Euro maroc last half of the report.

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    Default Euro maroc last half of the report.

    Firstlt i apologise for the spelling etc, it was done on a tiny keyboard.

    Friday 26th July Camarilles to Biaritz

    We were always intending to rise early and leave for Biaritz with it being abour 350 km away. The night brought heavy rain and our tarp quickly developed a mini lake Como in it, so much so that the bulge or trough almost touched the floor.
    The rain continued f0r most of the night which was a bit depressing as packing up tents when it's raining is never an enjoyable experience.

    The alarm was set for 6.30, were all paid up so we didnt have to do any shuffling about of paperwork before we went. As it turned out we didnt need to set the alarm as we got another more exciting one.

    At 5am I was (and most of the campsite) awoken by a loud grinding noise, which i thought was the bin men being uncharacteristically efficient. However this was clearly not the case as the noise of a racing engine and the shouts of something in Spanish indicated. The frantic few seconds of commotion ended in a screech of tyres, the sound of a very large chain whiplashing across the entrance way and the sound of gates being rammed and thrown of their hinges. It all happened in a matter seconds and as i became aware that someone's car was being stolen and raced (i thought) around a crowded campsite full of un-car proof tents i shat myself and raced into my bike trousers and boots like a crazed loony. So this is how we got our wake up call. The police arrived very quickly then left very quickly, I have no idea whose car it was or if it was recovered, but it made us think a little more about locking the bikes and our things together when camping.

    The ride actually turned out relatively dry and we only topped once or twice to fuel and drink. Wed were forced at one point to take a detour through a small village and spotted what we thought was another snoopy, asleep in a bivvy bag in the middle of the villages bandstand, surreal. We crossed into France with hardly noticing it and noticed the driving becoming even worse, a good practice for Morocco no doubt.

    We booked into the campsite in Biarritz, a very clean and well organized place and unpacked and set up camp. We then buggered about Biaritz amazed at the surf board carrying waifs of tiny girls on scooters and one lad, holding his helmet up on the top of his head and making a phone call as he rode along.

    Sunday 27th July Biaritz to Lavorsi

    Once again we rose early, but took a long time to pack up so we didn't get on the road until about 9, no breakfast, we intended to grab a bite on the way. Getting out of Biaritz and onto the autoroute was a bit of pain. The autoroute took us east across the northern side of the Pyrenees, as we rode we could see them looming in the distance.

    I have to give it to the French they may charge tolls, but i'd be willing to pay
    the 7 Euros or so we paid for about 300km in exchange for toilets and rest areas every 10km and resplendent service stations, clean, well attended and
    picturesque. In comparison the M6 toll road costs almost as much, is a tenth of the length and has bugger all services. The French must be laughing their renault heads off.

    Anyway eventually we turned of and headed south into the pyrenees. The hills gave way to steeper hills, then small peaks, then mountains. The roads were smooth and empty more or less. It was hot and we stopped often to drink. We passed some beautiful views and some ski resorts which always have that ghost town look about them in the summer. I wonder of they will still be there in ten years time if everything starts melting.

    As we rode over the top of the mountain and into Spain (again no sign) the
    hairpins took a downward format as opposed to what we'd been doing for the last hour. Hairpins are fun, for the first 10 times or so, once it gets to about 100 it starts to get tiring. Anyway, the downhill section was made ore interesting due to the Spanish roadwork ethic, which basically goes something like 'before we dig it up we're going to tip loose gravel EVERYWHERE, including the bends, in some areas just to keep you on your toes we will add a little sand to the mix.'

    The descent was without miss hap and we arrived in Lavorsii at about 4pm, we tried to book in the Riberies Hotel and surprisingly they had a room, too
    expensive really but i think i would have paid anything for a shower at this
    point, and a swim in a clean fresh pool was just what at least i wanted.
    The garage and campsite next door was full of hard core off road types who
    brought bikes in vans and on trailers, how unfair. The hotel was spectacular but let down by the food, not that it was bad, far from it, but it was meager for the price, thinking back to what we had at Jon and Gwens (B&B, eyeing meal, bottle of wine, 3 or four cokes for 120 Euros).

    Another bit of good news is the wireless Internet here, which is free.... Looking out of the window at 9am the sky looks as clear as you could wish for.

