and tiny Spainish village - as long as you can actually see the moutains and it isnīt pouring down with rain 24 hours a day! To add insult to injury our matresses has a hole in it so we had a night of cold, wet and hard ground (and salt in the wound - no hot water for a shower!!). Ok we are being very negative but in our minds now things can only improve.
Tomorrow we head south towards Portugal - sun and blue skies (fingers crossed anyway).
Posted by Garry Scutcher at 05:43 PM
Leaving the UK and heading for Oz
On April 6th 2005 we set off from England on our 1150GS and began our trip back to Australia via Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Weīre doing our best to live the dream.
For the six months prior we have been flat out planning: studying maps which cover our walls; debating trip plans - "will it be too cold then?","isn't there a war going on there?", "will they let the bike through?", "but aren't there French people in France?"; filling in copious amounts of forms;spending hours on the net; and due to the red tape and boring bits, at times almost forgetting the actual travel and experiencing other cultures part of it all. It's a 9 month adventure but at times the preparation was really hard work and we resorted to burying our heads in the sand.
At the end of the day though its all about discovering new places and experiencing new things. The real excitement will be at the border crossings, travelling through Russia, the Baltic states, the Middle East and India. Although we are certainly not the first people to travel these countries by bike, many of the areas we are going to are without things that we take for granted in the western world. Things like motorways, McDonalds and decent hotels are what we have come to expect travelling in the UK but hopefully our travels will be better without such comforts.
We have a list of countries we'd like to visit (basically everywhere!) but with limited time and constant change in foreign affairs which rule out certain areas our plan is never set in stone. We have a proposed route but even as we travel this will change and for us it's this unknown which makes things even more exciting.
Posted by Garry Scutcher at 05:32 PM