Estpania 2016 Tour, part 1
My name is Roman and I will talk about a short trip through Spain with my friends, which took place in October 2016. The kilometrage is quite small - only 2000 km, but every kilometer gave us unforgettable impressions and invaluable experience.
There will be a lot of pictures.
An approximate trip plan - a small circle: Barcelona - Valencia - Madrid - Zaragoza - Barcelona + ride around. John and Paul, my friends, gave the idea of such a trip over a year ago. John is an instructor of his driving school, and, as it is easy to guess, recruiting a team among his former students who, after receiving the category, became his good friends. This is an excellent closure of the motor season, which will remain in our memory for a long time. So, get acquainted:
John and his Yamaha XJ6, 2013
Paul and his Suzuki Intruder 1800, 2007
James and his Yamaha YZF-R6, 2007
I and Kate, Yamaha FZ1 Fazer, 2008
October immediately became the month of the trip, as John ends his studies and exams. During 2016, we meet several times, get acquainted, discuss the trip, the route and other moments. Each of us has about 10 days of vacation, so the best option for us to ride in the heat on our bikes is sending them by a truck. There was no desire to feel like running on the Polish autobahns with trucks at + 6 ° C, so we preferred a calm pace and landscapes of Spain.
Why it was called ESTPANIA? We are from Estonia, we decided to go for a ride around Spain, see the roads, landscapes, people's culture. For a full harmony, the 2016 Tour was added. We also prepare a small graphics for stickers and videos (the first picture of the article).
John solves questions on the delivery of motorcycles, October 7 is the date of loading. We buy tickets to Spain, reserve apartments, prepare motorcycles: tires, oil, charger, navigator mounts, luggage systems, etc. It remains to wait.
4 days before loading, my battery died. It's just a happiness that it happened not after loading, there, in Spain ... 2 days before the loading a new one comes, we install it, and everything works perfectly.
With the approaching of loading, we pack our things, wash motorcyles.
The day before loading we meet with John in the workshop, glue the stickers, do final improvements. Tomorrow we'll take the motorcycles to DSV from here. I didn't have a new battery charged fully, but only up to 70%. James also had a new battery, more empty, so we left it for the night.
October 7th. Sending motorcycles.
It's + 6 ° C outside. By 10 a.m. we arrive at the DSV warehouse, they gave us iron frames, belts and we begin the process of loading. It was quite slowly because we had no such experience, and we had to look for the elements for a better and more reliable fixation. After 5 hours, the motorcycles are ready for transportation and the warehouse employee took them away. Motorcycles will be delivered to the warehouse in Rubi, a suburb of Barcelona.
October 15th. Departure.
Meeting at the airport in Tallinn was at about 8 p.m. Almost all the luggage - I mean personal things, equipment, - we sent with motorcycles. We left only our hand luggage. While waiting for the flight - we communicate, take photos and make short videos. We arrived at GIRONA AIRPORT at 1 a.m. Public transport does not work, we have to take a taxi and go almost 32 km to the apartments. The temperature was about +12.
We booked an apartment in Blanes - a small, but very nice town. John had already stayed here several times, and exactly in these apartments, so it was decided to live there. We check in at night and fall asleep.
Day 1 (October 16th), walking along Blanes.
It was cool to sleep, and we put all the found blankets on. Apartments were without heating, as it's Spain ... But as soon as we came out of the bedroom into the living room and opened the curtains, the sun immediately began to warm up, and we saw a beautiful view of the sea.
October is not a season, so the apartment has just few guests. Our room with Kate was on the 3rd floor, another one - on the second. After breakfast we meet outside. On Sunday the warehouse is closed and we can not get the motorcycles. We knew about this, so we planned on the first day in Spain just to walk, see the town and the beach, eat paella, drink a couple of glasses of sangria.
We found the restaurant on the shore, that John liked the last time, and try the local cuisine.
There was a demonstration of rescue equipment in the town, we took photos, talked to local people as much as possible. Unfortunately, the Catalans do not speak English well. Some do not speak at all, even waiters, which seems really strange, as it is a tourist place. I had to point the menu with my fingers and use google-translate.
After the walk we went to the store, went back to the apartments, prepared dinner, looked at the upcoming route, the roads we have to go on, the weather for a week and went to rest.
Day 2 (October 17th), pick up motorcycles, Rubi - Blanes (90 km)
Today we take motorcycles. We have to get up at around 7 a.m., as we need to get to Ruby. Kate sleeps, and we run to the bus station, go to the railway station and get on the nearest train to Barcelona. We go to the very center (Plaza de Catalunya), where we change the branch and go to Rubi. About 11 a.m. we are at the gate of the DSV. An exciting moment. Here are our motorcycles, we wonder how they got there, whether everything is good, how soon we will find and get them. Firstly we were worried about the condition of our vehicles, as there were no side walls in the so-called package (only the base frame and the yellow side posts in the corners in order to put the second motorcycle up). I had a big glass removed and put on the seat, but mirrors weren't removed.
