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St. James Way CBS2202

Saturday, October 1, 2022 | Domenico Schiano Moriello | Europe

Welcome to Alcala de Henares

Welcome to Alcala de Henares, just outside Madrid! This is not just a beautiful little town outside Spain's capital, it is the town where Miguel de Cervantes was born and it is also a Unesco World heritage site! And moreover it's not far from the airport! Definitely the perfect place to start this tour that will take us from the heart of modern Spain to the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula, through beautiful cities and remote countryside. An immense number of higllights and attractions is awaiting us along the St. James Way! What else can I write? Stay tuned!!!

A walk through the centre of Alcala de Henares
Welcome briefing
Motorcycle handover

Alcala de Henares to Soria

Gentlemen (and women!), start your engines! A few kilometres after leaving Alcala de Henares, we entered a nice backroad... and barely saw any cars until almost the end of the day! We rode through the "Sierra del Robledal" and stopped for lunch in the tiny village of Campillejo with its typical houses made with the dark rocks of the area. When we got there, the restaurant was still closed, so we had to wait until 1: 30 pm to enter and took the chance to take a few pictures around. And, while we were eating... rain started pouring down! But we made it, just a little bit late!

First coffee break in Torrelaguna
It was market day
The Atazar dam
Matt, Thomas and Barbara in Campillejo
Trying the rain mode!
Last photo stop at Burgo de Osma
The weather wasn't the best today, but the forecast for tomorrow looks much much better!

Soria to Pamplona

The weather forecast was right, and the weather today could not have been better while we enjoyed a fantastic ride through the Reserva Nacional de Cameros and through Spain's most famous and best wine-growing area - La Rioja! We finally reached Pamplona, this beautiful and very lively town on St. James Way. Pamplona is famous for its annual Sanfermines from July 6th to 14th, which is held in honor of the Patron Saint Firmin from Amiens. During the procession, people are all dressed in white and wear red scarves. The biggest attraction of the Sanfermines are the stampedes (spanish: encierros) that take place every morning through the streets connecting the stables at the edge of the city centre with the bullfighting arena.

In the Reserva Nacional de Cameros
photo stop!
First coffee break in the picturesque village of Viniegra de Abajo
In the Rioja area, we stopped for lunch at a nice wineyard!
Most of the wine produced here is red
A picture in Laguardia
Last coffee break in Estella
A walk through Pamplona

Rest day ride to San Sebastian

No packing today! Since we are spending two nights in Pamplona, today we went for a ride to San Sebastian, the wonderful town on the northern coast of Spain, and came back after lunch. We could have used the tiny backroads of the region, but we decided to take it easy, left the hotel at 10 am and reached San Sebastian in time for a nice walk and a tasty lunch! Back in Pamplona in time for a rest and today we had dinner out!!

We made it to San Sebastian
did I mention the wonderful weather today?
we ride just anything!
The port of San Sebastian
Tapas here are called Pinchos
San Sebastian Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral
Another view of this wonderful place!
Buen provecho!

Pamplona to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Today we enjoyed a relaxed ride over rolling hills and along golden cornfields, and to reach Santo Domigo de la Calzada we had to pass again through the Rioja wine region... not bad at all! Many little villages, no traffic and perfect weather made our day! We reached our destination in time for going on a walk through the centre (full of pilgrims!) and also visit the beautiful cathedral. Well, since dinner starts in Spain at 8:30 and our hotel is located in the centre, we had a lot of time for visiting the town!

First photo stop
what a beautiful landscape with the rays of light in the early morning!
Last photo stop in Haro, the capital of the Rioja wine region
Thomas, Calypso and George
George
Nice typical balconies
Parking just outside the hotel, not bad!
The cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Interior of the Cathedral
Chicken and Rooster!
On the belltower
The wiew from the belltower
ready for dinner!

Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Cervera de Pisuerga

What a long a beautiful ride! We left Santo Domingo under a cloudy sky and we started heading westwards to the region of the Ebro, Spain's longest river! The weather became better and we enjoied riding hundreds of sweepers while hopping from one picture stop to another! And today there was also a surprise, Juri had prepared a delicious picnic by the Ebro river! What a fabulous spot! After lunch there were two options, a short ride to the hotel and a long one... and we took the second option! The landscape quickly changed, the road became even more twisty and it looked like being on the Alps! Some mist and some wet asphalt too, so we took it easy until we reached our destination for today!