    Monday 28th July Lavorsii

    Breakfast was consumed to the tune of bacon eggs, some kind of sausage and the black pudding that was left over from last nights main course. Straight after breakfast we decided to do a recce of the area, checking out the quality of the different roads on the map and getting an idea of scale.

    We travelled pretty much to the southern end of the area that we will cover on the HUMM which was an hour from our base, to give you an idea of the scale of the competition. Turning onto a black route it turned very quickly into captain gnarly, which was worrying if the whole event was going to be on this type of track, needless to say we were very hot (understatement). However further investigation turned out to be not quite as bad as we thought, and we ventured to some fantastic viewpoints. The 'better' tracks could still catch you out however with patches of soft sand making things interesting, especially when on hairpin bends.

    After a few hours we decided to fill up our tanks for tomorrow and stock up on water, then we headed back to Lavorsii for a bit of rest and sunbathing. My temp guage was showing 34 degrees.

    Arriving back to the garage we found it almost full as ost of the other competitors were arriving, a good mix of bikes from 'made for the job' mud
    pluggers to rather large 1200GSs, so our bike weights were sitting pretty much in the middle.

    On returning we had a little chat about not doing anything stupid and risk either ourselves or damaging the bikes, afterall we have about 6000 miles to travel.

    Thursday 29th July - Lavorsi - HUMM Day one

    Once again an early start as all teams were getting ready to leave at 8am, 31 off road teams and 4 road teams. needless to say there were some very well prepared and 'taking it too seriously' teams planning on massacring the competition. Very un-sporting i must say.

    We booked out and relying on our pin point planning which took all of 5 mins we headed of to the first checkpoint, which we cocked up and went the wrong way on, after that we navigated pretty well, with jon navigating and stopping to check the map in the sun, not the shade (damn him) and me having the road book and looking out for the checkpoints.

    Throughout the day (it was a long one) we really didn't think we did that well, after spending 1 and a half hours failing in finding one particularly nasty
    checkpoint that was located down a gnarly track bedded with pineapple sized boulders. I dropped the bike and bent the other hand guard so at least they now match, they are both knacker-ed.

    We had some fantastic views and some challenging goat herds to plough through. My front tyre continued to instill a complete lack of confidence on the corners meaning i had to slowdown to a snails pace, which wasn't so bad as jon speeding off left so much dust i couldn't see where i was going anyway. Jon had an interesting moment when we met a group coming downhill as we were going up, for a minute neither party new which way to go, but all was well in the end.

    All in all we surprisingly scored 783 points, the leaders scoring somewhere in
    the 1500s, but these were guys on dirt bikes with oodles of planning behind them.

    We returned at 7.45pm, adding upto almost 12 hours in the saddle covering about 210 miles. Now i need my bed.

    Wednesday 30th July - llavorsi - HUMM

    Day 2 of the HUMM. Having done most of the checkpoints (the sensible ones that dont require out and out mud pluggers) in the South East we decided to hit the middle and West checkpoints, which were high scoring because of the distance. I also managed to get Jon to agree to a proper lunch stop, but to be honest we both needed it as it was so hot and tiring.

    After lunch we did a couple of more checkpoints then seeing as though we were miles away and we'd scored higher than we did the day before we headed back, which was about an hour and a half ride, we returned at 6.30.

    The presentation evening didn't quite work out as well as it should as the
    trophies had been sent to somewhere in Swindon instead of Llavorsi. we ended up outside the top ten of 31 teams in 13th,which we were more than happy with. If we do it next year we know we will be coming on bikes made for the job, and hopefully will rank higher, knowing what the score is this time around.

    We retired to bed knowing we didn't have to book out until 12 midday.

    Thursday 31st July Llavorsi to Andorra to Tortossa

    We really started late today and didn't leave until 11.30am. The ride to Andorra was stunning yet alot further than we imagined, such is the style of the roads in this area, what seams quite a short distance as the crow flies is not due to the twists and turns cross the mountains. We had a quick look around Andorra then headed south to Tortossa.

    The trip there took us through the plains which stayed at about 39 degrees for most of the trip, hence it took us twice as long as we thought and we didnt arrive at martin and Pennys until 8pm. We dumped out stuff then took them both out to dinner at their local village which was a great dinner and good value too.

