Estpania 2017 Tour - a trip to Spain, Andorra and Portugal, part 2
Picos de Europa - Salamanca
The 8th day of our trip. It was very cold to sleep. The temperature has cooled to almost 4 degrees. At the final part of Picos de Europa were interesting winding roads and, after only 20 kilometers, we accidentally found a viewing platform with a magical and enchanting view of the mountains. It was so breathtaking, that you just got goose bumps. Then we took to Salamanca.
Eventually, the roads became more speedy, and the turns were prolonged. It was a sin not to take advantage of this moment and we sped up. Despite the fact that we drove very fast, the feeling was like time passes real slow.
At about 4 p.m. we reached Salamanca. We were so tired that we decided just to walk on foot in the old town. Salamanca is a small but very beautiful town with rich history and a kind of mystery. Walking around the city was nice with very tasty food and +22 outside. Then we went to sleep.
Tomorrow we are leaving Spain for some time and take to Portugal, Porto.
Salamanca - Porto
Towards the Atlantic Ocean.
Fate decided to test our strength for a second time!
On the 9th day of our trip we decided to leave early to get to Porto during the daytime. The road was not close, about 400 kilometers, and there is the possibility of facing the problem of passing toll roads in Portugal. At least we thought so. The hotel administrator in Salamanca told us that there are 4 methods of payment for the passing of these posts, but we did not fully understand if it would be possible to pay in place with cash or a card. In the end, we decided not to take risks and go on free roads.
We drove at a very good pace, the roads were high-speed and without a lot of cars. We made just few stops and soon found ourselves in the suburbs of Porto. There were about 70 kilometers up to the destination. But not so fast...
Suddenly, Paul told us that there is something wrong with his bike and he can not switch gears normally. And we began to look for a place for an emergency stop. After detailed check it became clear that it would not be possible to go further on a bike. And here the most interesting began, I mean the search for a trailer or some kind of machine to deliver a bike to the workshop. The search itself and difficulties of communication in language that is absolutely unfamiliar to us is a separate story, but after 4 hours the motorcycle was safely loaded.
Take two. For 16 kilometers to the hotel James's bike died out and did not start. Fortunately, we stopped at a parking near a hotel. By the way, there were no free rooms.
Take three. For 1.6 kilometers before the arrival to our hotel, Tom lost his registration number. In short, just some kind of apocalypse.
And in the end, we reached our hotel at about 11:30 p.m., and left at about 11:00 a.m.. Thank God, I was doing great.
In addition to everything, the traffic in Porto is simply crazy. All the roads are somehow complex, sometimes you do not understand where you should even go.
It was the most infernal day of our trip, which gave us an invaluable experience.
The portion at the top + non-alcoholic beer cost 5 euros. It is unclear how it is possible with a fuel price of 1.5 euros per liter.
Mysterious and unpredictable city.
On the 10th day of our trip, we woke up with a feeling of complete devastation, but time is passing and therefore we had to act.
During the day, we received two news from the workshop: one good and the other bad. James's bike was quickly repaired. There were some problems with the alarm system. They didn't manage to fix Paul's bike fast. In addition to all, we would have to wait 1-2 weeks for details. Naturally, we do not have enough time. Finally, it was decided to send Paul's bike back to Estonia to be repaired there. There's nothing to be done - this is life.
On the 11th day the bike was loaded and Paul's motor trip was over.
Because of the motorcycle failures, we had to stay in Porto for three days. During this time we have formed the first impression of this city.
Just want to note that the impression of Porto is very dual. Why? The fact is that there is some kind of chaos on the roads. There are endless traffic jams everywhere, and it does not matter whether you go in the morning, afternoon or evening. The culture of driving in general is strange. Virtually no one uses turn signals. Many people try to cut you. It is also very difficult to navigate in the directions that you need. After Spain - it's just some trash. Traffic takes the maximum of your concentration. But when you finish riding and park your motorcycle, the city does not seem so crazy anymore. On the contrary, it becomes very attractive and calm. No one is in a hurry. Everyone walks leisurely, enjoys warm weather and, importantly, drinks port. We managed to walk a bit along the historical part of Porto, as well as to cross the railway and pedestrian bridge. We tried not to ride bikes once again, because it was not relevant in this situation.