First photo stop leaving Santo Domingo
coffee break
George and Calypso
Thomas
Barbara
Matt
First photostop at the Ebro river
The Ebro Canyon
The waterfall of Obraneja del Castillo
Amazing transparent water!
The sanctuary of Montesclaros
Our picnic spot!
Back in Montesclaros, pity it only opened at 4:30 pm!
our new friend
Last coffee break
The alps?

Cervera de Pisuerga to Leon

Today a route of around 260 kilometres was planned, but as we reached the intersection to start the loop around the "Picos de Europa" mountains, it started raining and a quick look at the weather forecast was not encouraging us, so we decided to do a shortcut and reach Leon (where at the same time the sun was shining!) in time for lunch and to have a lot of time to visit this beautiful city and its amazing cathedral, a stunning example of Spanish Gothic Architecture!

First photo stop
Rain gear on... and anyway we saw some peaks!
A walk through Leon
Very lively city centre, especially on the weekend!
Casa Botines, one of the few Gaudi's works outside Catalunia
The Leon Cathedral
Inside the cathedral, amazing stained glass windows all around!

Leon to Villafranca del Bierzo

A shorter but very nice ride today! We left Leon a little bit later than usual to enjoy the city a little more... and also because here on sunday the breakfast starts later! Anyway we managed to reach the little village of Villafranca del Bierzo in time for a walk. This village was, despite of its size, an important stop on St. James' way because pilgrims who were too weak to walk until Santiago de Compostela could get their absolution here. But since we travel by morotcycle, no excuses... we have to reach Santiago!

Very chilly this morning!!!
At the monastery in Vega de Espinarreda... unfortunately closed! Maybe we got here during the siesta time?
A walk through Villafranca del Bierzo
One of the signs indicating the path...
The famous Santiago Church
Another coffee...
Villafranca del Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo to Santo Estevo

Another beautiful ride today! Chilly in the morning, as usually in these days, but then slowly the temperature raised. We entered the region Galicia from its highest point in the Sierra de las Cabreras, an area famous for the Slate mining (Spain is nowadays the biggest producer of this kind of stone) and then reached the hydroelectric plant of Barrio, where we enjoyed a picnic with a view! Another stop in Castro Caldelas for a coffee break and then we finally reached our destination riding in the area of the river Sil, through forests and wineyards. Simply amazing! And at the end of the day the biggest highlight was the place where we are sleeping tonight... our hotel is located in an old monastery, what an incredible place!

 

FIrst photo stop
Our coffee stop, 1900 metres of altitude!
Quite chilly up here!
Entering Galicia
Slate mining
At the hydroelectric plant of Barrio
Picnic with a view!
Castro Caldelas
Crossing the river Sil
Destination reached!
Juri, Barbara and Domenico
Our hotel, a old monastery
Buen provecho!

Santo Estevo to Santiago de Compostela

Today we finally reached Santiago de Compostela, the final destination and the big goal of each pilgrim on the St. James Way. (Well, nowadays it's not only pilgrims doing the long walk!) The day started with a nice and tricky ride along the canyon of river Sil, with its small villages and steep wineyards. Then, after the coffee break and especially after lunch, the landscape became more and more flat and the traffic increased... Santiago was not far! Our hotel is located right next to the Cathedral, so we got a lot of time to explore the town before meeting again for lunch. And tomorrow it's a rest day, what are we going to do? Stay tuned!

 

A couple of picture stops along the canyon of the river Sil
Beautiful wineyards!
Still some kilometres to go!
Many people doing the St. James Way!
Santiago seen from the distance
Arrived in Santiago de Compostela
Let's go to the Cathedral
Our hotel is also not bad at all!

Rest day ride to Finisterre

A cloudy and foggy morning... so what do we do today? Of course we ride! And we also had quite a good luck, the rain was not too heavy and, as we reached the ancient "end of the World" in Cape Finisterre, the sun came out!!! Very fascinating seeing the sun shine again on the Atlantic ocean! After many pictures, we had a nice lunch by the port of Finisterre and then we finally headed back to Santiago in time for another walk through the old town or simply to buy souvenirs!

Rain and fog as we reached the Atlantic coast
Arrived at the lighthouse of Cape Finisterre!
Kilometer Zero milestone
The sun is coming finally out!
The port of Finisterre

Santiago de Compostela to Verin

Our ride today took us into Portugal after heading southwards on the highway from Santiago to Vigo. Soon after entering this country (and changing time-zone!), we found ourselves in the beautiful Parque Nacional Serra de Peneda-Gerês, riding through mountains and forests, and we stopped for some pictures at the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Peneda. A nice lunch in Sojao was really needed after hundreds of curves! Soon after, we entered Spain again and quickly reached Verin, where our hotel is located next to the old castle!

