BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Friday, 18 January 2013

Hello? Is this a nice way to welcome tourists to southern Spain?


Another day in the hotel feeling sorry for ourselves.


Once again the pile of crap Tom Tom sat nav wouldn't talk to the intercom this morning. So while I was concentrating on the intense Madrid traffic (probably the worst so far), avoiding the super slippery white arrows and lines on the road, watching for suicidal pedestrians, trying to see the traffic lights in the rain, and avoiding killer taxi drivers, I had to keep looking at the bloody sat nav screen to see where I was supposed to be going. What a s**t fight. (Insert Suzanne here . . . "You should try sitting on the back while he is shaking his head and swearing at the tiny little black box of modern technology that has "made things easier" for travellers, mmmm. What the hell is wrong with an old fashioned paper map I say!")

(Simon here - Our paper map would have been paper mache or blown across Spain in yesterday's weather) 

Eventually we got out of Madrid after taking a few wrong turns, and fighting with more taxi drivers. Seriously the traffic in Madrid is far worse than Rome, or anywhere else we've been for that matter. (Suzanne again . . .  "Actually no, the traffic was fine, it was flowing well, Rome was far worse, I get a different view from back here" :)

Suzanne tried to take some photos as we left, but I think the camera said "Bugger you, it's too cold out here" and refused to work. (Me again . . .  "Try stuffing a camera that won't retract its lens back in your waterproof top pocket that you can't see and have to feel your way, with a freezing right hand, remembering to grab both gloves from between your legs and put them back on, zip up the arm of your jacket, and try reeeeally hard not to shift your weight too much so 'he' won't feel it and get stroppy coz you are wobbling the bike . . aaah the joys of being a pillion" :)

Here are our photos of Madrid, like most of Spain, the architecture is elaborate...


It's funny, I didn't realise how much I don't like cities when we left home. I have realised that they really aren't nice places. Suzanne and I have talked for years about living somewhere like Harvey in the south west of WA. I think we will have to make some serious decisions and changes when we get home. Does anyone in Harvey or Bunbury need a sales rep?

Our plan today was to get to Alicante and look up the sister of a friend. It was only a 450 kilometre ride so that's easily done, or so I thought. An hour down the road in the cold, wet, and super windy conditions I was starting to feel a bit second hand. Two hours down the road and the wind was gusting from both the left and the right and I felt like I was riding an enduro. The muscles in my neck, back, shoulders and arms were burning from holding the bike against the side winds.

After two and a half hours I was totally shagged with a killer headache from the wind noise in my helmet (and it's a pretty quiet helmet). The gusting crosswinds had taken their toll and we called "time out". The next town was La Almarcha, Cuenca and it looked bloody good from the bike so in we went.

( . . . . "He whinges a lot doesn't he?"  :)

In reference to Suzanne's comment above...OK, I'd like to point out that I'm not whinging, I'm just reporting the day as it happened. The worst day riding here is a hundred times better than riding from Perth to Bunbury on the Forrest Highway and I'm loving it.

I lavish my wonderful wife with exotic and expensive jewellery like this. Guess where these came from?

Spain is a funny place. A lot of the buildings in the villages look pretty ordinary, even run down. We often wonder what they are like inside. We found a little hotel that fit the "pretty ordinary" description. Inside the bar / restaurant area was really nice. So we booked a room and spent the afternoon in the bar "drying out" and watching the locals play a very passionate game of cards.

(Suzanne again . . . . "I find it exciting & fascinating how dull and uninviting a building can look from the outside, then upon entering you are immersed in the most comfy, warm, hospitable, quaintly decorated little restaurant / bar / hotel full of local characters that provide endless entertainment even though we speak different languages. Never judge a book etc. is one big thing to remember when travelling" :)

Sneaky photo of the locals playing cards.
They did get a bit passionate about the game occasional.

Interior decor.
I wonder if these coat hooks would catch on back home?

 Suzanne making a contribution to the blog.

This is what I got when I ordered a Jack Daniels.

It was a pretty tiring day even though it was short. We were happy to pull the pin early and enjoyed our little local hotel. Tomorrow we'll ride the two and a half hours into Alicante. Hopefully it will be a little nicer on the weather front.

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