Out of the Cage - A Spring Ride across Europe 2021

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Don T, May 30, 2021.

  1. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    Thank you for the kind words and for tagging along :norton

    We were close to OD on cheese several times on this trip. It was delicious and served everywhere.

    The landscape and scenery in the northwestern part of Spain is extremely varied and often very beautiful. It added to the experience that we mostly had it all to ourselves on this trip.
    #41
  2. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    LOL..."Zombie Fish"...a rather appropriate description!
    #42
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  3. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    The plan for the day was to reach Braga while the weather was still decent. In the morning we crossed the border to Portugal. Yet another border crossing without any kind of control. At this point we had travelled 4.500 kilometer and crossed 5 borders without showing any papers. A different experience compared to what we had expected during a pandemic…

    In the afternoon we checked into a hotel in Braga.

    We paid for 3 nights, unloaded the bikes, got back in the saddles and rode to Casa de @fulviapaulo 5 minutes away.

    Paulo was the reason for our visit to Braga. I got to know him 5 years earlier on a solo ride to Portugal. Back then I stayed with him and his family. We have been keeping in touch. Since the visit both Paulo and I have become involved with the TET project. He is the linesman for Portugal and I’m the linesman for Denmark.

    At his house we were greeted by the whole family. It was good to see them again and to introduce them to Katrine. They had prepared a delicious traditional Portuguese dinner for us. It was a very pleasant evening.

    The following 2 days our bikes were stored in Paulo’s garage while we played tourists with Paulo as our guide.
    We had a great time.

    Nice scenery in northern Portugal.
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    Dinner with Paulo and his lovely family.
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    Paulos wife found Katrines bike to be a bit on the tall side.
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    Our first full day in Braga was spend exploring the city and its surroundings with Paulo and his wife.
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    Lunch time.
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    Bom Jesus do Monte.
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    Afternoon snack (just a little something to go with the drinks).
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    On the second day Paulo showed us around Porto.

    First stop in Porto was the local Honda dealer. Katrine and I will head out on a big trip in 2023. We'll sell everything we own before departure. The plan is to fly to Portland Oregon, pick up 2 bikes, set them up and start traveling. The most likely candidate for choice of bikes right now is the new Honda CRF 300 Rally. We need to try it before we can decide if it will do. Unfortunately it doesn't get imported to Denmark. We hoped that maybe we could find one to try in Porto. No such luck. The dealer told us that no dealers in the country has one in stock. The importer had expected a 20% increase in demand on the new model. It turned out that the demand increased 500%. As a result any 300 Rally that arrives in the country this year is already sold.
    He had a 250 Rally we could fondle while talking.
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    Next stop was lunch with Paulo's friends @rama130 and Herminio. I enjoyed the company of both the last time I visited Portugal. It was good to see them again.
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    After lunch it was time for a stroll along the Douro River and a visit to a Port Wine cellar.
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    Corullon (E) - Braga (P): 423 km.
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    To be continued...
    #43
  4. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Damn, this continues to be a fantastic trip to follow. :bow These pictures of the Spanish and Portuguese countryside are really making me want to go for a ride... :ricky


    The wife has been on my case to make another trip to Spain and Portugal, so I may have to get some pointers to these small town places you stayed at, which are not always easy to find by searching the typical hotel sites.


    Gustavo
    #44
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  5. Vrode

    Vrode Still half-fast... Supporter

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    Thank you for taking us along. The scenery is beautiful. A fantastic trip so far! Safe travels! (and no more mishaps)
    #45
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  6. Hollyr

    Hollyr Vesterislendingur Supporter

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    #46
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  7. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    I'm a black belt in Booking.com

    The combination of low price and very high ratings (+9) seems to be the key to finding the really special places. B&B's is usually better than hotels. I try to avoid hotel chains. I only search for places with private parking.
    Booking.com is cheaper and easier to use for the hosts than other similar sites (that is what numerous hosts have told me), which make it the preferred choice (at least here in Europe) for small private accommodations.
    #47
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  8. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I typically use booking too, but in the US, a lot of those smaller places you find in Europe don't show up on sites like Booking. Those that typically show up are small, but expensive, B&B type accommodations. Or maybe all hotels have gotten really expensive here and I still haven't wrapped my mind around that fact...

