BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Monday, 18 March 2013

Seville to Faro. Yes, Faro is in Portugal.

Wednesday 13/3/13

Our planned early escape from Seville was shot to pieces because I slept in, til ten o'clock in the morning. I don't think I've done that since my early teens, and that's a loooooong time ago.

Our first job this morning was to repack everything on the bike. After our little snow camp out in the Moroccan mountains we weren't too fussy when we repacked everything the next morning. It was a case of shove it in, let's get out of here and find somewhere warm to defrost. The end result is that we are now struggling to fit everything on the bike. A bit of careful planning and folding goes a long way.

Some of the stuff we need to fit on the bike.

Once that task was completed, I updated the Tom Tom in the vain hope that it might fix a few of the problems I'm having. Yes, I know, I'm thoroughly delusional, but I thought it was worth a try. (No, it didn't help.)

We finally had our bums on the bike and were ready to roll at around two pm, about five hours later than I had planned. All we had to do was swing by a post office, mail some stuff home, and we're on our way. Easy.

Do you think we could find the post office? Not a snow flakes chance in hell. To compound the problem, because all the little roads here are so narrow, a lot of them are one way. When we got close, we were funnelled off down a side road away from where we wanted to go. I was getting a "little tense". (Sorry I had my Mister Grumpy socks on that day Suzette.) On the plus side we got to see some more of Seville, not that there was much we hadn't seen.

Then I had a brain wave. The Tom Tom has post office locations in it. I found one close to us and off we went. Our problem would be solved in minutes. A couple of minutes later we were parked outside someone's front door, with no post office in sight anywhere. Well done Tom Tom, you've done it again. 

Eventually Suzanne accosted a young guy on a scooter and pleaded with him to take us to the post office. He was happy to help and told us to follow him. He rode off with us close behind. Two minutes later Suzanne was handing a box full of precious valuables over the counter to a total stranger in the post office. Job done. Thank you Mister Scooter Rider.

It was now three pm, but we were finally on the road to Portugal. Where to? We'll know when we get there. We'll ride till we've had enough, or find somewhere that takes our fancy, and stop for the night.

We took the motorway as we wanted to get some miles under the bike's wheels fast. The wind played games with us again, but it wasn't too bad this time. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it felt great to be on the bike.

Then we saw it. The four year old, 2.5 million euro bridge over the Rio Guadiana from Spain into Portugal. The bridge was high, and with the wind I knew it was going to be an entertaining ride across. I felt Suzanne tense up as we went up onto the bridge. When it is as windy as it was, two lanes just aren't enough to feel comfortable. I was pretty happy when we were on the ground again on the Portuguese side.

There's another bridge north of here near Lisbon that is Europe's longest bridge. The Vasco da Gama Bridge is seventeen kilometres long, ten of those are over water. That should be fun.

We trundled down the road for about another hour and turned off the motorway toward Faro, which we had been told is the home of Portugal's biggest bike club. We'll go and check it out if we can find it. They hold a congregacion (Bike Rally to us) once a year, and it's bigger than Pinguinos! 

We found the Hotel Dom Bernardo, a Best Western Hotel, and checked in. Our bike was given prime position right outside the front door and we were given a comfy, low cost room which included breakfast. As a bonus, it also had about six English speaking channels on the TV. I'm happy to recommend this hotel if you're ever in Faro. It's a great location within walking distance to most places you'll want to visit.

After a bit of a clean up we headed out for a look around and some dinner. Suzanne loves street art and found this one amusing.

Life imitating art? Again.

We discovered some great buildings, and little plazas that were tucked away in the back streets. After a bit of a wander we went to the restaurant recommended by hotel reception. It was a low key affair run by a sixty four year old woman who was a real live wire and made us laugh lots while we enjoyed a really nice meal. The after dinner ports weren't too bad either, but there were a few too many of them. Luckily it was only about a five minute walk back to our hotel, and only another five minutes before we were both fast asleep.

Tomorrow we'll get out and poke around the area some more. I think we're going to like Faro.

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