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CBS1901 St. James Way - Tapas, Peaks & Turns

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 | Angela / Mike Woltering | Europe

Day 2: Alcalá de Henares - Soria

We are back again in the north of Spain, riding some of the most beautiful roads of the country.

When ever I tell people about this fantastic St. James Way tour, that Edelweiss Bike has in the north of Spain, I keep hearing the same question: "Ah, you are talking about the Pyrenees?"

And my answer usually is: "Yes, you are right - but only partially". Because the northern part in Spain has so much more to offer than only the Pyrenees

There are 9 autonomous communities along the St. James Way pilgrimage path, and a small part of North Portugal, which our group of 9 riders from the USA, Switzerland and Germany will explore the next two weeks. Our tour starts and ends in Alcalá de Henares, east of Madrid.

Around this time of the year, the area usually doesn't have the amounts of rain that you'll find in spring or autumn. Maybe this is the secret why in this part you still find only empty roads and plenty of relaxed riding in beautiful nature.

And so we will enjoy some of the nicest weather on tour. So far, for the first three days, temperatures were pretty warm. For the following days in the northwestern area we still expect nice and sunny weather on our rides.

How does the saying go: "A picture says more than a thousand words" We invite you to follow our blog and enjoy the rides with us. 

Alcalá de Henares, supposedly, was the birth place of Cervantes, who wrote the story about famous Don Quijote.
The bikes are unloaded and ready to be shuttled over to our tour start hotel
Not only does the street in front of our hotel give you some nice views of ancient buildings....
... some of the buildings also offer a home to a large population of storchs. You can hear them chattering every once in a while.
The other "chattering" that you can hear is from the glasses The group met for a drink before dinner in the hotel's courtyard.
On our first day we pass by one of the "slate" villages in the remote natural park northeast of Alcalá.
The locals used the building material available in the vicinity, which is slate in abundance.
Funny shaped rock formations, decorated with genista and other colourful plants made for an impressive ride
We finally turned out of the mountainous area, overlooking the plains we would cross on our way to Soria.
Leaving the greater Madrid area, we changed into the autonomous community of Castilla la Mancha, today.
We found El Burgo de Osma a welcome stop to cool down with an ice cream.
Hm.... let's see... busses and trucks won't fit into these narrow streets anyways... If cars and motorcycles are allowed to enter this wrong end of the one-way street, who is it then not to be allowed in this street? Pedestrians, bicycles...?

Day 3: Soria - Pamplona

Goooooood morning Soria!
Sadly there was no time for some riding pics as we were busy enjoying that amazing, curvy roads with no traffic!
So this is us at the first coffee stop of the day
Our lunch spot for the day is a winery here in the region of Rioja which is one of the most important wine regions of Europe.
Besides the lunch we get a guided tour through the winery, sadly without the tasting as we still have to ride our bikes to Pamplona.
Quick gathering to start the tour through the winery.
Christine is enjoying the stunning view over the vineyards from the roof terrace of the winery.
Wow, those tanks fit about 60000 Liters of vine, each. That would nearly be enough for us if we weren’t here with the bikes. Lucky winery
There are about 5000 barrels stored down here and kept for one year at 18 degree Celsius with 225 liters each.
Hum, that should somehow fit in one of the top cases of our motorcycles...

Day 4: Rest day in Pamplona

Experienced "Edelweissers" know that a rest day rarely ever is a day without a ride Of course, also on this rest day here in Pamplona, we went out for a ride. We made our way north to famous San Sebastian at the coast.

The first very small road took us high up above the valley northwest of Pamplona
Our coffee stop was already in the Basque Country. Here you find really nicely painted house walls
But also the roads here in the Basque Country are most enjoyably running through the forests and along a refreshing river.
Once we've arrived in San Sebastian....
... we had to solve the parking "problem" first. No big deal, though, for the tour guides Mike and Angela were lifting a couple of scooters aside to make enough room for our motorcycles
In San Sebastian you have to try the famous Pintxos. These are the wonderfully decorated tapas typical to this area. Christine is blocking the eating place for the group
Inside such a bar you are awestruck at the first sight of the variety of Pintxos.
A yummy ice cream on the stroll along San Sebastian's famous beach brought us back to our motorcycles and we continued our ride back to Pamplona
Temperatures were rising up close to 32°C after lunch.
This little stream was a welcome cool down for Bill
Remote areas in higher elevation made for a nice ride even though it was very warm at this point
Back in Pamplona, we met again in the evening to see the town
A walk over the Plaza de Castillo brought us to the ....
... famous street where the bulls run through on the Sanfermin festival.
Souvenir shops tell you, you are in the right street
The street leads from the stables where the bulls are kept all the way through the old town, and finally to the bull fighting arena where the way for the bulls and the bull runners is narrowed down to the narrow entrance door.
A cold beer and later also some tapas were the appropriate finish of a great day here in the autonomous community of Navarre

