BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Friday, 8 February 2013

We called our blog The Wrong Way Round. I'm think of changing the name to which way is up!

Tuesday 5/2/13

Arrrrggghhhhhhh! I woke up at four am this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. So I sat and caught up with the blog until seven when I finally fell asleep, only to be woken by the alarm at eight. We ignored it and got up at about nine.

We made our way across to Gibraltar with the archives address firmly in our grasp. Well, that's what we thought anyway.

Our police escort, well, for a while anyway.

After visiting two different offices we finally found the archives. Wow, that was an eye opener. You'd imagine everything would be stored on computers, indexed, and easily accessible. No, this place was full of thousands of cardboard boxes. My first though was "What if there's a fire?" It was OK because we saw two fire extinguishers and a few buckets of sand. That should take care of a fire in an old two storey building full of paper. Not!

Fire extinguishers!

The other thing was the man we spoke too there. Now I'm sure he's a lovely person, but imagine your worst version of an archivist / librarian / nerd, then double it, and you're close to what this guy was like. I'm sure if we took him outside he'd go blind.

We were told to go upstairs and talk to a woman, who wasn't there. So Suzanne snooped around a bit, hence the photos below. All I could see was us being arrested as spies.

It's in here somewhere. 

 Please sign here.

Some of you won't even know what a telegram is.

It turned out to be a lost cause unfortunately as all military records are kept in the UK. Oh well, it's a project for when we get back to England.

We made our way back to la Linea, again jumping the queue and passing all the cars lied up and waiting. I love the way Europeans treat motorcyclists and scooter riders. They actually understand that we are part of the traffic solution, not a problem. The Spanish border guards were checking under the seat of every scooter that went through the checkpoint. "Oh no!" I though, as I had visions of emptying all the bags and boxes on the bike, which hold enough to fill a small room, then packing it up again. We got to the front of the queue and they just waved us through. I love it.

We went and sat down for lunch and I laid out our options for Suzanne. What should we do? If we want to go to Malaga for Carnival this weekend then we really don't have time to go to Morocco. F1 testing in Jerez sounds OK, although I'm not a huge fan so it wouldn't worry me if we didn't go. What ever we do, we'll have to put off Morocco for a week or so. Then we got a message from Gary, a mate of ours. The Socceroos are playing Romania in a friendly IN MALAGA tomorrow night.

I have a cunning plan. This is what we can do:

  • Ride to Jerez today and stay the night.
  • Watch the F1 testing for most of the day tomorrow.
  • Then ride to Malaga through the wonderful mountain roads tomorrow afternoon.
  • Go to the Socceroos match tomorrow night.
  • Stay in Malaga for he weekend and Carnival.
  • On Monday, catch the overnight ferry from Malaga direct to to Melilla in Morocco.
  • Spend about four days or so exploring Morocco.
  • Catch a ferry back to Tarifa.
  • Continue on our way to Portugal
It all makes perfect sense, as long as you don't look at a map. OK, Done deal. Jerez here we come. I guess I'll just have to ride back to Malaga through those mountains again - the things I suffer through just for my wife!

Initially we were on the freeway out of La Linea but it's a bit boring, and I kept getting glimpses of little side roads along the way. Eventually they got the better of me and we dumped the freeway ride and headed for the side roads. Jerez was only about a hundred and forty ks away, so there was no rush. We rode along a little side rode for a while...and ended up at a locked gate to someone's farm.

Hmm, a locked gate. That;'s a bit of a problem.

Oh well, turn around and ride back to the last intersection. We turned into the mountains and rode through miles of farmland before spotting a village on top of a hill. That'll do for lunch. As we neared the village there was an old guy sitting at a roundabout selling these bulby looking things. I don't know if you plant them, or eat them.

You find all sorts of things for sale on the side of the road.
Some of it looks like asparagus.
Any ideas?

The old guy came over and we had quite a chat about his bike and our bike. Unfortunately his entire half of the conversation was in Spanish, and mine was in English, but we both went away smiling and happy.

A few minutes later were in a pretty little village called Medina Sedonia. We rode around the town square a few times before the locals pointed to where we could park.

There are five archways in the front of this building, and a road goes through the one on the right.

While I was busy working on our itinerary...

Suzanne was enjoying a blue gin and tonic,
now that's cool.

One of the locals had put a lot of effort into decorating the outside of his home. I wonder if this would catch on in Australia?

Then it was back on the bike and on to Jerez.

We scored a really good little hotel in Jerez. It was only thirty euros and had a cosy room, with a private bathroom, and a great shower. Breakfast and WiFi were included. What a bargain, and the owner was very friendly and so helpful. She told me where the garage was to park the bike (about a block away) then she met me there and drove me back to the hotel. She was like an auntie and a real sweetie.

We went out in search of dinner and couldn't find anywhere. We did find a small supermarket and for twenty euros bought ham, cheese, pate, bread, gin, tonic, Fanta. All the essential food groups were covered.

While we were out walking we discovered this statue that Suzanne fell in love with...

It's a statue of Lola Flores, a Jerez born singer, dancer, and actress. She was extremely popular in Spain and this was a pretty impressive, and imposing statue. They do statues so well in all of Europe. 

After enjoying a good, dine in feed in our hotel room, I'm sure Suzanne drifted off to sleep dreaming about watching really loud cars go fast in circles and the going to the Socceroos match tomorrow. I hope Suzanne appreciates all the wonderful places I take her. She's very lucky.

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