A Travellerspoint blog

Last few days

St-Raphael, France to Genoa, Italy. 260km

sunny 30 °C

Left France and got to Italy around lunch time. Took the A8 toll road which is just tunnels and bridges for about 150km with mountains to the left and a drop to the blue sea on the right. The road was good and the weather hot, 35 degrees! Sweltering in our bike gear, still getting a red face through my helmet...is it from the sun or booze rash? I am not sure?
We just cruised into the first camp site up in the mountains about a 15 minute walk through the village to the beach, which is inbetween two harbours and there seems to be an airport on the sea as well. Very scenic and hot. Explored the area last night and found a COOP shop and stocked up on supplies, nice bottle of red, some german beers and olives, panacotta, pancetta ham and a baguette. The coffee here is cheap and very good. We enjoyed our snack in a shady park and then headed to bed.
Woke up this morning after a good sleep, the weather was not as cold at night so did not need to wrap up in base layers. Started the day with a coffee correcto, which is a shot of coffee with a shot grappa...what a way to start the day :-)
We plan to checkout some more of the town and get some 4 stroke oil for the bike and then laze near the sea. So far, so good.

This is the view from the harbour:P1050504.jpgP1050505.jpg

Here are some photos of the previous days that we didnt have time to upload...
Spanish turbo cabbage?!P1050422.jpg
Jennifer trying to make a human/cow millipede
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Empty spanish mountain road
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spanish omelette for breakfastP1050476.jpg
Empty Spanish mountain town
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The bee that kept buzzing around in my helmet!
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Great view in the PyrennesPICT0229.jpg

Posted by XJR1300 02:50 Archived in Italy Tagged beaches italy motorbike touring genoa Comments (3)

Long time no blog

Spain - Andorra - France

Unfortunately we haven't had the opportunity to update the blog since monday for numerous reasons (no time, no internet connection, no battery). So we'll sum up the past few days right here and now...

On Tuesday we headed out on the bike to explore the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. The quiet roads meandered through the endless landscape of gorgeous peaks and valleys while the sun shon in the blue sky. We stopped off at many place: to make a picture, to walk to a special location of natural/historical/cultural interest or to grab some much needed refreshments. We were out most of the day which was tiring but abosutely fabulous. We enjoyed a restful evening round our bucket-braai under a glorious Spanish moon with some lovely toasted sandwiches and a well-earned beer.

Wednesday we said adios to Spain, as we headed along the windy Pyrenean roads towards Andorra. The temperature rose with every mile. The closer we got to Andorra, the more barren the land became and the sight of vineyards became endless. In the distance we noticed dark clouds looming and just before the Andorra's border it started to rain. Somebody up above must have been trying to give us a sign, but we ignored it... Andorra was just aweful! Not only was it pissing down like crazy, the roads were congested, everything was cheaply built up, petrol station after petrol station cluttered the roads, advertising littered every delapedated building, and there was yet more building work going on (roads, houses, shops, etc). Even the campsites looked like shanty-towns. Andorra's status as tax haven has allowed it to be crudely raped by commercialism. We wanted to get out asap, but with all the traffic we were forced to make our way through Andorra very slowly, and within less than an hour the temperature had dropped more than 20 degrees: from almost 30 in Spain, to a bleak 5 in Andorra! We were relieved to be back on French ground and hit the motorway in search of a comfortable hotelroom for the night. A hectic, long day was soon forgotten in our nice warm bed.

Thursday we did over 500 km as we blitzed our way towards the French Riviera. We set up camp between St. Tropez & Cannes, we thought we deserved a splash of luxury on a shoestring. The location is amazing, less than a minute from the beach. Here we have enjoyed two extremely relaxing days soaking up the sun and swimming in the Med, whilst thinking about you poor mortals slaving away at work. Last night we sat on the rocks with a bottle of Bordeaux, watching the sun go down.

Tomorrow we're heading off to Italy. We'll be staying a few days near Genova before heading towards Lake Garda for the rest of the week.
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Posted by The Minion 10:11 Comments (3)

Ola Fiscal

sunny 25 °C

Fiscal is a sleepy little village in Northern Spain’s Aragon region and is situated in between two National Parks: Ordesa y Monte Perdido and Sierra y Canones de Guara. The views from our campsite are just stunning and words can not describe how peaceful it is here. Only nature’s music surrounds us: the blowing of the wind, the mountain stream flowing and a choir of crickets. Human life is difficult to spot around, besides some locals in a bar we feel like we’re alone out here. Although there are some permanent caravans, we appear to be the only visitors of the campsite, even the owners seem to have locked up and gone out for the day.