After showing the necessary paper in the right window, we are pointed to the door, entering into which we get to the warehouse and see our motorcycles. After 10 minutes they are rolled out on the loader. Motorcycles are exactly in the same form as they were after packing in Tallinn. Joy, happiness, smiles to the ears. We put trunks, I fasten the glass, attach the cameras to helmets and we are ready to go. Our motorcycles are on Spanish land.
Because everyone is hungry, the first stop is a kilometer on the nearest McDuck. After dinner, we check the headsets and start looking for the route to Blanes in the navigator. Originally we planned to go by John's navigator (an old machine TomTom), but it periodically turned off. John stands up last, I go ahead, as I have Galaxy Note 4 with NAVIGON installed. Going forward, I will say, that this option met the challenges and deserved 9 points out of 10.
Until this moment, I was used to ride last "in the crowd". And I loved it. No one is behind, no need to follow the route and the other riders in the mirrors, you see everything (upcoming challenges, roughness) or just shoot the "crowd" on the camera. And now I had to ride first and much more on an unknown route, and even on the navigator. I must admit that earlier I had no experience riding in big cities, nor the experience of riding a navigator (on a motorcycle). Also I got the fact, that three motorcycles behind trust me and will perform the same actions and maneuvers as I do. I did not want to let anyone down.
So we start riding. The navigator took us via Barcelona. The first kilometers are really hard, someone left behind, then a couple of stops to check the navigator. I'm going first, then Paul, James and John is the last one. Paul and James are in touch with each other, and I'm with John. Somehow we managed to launch TomTom and John helped me to navigate in turns and junctions.
Day 3 (October 18th). Blanes - Valencia (500 km)
We get up at 7 a.m., the weather is excellent, about 16 degrees, the sun is shining. We have breakfast, mount our bags to motorcycles and leave.
A great toll road AP-7 goes to Valencia. The approximate cost of this 400-kilometer pleasure is about 40 euros from a bike. We were "embarrassed" a bit, to be honest, because the price for asphalt on this segment is more than costs for fuel (1 euro for every 10 km). It was decided to go by secondary roads that run parallel to the AP-7 via small towns. In addition, I wanted to see not only the track, but also the local area. If you do not like something, you can always turn to the AP-7. I must say that we never regretted the decision.
There were very few cars on the road, it was nice to go. Navigation is carried out on my phone, which was charged up to 100%, but still inserted in the charge. After 10 km I noticed that the charging icon is on, but % of the charge of the phone itself falls as if it is not inserted at all in the charging. Fortunately, the battery charge did not drop below 80%. Perhaps, the USB of a motorcycle can not charge a relatively large battery working at full power of the phone.
Getting closer to Barcelona, there are more cars, we even had a chance to get into a mini traffic jam. We go around Barcelona not to waste time. We have private plans for Barcelona, but not today. At each of the gas stations we have a snack, drink coffee and tea.
Finally, we arrive in Tarragona, where we found, in our opinion, the central (or close to that) street and have dinner in a restaurant.
We move out and almost immediately after Tarragona we got into a place called Salou not far from Cambrils. It was one of the most memorable moments for the entire trip. We got on the road that runs along the sea. There are some hotels or apartments (as it seemed to us) on the right and a beautiful park, palm trees and the sea on the left. Coming home, it wasn't hard to find this street on google map - it is called Passeig de Miramar. Since October is not a season, we drove through an almost empty street at a speed of about 40, there were few cars and people, there was even a feeling of some zombie apocalypse :)
This street was so impressive that we did not even stop to take some photos, I just wanted to ride. We shot this area on camera. Fortunately, the camera was mounted on a self-stick, and the shots turned out to be excellent. Exactly here I felt what I had come to Spain for: the sun, the climate, the road along the sea and the palm trees :)
Then we got to Miami. Yes, there is such a place in Spain - Miami Platja. The pace is calm, we are not in a hurry, we are going around 120 and enjoy the road and the scenery. Then the road distances a little from the sea and landscapes have changed.
We didn't book the hotel in advance and decided to to experiment every day. We took the cell phones and started searching. I wanted a bed over 50 euros per night. The first try leads us to the very center of the city. We didn't like the area very much, there were suspicious men, besides it turns out that we came to some third-rate hostel. The second try leads us to the very center, a-la cathedral, where even traffic is prohibited. It was possible to check in, but it would be necessary to search for some kind of parking for our vehicles, then carry things, which I did not want to do at all. 2 unsuccessful tries in combination with exhaustion, in fact, played a big role in our further search for places to stay overnight. Then came the brilliant idea to look for a hotel outside the town. We opened the map and started looking for a hotel located behind Valencia in the direction of Madrid.