    Gustavo
    #48
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  9. olderigetfasteriam

    olderigetfasteriam Long timer

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    The food alone is amazing.
    #49
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  10. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    Even though we really had enjoyed our time with Paulo, his family and his friends, it felt good to be back on the bikes when we set out from Braga in the morning of the third day.
    The weather had improved significantly and we were hungry for new adventures.
    Our destination for the day was Guarda - the highest city in continental Portugal. It was a short day’s stage. We took the scenic route at a leisurely pace. In the afternoon we stopped for lunch within the city walls of Trancoso.


    It was still early when we arrived in Guarda. We stayed at a hotel in the center of town. The owner allowed us to park the bikes on the hotel terrace. Getting the bikes up on the terrace was a bit tricky as the road in front of the hotel had been dug up.

    My ankle had improved enough for a cautious jog around town before dinner. It was much needed after the two-day’s feast in Braga.

    The Douro River Valley.
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    Trancoso.
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    Unloading the bikes on the terrace in front of the hotel in Guarda.
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    A jog is a great way to explore our surroundings - in this case the town.
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    The hotel we stayed at was build on and around some ancient walls. It made for interesting architecture and decor.
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    Late dinner. It turned out to be difficult to get a table (only time that happened on this trip). We ended up getting delicious Sushi served outside. It was a tasty but chill experience.
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    Braga (P) - Guarda (P): 224 km.

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    To be continued...
    #50
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  11. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    We love good food. It's an important part of any journey we do.
    I could have posted many more pictures of food from this trip, but I find that it soon get old to watch other people's food...
    #51
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  12. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Stir crazy

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    Yeah, but dish-of-the-day will do. Mmmm.
    #52
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  13. Hollyr

    Hollyr Vesterislendingur Supporter

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    I love the way the hotel has incorporated the walls. Brilliant architecture! Is there a story about the girl with the goggles and spear and the snake or is it just art?
    #53
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  14. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    it all looks fantastic. thanks for posting.
    #54
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  15. OldDirtBiker

    OldDirtBiker Adventurer

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    I'll be 75 in Oct and after a bought with cancer this Winter I have decided and sold my two bikes. 250 Kaw duel sport and R1200GS. After reading and looking at your trip report I may reconsider and buy a 390KTM and maybe it will be a good size for a recovering rider. Your report and pictures are the best I have ever seen. I served in Europe with the US military in Wursburg Germany and have traveled in Europe and the British Isles. I am also Basque and my wife is Portugese. She is from the Assores, but would love to spend some time in Portugal. My favorite drink is Port Wine mostly the Tawny type with a bit of age. Beautiful report. If you come to the US and start your trip in Portland we would love to put you up in Meridian, near Boise, Idaho. You can reach us at 1-208-841-1602. We have guest room and would see that you get fed and rested. A long days ride from Portland, but only about 7-8 hrs by car so a determined rider could so that easy. I recomment more bike than a 300 Honda makes a good 500 that would be suited for most riding, but not a lot of one track. My 1200GS was the best with 95 horses. If you call just remind me who you are and maybe we could host you. If not we will look for your posting on advrider. I am Aron L Tarrant
    #55
  16. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    The following day we left our luggage at the hotel and set out to do a loop of Serra da Estrela.
    Amazing riding and scenery all day. The only fly in the ointment was a cloud cover at around 1.500 meters. Above that height the views were often very limited.
    We returned to Guarda late in the afternoon.

    Serra da Estrela.

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    "Torre" - mainland Portugal's highest point.
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    Well deserved lunch break.
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    Evening view from the roof of our hotel in Guarda.
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    Guarda roundtrip (Serra da Estrela): 319 km.
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    To be continued...
    #56
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  17. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    I don't know if there is a story behind the snake/girl mural..?
    I investigated a bit but haven't been able to find anything.
    #57
  18. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    You are welcome :-)
    #58
  19. Don T

    Don T Roaming Viking

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    Thank you for the kind words and generous invitation Aron.
    We would love to visit when we reach your neck of the woods. I'll be in touch when the time comes.

    In resent years we have prioritized visiting/spending time with fellow advriders on our journeys - it has provided us with a multitude of great experiences.
    #59
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  20. malloy

    malloy Long timer Super Supporter

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    Really great pictures of a beautiful trip, Don. Thank you for the effort it takes. Looking forward to your next post and next trip on the Hondas.:thumb:thumb
    #60
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