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CBS1702 - The St. James Way in Spain- and all the Tapas, Peaks and Turns we can find there

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 | Angela / Pierre Baumgärtner | Europe

Day 13 - Salamanca to Alcalá de Henares

After these two weeks of the great time we spent together it is hard to believe that today should be the last riding day! Slamanca was our last station on our round trip of the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula. And now we are headed back to Alcalá de Henares. But there is still enough to see along our way as well as plenty of good riding.
Avila with its completely intact city wall
We were lucky to arrive just at the right time in Avila. There was a medieval market going on.
A "small" lunch snack but unfortunately not yet ready for us
Like all the group...
...Charles very much enjoyed this pass road called Puerto de Mijares...
...especially after the arrival of these guys with their vintage scooters They seemed to be having a blast while screaming up the pass. It was simply pure pleasure watching them
And since Charles used to own one of these scooters himself, he remembered the great times he was having roaring around on them
Robert, our today's BMW model
Wow!!!! This is quite a scoop of ice cream Neil, isn't it?
Back in Alcalá de Henares, we completed our amazing St. James Way tour with another delicious dinner.
The Ladies on tour from right to left: Nina, Daisy and Angela
The "chicos" on tour (from right to left): Neil, Pierre, Charles, Robert, and "Sir" James
Thank you very much Daisy and James for the certificate of the "Camino de Santiago by Motorcycle". We will treasure it!

Day 12 - Verin to Salamanca

Beautiful weather condidtions --- sunshine and 24º C are promisning a great riding day. Today we will start in Spain and we will ride quite a while through the northern part of Portugal through a high Plateau until we receive in Braganca where we will visit the Zitadella. After Lunch there we are then steering our bikes to Salamanca to be able to see the wonderful marketplace  and Cathedreal there.

Riding in Portugal with no traffic at all   Paradise

Lunch Stop in Braganca


Day 10 - Rest day in Santiago de Compostela

We made it into Santiago de Compostela yesterday and spent a relaxed ride out to the Cape Finesterre, the inofficial goal of the pilgrims. According to ancient customs, some of the pilgrims burn their shoes here to officially put an end to their pilgrimage. Today, other than the smoking shoe soles from the long walk, there was not much shoe burning going on. But still quite a number of pilgrims at the place. The evening took us out into old town Santiago de Compostela for some tapas
the entire group
Finally, James... the Cape Finisterre!!!
A very relaxing lunch at the beach near Finisterre
Some quite unexpectedly nice backroads along the Galician coastline
Neil and Nina in full swing
Our hotel, the Parador de Santiago
... with the main square and the cathedral right next to it
Since the cathedral was wrapped up with scaffolding we "borrowed" the restaurant's wallpaper
Today, Daisy chose not to ride, and instead ventured out to explore the city of Santiago de Compostela
She also went to the office of pilgrimage where each pilgrim goes at the end of his/her walk, to get the "Compostela", the official certificate.
However, you need to bring a bit of patience along, because there are more than 150 pilgrims standing in line...

Day 9 - Santo Estevo to Santiago de Compostela

Weather forecast was not that`promising  today however we were lucky and had only in the mornng some slight rain,anyway the landscape was showing itself from its beautiful roough side as you seen

Coffestop somewhere in the countryside.. where we met this little friend....

Day 8 - Villafranca del Bierzo to Santo Estevo

There are countless back roads to choose from here in Northern Spain, why would you want to stay on main roads So our riding day today promises to be another nice, quiet, exciting, mind-blowing, one. All of the above and even more
The first highlight in the morning is Las Medulas. The strangely shaped peaks here have not been formed by mother nature but by the Romans, centuries ago. They were harvesting tons of gold in this area using hydropower, thus, destroying the landscape or creating another piece of art - depending on the point of view.
Immediately after our hotel and Las Medulas we are in the back of the country again with countless curved asphalt, either wide sweeping ones or high high up in altitude and very remote. Quite a mind relaxing experience.
Neil and Nina enjoying the ride and - like the other riders - surprised that there are people living in these remote areas
Hey James, it is picnic time! Why do you stop just one kilometre before?
It seems to have just been the right time to have a cut in the rear tire
The cut in the tire was too big to be fixed here in the remoteness of the Spanish hinterland, and to ride the bike for the remaining stretch to the hotel.
But this was no problem at all. We took out the spare bike and were able to continue after Pierre's picnic lunch
The monastery of Santo Estevo has been turned into a Parador hotel and serves us as a shelter for the night
Needless to say that this place is simply amazing!!! Like all the other Parador hotels we can enjoy on this tour. Each of them are a gem by themselves

Day 7 - León to Villafranca del Bierzo

On our journey to Villafranca del Bierzo, the riders went back into the mountains to chase the curvy roads there. While they were doing so, Daisy and Angela continued their way on the Camino


Daisy was able to collect a couple of more stamps into her little pilgrimage book, and we got the chance to visit Gaudi's modern church next to the cathedral in Astorga.