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This morning we went for a hike up the neighbouring mountain. There was a small hiking trail that must have been brutally attacked by post-winter landslides. Although dried out, the scars were clear: loose rubble and stones paved our way to the top. The climb was steep, the calves and bottom burning; we were clearly not used to such exercise. The sun was blazing but luckily we had sun-lotioned up and the breeze and occasional shade offered support on our way to victory. The board at the bottom of the trail had suggested a 35 minute route; we made it to the final destination in 40 minutes: a wonderful old church built in 1790. Next to the little church was the remains of a second building, we imagined the pastor may have written his sermons there, finding inspiration in the beauty and serenity surrounding him.P1050418.jpgP1050425.jpg

The hike down was even more challenging than the way up, the gradient of the trail and loose underground meant we had to tread very carefully. Our knees and calves took most of the strain. Luckily we made it down without any injuries, just a wonderful feeling of pleasure and a rumbling tummy too.
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After some food and a siesta, we went for an afternoon walk along the river to spot where some friar would bathe every single day, no matter how cold a day it was. We found refreshment from the water too: we dipped our feet in and let the cold mountain water chill our beers.
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Now we're blogging from the local bar.

Posted by The Minion 10:03 Archived in Spain Tagged hiking spain pyrenees fiscal Comments (2)

Another day in San Sebastian...

...but with Whiskey

semi-overcast 24 °C

So weather was a bit colder today, so decided to skip the beach and hike up the other side of the bay. There was an old fort and some ruins above the harbour. Also awesome views were to be had at the top.
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We then walked down the side on the peak towards the harbour, and old town. Which had some nice traditional bars with cured meat hanging from the ceiling, there rest of the town was on siesta but not this side. Lots of locals enjoying the wine and food.
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After walking around and exploring for a few hours we discovered a whiskey museum...with hundreds and hundreds of bottles...we thought it would be plain rude not to go in and I love a dram or two.
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we were not disappointed, the choice was immense and the barman super professional.

I started with 'The Glenlivet' 15 year old single malt, the honey shaded nectar was free poured into a large whiskey tumbler and the barman asked if I wanted ice or not. There must have been at least three standard 25ml shots in the glass, made a mental note to ask for a double next time!P1050413.jpg
Second drink I chose the Balvenie double wood single malt. By now I was getting the hand of this, but it was only five o clock and had about six shots so decided to move on. We then got the bus back to the campsite and made a braai and enjoyed some beers and a bit of AC/DC. About 8 other bikers setup camp as well, but they hit the town and left early.

The next day we packed down camp quick as the weather was looking stormy and headed off via Pamplona to Fiscal in the Aragon region in the mountians near the border of France. It was super windy and most got blown off the bike at one stage...the hangover didnt help. We passed a huge turquoise lake on the way and some abandoned spanish villages. We did about 250km, with the last 40km being super twisty, even got my footpegs down on the corners!

Here is the view from where I am blogging from
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PS hope everyone had a good Monday at work ;-)

Posted by XJR1300 09:20 Archived in Spain Tagged whiskey Comments (2)

A swell day in Mundaka

sunny 24 °C

This morning we hopped on the bike and made our way to Mundaka via the beautifully scenic and fabulously twisty coastal road from San Sebastian. The views were made even more amazing by the stunning sunshine and roaring sea.

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Mundaka is a quaint coastal town that was recommended by a friend, and we were not left disappointed (thanks, Rory!). Mundaka is popular with surfers as huge swells roll in from the Bay of Biscay and slam into the rocky coastline of the Basque Country. The estuary at Mundaka has created a perfect sandbar which forms hollow waves that can be watched from the town's harbor wall. We watched some patient surfers and bodyboarders waiting for that perfect opportunity.....

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"Waiting for a wave is OK but some people spend all their lives waiting. Waiting for nothing" - The Satanic Surfers

Mundaka has so many nooks and crannies to explore: enjoy a perfect view, dip into the water, grab a drink, or just soak up the sun. We did all of the above and I don't think I have felt this relaxed since our visit to South Africa 2,5 years ago! The way of life seems to go at a fraction of the pace back in London. Combined with the brilliant sunshine, temperature in the mid 20's, and breathtaking views, we were wondering how much a place would cost out there...

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We decided to blitz back to or campsite over the motorway, which was unexpectedly nice. The views were idyllic as the motorway lead us through the valley's of rolling green mountains and snow-capped peaks. Oh how I wish I could have taken pictures from the bike! We don't even mind paying for the toll roads as the smooth and safe roads this money enables is invaluable.

We're looking forward to a chilled-out evening with a cerveza or two round the fire.

Not sure what the plans are for tomorrow as there is some rain predicted so we'll play it by ear.

Posted by The Minion 11:05 Archived in Spain Tagged surfing mundaka Comments (2)

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