Let's start to Sevilla!
On our first cloudy riding day we ride first along the Costa del Sol, shortly after Marbella we leave the coast and ride up to the mountains.
On the San Pedro-Ronda Route we have a perfectly paved and windy road up on the pass Puerto el Madroño on 1065 meters it's a 40 km stretch without any towns or traffic lights what a biker heaven. Right before the top of the pass we have a coffee in a typical biker cafe, and of course they have a sticker wall where I left a Edelweiss sticker.
A short ride later the enchanting pueblos blancos (white villages) showing up and we visit the most famous city of it: Ronda.
It's one of the oldest city's in Spain and the modern bullfighting rules where born here, since 1785 the bullfights take place here in the plaza del Toros. The largest bridge Puento Nuevo the landmark of the city, was built at the same time as the bullring.
We walk along the promenade at the cliff of El Tajo canyon into the old town the city is marked from the west gothic, moorish and christian tradition with the White House's hanging at the edge of the abyss. In the old town district we went into the Iglesia de Santa Maria church which was in the 14. Century built as a muslim Mosque, the only leftover of the mosque is an Arche at the entry of the church, from the top of the church we enjoy a great view over the city.
Well, the second day on the tour and allready a restday? Who said we did rest? We split this morning into a ladies group and a boys group and guess who was doing what.
The boys went for a 200 km ride into the hills North of Sevilla. Great roads, great riding! It was awsome, to cruise through areas full of olive and oaktress, sometimes interrupted by sneaking through little alleys of Pueblos Blancos, snuggeling between hills. And who said, that men in this group are not cultural interested? We found a lokal guide telling the history of the church in Cazalla de la Sierra - unfortunatelly most of it got lost in translation
So as the boys went for a ride the chicas hopped on the sightseeing bus to see more from Sevilla. The morning was foggy and cold on the top of the Bus. We left the bus in the center of the city and visited the huge cathedral of Sevilla originally built as a mosque and later converted to a cathedral, so the Giralda minaret was reused as a bell tower and still stands as the Giralda. This masterpiece of cathedral in the moorish, gothic and renaissance style is copied several times all around the world.
After a coffee the sun showed up and we walk thru little alleys along the Alcazar palace to Plaza de España, at the parque de Maria Luisa. This huge building complex is a half circle with 4 bridges over the moat in the center the Vicente Traver fountain and many tiled alcoves around the place representing different provinces in Spain, built in 1929 for the Ibero-American exposition with mixed elements of the baroque, renaissance and moorish styles.
We end this nice day trip thru Sevilla with a drink at the rooftop bar of our Hotel and the boys arrived in time to join us.
After dinner we walk thru Sevilla by night, everything is lighted up and the sights appear in a new glamour and romantic touch.
But we can't leave Sevilla without seeing a Flamenco show, so we do and it was awesome to see that fantastic cultural highlight!
It was easy to get out of Sevilla and this time we did not have any fog, so landscape was visibale for us. We hit the mountains near Riotinto, where we could see one of the biggest open mine pits in Spain. Heading North we reached Aracena, a small town dominated by a castle and a church overlooking the surrounding forrests. A small twisty road towards West connects the area with the mainroad leading Southtowards the coast. A short stop at the statue of Christopher Columbus in Huelva, a good lunch at the (not so spectacular) marina and we headed West towards Portugal. Crossing the border by boat, even if you are on motorcycles is something different.. After crossing Rio Guadiana we had not too many kilomters left to get to Faro, but with all the traffic it took us longer, then we thought.
We leave Faro today our gateway to the Algarve. Heading west to our first stop Lagos once the capital of the province Algarve and a important shipyard from 13. to 18. century.
At Praia don Ana we stop for the typical Algarve coast picture, the small bay nestled between rocks and golden cliffs is just the picturesque example.
Our next stop is the southwestern point of Europe, Capo São Vicente a 70 meter cliff in a wild, windswept and remote landscape on the Atlantic Ocean. The cape is landmark for ships traveling to or from the Mediterranean Sea and has the most powerful lighthouse in Europe which can be seen from 60 km far away.
Along the coast we ride to our lunch stop, we follow a narrow road thru hills as we can see the ocean the Edelweiss Van is standing there on the parking lot, what a great timing! With a perfect setup next to the beach Markus prepared a delicious picnic for us.
Filled up we enjoy the ride northwards the clouds are getting darker and closer to us, so we stopped right in time at a gas station to get our rain gear on.
Along the way to our next destination Sines we ride closer on the coast thru narrow roads surrounded by cows, seeing the last surfer coming from the coast like we the last riders on that day.
That part we really enjoyed even in the dust shower.
After yesterday's afternoon was a kind of wet and foggy we did not exspect anything else this morning. looking out of the window the grey of the sky matched with the ocean, but nevertheless, after a short briefing we headed out. First South, to chetch up with a nice road going towards Santiago de Cachem. A few kilometers after the intersection to that road all over sudden the sky cleared within a second - blue as far as you could see and it stayed for the rest of the day!