At the end of the day, the small chapel of Santiago in Villafranca del Bierzo was worth stopping by to get another stamp

In Astorga, Daisy went to see the two cathedrals, one built hundreds of years ago and the other, more modern one was built by Gaudí
In the afternoon, we arrived in Villafranca del Bierzo and were strolling around in the old part of the town
You'll find the pilgrim's hostel right next to the Iglesia de Santiago. And the path the pilgrims are walking passes by here so that they don't need to look for their accommodation very long
A motivation for every pilgrim
Calle de Santiago ? Yes we are on the right track
This is the "Puerto de Perdón" at the Iglesia de Santiago in Villafranca. Back in time, pilgrims who couldn't continue their journey because of health issues were absolved here at this door.
Hm... what to say here...? Nina is already a tall lady...

Day 5 - Sto. Domingo de la Calzada to Cervera de Pisuerga

Today we are going up and down various mountain chains in Cantabria and in Castilla Leon along the Ebro which is the 2nd largest river in Spain. Wheather conditions have been perfect and we had over 320 km to go..
Nina and Neil
Charles and Robert
and the entire gang Daisy, St. James , Neil, Charles, Rob and Nina in front of the Ebro Canyon.
Charles and James
Quick break to enjoy the scenery and the silence in the mountains...
Picnic Time Tourguide Angela prepared a wonderful Picnic at a great place in thMe shade of a monastry called Santuario Montesclaros and Nina could not wait...
The Santuario de Montesclaros
Impressive Mountains and
historical places
made out tour spectacular.
and for dinner we could try local vegatables as well as a
a delicious salmon.... mmh yummy

Day 4 - Pamplona to Sto. Domingo de la Calzada

Today was the day of the golden backroads. We hardly hit any of the main roads, which brought us views of golden cornfields
One of the slow food restaurants in the Rioja area
Leaving Navarre, we crossed through the Basque Country again, and ended in the province of La Rioja. The temperatures were really nice almost all day long with perfect sun shine. Only when we came over the last mountain into La Rioja, we were back to warm 32 °C
We had a relaxing, very enjoyable ride on all types of roads - from sweeping curves, switchbacks, to tiny and small backroads
Haro is an elevated town before Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and it is all about wine
We have arrived in the Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada!
The cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada has a special secret to it ...

Day 3 - Restday Pamplona

Restday Pamplona means that we will stay 2 nights in this beautiful city,  and of course we do as well a nice ride which will bring us today to the Atlantic coast.... and to San Sebastian. The wether forecast is perfect......

First Photostop above the clouds of the sierra de Aralar....
simply breathtaking
and Charles is enjoying the silence
arrived in San Sebastian and
the group is looking forward to the famous
Tapas which are served in all variation and it is imposible to try them all ... but we got a good and broad selection to try....
Afternoon ride with some spectators on the roads, we have seen, Cows, Bulls, Goats and sheeps.....
hardly any traffic...
... and roads that are simply pure fun
Daisy is completely aligned with the St James way and gets her stamps in the Little famous Santiago de Compostella booklet
Back in Pamplona ... and of course some more Tapas de Navarra.....

Day 2 - Soria to Pamplona

On our second riding day we started a little earlier to enjoy the cool and fresh morning air, crossing over various mountain ranges during the day. The first one was the Sierra de Urbión.
Viniegra de Arriba is one of the beatiful little mountain villages with their beautiful stone houses.
Our stretching exercises at the coffee stop seem to have been totally mistaken
Just in time for lunch we reached the province of La Rioja, where the famous Spanish wine is produced
Can you ride your motorcycle through the Rioja area without having visited a Bodega? Noooo, of course you can't!!!
4000 oak barrels each containing 225 litres of red wine... yap, you could stay here for a while
Strict order though - no alcohol while riding! ...
... shopping, however, is allowed
Today we were riding through 4 different Spanish provinces: Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja, Pais Vasco, and Navarra, where we will be staying for the next two nights.