    The Yurt was interesting and the toilet arrangeents, nothing more than a couple of blocks, spanned by a pallette with a toilet seat nailed to it, it was
    suprisingly comfortable.

    We burnt a mosquito coil as the roof was open and tried toget some sleep on the floor, Jons snoring and snuffling boars outside kept me awake.

    Friday 1st AugustTortossa to laManga

    This, in our level of fatigue was a killer, in blazing heat we were to cover
    300km. We left at 8am and didnt arrive until 4pm due to many stops for naps and refreshment. On arrival we visited Cassa Azzuri and had a bear with Angelo the owner before heading to laManga Club to dump our stuff, organize washing and check into the Hyatt Regency, roughing it Charly and Ewan styleee.

    Most importantly Deb was there so we arranged to meet for evening meal.

    Saturday 2nd August - LaManga Club

    Our first full day of rest saw some much needed pool sittage and sun bathing. The room at the Hyatt was typically perfect and the ra's were commonplace. It looked pretty funny with our two bikes parked right outside the door to this 5 star empirical establishment.

    Dads barbeque in the evening with guests was stupendously tasty, much wine and dead animal was eaten by all, and a relatively early night was had. We decided at this point to stay another evening to get fully rested and wash some clothes.

    So we booked in to Las Lomas village the very next day.

    Sunday 3rd August - Las Lomas Village

    We rose early and checked out of the Hyatt and moved out stuff upto Las
    Lomas,near to wear Deb was staying, which was pleasing for me. In the morning we also did some work on the bikes, Jon replacing his rear pads one of which had mysteriously dwindled to nothing and was scoring the disks only in a matter of weeks. Luckily the BMW ones i was carrying spare fitted just fine, thanks heavens for Brembo calipers. We also travelled to a local Decathlon to get some more T Shirts etc.

    Before relaxing for the rest of the day (jon went for a ride, i by the pool) we
    mercilessly cut down our travelling kit so that it all fitted in our lockable panniers, with no need to a roll bag. Such is the typical curse of taking more

    than what we really need. You have to be ruthless, and so far we hadnt wished we'd brought anything more than we had. The only things that were not lockable away were our spare tyre, my tanks bag (wich is easily removed and carried) and my 'bra' bags that were full of water.

    The evning for me saw alovely indian meal in Los Belones and Jon stayed home and messed with the computer, planning the next days actions, which were to be ominous. You see our original plaan was to take a two day leasurely trip down to

    Gibralter, where we would cath the fast (25min) ferry to tTangier, then shoot
    south and make mid Morrocco by tea time, then look for a place to stay. Jon,
    however was pressing for an Almeria to Nador route that would sail late evening and arrive early moring in Nador, thus cutting down on an extra days riding. The cost wouldbe more for the crossing and I was concerned about 7 hours on a smallish boat, I have been sea sick once and dont wish to repeat it. I had heard stories of Nador's unpleasantness but i agreed to go with the flow, so that evening Jon got on the net and researched the details.

    Monday 4th August - Las Lomas to Almeria - To Nador

    Since Almeria was only about 2 hours ride we set of just after mid-day, there was no rush. The weather was again superb and the going good. Almeria is a dirty place as ost busy ports are and we stopped just outside the port at the
    ferri-maroc ticket office. Jon went in while i stayed with the bikes and shoe-ed away a very persistent beggar, who obviously knew i was not spanish but kept jabbering on anyway. He hassled a spanish family and almost got a thumping from the rather large and protective father. Anyway Jon was out in a flash having been re-directed to the ferry terminal to buy tickets as they couldnt be bothered to deal with him. First good advery for Spanish/Moroccan efficiency.

    The ferry terminal was awash with foot passengers and mainly French tourists in cars. Jon went to the ferri-maroc desk who explained that the cost for transit was about 125 euros, whcih included a cabin and a 7 hour crossing. We decided on the 8pmsailing which meant we would arrive in Nador at 3 am, then a couple of hours to get off, an hour or so kip on the quayside in nador and it would be light, and we would head south.

