The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by V@lentino, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    I know the feeling... they know how to live... with their long lunches, and siesta's and fiesta's to say nothing of the beautiful architecture, history and geographic beauty... and us... it's the 9 to 5 rat race... :(:

    Thanks for the detailed report and insights into life in Spain... Looking forward to more... :lurk
    #41
  2. folknride

    folknride Old Adventurer

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    Could my wife and I rent/borrow/steal your European family for a few months??:evil
    Fantastic journey and great report.
    And I'm hoping it doesn't end somwhere with a bad getoff - read too many of those lately:huh
    #42
  3. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    I have already started, it will be the west coast at least as far as Panama.

    Can't wait:clap
    #43
  4. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Leaving Oviedo proved to be slightly more difficult than anticipated, we waved goodbye to Liliane’s family to head west, or so we thought! GP recalculated several times, and then it started to rain (so I chased the compass for while). The rain did not stop for 5 and some hours it took us to join the 350 km separating the capital of Asturias from the Saint city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, the wettest city of Spain.

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    We did not take any pics until we reached the city, a few kilometers short the rain finally gave way. Apart from my gloves which reminded me of the subtle difference between water resistance, and water proof, the rest of our gear and ST performed well.

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    The large adjustable windshield of the bike is a blessing in wet weather riding. As I mentioned before, we have been following the Camino de Compostela loosely since Grenoble, and when we landed in town we were tired, and weary from the rain. It had not been a particular long ridding day, but getting lost right from the get go and 5 hours of heavy rain had taken their toll.

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    Nothing that a glass of red could not cure (un baso de tinto). We have been using hostelbooker.com and lastminute.com to find a spot but we had been unable to book a a room, because many were full. But we got lucky and benefited from a last minute cancellation at one of our previous elected spot. A 2 stars hostel ten minutes walk from the old city for 37€ for the room and 4€ so ST could spend the night in the garage.

    After showering and warming up, we headed for the old town, (la ciudad antigua), to get our first glance at the cathedral that has commended so many pilgrims to their knees, after having walked the Camino from wherever their point of origin was.

    And there she was in all her magnificence
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    Nothing to plug your power tools in when this baby was build, think about that for a minute or two.

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    The top.

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    You need a wide lense to even begin to give it justice.

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    Like so many before us, we where mesmerized by its beauty and its size. It is impossible to know whose bones were actually found, and precisely when and how, the pilgrimage started. Legends abound.

    Jackie the accidental pilgrim
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    Not that it really matters, but what the history of the pilgrimage requires, is what the meagre sources fail to reveal, it is not well known how the local Galician cult associated with the saint of St James was transformed into an international cult drawing pilgrims from distant parts of the world.

    A few from inside
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    one more
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    The 1000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St James, Zebedee’s son and brother of St John the Evangelist, in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is known in English as the way of St James, and in Galician as the Camiño de Santiago.

    It was slowly getting dark and we were getting hungry
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    So we found this place, and bought some food stuff for the room.
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    The city at night was simply enchanting.

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    In the morning we gave ST a day of rest and walk around more, this time enjoying the wonderful architecture under blue skies.

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    Over 100,000 pilgrims travel to the city each year from points all over Europe, and other parts of the world. However, few get their on a an ST with license plates from Manitoba.
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    And Palm threes were there too.
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    Tomorrow we travel south to Salamanca, stick around for more...
    #44
  5. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    The morning skies were dark and gloomy.
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    It was only 0800 and we were already on the road (read early for us)
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    And followed this route to cover the 500 km to Salamanca.
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    Although the clouds were black and menacing, we stayed dry.
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    Plenty of wind though
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    The province of Castilla y Leon is of extraordinary beauty, the landscape from Galicia changed from rolling green hills to steep gorges separated by desert like mountainous range, until we reached the plains of central Spain.

    Unfortunately the light was not the best to take pics
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    Another bull, I love these
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    We are starting to see some olive groves, and the perfumes in the air are also changing. Maybe because it was Sunday, but there was no traffic at all, and we were lucky the rain was holding off.

    Storks did seem to mind the weather
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    Navigating is through city traffic is not a problem. Despite being a real pig when static, ST becomes easy to handle in the narrow coble stone streets, and nimble enough to thread safely as soon as your gather a bit of momentum.

