I stayed in the old part of granada. To get to the apartment was always a workout. It was about 1/8 of a mile into the old granada hills. There were many transient types in the area spending their days high as a kite. Playing music, drinking and smoking as if it was the last night on earth. It made it for some interesting moments as I made my way through the park next to the air bnb. Like the time a guy thought I was Alex. He insisted I was Alex and instead of telling him my real name I went along with it for a few. Until he said I owe him a joint and some money. I thought he was joking but soon realized he couldn’t tell his hands from his feet. If it wasn’t for few of his friends it might of turned ugly. His friends said theres no way I was Alex, I was too brown. HA! Too brown?!
Really the toughest part was dragging my bags for the bike down to the street. I was desperately trying not to make multiple trips. With each small alley and stairs to descend I was determined to do it, even it meant having my arms and shoulders burn and cry with sweat. It was time to go! Maybe it will be cooler in Madrid?
Once I got my route in the map and the camel was packed I had the same euphoric feeling you get when your about to go on a vacation. Followed by an immediate sadness as well. I’m not sure where it came from but at that moment I was missing home. It quickly passed, as the road in front of me became a distraction.
Besides scenes like this ^ once in a while, there was nothing but the highway between me and Madrid. Again I didn’t want to take the highway but the heat can get to you.
Besides the occasional abandoned castles on the hills it was nothing but desert, I screamed down the highway at 80 thinking Ill get there sooner then later. Once I got closer, Madrid crept up on me and so did the street for my next air bnb.
I met Sandra and she showed me to my room. A very sweet women who told me she was a working actress in madrid. The town is known for its theatrics. The room had no air condition but it didn’t need any as it was tucked away from sunlight.
At this point I’m not feeling like going out but trying to push myself anyway. So I wandered around looking for a place to eat. What I found was burger place. Hmmmm!? A Burger!! I haven’t had one of those since Barcelona.
Its a lively town but somehow I’m just not into it. I’ve been going out, so to speak, almost every night for the last couple months. I know boohoo!! Maybe it’s time to pack it in, find a place for the bike and head home? Then I gave myself a little pep talk. This is the something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and now I’m doing it. Here I am in Madrid, Spain and I’m sulking about going home. It actually never crossed my mind as something serious. It was just a thought.
I don’t need to go out and pull an all nighter, but i do should see the town and feel it’s pulse. The only way you can do that is to put yourself right in the mix of all the madness.
Of course after the burger that never happened. Immedialty following my pep talk I headed back to the room and put on a pre-season game of the raiders. What I really needed was piece of home. Or at least to feel like I was home. American football will do! Not to mention I had to finish an online course for traffic school. That ended up taking some time.
The next morning I woke up and I decided I needed to take my camel in as the check light was on. I have hit about 8000 miles of riding now since my last oil change, it’s recommended every 6000. So after finding the BMW shop I take it in. They tell me they have one more day before their holiday and then they will be closed for 2 weeks. Now between the fact that no one eats lunch between 2-6pm (not the case in Madrid by the way) and the fact that these guys are going to be closed for 2 weeks, I’m not taking it too well as a spoiled get what you want, when you want american. As I started to look at other options one of the workers says, “you know what I’ll work it out hold on a minute.” I lost his business card so I forgot his name, but it was much appreciated as they accommodated me even though they were busy. A shout out to Rolen motor in Madrid!
He did a brief overview and then said they can do it. He looked at my back breaks and also said they’ll need to be changed or at least soon. Yep change them I responded. Not something you want to leave until the last minute. My back tire also is just about worn. The cost though would have been close to $400 for the tires. Yeah I think I’ll wait until I get closer to England. Way to pricey. I’ll more then likely need it as I head into England and beyond. I haven’t hit much rain, but that will change once I reach northern Europe.
I left the camel their for the night and he told me to make sure I get back here by 4pm the next day otherwise we’ll all be gone. Yes sir no problem. I make my way to the Tube train and head back to my section of town. He told me to download the app as it makes it easier to navigate their subway. Yep, just type in you address and it tells you exactly how many transfers and which one to take.
My night was spent wandering around town in my area. Venturing too far was not in the cards for me. Madrid is much bigger then Granada. It is however much more eclectic. More a modern feel then your typical old Spain.
Really nothing in Madrid excited me. Not because there wasn’t things to see. I just would of liked to have been with someone familiar. It can get exhausting meeting new people constantly. The highlight was meeting up with Andrea who I met in Truckee with my Finnish family. Her and her friends were in the Tahoe area studying and experiencing the California life for a few months.