    Jon was directed to another desk inside the terminal and bought the tickets,
    however they seemed to be not of ferri maroc but Acciona lines. We got in que after a few hours and boarded. The bikes were well strapped down and we decamped our gear upstairs to our cabin. There wasnt one, only lots ofcrowded seats, i groaned, dumped my stuff, got my book out and ipodded into an attempt at relaxation. No one gave us any paperwork to fill in or any instruction as to what was needed so we wondered why lots of folks were queing at a little desk all down the boat. We guessed that it was for foot pasengers and besides i wasnt in the mind to stand in line on a rocking boat.

    After 3 hours we docked !!!! What happenned to the 7 hour voyage, i was happier but then we had a different problem, it was only midnight in Nador. Customs was a nightmare, we had pre prepared fiches which we did onlline at home which saved a little time, but the que on the boat was people getting police stamps in teir passports, without which the fella st the border could not comlete and sign on our fiche into the country. So we had to que before we found this out (1 hour) then go to imigration and get a police stamp after filling out a debarkation card (1 hour) then re-que (1 hour) the get insurance (1 hour and the slowest typing we had ever seen. We didnt use a fixer because we didnt need to, maybe if we did we might have saved the first hour queing.

    So we were the last literally out of the port, it was 4 am. We headed out of the port with no local currency, there was no one to change it, and about 30 miles left in my tank. We went to the town of nador to try to find a room, all was closed, but what was more worrying was the ammount of folk sbaout at this time, large groups of youths and men, as soon as we stopped (and i mean anywhere) they approached us, we didnt hang around to find out what for. Nador stinks. During this time we began to get followed consistently by a local 4 by 4 full of lads who kept overtaking us and pissing about on the road. After about 30 mins we decided enough was enough and headed for Millila the Spanish enclave (which jon thought we'd actually be going to in the first place) for a bit of normality. The boarder had a que of truck half a mile long so we sped past them to the front of the que and were ushered to park, that was it, no instruction. This is the other end of Moroccan border control, exiting the country. So we had to fill out more paperwork and get i all stamped. Then were were into the Spanish enclave. Qieter and safer we managed to find a hoteland get some cash and petrol, it was 4.45 am.

    The hotel wanted 110 Euros for 6 hours stay. We were knackered and with the thought of having to re-enter morocco and go through all the customs routine and our experiences in Nador we decided to just bug out, and maybe try again at tangier. I needed somewhre to rest my eyes as i wear contacts aswell. We went to the ferry temrinal and got on a 6 am ferry back to Almeria.

    Mission aborted for now.

    5th and 6th August Nador - Almeria - Alumnecar

    The evening as described previously ended with us getting on a 6am ferry, which we slept most of the 3 hour journey back and arrived in Almeria, quickly of the boat we started heading towards Malaga. We stopped at a fuel station and tookstock of our situation. We could either trawl Nerja for somewhere to stay as we were knackered or try to find somewhere on the net. Jon's wife, Julie came up trumps on the phone and found a place in Alumnecar about an hours ride away in the right direction. Little did we know what a Gem this place would be and we would end up staying 2 nights to rest.

    Alumnecar is a very Spanish resort, but with enough bars, windy cobbled streets and an old town to give it a certain ammount of charm, it was also very clean. We stayed as guests of Mark and Sophia, Mark being from England, a chef and his wife he met in the UK in London. Their guesthouse is also going to be a resteraunt as from this weekend, it has four rooms, a dog, a cat and an absolutely stunning pool. It is also secluded and tucked away with a gated parking area which is superb. It is called Los Laurelles and i recommend it to anyone. Sophie even washed some of our smelly gear, jackets etc, which we gave her 20 E for, although she didnt expect it.

    We stayed here for the next day too, making sure we were fully rested and
    deciding wether to re-try Morocco. jon wasn't fussed at all after our experience to the extent that he had thrown away his Morocco map in disgust. On the evening of the 2nd night we discussed it and decided to try again, this time following the original plan to Algeciras, then to Cueta, the Spanish enclave, then into Morocco.

    The second day was spent relaxing, reading and we had a meal in town.

    7th August Thursday - Algeciras - Cueta - Issalah

    I wasnt very well in the night so our plan of a 7 oclock start went out the
    window and we left at about 9.30 after a nice little breakfast from Mark. We bid our farewells and headed for Algeciras, 220km away.