    We stayed away from the superslab to better enjoy the landscape, and landed in Salamanca by late afternoon.

    Plaza de España
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    We entered the city searching for our hostel, and Jackie after taking a quick look gave me the thumbs down. Leave it to Flight Attendants to be able to appropriately gauge, the value you get for your buck for any establishment.

    So we ended up here, a got a really good deal on a nice 3 stars.

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    Shortly after it started to pour, really hard. Perfect I thought, ST needs a rinse anyway.

    Squeaky clean
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    Salamanca is a one of the oldest university city of Europe and is alive with people of all ages. A much younger crowd than in Oviedo.

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    People were much taller back in those days

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    The cathedral was majestic but it will have to take second place behind Santiago de Compostella.

    Here are a few

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    The nave was very impressive, see how small people look next to the columns

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    Jackie was tired, she kept on saying come on Valentino why don't you go get ST while I guard this bench
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    Ole Torro
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    Valentino was happy again, we found ham:evil
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    I will let you delight in the pictures, but Salamanca was truly beautiful. We have learned more about the customs of Spain.

    Although the streets were practically deserted for most of the day, apart from a few wandering tourists,

    Where did everybody go
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    After resting for a few hours we left our hotel, the Rona Dalba, to return to the streets where we were greeted by crowds of Spaniards doing their Sunday evening walk, (El Paseo del Domingo)

    There's everybody
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    Here
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    And here
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    Meeting for caña y pinchos (cold beer on tap and individual appetizers).
    Two beers and two pinchos will set you back €3,40. :freaky So far anyways, Salamanca takes the palm... at least for tapas.

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    Plaza de España by night

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    Tomorrow we head for Madrid, the capital and a visit at the museo Del Prado....
    #45
  6. RDJEff

    RDJEff Lost in Alaska

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    I'm really enjoying your trip!

    Be sure to walk the park across the street from the Prado, its quite nice!
    #46
  7. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    May 13

    It was warm and sunny when we left Salamanca,

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    Before stopping in Madrid, we would first make a small detour by Segovia.
    We entered the city via this roundabout.

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    And followed the small cobble stone streets to the famous Roman Viaduct,
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    What a sight

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    Jackie wanted me to ride pillion till Madrid?, uhhh... I don't think so!

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    We stopped for gas, and I met this very friendly horse, he asked if I could get him some of those tender branches that were out of reach, of course I obliged, and we had a nice conversation regarding the benefit of fiber in your diet.

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    Back on the road, we'll be in Madrid soon...

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    #47
  8. folknride

    folknride Old Adventurer

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    WOW!!!:clap :clap :clap :clap
    #48
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    I'm in for the whole journey.... and savoring every installment. :thumb

    :lurk
    #49
  10. cubeblock

    cubeblock Adventurer

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    Great report, I am dusting down my Pan now :)
    #50
  11. Medicine Creek

    Medicine Creek 127.0.0.1

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    beautiful pictures. :thumb
    #51
  12. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Stay tune for Madrid, for a culinary experience of a different nature


    Your kind, we had better opportunities as the trip progressed, the best is yet to come.
    #52
  13. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    How were you navigating over there? Did you have the use of a GPS?

    I hear a GPS through Madrid is useless since the major highways are under ground! C'est vrai? :ear

    :lurk
    #53
  14. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Si es la verdad

    We had the European maps loaded in the Zumo, so it was really easy. Your right about Madrid though, we really hadn't realized it until we got stuck on the underground perimeter, we ended up taking the first or second exit after missing ours (8 km later), and made our way through city traffic with the aid of the GPS again.

    Our way out of the city was also the same we ended up doing a 15km detour, I wanted to avoid the perimeter, while the GPS kept on pointing me in that direction.

    It was all good, we got to see more of the city that way.:ricky
    #54
  15. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Madriz is the largest urban agglomeration we sampled since leaving Amsterdam, and what a place it is. Smaller than the city of Toronto with a population of almost a million more than the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), add hordes of tourists, and you have a pretty packed, and busy place.

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    As we rode into the city, I missed my exit towards the center from the perimeter, which borders the capital mostly in the form of a tunnel that does not favor GPS reception, hence if you miss your exit (puerta) you go for a long tunnel ride to the next exit.