Fast forward three years later and we managed to find a way to meet, as her and her friends wanted to check out the meteor shower that the world was watching. I met her near a bus station as she pulled up in her mini car, as most have here in europe. Her two friends were in the car, a brother and sister from Madrid who are part spanish and part english, England that is!
We ended up stopping off at her families farm house to check it out as they were remodeling it and then made our way to eat dinner in a small town that was having a week long celebration. I wish I could remember the town name and celebration.
You could imagine the caos this little town seemed to be under. None the less we parked and enjoyed a spanish specialty. A Bucket of rabbit meat and a bucket of goat. It sounds like a KFC but it definitely wasn’t. The restaurant was packed and it looked more like a country BBQ in the bayou then Spain. We washed it down with some sangria and the night was just kicking off.
We also had some of her other friends meet up with us. A couple who was to be married soon. Once we finished dinner and drinks we headed up into the mountains of Spain to find the darkest spot to catch a glimpse of the infamous, yet rare, meteor shower.
Most if them spoke english so for a moment I was reminded of the best part of connecting with friends. Although I just met with them we were laughing and hanging out like we’ve known each other for a long time. Or maybe it was the sangria!? 🙂
The night ended pretty late as they dropped me off back in town where I was able to get a taxi back home. Madrid is a big town and for them to drive me would of meant they would probably have gotten home by sunup.
I also did do some sight seeing.
(Royal palace Madrid)
(View of the palace and madrid)
Temple of Debod (200 B.C.) is an ancient Egyptian temple which was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid, Spain.
The next day was leaving time. I decided I would head out to pamplona. Known for the running of the bulls, although that time has passed, I’ll just be staying one night before I head to san Sebastian.
The ride to Pamplona was uneventful there were some nice areas to ride through but nothing spectacular. When I made it to pamplona I had messaged my Air bnb host. She did not respond. I set it up the morning I left Madrid but it was an instant booking where you don’t have to wait for a response, just book and go. So after 6 hours she finally responds. I was already sitting in a restaurant in pamplona. She says, “I won’t be there until 11pm, can you wait until then?” Of course I said no. I immedialty asked for a refund and booked another one. An older spanish lady accepts my request and I ride 5 minutes to her place. Just for one night was all I needed, one where I could get some ample rest before riding to san sebastian. The older spanish ladies place turned out to be perfect.
I’ve used air bnb now almost a dozen times, and every circumstance has been great. This lady who wanted me to wait until 11pm never responded to the refund so I had to call Air bnb specifically. Either way I was irritated, but I’m off. San Sebastian here I come.
The ride to San sebastian was much better as you can start to see huge mountain sides and big vista’s. There were a few more bikers on the road as well. Now instead of waving, just s the bikers in Spain actually stick there legs out. One leg that is. It’s just a different salute then the good ol high five biker air wave in the states.
Getting into town was a breeze, getting around the town not so much. There was absolute mayhem ,as you could tell their way too many vacationers for this smallish town.
None the less it was a beautiful setting and I tried to get to a restaurant that one of Andreas friend recommended but the parking became huge issue.
Instead I found a nice little tapas bar, although now their called pinchas, but I still don’t know the difference. They’re served as an appetizer style but not anything different from what I had in Granada.
San sebastian was short lived. I could not find a place, as it was waaaaaay to pricey and almost nothing was available, both from a camping situation and airbnb. After eating lunch I headed out and worked my way towards the border. My skin was burning from the sun and I had no sun screen on. So at one point I stopped in a store and asked for some sun screen. What I did not realize as i walked in is that I also had crossed into france. What?! No border control, no signs? I didn’t understand but none the less it was back to oui oui, instead of si si!
As I head to bordeaux France. I have a week before I meet up with my friend craig in Cardiff for a Rugby tournament. We discussed about a year ago he was going to be in wales, and I told him I was riding my motorcycle to Finland. Of course he knew for sure he would be in wales, and I didn’t know if I would be able to make it. As the trip planning got underway it worked out perfectly. This is the first time though I’m feeling rushed on the trip. I haven’t “had” to be anywhere in particular since I started.
Crossing into France the roads change and the green lush land is a welcoming site. Each country crossing is becoming so distinct and my curiosity is satisfied with every turn. What town is this? Whats around the corner?
wow what an amazing trip, truly awesome! its great to catch up with you on each post
Thanks chris! Its been amazing