Lastly, after first reserving this journey in 2019 and it being delayed till now as a result of pandemic, our journey to Spain was lastly occurring! Our group consists of myself, my different half and two buddies. We had 16 days and coated what turned out to be some 2,300 miles.
To say I used to be a tad excited is an understatement. The plan was to take the ferry to Santander, head to the Picos for a few days, then additional alongside Northern Spain to Salas earlier than heading to the Rioja area the place we’d be staying for a few days in a Monastery.
We might then be heading up the coast of France to Brittany the place we have been assembly up with a few buddies and staying for 3 nights. After leaving Brittany we’d head to the tunnel with one other in a single day earlier than catching our prepare again to the UK.
So there have been 10 legs (sure, 10) to our journey, our itinerary was as follows:
Leg 1: Dwelling to Portsmouth to catch the ferry to Santander, Spain.
Leg 2: Santander to Poo de Cabrales
Leg 3: Poo de Cabrales to Figares Salas
Leg 4: Figares Salas to Monasterio de Santa Maria de Valvanera, Anguiano
Leg 5: Monasterio de Santa Maria de Valvanera, Anguiano to St Martin de Seignanx
Leg 6: St Martin de Seignanx to Angoulins
Leg 7: Angoulins to Saint Brevin les Pins
Leg 8: Saint Brevin les Pins to Countryside Holidays in France, Lanrivain
Leg 9: Countryside Holidays in France, Lanrivain to Gourney-en-Bray, Normandie
Leg 10: Gourney-en-Bray, Normandie to dwelling
Leg 1 Day 1
Now I’ve to say I used to be a bit apprehensive concerning the ferry a part of the journey. The crossing was roughly 36 hours, it was to set sail at 9.30 on the Friday night and arrive in Santander at 8 am on Sunday morning, so two nights on the ferry. What have been we going to do for 36 hours on a ferry!
We headed all the way down to Portsmouth sooner than we wanted primarily as a result of it was a Friday afternoon and we have been permitting additional time for visitors and in addition as a result of we needed to discover a pub and get one thing to eat earlier than heading to the ferry as our crusing was not till 9.30 that night.
We discovered a pub, the Ship & Fortress, proper by the dock. It turned out to be a heavy experience down, with plenty of filtering on the M25 and gradual shifting visitors on the A3 so it was nice to get to the pub, chill, and have one thing to eat earlier than heading to the ferry terminal.
As soon as we had checked into the ferry and lined up, a bunch of us have been then despatched off for a safety inspection earlier than lining as much as board the ferry. I all the time get a bit of apprehensive earlier than using on the Eurotunnel or ferry as I’m all the time apprehensive that I would be the one to mess it up and drop my bike. Fortunately, I needn’t have apprehensive, I rode on and parked up with no hiccups. We watched our bikes being strapped down earlier than going up on deck to seek out our cabin.
We dropped our baggage in our cabin and headed for the bar! We had a few drinks and a few supper and headed off to mattress. That was evening one completed.
Saturday on the boat went approach faster than we thought it might. We had breakfast then moved to the bar for a espresso. Had a wander round on the skin deck and sat within the sunshine for some time watching the dolphins swimming alongside the boat earlier than heading all the way down to discover a cuppa and lunch.
I checked out the store, had a cuppa, one other stroll then dinner. Again to the bar after which mattress! That was evening two completed.
Leg 2 Day 3
We have been woken up early Sunday morning to unusual music coming by means of the tannoy system in our cabin which we assume was a morning get up name. We needed to be out of our cabins by 7.30 as we have been disembarking at 8. We headed to the bar with our baggage to get a espresso earlier than we have been known as to move all the way down to the automotive deck. We unstrapped our bikes, loaded our baggage after which we have been off! The ferry was a lot simpler than I believed it might be and the time went so rapidly. I’d positively do the ferry once more.
