Lets’s preface this blog with, I wrote this prior to 2020, actually in 2018 B.C. that is (BEFORE COVID) and im only now finishing up my blog rides through portugal. Like most of you I had intentions to carry on all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2020, until we were aburptly diverted. So here it is after 2 years later I’m continuing where I left off. My journeys on the motorycle across the world. (Currently the bike is still in Portugal)
Waking up at the base mountains of the pyrenees was exciting! I had a proper french breakfast and the thoughts of scaling the impressive mountains ahead. So one more time, just so you understand there is a song embed into my head! LEEETSS GO!!! PORTUGAL BOUND AANND DOOWWWN!
With no pictures or videos I will tell you that the ascent into the pyrenees was fantastic. The green grass got greener and the serenity was perfect. I crossed into the border through a 3 mile tunnel and into Spain. Then the terrain went from green to brown and dusty in an instant.
It was pretty surreal. It didn’t feel like Spain it felt like the Arizona desert. An old western setting!!! Come to find out later, its where they filmed a lot of john wayne films.
When you see desert on the map you usually think, yep, its time to move! Nothing to see here! Thats exactly what I did. After coming down the mountain I was moving, and fast!!! I had only one problem. My head light went out. Argh!!!! Where do I get a that?……GPS says theres a BMW dealer in Zaragoza, Spain!
I stopped into the town and found the dealership and a restaurant near by that served all the meat fixings you could imagine. Really, the only thing I wanted to do was get to Madrid! From the B & B it said it was going to be an 8 1/2 hour ride to madrid and I was around 4 hours awat and had only one more day and half to get to Lisbon.
As I was getting closer to Madrid the sun was going down and I had long day of being on the saddle, and the desert heat was draining me. So I started to think about finding a place in a big city, and what a pain in the ass it was to deal with the traffic and choas. Soooo I looked at my map and found a smallish town Guadalajara, Spain. Just an hour a way from Madrid. I have no idea what was up with the place. But I decided to stay there, found a small hotel, ate, drank a little combined with aquick city walk and then slept! No time to really site see!
The next morning I wasted no time….I’m on the move!!! I opted to go around Madrid!
-The above photo credit ^ Polar steps is how I track my routes now! It keeps track of my route and if you take a picture it will map it for you.
I rode as long as I could, through the combination of deserts and small villages in the mountains sides. Mixed in with your occasional abandoned castle, it was really starting to feel medieval.
As the sun once again was setting, I cruised into a cool village Caceras, Spain into this modest of hills. (Sarcasm)
Cáceres was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986! The city was like walking into medieval times.
With only a night and a morning to spare, I walked the villages old Medieval buildings and streets and even found out that there is a cave near by that has paintings from 67,000 years ago!!! Unfortunately the morning I went to these caves (Pictured below) they were closed for a week.
The origins of Cáceres were in prehistoric times, as evidenced by the paintings in the Cuevas de Maltravieso (Maltravieso Caves). The caves contain hundreds of paintings including the world’s oldest known cave painting which is a red hand stencil older than 67,000 years. – Wikipedia
Caceres deserved more of my time, as anyone with a camera and an appreciation for architecture they would of been in heaven. Not to mention for you Game of thrones fans much of the kings landings scenes were filmed here.
That morning was actually tough I wanted to see the town more, but Portugal and Rugby awaits!!
Riding into portugal was un-eventful, the scenery mostly desert and deserted. So with ‘cautious’ speed I made my way to Lisbon.
I contemplate time when i’m rushed, how about you? I’d rather take my time but then again I’m excited for whats ahead. Do I carry on and meet some familiar faces while playing rugby or do I take my time and smell the desert roses. I struggle with this “time” thing! Either way I decide to keep on the moving.
My arrival to Lisbon from Caceres felt abrupt! When you ride the highways your mostly regulated to what feels like the surface of a map. A few hills, a few homes, abandoned buildings, farm land and neighborhoods in the distance. So when I turned a corner and saw the vision below I was instantly transfered back to the bay area and my attention turned to excitement.
From its inauguration in 6 August 1966 up to 1974, the bridge was named Salazar Bridge (Ponte Salazar), after Portuguese Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar, who ordered its construction. After the Carnation Revolution, which overthrew the remnants of Salazar’s regime, the bridge was renamed for April 25, the date of the revolution. It is also commonly called the Tagus River Bridge (in Portuguese: Ponte sobre o Tejo = “bridge over the Tagus”).
Golden gate anyone?!! The only differences is its cheaper (1.85-2.85 in Euros) to cross and you definetley know your in Lisbon and not san francisco by the old buildings and lack of sky scrapers.
I arrived in a small suburb of Lisbon in Parede. Only a couple blocks from the beach.
Two close friends from Petaluma Craig and Todd are here to play rugby with the group I played with in Wales. “The outsiders.” In 2016 I met the outsiders after an invite from craig and played for a week in a world wide tournament thats held every other year around the world.
No matter how much I crave the unpredicability of traveling on a motorycle alone, I’m lucky to have good friends I can meet anywhere and feel that familiarity and connection with.
Whats the first thing to do when you meet your buddies in a new country? Yup! Grab some Local beer and take a walk to the beach.
Every night just like in wales we spent it out and about. The only difference is we played 2 games instead of 5. Whew!!!!! Although I loved playing rugby in Wales, that was a rough week. Especially going out every night!
So 2 games was perfect. The first game, in a suburb of portugal, the team we played absolutely whooped our ass!!! As you can see below though we were all smiles.
We had plenty of time to sight see……
Portugal has an old world look, combined with a vibrant energy and good food and its no wonder there are many expats moving there.
The Second game of the week we played in Evora, Portugal. Instead of taking the bus with the rest of the team I decided to ride the bike. I would of felt like I was cheating on her if I didnt take her with me. 😉
It takes and hour and half on the highway to get there and 2 1/2 on the back roads. I opted to just get there. But looking back on my trip in 2016 it was mostly back roads. For some reason I”ve started to default to just getting to my destination.
As far as Evora and the Rugby game went. Well… we got slaughtered! We didnt just lose, but we were bruised, beat up and cut up. The cuts came from artificial grass, and the fact i didnt have any long sleeve shorts or pants, and the bruises were our egos after we scored a total of ‘0’ trys. Basically it was 0 to some triple digit numbers. All in all we were all smiles as you can see from the pictures below.
The trip to play Rugby was once again a blast! The fact that I get to ride my motorcycle around europe and meet the crazy outsider rugby team to play with friends just puts icing on the cake. I’m in bliss when I get to explore and experience things out of my comfort zone.
Good things though do come to an end. The rugby ended and so did my time in Lisbon. I have an end point and that is Porto. Or so I thought!
P.S Along the way I Lost my phone! I think in an uber in Lisbon. So alot of my pictures are gone. It was only mildly irritating as I bought another phone and started to use that for navigation.