Day 5: Pamplona - Santo Domingo de la Calzada

A chilled good morning from Bill and John When will we start the ride ... ?
... or shall we better say our "pilgrimage"?
From now on we will get to know and see more about the famous pilgrimage of the St. James Way
Time to mark todays route on the map before the briefing starts.
Bill found a nice comfy place to relax.
Even if it looks a lil cloudy andd dark, the weather was perfect. Not too warm and not too cold.
Before our dinner, we payed a visit to the cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada. This small village has always been an important resting point for the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela
The main reason for our visit was the chicken stable inside the church. Quite unusual, we thought But, of course, there is a story behind....
Oh no! We won't give it away now. You need to come on tour to find out all about it
Bye, bye for now - see you back tomorrow morning

Day 6: Santo Domingo de la Calzada - Cervera de Pisuerga

Well deserved first coffee stop of the day.
The Ermita de Montesclaros
Lunchtime which today is a Picnic made by Angela!
Enjoying the sunset on the terrace of our Parador hotel in Cervera de Pisuerga was one of John's delights of the day

Day 7: Cervera de Pisuerga - León

Not long after we have left our lovely hunting lodge-like hotel, we were riding along one of the many water reservoirs they have in Spain.
A quick coffee break gave us the strength to tackle the gorgeous region of the Picos de Europa - one of the most well-known mountain ranges of the Iberian peninsula
Sun, sun, and even more sun! We are lucky with the weather on our tour - not a single rain drop yet.
We enjoyed our lunch in the mountains - you order an omelette with chorizo and what you get is a humongous baguette with the omelette and sausage inside :-P
Storage houses like these are still very much common in the north of Spain and Portugal
The Desfiladero de los Beyos is a beautiful gorge that has a narrow and twisty road running through it - just like a motorcyclist wants it to be
Amazing vistas over the Embalse de Riaño

Day 8: León - Villafranca del Bierzo

Wakey, wakey León!! Another sunny day is waiting for us
The way out of the city of León leads alongside the ancient city walls

Day 10: Santo Estevo - Santiago de Compostela

Mr. Knight was already at our hotel waiting for us.

Day 11: Rest day Santiago de Compostela

So this is the „end of the World“ everybody used to be talking about a few hundred years ago
Finisterre, the end of the world where the pilgrims burn their shoes. From time to time at least

Day 13: Verin - Salamanca

What an amazing place this hotel is. Build on top of a hill with an stunning view over the whole valley within the walls of the old castle.
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Enjoying the view down from the city wall of Bragança in Portugal.
Taking pictures of each other while taking pictures of each other.
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Add a comment Rate this post
Roland Ambrosi
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 07:08

Sehr abwechslungsreiche Landschaft, schöne kleine verschlungene Wege und das Ende des Tages ein sehr sehenswertes Hotel. Einfach eine tolle Tour! Hat sehr viel Spaß gemacht.
Angela de Haan
Friday, July 12, 2019 at 22:51

Hello Roland and also a hello to all the other riders on this tour,

I would like to thank you again for this amazing tour!! Without doubt, our tour was one of my most beautiful rides. It was great to buzz around on all these wonderful backroads and enjoy the natural beauty and the great Parador hotels together with you. Thanks for having made it so memorable for me.

Oh, and thank you John for your pictures. How lovely to see the tour through your eyes again

Stay safe and I hope to see you all again soon,
Angela
John McMahon
Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 02:42

It’s my pleasure to share pictures of a memorable tour!
Claudia - Nicole Wenhart
Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 07:15

Hallo liebe Gaby,
wünsche Die eine tolle Tour, genieße Deine freien Tage und viel Spaß.
Liebe Grüße an Angela und Mike
Claudia
Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 17:33

Liebe Claudia
Die Tour ist einfach genial und ich geniesse jeden Moment
Alles Liebe und hoffentlich bis bald mal wieder
Gaby

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