As we received off the boat it was simply spitting with rain. We headed out of Santander towards our first lodging which was some 63 miles away. After using for about an hour we stopped in a bit of café on the facet of the highway for espresso and breakfast. By the point we left the cafe it was raining correctly so we donned our waterproofs earlier than heading to Poo de la Cabrales, our first lodging for the subsequent two nights, which is simply on the sting of the Picos.
Having discovered the property okay, there was confusion over the place the important thing was however while this was sorted out we sat in the one bar within the village and dried out within the solar that had fortunately determined to come back out. It turned out that the bar was additionally the store, it had a terrific neighborhood really feel to it, you could possibly inform it was the center of the village, so many individuals would come for a espresso/drink/chat and it was actually attention-grabbing and good to see. The bar proprietor was tremendous useful in serving to us get the keys sorted and he wouldn’t even settle for a beer to say thanks.
Having lastly received into our lodging it was excellent and really sometimes Spanish. Having unpacked and sorted ourselves out we went for a stroll to take a look at the village after which headed to the bar for dinner.
We headed to Potes within the Picos some thirty or so miles away however clicked ‘adventurous route’ on the Garmin. We completely liked the primary a part of the route, it was very winding and flowing, and had me grinning from ear to ear. The second a part of the route contained plenty of roadworks and autos, very irritating!
Potes although was superb, positively well worth the experience and someplace I’ve to return to. We sat and had a espresso earlier than taking a stroll round, we explored the little again streets and checked out the superb views from excessive above.
Within the centre of Potes is a constructing known as Torre del Infantado which is a medieval tower which, in case you pay 3 euros, you possibly can go to the highest of this tower and take a look at the attractive views of Potes. We spent some time right here simply trying and taking photos. Positively value 3 euros!
We discovered one other espresso spot earlier than heading again to the bikes.
We headed out of Potes to Fuente De cable automotive which took us on a extremely beautiful highway and simply if you have been entering into the experience the highway simply ended, there was simply the automotive park to the cable automotive on the finish of it. Oh nicely, it simply meant we needed to experience again on that highway once more 😜
We rode by means of Potes and stopped at a café in a bit of village which turned out to be impeccable timing as we had simply sat down as a thunderstorm began!
We waited for the thunderstorm to move however the rain didn’t appear to be it was easing anytime quickly so we put our waterproofs on and headed again to our lodging. Though it was a moist experience again, it was nonetheless a superb experience.
We dried off and headed to the bar for dinner. Excellent.
Leg 3 Day 5
We packed up and set off on the subsequent leg of our journey which took us to Figares, Salas which was some 100 miles. Because it was raining the waterproofs went on once more. First cease although was dropping the keys again within the subsequent city, Arenas de la Cabrales, earlier than heading again by means of Poo and into the mountains.
Though it was raining, the surroundings was completely unbelievable as we made our approach up by means of the mountains. It was arduous to maintain your eyes on the highway as there was a lot breathtaking surroundings to take a look at.
After using for about an hour we stopped at a roadside cafe (it appears there are numerous of those) for espresso. After one other hour or so of using we stopped for some lunch. It was nonetheless raining, there had not been any let up to date. Lastly we arrived at our lodging and the solar got here out.
The views from our lodging have been completely gorgeous, the property was simply exterior Figares Salas nestled in a hill in the midst of nowhere. All you could possibly hear was the tingle of the cow bells from close by fields and a donkey within the area under who had rather a lot to say!
A few the fellows headed to the grocery store to seek out provisions for a bbq. We sat exterior late into the night consuming and ingesting. Completely excellent.
A visit to the seaside was favoured right this moment and we determined to move to Cudillero. We sort of knew the overall path we wanted to go however didn’t set the sat nav, we determined to move out on a bit of nation highway to see the place it took us, we actually adopted our noses. The roads have been sensible, we labored our approach by means of the hills and little villages which then opened as much as some superb views.