Tomorrow we plan to get to Cabo da Roca. This is the westernmost cape of the Eurasian continent. It is located not far from Lisbon.
Porto - Cabo da Roca
On the 12th day of our trip, we just wanted the only thing - to continue moving towards the next destination, namely Cabo da Roca.
We had breakfast fast, loaded things and set off.
Surprisingly the streets were pretty open. We decided to go on toll roads to make up for lost time. As it turned out later, this decision was completely unsuccessful. For some reason, in Portugal, the organization of payment is built in such a way that it is convenient only for the Portuguese themselves, and nobody is interested how others will do this. On one route there are payment posts, while there are no posts on the other. We successfully paid for one part of the road and then the navigator brought us to another route, where there were no signs that you are on the toll road. You ride as usual. I've smelled a rat only after the second sign of some prices on the right side of the road and we immediately decided to find the nearest exit in order to understand what was happening. We turned into a small village where we found help on one of the gas stations. To my surprise, the girl, who worked there, spoke good English. The father of this girl just helped us to understand all this confusion. I will not describe the details, but we could go further on free roads.
All would be nothing, but on this day there was an abnormal temperature of +30, and somewhere even +35. Mostly we were riding on road sections, where the maximum speed was 50 km / h. It was unbearably hot to ride.
Along the way, we even came across burnt areas of the forest. It was immediately evident that the fire raged here quite recently. The picture, of course, was very sad.
Having passed only 290 km in 5 hours, we realized that we couldn't reach the Cape before sunset. Quickly we found a hotel nearby.
Tomorrow we will continue our journey and we will definitely get to it ...
Cabo da Roca - Faro
On the 13th day of our motorcycle trip, waking up early, we quickly picked up things, had breakfast and began to prepare for the departure.
We were very excited, because we were not far from Cabo da Rocha, just about 60 km. The fact is that this place has a very important historical significance for each of us, and despite all the difficulties, we still made it. Such places are worth visiting at least once in your life, especially if you travel by motorcycle.
Cabo da Roca is an insanely beautiful place where you want to shut up and think about something that is really important. When you are at a distance of more than 4000 km from your family, you immediately want to call or say hello and share your overwhelming sense of delight and say how much you love them. That's exactly what I did, by the way.
In general, the day was very hot. In the shade, the temperature reached +33 degrees. Our feelings, perhaps, can be described as follows: imagine, you are dressing an autumn jacket, hat, shoes, turn on the oven to the full and for the best effect put the fan in front, so that the hot air blows you with more force. Well, about the same thing we experienced on the road. And if seriously, it was hot, of course, but tolerable.
And one more important point of our trip is the journey on the longest bridge in Europe. The bridge is named in honour of the great Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama. Just think about it, the length of the bridge is 17.2 kilometers. It is very exciting to ride on it, emotions just overwhelm you. In addition, we crossed it for free. It turned out that if you go in the direction of Lisbon, then the fare is 2.70, and if from Lisbon, the fee is not provided. Of course, we would definitely pay for it. It's just that we are so lucky with the route.
After 8 exhausting hours of riding we reached Faro.
Our plan for tomorrow is to return to Spain, to Malaga.
Faro - Sevilla
The way home…
The 14th day gave us a lot of new and unforgettable emotions, so much that we did not get to the planned place, I mean, Malaga. Seville was an intermediate point. But first thing first. Not far from Faro there is a real heavenly place called Praia de Albandeira (Albandeira Beach). It was so beautiful that we did not want to leave it at all. This place can really be considered unique, because there is a natural rock arch, and it's really breathtaking. Sometimes it seems that this is all unreal.
As we did not have time to Malaga, we took straight to Sevilla.
I did not think I would say this, but we wanted to leave Portugal as soon as possible. Of course, there are just magical places, but we did not like riding on its roads. Personally, Portugal seemed strange to me. There are historical beautiful castles, divine beaches, warm weather, ordinary people who are ready to help you in a difficult moment, but the traffic system and chaos in big cities such as Porto and Lisbon are simply terrible, the culture of driving is absent. By the way, this fact was confirmed by a taxi driver who drove us around the Port, when we solved the problem with a broken motorcycle.
And finally, Spain met with a beautiful bridge and highway. It was nice to return to Spain, we even felt like we returned home.
We'll spend the night in Seville and take to Malaga.
To be continued...