- Hello, do you have two free rooms?
- Yes, no problems.
"Is there parking for motorcycles?"
- Yes, no problems.
- Can we have a meal at this time (about 10:30 pm)?
- Yes, no problems.
Well, if you have problems, then we'll come. We arrived at the hotel, which is almost on the road. And we did not lose. A very nice man met us at the reception, told everything, gave the keys to the rooms and didn't even ask for money - we'll pay off tomorrow. We run to the tavern, which is still open and order a grilled chicken. It was difficult even to imagine that at the hotel on the road we would eat the most delicious (in my opinion) dish for the entire trip, for only 7 euros. The chief cooked the juicy chicken on charcoal, with seasonings and garnish extraordinary. Being tired, we still spent some time on the terrace and talked before going to bed. We were the last customers and the restaurant staff waited patiently until we finish. It should be given to all Spanish restaurants - everywhere they give customers as much time as necessary, there is not even a hint that it's time to close.
Even in the dark it was clear that we moved in successfully today. But we still did not even imagine what a cool and picturesque place we got ...
Day 4 (October 19th). Valencia - Madrid (380km)
We slept perfectly, got up at about 8 am. We went out and were really impressed by beauty.
Our apartments were row houses with a personal parking space under a tent (a beautiful arch on the photo). It is clean and quiet around. I wanted to stay there for a few days, but we had to go to Madrid. The breakfast we had (sandwiches, juice and coffee) was included in the price. Then we packed up things, parked beautifully the motorcycles and took some photos to capture this picturesque view.
Despite the fact that the sun was shining and it was very warm, we knew that closer to Madrid it should be raining. At once we didn't dress raincoats, but put them in an easily accessible place.
There is a free A-3 road from Valencia to Madrid, so we did not go on secondary roads. In addition, our departure a little delayed because of packing things and taking photos.
Navigator shows to go more than 300km straight, so we are not afraid to get lost. Guys without navigators come forward and we try to take good shots on the camera. After 100 km I and John decided to stop and put the raincoats on because of the clouds and small drops. Finally we found a safe place to stop, and suddenly realized that we accidentally stopped near a vineyard.
The vineyard made our day! This stop left a lot of impressions. Finally, we dressed the raincoats and moved on. Paul and James didn't have raincoats, and as the futher experience will show - it would be better to have raincoats. Since this was our first trip of such kind, everyone had blank spaces in the equipment, clothing, electronics and household items. That's why it's an experience to make conclusions and be staffed in a different way for the next time.
In general, landscapes have changed compared to yesterday, we went deeper into the country. Sometimes it looked like Arizona - deserted places, mountains in the distance, rare vegetation.
After some time on the track, we were caught in a shower. This was my first trip in the raincoat. We rode a few dozen kilometers, the rain did not stop and we decided to stop at a large gas station to fill the tanks and have a snack. After 20 minutes the rain stopped. This made us very happy and we moved forward.
20 km before Madrid, there was another stop at the gas station, where we looked at the map and decided where to go in Madrid. At the entrance to the capital the road was very complicated. I took the wrong lane and had to chande it. The guys behind me slowed down and managed to follow me ... but not all. Unfortunately, at the last moment James didn't manage to take to the right. About a kilometer we went and saw James in parallel to us, but we understood that his road would not lead us to the same place. James did not have a navigator and he could not adjust his route. We came to Madrid, when it began to get dark and hoped that James would cope with the signs and also come to Madrid. He sent us the SMS with the address where he was and we went to pick him up. After that we decided to make a small circle in the center of Madrid. It was already quite dark and a rain started again. We made a circle of honor in the center, but it was time to look for a hotel. Meanwhile, the rain became very strong and we were looking for where to park in the center of Madrid. We were lucky and stopped in a free pocket right under big trees. We put our raincoats again and started searching for the hotel.
Tomorrow we were going to Zaragoza, so we were looking for possible options in the suburbs of Madrid in the direction of Zaragoza. We found a suitable option almost immediately, at 25 kilometers, called - it was all right. Outside the city we had to go no more than 80km / h because of safety concerns. There was a lot of inconvenience, but in the end we safely got to the place, the rain almost stopped. The hotel was pretty good. Motorcycles were allowed to be put right near the entrance. First of all, we put all the things on the room to dry it, and put the cameras and Powerbans on the charge. Finally, we went to bed.
To be continued...