Posted by: Stevie D | March 14, 2012

To Portugal.

A couple of years ago, my good friends Tony and Ann decided to join us on a ride down through Spain to Portugal and, in particular it’s capital, Lisbon. I have ridden to pretty well all the countries in Western Europe and for me, Spain is bikers heaven. Wide open spaces like you’ll never find in the UK. Even the busy roads are quiet. Great scenery, historic towns, an ever improving road system, fantastic weather, friendly people, cheap beer…… Yes, I quite like Spain. Portugal is much the same but on a smaller scale. And, importantly, in mid-summer, it tends to be a little cooler due to its proximity to the Atlantic.

This trip was to be in mid-May, a little earlier in the year than I normally head south. Bikes loaded  up and we head off to Plymouth ferryport for the 21hour crossing to Santander in northern Spain. There’s something about being born on an island which makes me revel in being on a ferry. It’s always one of the highlights of my trip and neither the Channel Tunnel or a common ole plane can give me that same euphoria. Also, of course, a 21hour trip gives you plenty of time in the onboard bar, time to sleep it off, and a chance to hit the duty free shop to fill those last gaps in the pannier bags.

Looking forward to the ride ahead.

On leaving the ferry at Santander, you find yourself right in the middle of a bustling,attractive port city and finding your way out, even if you’ve done it before, is always a bit ‘hit and miss’. Then it’s over the beautiful Picos de Europa mountains and onto the high plateau which makes up the major part of mainland Spain.

Clean bike-it must be day one.

The weather was fine but surprisingly cool, much cooler than I had ever experienced in Spain before. The riding however, was blissful.At one point we (I) took a wrong turn and we went several miles up a dead end road to a place in the mountains called Fuente De. Not a detour I would have chosen to make, but a beautiful spot none the less.

A lucky wrong turn bought us to this lovely spot.

When we left the mountains behind, the roads became typically Spanish. Quiet, sweeping bends, well surfaced. You just don’t really want to get where you’re going.

A bum-break to take in the view.

After an overnight stop in a small town which shall remain nameless(I’ve forgotten), we set off the next morning and by the time we reached Avila, the sun was doing it’s thing, and sweatshirts were discarded for the last time.

Spain has many spectacular old towns.This is Avila.

We had one more overnight stop before we reached Lisbon.

Overnight stop.

Early morning, looking west toward Portugal.

On arrival at Lisbon, Tony and Ann’s masochistic streak kicked in and they found themselves a campsite. Something to do with ‘we’ve carried this tent all this way and we’re gonna use it’. Jayney and I found ourselves a hostal. Only a little more expensive and no bugs. Well, not so many.

Next day we met up to explore Lisbon, capital of Portugal and a genuinely beautiful old city.

Our first look around Lisbon.

Around the streets, there were several guys being human statues, doing absolutely nothing for the euros that passers-by wanted to put their way. Easy money? Perhaps. But these guys were really good at what they do, even if they don’t do anything.

Making money for doing nothing.Literally.

A famous landmark in Lisbon.

We had a really good day around Lisbon and it was good to have a break from the bike for a while. We decided though that enough was enough and next day we would explore outside the city.

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Responses

  1. good story and some great pictures. Avila is one of my favourite Spanish cities.

    • Thanks for that Andrew. I generally prefer rural to urban, but Spains many historic towns are endlessly fascinating. The scale of your own travels is amazing, by the way.

  2. Awesome pics!

    • Thanks Greycat.

  3. Stevie, great blog you’ve got here mate!!
    A pleasure to read, and the pics are bloody good too.
    Certainly looks like you guys are having tons of fun. 🙂
    Look forward to following your exploits.

    Go steady.

    Jay

    Onebaddaddy

    • Gotta have fun Jay. After all, you’re only young once. I was.

  4. Looking at this makes me want October to hurry up and get here. We are doing a little driving (Seville to Ronda) so now I am really looking forward to it

    • You’ll love it, and October is a great time of year to go. Not too hot.

  5. Wonderful – we often get grops of bikers touring around where we live..lots of lovely windy mountain roads!

    • Thanks so much for checking out the blog. I take it from your ‘pen-name’ you’re in Andalusia. If so, I’ve been there many times. It’s one of my favourite parts of Europe. I just love riding around that lovely land with my lovely lady.


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