We labored our approach down by means of tight twisty roads to the harbour and parked up. Cudillero didn’t disappoint, it’s a stunning city with heaps to see. We discovered espresso – I wager this shocked you 😆
We had a wander across the harbour and up some slim facet streets. The blokes determined to move additional as much as a lookout publish. I discovered ice cream as an alternative and sat watching the world go by. Excellent.
After getting again to the bikes, we headed out of the harbour by way of a superb winding, flowing highway to Salas.
We actually have been being spoiled right this moment, Salas was one other beautiful previous city with some attention-grabbing buildings. We discovered a bar, had some lunch, extra espresso, and took a stroll.
Because the climate was beautiful, a bbq was determined for dinner. We popped right into a grocery store to get bbq necessities and in addition some eggs for breakfast and headed again to our lodging. We set the sat nav for ‘adventurous route’ and had a superb experience again.
Sadly, our adventurous route turned out to be a bit of too adventurous for the rucksack that was bungy strapped to the o/h’s bike (not securely because it turned out) which contained the meals. The rucksack took depart from the bike and the eggs have been nicely and actually scrambled! There was egg over every part contained in the bag!
As we received again, the rain began once more however that didn’t dampen our bbq.
Leg 4 Day 7
We left Figares right this moment and headed on considered one of our longer legs, 280 miles, to our subsequent vacation spot, Anguiano the place we’d be staying in Monasterio de Santa Maria de Valvanera for a few nights.
As we had a good few miles to cowl, we determined to make some headway by happening the motorway for a piece of the journey earlier than coming off onto smaller roads. After we awakened it was raining fairly closely however by the point we had breakfast (no eggs), tidied up and loaded the bikes, the rain had stopped though the roads have been nonetheless moist.
About midway by means of the leg, my o/h began to really feel sick so we determined to remain on the motorways and simply get to the Monastery. This turned out to be a superb determination as after we arrived on the monastery, my o/h began being sick. He was then being sick or sleeping for the subsequent 14 hours!
The three of us checked out the Monastery, it has a restaurant/bar, a church you possibly can go to with historical past concerning the church and the pilgrimages to the Monastery on the again, a memento store and a few stunning walks.
Dinner was at 8.30 that night within the restaurant. With dinner comes limitless water and wine (not being a lover of wine, I had water), the meals was beautiful.
Fortunately we had beforehand determined that we’d have a break day the bikes right this moment which gave my o/h likelihood to get well from the bug he had gone down with. He did really feel rather a lot higher right this moment however didn’t do a lot, just about sat and recovered a lot of the day.
After a feast of a breakfast, we headed off for a stroll up into the attractive hills. It was scorching right this moment so we made positive we took water with us. In and across the Monastery is a superb place to discover and it was a a lot wanted relaxation day for all of us having been on the bikes every single day to date.
One other beautiful dinner was had that night and we took a stroll earlier than packing up able to set off the next morning.
Leg 5 Day 9
One other feast of a breakfast was had earlier than we checked out of the Monastery and began on our subsequent leg.
As we speak we’d be leaving Spain and heading simply into France to St Martin de Seignanx, some 158 miles, the place we’d be overnighting.
The route leaving the Monastery was completely stunning, each the surroundings and the roads themselves. We ultimately received onto a motorway nevertheless it was like no different motorway I had been on earlier than, this went by means of the mountains and had a surprising backdrop.
We thought it might be a terrific concept to cease in San Sebastian for a espresso. Sooooo not a terrific concept. I’ve by no means been right here earlier than so I hadn’t actually appreciated how large it was, it was like using into London. Loopy busy!
There was an unimaginable quantity of visitors and folks and we couldn’t discover anyplace to park the bikes. After using round for some time with our frustration increase, after temporary dialogue (as a result of that’s all it took 😆) we determined to get the heck out of San Sebastian.
Simpler stated than completed! We couldn’t get out of the place and after we did it was such a reduction! We rode till we stumbled on a bit of village and had a cuppa and a really a lot wanted chill!
