BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Today we WILL get to Granada.


We are struggling. Every time we set a target for the next day, we find somewhere along the way that we like and makes us want to stay for a day or two. Almeria was an unplanned overnight stop because the wind was so bad, but it was a great place and it turned into a four day stay.

This morning looked promising. The wind had died right down, the temperatures had gone up, and we were ready to go. As I was packing the bike outside the hotel they guys from the taverna came out and said goodbye, which I thought was nice.

On the way out of town Suzanne spotted a parrot sitting off to one side of the road and said how colourful it was. A parrot? In Spain? So I turned the bike around to go and have a good look. It turned out to be this...

I'm not a parrot, I'm a pigeon.

Now that's something I've never seen before. A normal, everyday pigeon, with pink wings? Punk? Gay? Hippy? Desigual? I don't know, but it was pretty cool.

On the main road out of town we passed the Wild West Park. It's made up from old movie sets and is a theme park type set up where guys have gunfights and so on. It wasn't really our cup of tea so we rode on.

I can't get over the standard of roads here. For a country that is in a financial crisis the roads are fantastic. The surfaces are perfect and every main road we've travelled on between towns has been dual carriageway, and the drivers know how to use them. Here's a message to all Australian drivers - KEEP LEFT UNLESS YOU ARE OVERTAKING."  It's very simple, makes the traffic flow so much faster, and it's safer.

We rode through the Tabernas Desert and the terrain was different and interesting. I couldn't say it's pretty, but it certainly makes an impact.

Why build something when you can just hollow out a rock?

It was a bit hazy as we said goodbye to Almeria.

I imagine it could get pretty harsh out here in summer.

Enduro course terrain?

I see mountains in our future.

A little village off to the side of the road called Gergal was our stop for lunch (breakfast). We've worked out that buying food at the roadhouses on the main road is a huge rip off. I paid fifteen euro for a very ordinary burger and a coke at one stop, so now we pull off the main drag into little towns for anything we need. It saves us a fortune and probably helps the village a little. 

Hunting and gathering in Gergal.

We found a little tavern and enjoyed two delicious Tapas each, and a large, freshly squeezed orange juice, for a total of six euros. I felt a little guilty only paying six euros, but every little bit it does help the village economy I suppose.

Back on the road we found an interesting road sign...

We couldn't decide what it meant: Synchronised stoppies? Motorcycle ballet practice area? Cars reversing without notice? Whatever, it's nice that someone is thinking about us. 

Then it was over the mountains again. The pass was only about 1,300 metres high so the snow wasn't thick on the ground. The wind off the higher, snow covered mountains on the sides did make it a little cold though.

Oh oh, we didn't wear our thermals today.

Then the weirdest thing happened. We crested the mountain in glorious sunshine then rode straight into clouds. It was thick and very cold. Eventually we dropped altitude and we were out of the clouds. It was a bit strange though.

Then the landscape changed again. It was like a cross between The Flintstones, the wild west, and the Road Runner cartoons. I expected to see Road Runner, Wile E Coyote, an anvil, and an Acme rocket along the side of the road.

Is that Wile E Coyote on top of that rock?

It was here that that camera battery went flat, so the pick above is he only one we have of these strange rock formations.

Then it was hello Granada. We rode in through a dingy part of the city, but once we were in the central part it proved to  be very nice. We found a little restaurant and sat down to a big feed. The soup was a winner. Chicken, ham, and boiled egg. It was a big bowl full of chunks of meat and egg. We'll be back there tomorrow for lunch. Then I had a veal cutlet and Suzanne demolished a paella.

What we do in a new town is find somewhere to have a feed or a drink that has Wifi. Then we log onto the net and find accommodation that is close by, and CHEAP. We found a cheap little one star hotel close by and went for a look. The Hotel Veracruz turned out to be a real bargain for twenty five euro a night.

I was parked on the footpath on the corner waiting for Suzanne's yes or no on the hotel and a Police car pulled up next to me. Oh, oh. There were about five cars banked up behind him and he wound down his window and gave me the thumbs up sign. I said "Yes, I'm OK thanks." but that's not what he meant. He pointed at the bike and said "Good" smiled a big smile, and gave me another thumbs up before driving off. Here I was thinking I was in trouble for parking on the footpath and all he wanted to do was have a look at the bike and say hi. It's like that here. No one makes a hassle out of anything. I love Spain.

The owner of the hotel was a funny little old lady who spoke no English. She and Suzanne worked out that we had a Moto to park, so LOL (Little Old Lady was out the front, motioning me to ride down the footpath to the parking garage. She then walked down three floors to show me where to park. Back to the hotel and she indicated for us to follow her. LOL was off and we had trouble keeping up. Our room was around the back, off another street, and upstairs. Gee she was fast. So fast that Suzanne and I had trouble keeping up. Anyway, she got us settled in showing us how everything in the room worked, then disappeared.

Our Granada discovery was a little bar about twenty five metres from the hotel. It was another bar that offered the one free Tapa for each drink you buy deal, and The Tapas were nice. That was dinner taken care of.

Tomorrow we have tickets booked to go and see The Alhambra. We've been told it's a must see by quite a few people, so we're looking forward to it.


  1. Glad to see that you finally got to Granada! Hope you enjoyed the Alhambra. The roads are very good in Spain because the crisis only started 3 years ago but the problem will be the maintainance if this situation keeps up.

  2. The Alhambra was amazing but I'd recommend anyone who visits go over two days. There was just so much to take in cramming it into one day was draining. The crisis in Spain needs so proactive action soon. Such as introducing a vignette system like many other countries where tourists pay a fee to use the roads while they are there. I think we paid about thirty euros in Austria and I can't remember the costs in other places. It's a small amount but adds up.