Day 1 - Alcalá de Henares to Soria

The Adventure starts and everybody is excited to go.
from left Charles, Nina, Robert (back) Neil, Daisy and James are on the St James way
We were lucky when we arrived in Torrelaguna as we could experience the weekly market in this little Pueblo and we went with the flow and enjoyed a nice café con leche.
Photostop at the Atazar reservoir in the Sierra del Robledal.
Robert and Charles ready to ride on....
another quick stop to see the typical architecture in that área. For these Stone houses and Stone villages time seems to be relative as you feel being back hundreds of years.
Plaza Major in Burgos de Osma... impressive cathedrale, and we were lucky to get a nice place in the shade to try the local tapas and some cold drinks..... , needless to say that it tasted great

The rider's meeting

As usual up front, before the actual riding starts, we are having our welcome briefing with the tour guides explaining all the details of the tour.
And befitting the name of our tour Daisy and James presented all of us this convenient bandana and the little bell. After all it comes from a real James

If you watch the following video you'll find out about the secret coming along with the little bell
Play video Download
Filesize: 59 MB
As a very nice surprise, James presented his very true little poem and Daisy was handing out a little bell to each of us riders. Thank you very much to both of you!!!!

Before the tour start

Another new area on this globe is waiting to be explored by an international group of riders. This time we are actually not in one of the far-away-destination with a new tour - at least from an European point of view I am on my way down to Spain again with the truck and the trailer, transporting the bikes to Alcalá de Henares near Madrid. From Alcaná we will start our new tour "The St. James Way - Tapas, Peaks and Turns". It is always great to be traveling this direction, especially at this time of the year. You can almost bet on the warm and sunny weather that is waiting down there for you. Even though the north-east part of Spain is more likely to have some rain in the other seasons, Edelweiss has chosen to run this tour in the summer time, to make us enjoy the the good times After an uneventful, almost 2000 kilometre's drive from the headquarters in Austria to Alcalá de Henares, I already found the first customers at our tour start hotel. And also Pierre, my tour guide colleague, has arrived. While Tina and Neil from Australia went to explore Madrid, Pierre and myself accompanied Charlie from the USA on the city walk through Alcalá de Henares.
A stop along the way in Casteldefels. The two Ducatis are dozing inside the truck
If you happened to miss recognising that you changed countries within the European union, you will know for sure you are in Spain, when you, all of a sudden, see these humongous bulls on top of an elevated place.
Not only do they tell you "You are in Spain now" but they are supposed to tell you that you changed one of the provinces within the country.
So we surely will come across those "peaceful" animals several times on this tour, as we will be criss-crossing through not less than 10 (!) provinces.
Almost done unloading the bikes from the trailer...
... and then shuttling them to the hotel before to park the trailer.
Hey Charlie, it is great being on tour with you again, and hello Pierre! I am sure we will have tons of fun all together.
Eehhh... I could just take a picture of the drinks... The Tapas were gone too quick
Alcalá de Henares is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the adventures of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.
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Add a comment Rate this post
Michelle Irvine
Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 20:25

Hello Angela and Charlie!
This tour looks amazing! Enjoy!
Hope to see you both soon
Charlie Green
Friday, August 25, 2017 at 18:25

Hello Michelle
We wish you & the boys were here with us Everything is great
Claudia Wenhart
Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 21:23

Hello Angela, Pierre and Charly,
Looks like a great start
Charlie green
Friday, August 25, 2017 at 18:19

Hi Claudia
This tour is great roads hotels food&guides. Charlie
Angela de Haan
Monday, August 21, 2017 at 18:04

Hello Claudia,

Yes, we started out great, and so far we have a very enjoyable time all together. It is still very warm here.

Nick L
Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 14:14

Have (another) good tour, Angie. I know you'll have your group well fed with the best that Spain has to offer. Remember the Seville Marmalade!!
Angela de Haan
Monday, August 21, 2017 at 18:01

Hi Nick,

Thank you, yes I think we might find one or the other Spanish food speciality
More importantly, however the awesome riding here!!

I am waiting for you to come on this tour to try ou yourself

Have a great time


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