We discovered our lodging which was nicely off the crushed monitor, in a quiet and secluded setting. It was a smallholding and we had the upstairs of the primary home which had been transformed into an house. Very good besides there was little or no air flow and no air conditioning.
We showered and received again on the bikes and located a Buffalo Grill for dinner about 5 kms away. An ideal finish to the day.
Leg 6 Day 10
The subsequent leg of our journey can be taking us to Angoulins the place we have been booked right into a boutique resort for the evening which had two swimming swimming pools.
By the point we set off this morning, it was already scorching so with leaping right into a refreshing swimming pool on our minds, we determined to do a piece of this journey on the motorways and it was truly fairly good to have the breeze from the motorway to maintain us cool.
The lodging didn’t disappoint. We had a two storey chalet which had its personal enclosed courtyard backyard.
We unloaded the bikes, placed on our swim gear and headed straight for the pool. It was sooooo good and so welcoming after a scorching day using. We chilled by the pool for a few hours, it was simply what we wanted.
Sadly, because it was a Sunday, the resort’s restaurant was closed. Irrespective of, it was solely a mile stroll to a Buffalo Grill.
After dinner we went again to the resort and headed to the bar for a cocktail or two earlier than going again to our chalet and chilling in our backyard for some time earlier than mattress. Excellent finish to the day.
Leg 7 Day 11
After breakfast the subsequent morning, we set off for our third in a single day cease which was at Saint Brevin les Pins, 121 miles.
As we had completed motorways the final couple of days, we set the Garmin to non motorways and adopted winding roads and rode by means of little cities and villages stopping for espresso after which lunch alongside the way in which.
It was positively a extra relaxed day of using and simply what we wanted. We arrived at our lodging and the very first thing we did was put some washing on. Actually boring I do know nevertheless it must be completed and it didn’t take lengthy for it to dry when it was frolicked within the backyard because it was nonetheless so heat.
We took a stroll into city which was a few ten minute stroll and checked out the realm and seemed for someplace for dinner. We got here throughout a bar on the seaside and checked out the menu. This seemed excellent. It opened at 6 pm so we headed again for showers and to prepare for dinner.
We headed to the seaside bar and located a seat overlooking the seaside. It turned on the market was no meals that night so we determined to have a few drinks after which head into city a bit of later to seek out meals.
I actually might have sat in that bar all night, it was simply beautiful sitting within the early night sunshine looking to sea. Completely bliss.
We discovered a bit of Italian pizzeria later that night and the meals was scrumptious and the hosts have been actually pleasant too. It was a beautiful stroll again to our lodging.
Leg 8 Day 12
We loaded the bikes, left our lodging and headed into city to seek out breakfast. After a few coffees and a pastry, we headed out of city. Our subsequent cease can be Lanrivain in Brittany the place we’d be assembly up with a few buddies at Countryside Holidays in France for 3 nights.
We had 120 miles to cowl right this moment so opted for non motorways. The Garmin set us on a very nice route, we rode by means of some stunning villages, considered one of which we stopped at and located a boulangerie for a really welcoming lunch cease. The meals and occasional have been scrumptious.
Having made good time we arrived at our lodging about 3 within the afternoon to a really heat welcome from Roger and his spouse Linda and a a lot wanted cuppa or three!
We stayed right here a couple of years in the past and had such a good time that we have been keen to come back again.
Roger and Linda used to dwell within the UK they usually moved to France some 40 plus years in the past. Roger constructed a couple of gites on the property a couple of years in the past now and began letting them out. Roger is a fellow biker and it has now grow to be a agency favorite for bikers.
There’s a bike shed for night get togethers, Roger will prepare dinner dinner for you in case you like, be it bbq, crepes and many others and a favorite for us is his native Bretange dish of potatoes, bacon and cheese. It was completely scrummy.