    The roads were pretty clear but very windy, at times making is weave for fear of getting blown into a truck whilst overtaking.As you approach Algeciras you see kiosks at many service stations selling tickets for the crossing so out of curiousity we checked one out and noted the prices.

    Since we were still an hour away from the port we figured best to buy one at the port rather than buy one now for a set time and miss it.

    We arrived without interruption at the port and i must say it is a world apart
    from Almeria, its clean, efficient and well laid out. Purchasing the tickets on a
    boat that was leaving in half an hour took us 5 mins, and cost about 70 E. It was a 35 minute vomit comet crossing.

    We boarded the ferry and before we knew it we were docking, so it was out into Spanish Cueta, fill up with juice and of to the border.

    Now i have seen pictures of busy borders before but never experienced the
    apparent chaos that was going on here. We had pre filled in forms and done stuff on the net which should have us through in no time, but the shear volume of traffic meant that to leave the bikes so far from the booths and walk forward and josstle it out at the cabins wouldnt have been possible, so to the tune of 10E we enlisted Muhammed and friend to wisk us to the front, which they did, much to the chagrin of other drivers, we must have jumped a que of about 50 cars, all tooting their horns. It was a good job we had help because when we left Nador the fist time out bikes were not 'stamped' out, which meant were bringing bikes into the country that were supposedly allready there.... Beuracracy gone mad. Much shouting and waving of papers eventuaally got us through with all stamps in the right places.. It remains to be seen if we have any hassle getting out.

    So with a pocket full of Euros (no local currency) we got the hell out of dodge, bypassing the seething masses crowded around the official money changing station.

    Our route took us towards Tangie heading for Assilah. The road rose quickly
    across some very windy hills then flattenned out into a lovely new autoroute,
    which bypassed tangie completely, which was great, but also meant we still didnt have any local currency, which became even more interesting when we hit our first toll booth! No signs proclaimed this route (which you can rarely get off btw) as a toll road. So we just grabbed the ticket and decided to sort it out at the other end. Passing money over in the form of a bribe may work, as it clearly does at the passport booth. It turns out we didnt need to worry as one of the service stations we stopped at i approached a fellow and just asked him if he could change some dosh, he made about 5% on it according to the last time i checked the rate.

    We arrived in Assilah hoping to god that the waypoints of the UKGSER forum were not fleapits, and as we entered the town our hearts sank as we passed through what seemed to be an inhabited car boot sale, however deeper into town we found the hotel, they spoke english, had a pool (which we didnt go in judging by the ammount of kids in it is was probably 50% urine) and the rooms were decent, with a chower, and a bar so we could get alcohol, we had a few beers to start with.

    The bikes we parked right outside the door to the hotel but dropped the flunky a few quid anyway so he didnt sell my chrished temperature guage. We dined to the tune of a lovely Tajine and went to bed on the slab mattresses intending to rise early the next morning, which suprisingly, we managed.

    8th August - Assilah to Azrou

    Rising early we nibbled at breakfast and got loaded up. Our target was at least Meknes. The roads were populated by lorries and suicidal french and moroccon cars, mostly old beat up mercedes.

    The going however was good, we stopped for lunch at a clean resteraunt and didnt get hassled, then headed down to Meknes. It was at this point that Jon procclaimed that his drive shaft seal was leeking as proved by the oil dripping onto and lubing his chain, so far it was holding but only time would tell.

    The Ibis hotel in Meknes was full, and besides, situated in the centre of town
    and next to a MacDonalds wasnt our idea of interesting, so we continued south to Azrou, about another 80km. We passed some stunnig views and arrived in townand immediately got hassled, what they were saying i didnt have a clue as i had earplugs in and my ipod up full listening to Starship or some other 80s trash. We decided to check out the waypoints from UKGSER.

    The first looked ok, on the edge of town tucked away but unfortunately they had the kitchen door open, and we wont go into details but we decided to press on to Auberge Berba. This was up a rough track but looked clean, we passed the stragglers from a wedding leaving, so we figured it its good enough for a wedding it is for us. Being snobs we grabbed the suite and brokered a deal for breakfast included. Set in farmland it has three berber tents, one of which you may dine in and the toher two, if you dont mind large ants, you may sleep in.

