I decided this was the year to see Europe. I originally planned to see as much of the continent as possible and had delusions of riding from Barcelona through the Alps, up to see a friend in Poland, shoot across Germany to Amsterdam, down to Paris, etc. Thanks to the wisdom of some of the inmates here at ADV who never hesitate to tell you when you're doing it wrong (and I can't thank you enough) I realized that I would be missing too much by trying to see so much. One quote was something like "you might as well just stay home and ride up and down I-95" I decided to just take all secondary roads and enjoy where I was, concentrating on the Alps, instead of trying to see all of Europe in a month. I am so glad because this turned out to be such an epic adventure and I don't regret a thing. I arrived in Barcelona on the morning of September 2nd and spent a day exploring the city by way of the subway system. I picked up the bike the next day from IMTBikes. These guys were great and this is a great rental company with locations around Spain and one in Portugal. All of their BMWs are less than a year old and in perfect condition. http://www.imtbike.com I can't say enough good things about these guys. They also do guided tours. Sergi from IMT helped me plan a nice route out of Barcelona through the Pyrenees to get me over to the Route de Grand Alps. He even gave me two maps as a parting gift. Early the next day I started my journey. The weather was perfect, clear skies and warm but not too hot. I made my way out of the city, stopping to top off the tank for the first of many many times. I'll never forget the feeling of being underway, filling the tank knowing I was leaving the busy city streets and heading out in to the unknown. Quick side note: Coming from a state where lane splitting and filtering are not only illegal but likely to get you killed by an irate cager, it took a little while to get the swing of it but I was soon riding like a local. So I was on my way and the riding started getting good right away. The first day was long, too long really. 500 kms and I vowed that I would not do any more long days like that. The route took me through the Pyrenees and Andorra then up to Carcassone. The mountains started small, much like the Appalachians, but got much larger on the other side of Andorra. The roads were really fun, lots of connecting turns and beautiful scenery. I was grinning in my helmet. I didn't take too many photos the first day, but here are a few. I loved seeing the old buildings and I loved how in the small villages the narrow streets would wind between the buildings sometimes barely a car width apart. Roads in Europe are generally in really nice condition. Day one route: <iframe style="height: 270px; width: 450px;" src="http://www.mapquest.com/embed?hk=NXW9zB" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> .