Goodbye Santiago de Compostela!
Entering Portugal
At the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Peneda
Beautiful views in the National Park!
Lunch time
the horreos, once used as storage for crops
Arrived in Verin
The Verin castle

Verin to Salamanca

Another loop into Portugal, but this time the Sun was shining! Leaving Verin, we headed southwards and soon left Spain, then the wonderful sweepers of the road N103 were cuddling us until we reached Braganca with its beautiful walled medieval city centre, where we also had lunch in a great spot! After lunch, the best way to digest was to face more than 50 kilometres of curves before we finally entered Spain again, where the landscape became more flat and we could give gas on the highway to reach Salamanca in time for a walk through its beautiful centre!

The castle of Verin in the morning light
Coffee break
Portugal countryside
Arrived in Braganca
The old city wall
Barbara and Thomas
Lunch
Leaving Braganca
Salamanca
The Cathedral of Salamanca
Plaza Mayor (main square)
The view from our hotel, not bad!

Salamanca to Alcala de Henares

Also this wonderful tour has come to an end! What a beautiful itinerary, nature, art, history... two weeks full of highlights! Today we started a little bit later because during the weekend the breakfast in the hotels starts at 8 am, and we headed to Avila to admire its magnificent medieval city walls while sipping a coffee. Then we reached El Escorial, the biggest reinassance building in the world (that is monastery, royal palace, museum... and much more!), but we admired it only from the outside because to visit it people need one full day! From there, straight to the hotel to relax a bit before dinner!

Barbara, Thomas, Kalypso, George and Matt, thank you for two beautiful weeks together, and see you hopefully soon on another tour!

Domenico and Juri

Arrived in Avila
Kalypso and George
One old gate of Avila
Magnificent city walls!
El Escorial
A quick look inside...
So beautiful... and notice also the wonderful weather!
Goodbye!!!
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Add a comment Rate this post
Barbara
Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 23:20

Thanks to everyone for an awesome tour! It was wonderful two weeks. Domenico and Juri - excellent job. Your professionalism and dedication was outstanding!
Kalypso&George
Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 20:33

We just complete a wonderful moto tour in north Spain
We are really very happy for driving, seeing beautiful old towns and living in perfect hotels
We must thank the two excellent tour guides Domenico and Youri, as thanks to their efforts we had a comfortable and safe tour
Tom
Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 20:29

The bikes are parked for the final time. What a great tour! Thanks Domenico and Juri. You guys did a great job.
Matt Plaschka
Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 19:55

As we wrap up our trip tonight with the farewell dinner I can only say that what an adventurous two weeks it has been! The roads, the vistas and the trek through northern Spain has been a memorable one that I will cherish. Our guide, Domenico and Juri, our logistical support person, have been energetic, funny and accommodating in making this a vacation to remember. I highly recommend this trip to those who are enthusiastic bikers and want to see this corner of the world!
Angela de Haan
Sunday, September 25, 2022 at 11:40

Hello Calypso & George,

How wonderful to see you back on another tour. And especially on the St. James Way. Enjoy the rides, have fun. I am riding with you in my mind

Domenico, it looks like you're having a great time. Enjoy the tour.

Best wishes, Angela
George&Kalypso
Sunday, September 25, 2022 at 13:27

Dear Angela
We decided for this tour because you proposed us during Morocco tour
We are happy we heard your news
Yes it’s fine tour, Domenic is a very kind guy,we wish to meet you soon in another edelweiss tour
Regards
Thomas DeLorenzo
Sunday, September 25, 2022 at 10:11

Great tour! We're halfway through now and it's been a fantastic combination of great riding, great sightseeing and delicious food. Domenico and Yuri, you are making this a wonderful experience. And more to come!
Barbara
Friday, September 23, 2022 at 22:53

Awesome tour! Beautiful roads, wine and people! The riding has been incredible. Today, we were joined by grazing cows and horses who insisted that we share the road.
Riccardo Panebianco
Sunday, September 25, 2022 at 19:41

Fantastic pics! It looks awesome! Enjoy the ride and keep posting pictures so the us couch Potetoes can enjoy note of you tour!!!
Riccardo Panebianco
Sunday, September 25, 2022 at 19:43

Fantastic pics! It looks awesome! Enjoy the ride and keep posting pictures so us couch potetoes can enjoy more of you tour!!!

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