    As i am writing this the sun is setting a beatiful shade of blue and orange, so
    i'm going to photograph it. Tomorrow we head down to Errachidia, hopefully.
    Funny moment of the day, watching a cop pull over a truck with about 15 folks clinging to the roof of it, much finger waving and apologetic looks all round.

    9th August - Azrou to Er Rachidia

    We rose at about 7 am in order to take advantage of the early morning slight drop in temperature, however by the time we left an hour later it was already
    32degrees. We breakfasted with the giant ants in the berber tent and enjoyed acouple of fried eggs, specially cooked for us limeys. Berber auberge is owned by a famous moroccon boxer apparently, so much so i cant recall his name. After picture of our host and us we gotgoing,first to the cashpoint then to the fuel stop.

    South of Azrou is some beutifulcountryside that goes from national park green forests to massive desolate plains for about 80km, at speed it seems like you could travel of the road untill you stop and find it littered with basketball sized rocks, where they came from god only knows. We stopped a couple of times, once for fuel and once for adrink, where we met soe italian bikers who were heading the same way. Throughout the whole trip in Morocco we did not see or meet a single Brit, weird.

    Once thing that will allways characterise Morocco is that you can guarantee in the middle of nowhere there will be someone just walking along, probably hoping for a lift, or selling something. In the Gorge du Ziz there were many one man bands selling bottled fizzy drinks, e guessed this as before each 'shop' was a pile of stones with a bottle of drink on top. Needless to say i have no idea why anyone would want to buy a hot bottle of fizzy drink thats been standing out all day.

    The Gorge du Ziz is like a mini grand canyon, the bottom of which is the road, the rock formations in Morocco are fascinating to see with fluvial erosion exposing rolly waves of lava hewn strata.

    We made pretty good time for the 350km we had to cover and avoided the touts beckoning us into their hotels and made our own mind up, that being the Hotel Rissini which gets full of Dakar participants when it was ran in Africa, it seems alot of wealth will be missing from Er rachidia know the rally has been cancelled. Hotel Rissini is apparently a four star, which ever hotel standards they are working to we will never know, it was more like a 2 star, although it had a bar and was quite friendly, the food was OK at best, Jon got the screemin abdabs. I was fine.

    We decided at this point to venture onto the piste the next morning then head back up north as far as we could get, since time was running out if we were to get in all the opther mountain ranges we hoped to do.

    10th August - Er Rachidia to Fuengirola !!

    There were elements of the french GS club at the hotel who were very non
    comunicative and whilst loading the bikes up in the morning i got berated by a French [lesbian] for starting my engine. After packing we gunned it of from the hotel leaving them in a cloud of dust, miserable gits.

    The venture onto the piste took us some 20km higher into the Atlas, which has many plateaus, the heat even in the morning was pretty much, so once pictures were taken and video shot we started our mammoth trip north. Our goal was at least Assilah where we knew we could get a reasonable hotel, then cross the border the next morning. A phone call to Assilah resulted in them saying they were full, which we didnt believe so we went anyway.

    We thrashed the pants of our single cylinder bikes on the way North and were making excellent time, Meknes at mid day, so we kept on going, we werent tired and we were used to the heat by now.

    We arrived near to Assilah at about 4 pm, where we checked on the ferry times. The border was now just an hour or so away. We decided to go for it. My fuel situation was getting grim as the moroccons in their wisdom have no problem building a lovely (and it is lovely) toll road that goes for about 100km and only having one fuel station, which was on the other carriageway, so the emergency 5 litre petrol can came out, which got me there. I was getting about 200 miles till the reserve light, at which point theres about another 50 miles left.

    The border at Fndiq loomed into view, it was incredibly quiet of customers, which meant the flunkys were even more pushy to help you through, but we were old hats at this now. We had prepared everything at the last stop, rode straight in, ignored them, went straight to the boys i bue, got our vehicle paers stamped then walked past all the touts to the little booth to get our passport stamped. In and out in 15 mins. Sunday about tea time is obviously the time to go either way as bothe directions were very quiet, nothing like the mayhem the first time round.

    We also breathed a sigh of relief as there were no problems with vehicle papers like the first time.