Oaktrees wherever you could look compaigned the road for miles and miles. It seems like the Serra de Grandola is home to a gigantic oak forrest. Getting closer to the south shore of Rio Sado, which opens to a big natural harbour near Setubal, we reached Troia, the name of a finger-like sticking out peninsula, protecting the natural harbour towards the west. And the only way to get across to Setubal is a ferry. Our lunch stop in that lively town full of history led us also to Forte de Sao Filipe, sitting on top of the hill, overlooking the town and the harbour.
A wonderful coastal road took us to Cabo Espichel, a lighthouse and a church, being the counterpart of Cabo Raso near Lisabon. the last few kilometers took us first through remote countryside, befor we hit the traffic of Portugal's buzzling capital
While the "boys" went riding - this time with Claudia - Markus took care of the ladies. The idea was to start with the Elevador da Gloria, but then unfortunately we had to walk by foot as it was out of order. But we got to Bario Alto and explored that part of town. Slowly we worked our way through there, passed by the "roofless" curch and got to the Elevator Santa Justa, which was supposed to take us back down to the Baixa. But one of it was out of order as well, so we hopped down the hill. After some coffee on Praca di Comercio we entered tram #28, which should be on everybody's pucket list of to do's in Lisabon. We enjoyed the ride and went all the way to the final station. A good lunch, a stroll back through the Baixa, sweetened with some ice cream finished our exploration of Lisbon.
About the ride today, we leave Lisbon along the River Tajo and head to the coast but our way is closed by a police barrier so all the traffic took the same detour and that means we are stuck in a traffic jam.
After we made our way thru that big detour we reach our first stop on the westernmost point of Europe; Capo do Roca.
From the ruff cliffs we head into the countryside to ride on fantastic small narrow and curvy roads around the national park of Sintra-Cascais, this is what we really deserve after that bad traffic in the beginning and we enjoyed it a lot.
We have lunch in Sintra the speciality of the house is goat so Freddy and Jürg got goat steaks, Tom and I are not giving it a try but they serve other delicious meals too and the portions are just huge!
To Mafra we ride on windy roads, before we get into this little city with that powerful baroque national palace, a quick picture later we continue the ride back to Lisbon.
In the evening we meet all together for an aperitif at our Hotel bar and talk about our different experiences of the day, Markus already reserved a table for us in a very good seafood restaurant, a little walk thru Lisbons nightlife makes it even harder to leave that wonderful city tomorrow.
We start this morning with a 70 min stretch on the highway to save time on this long riding day back to Spain, and that means we loose one hour in case of the different time zone.
In Evora we have a coffee and visit the chapel of bones, it holds skulls from over 5000 people, in the 16. Century the city ran out of space so they took the bones and put them nicely with cement on the walls of this little chapel. In the entry it says in Portuguese "We the bones lying here, waiting for yours" for the perfect goosebump moment.
Sourrounded by olive trees and the last Kork oak trees, we ride on endless straight stretches in a beautiful area.
Elvas is our next stop for lunch, so we ride into the center and enjoyed it sitting in the middle of the main square in this medieval city, before we leave one last picture stop is necessary at the equaduct, with a total extension of 8 km the monument of the 14. Century is worth to stop.
Now the really fun part starts, we're entering Spain into the Extrementura region and we're coming into the mountainous region, roads getting more windy with vineyards and olive trees characterizing this landscape. There are some stretches with fast riding twisties so we arrived at our Hotel in Zafra with a endless smile in our faces and the wish to ride this stretch immediatly once again!
Our last riding day
Back to Málaga on the Costa del Sol across amazing mountain roads, pure riding fun!
First we follow the main countryroad before we get into the small mountain roads around the Sierras Subbeticas de Córdoba nationalpark.
Endless Olive groves, also called the green gold of Andalusia, the trees can be from 600-800 years old they grow on barren dry ground and that makes them to the symbol of health and power.
On the rolling hills with the geometric arranged olive trees we can't stop admire this views, the sweeping small roads make this ride to a blast!
After lunch in Loja we come into the Montes de Málaga nationalpark it's the green lunch of Málaga, the landscape is getting different to limestone mountains with breathtaking views. The roads are still small, narrow, sometimes bumpy and sweepy curves all the time.
As soon as we can see the coast the city Málaga is showing up, on the outskirts we enter the city we ride on the highway back to our start hotel because we don't want to end up get stuck into city traffic.
Arrived in Guadalmar, Markus awaits us with cold beer and snacks at the beach.
With this last ride it's really hard to return the bikes and fly back home.
We had a great time with our Tourmembers, Jürg & Bea, Tom, Freddy & Moni! Thank you for riding with us, the laughs, the experience we made together is priceless.
It was a pleasure to guide you around, hope to see you again somewhere in another beautiful part of the world on a motorcycle.
Your Tourguides Markus & Claudia