Saturday, 1 February 2014



My brother says that perfect moments come rarely and they are short lived; this is how we felt entering Spain, although I must say that these Spanish moments lasted longer than I thought.

We left Perpignan on a beautiful morning with Pyrenees topped with snow and the sunshine brightly lighting our helmets.  It was chilly but splendid.  We entered Spain on a great note, the road is beautiful, especially that I now decided to set my GPS to avoid tolls.  I had enough of the European toll highways, and now the English lady inside my Garmin took us through beautiful Catalan villages towards Tarragona.  We decided to avoid Barcelona, I have been there several times before and we needed to find camping closer to the Yamaha Dealer in Reus where I booked my Yamaha for valve adjustment and service.  As we left the mountains behind us, the wind increased and started to blow us sideways, growing in strength as we approached Tarragona.  Eventually, I thought it will sweep us off the road as we almost fell twice on some of the overpasses.  Carmen was shaking behind me like a leaf.  My arms were already stiff from hanging on for dear life... When we pulled in Amphora D'Arcs Campsite in Cambrils, we were finished.  We got a very small pitch to set up our tent and while the wind was still blowing hard, the temperatures dropped to about 6 degrees.  We bundled in our sleeping bags inside the tent and got ready for the night.  Carmen pulled out the laptop and tried the wifi connection but the password they gave us was not working so she dressed up and went to the reception to ask for another one.  At the reception the boss' son started talking to her and as soon as he found out that we are in a tent, he offered to give us a bungalow for the same price of the camping and Carmen came back with a smile on her face, saying: "we have to move, we got a bungalow"

Few minutes later, we were inside a beautiful wooden cabin, fully equipped for self catering: kitchen with stove, fridge, microwave, etc, heat, inside bathroom and so on.  For the same price as the camping!  We slept deep and soundly that night, even though I don't mind my tent at all, I love that little thing, I spent so many nights in it, I miss it if I don't camp for few days.

We spent 4 days in Cambrils, as the Yamaha needed to order a part from Holland to do my valve adjustment and this gave us time to wash everything that was dirty, the results of the weeks of rain, sleet and smoke endured from Greece to here.  We cleaned up everything, including our bike gear, boots, gloves, helmets, etc.
When we left, we stopped by the reception to say goodbye to George, the boss' son, and thanked him for his generosity.  We pulled the money out to pay, but he said: "No, there is no payment necessary, it is my gift to you!"  I fought it for a while but he said, No way!  Thank you George for your kindness shown to strangers and for giving us a great time in Cambrils Amphora D'Arcs campsite.

We headed slowly towards Valencia; the wind was still creating havoc on the street and was fooling around with my bike again.  We arrived in Valencia around noon and I pulled into the City of Arts and Sciences, a major landmark of Valencia and great site to see.  As we rode under the great arches, we noticed lots of filming cranes and screens and security everywhere.  We pulled to have lunch and I checked online to see what the big deal was.  We found out that George Clooney is filming his Disney's Tomorrowland movie in Valencia as it looks very futuristic.  We rode our bike ride under his movie set :)  if I didn't know better I would think that he planned his shoot exactly when I was riding through there, just to see my bike :)

An hour later we were pulling into the La Marina International Camping, a great place by the sea where a lot of retired Europeans are spending their winter in this huge village, designed for their campers.  These people were really nicely set, with terraces and carpets under canopies, with flowers and lights and barbeques and everyone seemed to know each other.  We arrived there and felt immediately that we are like aliens to them.  Imagine all the fancy campers nicely set on campus and among them my little tent and my bike.  When we rode to our site, everyone came out of their campers to see what is happening.  People took photos of us and the bike and asking me all sorts of questions.  They were from Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, etc.  Nice advertising for my expedition!

Two days later, after a relaxing camping experience and nice strolls by the Med Sea, we headed towards beautiful Andalusia.  Only this name provokes in me great visions of landscapes, poetry, great food and amazing people with their dances, music and customs.  Rolling hills packed with perfect citrus orchards and olive trees line each side of the road.  Soft sunlight was warming the already blooming trees and everything seemed out of this world.  I was falling in love fast with this place and the beautiful Spanish people.  We enjoyed the beauty of Almeria, where John Lennon wrote his Strawberry Fields Forever song while shooting the film: How I Won the War in Spain, in 1966.  His statue rests in the centre of the town. 
We also had to visit the famed Cabo De Gata park, and I enjoyed tremendously the ride there as the road follows the mountains of the Cape and it is a great delight to ride a bike there.  It was also there that we met the most bikers on the road, on a beautiful Sunday ride to the Cape.

Finally, we came to rest in Malaga, which we will have to explore for the next few days, from Balcon de Europa to Alhambra, from Marbella to Gibraltar.
I have to say that Southern Spain is a splendid place, even though the famed Levante is bothering us almost every time I climb the bike.  This famous wind is incredible, bringing moisture to the East Mediterranean and warmth to the West and it does create amazing waves on the sea.

Lastly, I would like to address this last bit to the person that sent me an email from my website:  AOSTB, if you see this post, I tried to reply to the email you put on the website contact form, but it came back to me twice as google said your email does not exist or the mailbox is unavailable.  I will answer personally your query if you can email me again: with your complete email address.  Otherwise I will not be able to respond to your questions.

Sights of The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia.  George Clooney was in that balcony with all the cranes and cameras

 Camping in La Marina, the only tent and bike among the neatly camped caravans.

 Eastern Med; we rode on this sea shore for 5000 km from Istanbul to Gibraltar; it is an amazing feeling to see the diversity of cultures, landscapes and customs of the people that live by this amazing sea.
 Beautiful Andalusian villages along the way...

 Balcon de Europa

 Typical Andalusian entry gate, I love the intricate mosaics!

 it turns out my wife is very famous in Spain :)

 The Levante is playing with the sea

 Beautiful Cabo de Gata

 Plaza de Torro in Almeria.  You can still feel the adrenaline from inside

 John Lennon