    Straight to the port, it was 8.15. Ferry at 8.30, pizza on the boat, which was
    much nicer than the one we came over on, better food and you could go outside, so choose Belearic over Accionna if you can.

    We arrived in Spain still not tired, so headed up the coast to try and get a
    hotel in Fuengirola. Being high season it was packed and full, it was 2 am before we found a hotel, but it was new, clean and nice. We got our heads down on nice clean[er] sheets.

    Our time in Morroco was full of mixed experiences, sometimes it was refreshingly exciting and pleasant, other times we felt like we were being taken for granted, and at other times i felt a bit guilty seeing all the poverty and way people are living, riding through poor towns on my Deutsch-mobile with all the extra bits.

    On the whole though it was an incredibly eye openning experience and good taster.

    One day I will go back, but ill have a quicker bike and road tyres, or go during
    a cooler time of year and soend a good 10 days there. At least nothing will be new to me next time, and the flunkies at the ports can get their fixes from someone else.

    11 and 12th August - Fuengirola to Almunecar

    After a truly all you can eat hearty breakfast we set of to Almunecar for a
    couple of days of rest. Our destination was once again Los Laurelles guesthouse, unfortunately the resteraunt there was not yet up and running. The trip was hot and uneventful.

    We spent the next day on our bikes to Granada and the highest point in the Sierra Nevada. The roads were superb although the spanish road works had not caught up with the Euro 2008 garmin maps which proved a little fustrating, meaning that our sat nav was taking us places that hadnt been laid yet.

    The Nevadas are truly spectacular although more so with snow which i have seen before. It is strange passing chairlifts and cruising through the deserted

    streets of a ski resort. The views were great but not on the scale of the
    Pyrenees, which i suppose is expected. During the ascent we passed a disguised broken down new Hyundai Getz. The driver got a bit shirty when i got my camera out. The altitude i'm guessing makes it a good testing ground for new prototypes.

    At the top there were 4 Aston Martins wich were driving up and down all day, testing again i assume, not being an officionado of the brand the cars werent disguised so I'm not sure if they were new models or not. On the way down there was a disguised articulated lorry pulling two trailers very slowly...up the slope.

    At the top we had a sandwich and chatted to the first british bikers we had seen, and i had a discussion in broken German with a guy who had the same bike as me at home.

    It was good to ride the bikes with no luggage for a day and we thoroughly enjoyed the endless hairpins.Meals for the two days consisted of chinese food which was mega cheep and of abundant portions.

    This time of year in Almunecar is Fair time with dancing , sports competitions
    etc. It really is a place i intend to return to now we know a gem of a spot to
    stay, great for couples, no louts but lots of spanish noise.

    13th - 15th August - Almunecar to La Manga

    The last part of the first half of the journey took us on a long ride through
    sweltering heat to La Manga to stay at my dads for 3 nights, in order to do oil changes and change tyres over to road going ones for the journey back through Europe. It also gave us time to plan a route and book accomodation on the route, meaning we could ditch our camping gear, reducing the load on the bikes.

    Most of this time was spent relaxing or working on the bikes. I shamed myself by getting pathetically drunk to the ppoint of throwing up on the first night. I ut it down to dehydration and not eating before hand.

    We left on the morning of the 16th on our trip towards home, ahving arranged accomodation before we travelled.

    16th August - La Manga to Peniscola

    We decided to split the trip north up to less taxing distances so we booked into the Los Delfines Hotel in peniscola, which i had never heard of. This was no mean feat considering it is bank holiday weekend in Spain and everywhere seemed full.

    The temperature had dropped a little today due to a scattering of cloud so the trip of 460km was quite comfortable, my road tyres making for a smoother and quicker ride, the wobble at 80mph had gone so we stuck to about 70 most of the way and arrived at 4pm. The Hotel has no carpark so we locked the bikes up outside the front door. The room is simple but clean, the shower works great.

    Peniscola seems at first impression to be another very Spanish resort, with a
    huge long beach almost as far as the eye can see. Since it is 5.15 now i can't comment on the nightlife but it seems again very family orientated, no obvously British louts in sight. Peniscola has an old town that sits within the walls of a fort overlooking the beach and harbour area. it looks like it might be lit up at night so i will try and get a picture.