    The city never stops, and that’s on a cool and cloudy Monday evening in May with nothing out of the ordinary going on in town.

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    Madrid provided mixed feelings, it just did not make us feel as good as other large European capitals we now well. True we only have spent 2 and a half days in the city, but it was dirty, lots of garbaged not picked up, paper waste lying in the streets.

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    But full of contrast, I think it’s the kind of place, which you love to hate. The center, where most of the sights are located is dense with restaurants catering mostly to tourists that are fairly expensive.

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    The shopping district is sensational with large multilevel stores, especially Corte Ingles, Jackie's favorite, and countless boutiques offering anything you can possibly imagine, and than some. As we dawdled the streets, we could hear many European languages being spoken.

    Una cerveza fria por favor

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    "Come on Valentino times a wasting, and it will be dark soon and the shops are gonna close"

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    "But... but... I gotta rest a bit, and by the way where are we going to put all this stuff"

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    Madrid is a truly international capital. The Y shape intersection created by Calle Gran Via and Calle de Alcala, reminded us of Time Square minus the high-rises. If you can’t find it in Madrid, you don’t need it.

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    Plaza de España

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    On the cathedral front, Compostella still leads the pack. The great cathedral of Madrid build facing the royal palace was impressive, but did not match the sights of our two previously visited cities. The hostel we stayed in was, clean, low cost, and served its purpose well. Located centrally from all the sights, it was great to be able to stroll the busy streets of the capital.

    The Palace of Juan Carlos

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    Jackie felt right at home

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    The Cathedral

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    From a different angle

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    Truly a capital

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    We walk through los Jardines del Campo del Moro (the royal garden)

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    After taking a wrong turn we were refused one of the reserved exits, and had to make our way back to the public access.

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    The highlight of our time their was the 6 hours we spent at the Museo del Prado, where we got a chance to get better acquainted with among others, Rubens, Velasquiez, Bosch, El Greco and of course Goya.

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    Jackie in very distinguished company

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    The masterpieces exposed took us through the years from 1100 to 1800, it was a cultural delight.

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    We went for canas and pinchos after the visit, and we had an unpleasant argument with a rude server, she was convince that stupid and tourists meant the same thing, regardless of the fact that both of us speak Spanish and argued that both the order requested and the price charged was off.
    No big deal, typical of big city life.

    This boutique across from the museum had quite a nice front
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    Although the temperature reached 20 C during the day, the evenings are still cool with sporadic rain showers. We are actually surprised that the weather has not warmed up more, folks are telling us that this is atypical for this time of the year.

    No problem we are heading south anyways.

    Last evening we went out to have dinner in a restaurant called the Museo del Jamon, although the food was good, half way through the meal we encountered a extra portion of protein in the form of a visitor from of a small diptera, maybe it was a member of the simuliidae family? First it was Jackies turn, than a few minutes later I also found a fly. Chef must have left the windows of the kitchen open, maybe they need to get some screens or something.

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    The server and cook both came to apologies for our entomological encounter and offered us our bottle of Rosé.

    That was Madrid in a nutshell.

    How I feel

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    Tomorrow we have a quick ride to Toledo, a UNESCO world heritage site, where we booked two days in a four stars hotel near the old city, again using lastminute.com. 85.00 Euros for both days…
    #55
  16. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Thanks for the tour of the heart of the former empire! The king's got himself a nice crib..:thumb

    Bring on Toledo.. (not Ohio! :lol2)

    :lurk
    #56
  17. ScubaMoto

    ScubaMoto Adventurer

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    I just found this RR and got caught up and all I can say is WOW:clap. This is truly a unique and spectacular RR. Thanks for sharing your incredible journey with us. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment :lurk:lurk:lurk .
    #57
  18. TheTomcat

    TheTomcat The Tomcat is here!

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    Fantastic trip. I grew up in Germany You are making me homesick! Keep it up!
    #58
  19. DominicDomingo

    DominicDomingo axe me anything

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    Gimme a PM if you guys haven't been through Barcelona yet, maybe we can meet for a drink and a walk or ride around.

    Cheers, great report, Dominic
    #59
  20. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Wait til we get to the German part:nod


    We loved Barcelona, muchas gracias por la invitation, but we were there in early June:wave
    #60