There’s beer within the fridge within the bar and wine, you possibly can assist your self to as a lot as you want. Roger simply asks you to interchange what you might have drunk. The place has a extremely laid again ambiance to it. There are usually different teams of bikers right here too so it’s a terrific place to satisfy and chat with like minded folks.
We had a terrific night of consuming, ingesting and chatting into the night. Simply excellent.
The next morning we determined to move to the seaside to seek out espresso (I wager that shocked you 😜) We set the Garmin to adventurous route and headed to Tresgastel.
After a stroll round to test the place out we continued alongside the coast highway to Parmanach the place we discovered lunch, after which carried alongside the coast to St Quay Parnieux for ice cream.
It had began raining between the final two stops and the rain appeared set in. By the point we received again we have been soaked nevertheless it had been an ideal day of using on some nice roads and exploring some beautiful locations.
That night we had a bbq hosted by Roger and Linda within the bike shed, one other actually good night.
Adventurous route was set on the Garmin and we headed to Les Greves the place we discovered a creperie and scrummy pancakes.
We adopted the coast highway once more and stopped in Binic which is a beautiful city. We explored the realm earlier than discovering a restaurant the place extra pancakes and ice cream have been consumed. Oh and occasional however I suppose I didn’t must let you know that, you’d have guessed that by now!
The Garmin discovered us a unbelievable route again, the roads have been winding and flowing and it was simply one other excellent day of using.
That night all of us jumped into Roger’s minibus and headed to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner. The meals was scrumptious and there was a lot of it. The meal and the corporate made for an additional nice night.
Leg 9 Day 15
All too quickly our keep at Roger’s had come to an finish. We had an extended experience forward of us right this moment, 282 miles, to succeed in our in a single day cease in Gourney-en-Bray, Normandie earlier than catching the tunnel dwelling.
We have been up, bikes loaded and able to depart by 8.30. We stated our goodbyes to Roger and Linda, our few days with them went approach too rapidly as all the time.
As we had a good few miles to cowl, the Garmin was set to motorways. We stopped a couple of occasions for gas however extra importantly meals, drink and a chill. We have been in no hurry so it was a terrific relaxed tempo and the experience was truly actually good taking into consideration it was on motorways.
A part of our route took us by means of Rouen and two of the fellows received separated from us within the abundance of visitors lights that there have been.
All of us arrived at our in a single day lodging at Gourney-en-Bray mid afternoon just about on the similar time which was good, unpacked the bikes, showered and headed out to discover a bar.
The resort was within the centre of city however there was secluded parking across the again for the bikes which was excellent. It was very nice to be within the city, we discovered a terrific Chinese language restaurant for dinner. The meals was good as was the complimentary after dinner Mijiu which got here in some very, let’s assume, attention-grabbing glasses, positively not appropriate for the very younger
After dinner we went for a stroll, discovered a bar which had ice cream and settled right here for some time earlier than heading again to the resort the place we sat within the courtyard ingesting and chatting for wayyyy too lengthy earlier than heading to mattress.
Leg 10 Day 16
This was it. Our final day of our Spanish journey, our closing leg was upon us. How had that occurred so rapidly!
The bikes have been loaded, we received espresso and pastries from the bakers up the highway and sat within the resort courtyard earlier than setting off. We had a 130 mile experience to the tunnel. It was raining so out got here the waterproofs.
We made good time and stopped at companies on the motorway simply earlier than the tunnel, fuelled the bikes and ourselves earlier than heading to the tunnel.
After checking in, we had time to cease for a pee and a drink within the terminal earlier than making our approach by means of safety able to board our prepare dwelling.
What an unimaginable 16 days of adventures we had. We noticed some stunning surroundings, rode on some unbelievable roads and met some actually beautiful folks.
I depend myself very fortunate to have the ability to have some actually nice mates to go away with and share my using experiences and I completely can not look forward to our subsequent journey.
Planning our subsequent journey has already began …..