    17th August - Peniscola to Calella de Palafrugell

    The quaint seaside town on the Costa Brava was our next stop. I'd stayed here in my teenson family holidays and was interested to see how it had changed. Apart from being bigger and cleaner more or less everything was how it was, no buildings are above 4 stories and the sea front bars are where they should be.

    The Hotel Mediterane was ran buy 'helga' (that was her nickname) who instructed us in german accented English what time we should rise and breakfast.

    The evening was spent having a meal, reading and people watching. Tomorrow to France.

    18th August - Calella to Collias

    We headed of up the coast towards Montpellier and France. We needed to be at Les Allouttes guesthouse by 4.30pm after which point the property owner Briggitte would be out untill 7.30. We decided unwisely to take the coast road which added an hour to our journey, plus Jon wanted to drop in on some friends camping on the coast that he was trying unsuccessfully to get hold of by phone, so we just chanced a drop in. They werent there.

    Pushing on it was clear we werent going to make it in time so we slowed down and resigned ourselves to sitting in the local bar for 2 hours.

    Collias is another one of those gems you find on these trips. The guesthouse is immaculate, safe parking, pool, clean and modern furnishings, it really islike
    changing rooms done tastefully. Collias itself sits ona river gorge of the
    Gardon, and was founded by the greeks apparently. It has neolithic caves and the gorge lends itself perfectly to Kayaking and activity sports. Itis also hometo the Picholine Olive.

    We dined at a riverside Pizzeria and I had a great Entricote and Jon had pizza.
    Tomorrow should be interesting as Jon doesnt wanto go on motorways so much cus of the wind which means longer time trips and we also havent got anywhere booked for tomorrow night.

    19th August - Collias to Barcolonette (French Alps)

    We started the day after a superbly presented breakfast curtesy of Briggite and headed of towards The Gorges du Verdon which was superb. Once again great twisty roads, a long day but well worth it. The Gorge os very similarto a mini Picos and it was a shame our itinery didnt allow us to stop there and hire a peddle boat to go up the gorge.

    The day ended in an alpine ski resort at the Hotel du Soleil where we bagged a small room all inclusive including drinks, which suffice to say we didnt abuse as we were up early thenext morning.

    20th August - Barcolonette to Lake Como and surrounds.

    Our next day took us over the French and Italian Alps int Italy to a beautiful
    guesthouse ran by Phillipe. Stunning scenery etc. Sat nav confusions abound, we didnt arrive untill 8pm, very tired. We ate at a local italian resteraunt called Bone. Stodgy food but tasty. Easrly start early to bed.

    21st August - Como to Bodensee via Switzerland and Austria

    Big day, ended in nice hotel in Germany. Stunning scenery through Swiss Alpine passes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Hythe, Hampshire, (1997 F650ST)
    Post Thanks / Like


    Great pics Santrix! How did you cope with the heat in the low parts of Spain and especially Morroco in July/August? Here in Barcelona I have to wear one of those breathable Dainese jackets as I just cook in my other Heine Gericke jacket.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Post Thanks / Like


    I have a revit suit, off track jacket and dakar pants. Remove all linings and extra panels on the jacket, open all vents, its a great suit. And put your pants in the fridge lol...

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Hythe, Hampshire, (1997 F650ST)
    Post Thanks / Like


    The pants idea sounds good although my wife might not be too happy

  6. #5
    '01 F650GSA
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Herts side of Essex
    Post Thanks / Like


    Haven't been in this section for a while and came across this.

    Outstanding. Well done guys

    It certainly brightened an overcast afternoon here.


  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Bristol '06 Dakar SOLD
    Post Thanks / Like


    Hi Adrian,

    great report and pictures. We went throught the same roadworks as you on the way to Llavorsi, we had great fun through them is it was good practise for the trails that lay ahead the Germans in front of us didn't find it quite so much fun

    I'm surprised by your comments on the sparse helpings in the Riberies Hotel as it was a case of 'all you can eat' when we stayed there in 2006. Perhaps they're feeling the 'credit crunch' as well

    cheers, Bob.
    We can rebuild him

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness Video

    A bit late but what the heck..

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. chudjen bet

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared a informative and interesting blog post .
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  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. Liked the material. . . . . ก๋วยจั๊บญวน

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