We met on a very bright and sunny Sunday lunchtime ready for our adventure to begin. After the necessary process of getting dressed up in all your bike gear, to remove your gloves 2 or 3 times and then fumble for passports and crossing references, we were ready to get in the queue for check in and wait to board.

Finally on the ferry safe and sound we headed to our rooms and after a quick shower we met in the bar on top of the boat. It was a brilliant time to get to know each other and there were a lot of laughs as the drinks flowed while we were treated to a rendition of various songs, then a clown show from the boats entertainment team!

Santander to Llanes
The first night on the Spain tours are fab! You get to the ferry in good time in the afternoon and have the chance to meet everyone and relax with them. An added bonus is you even get a lay in in the morning! A small fact that Mandy and Gary were especially pleased about.

After the morning briefing everyone was set for the day ahead. We got our bikes and headed through passport control. I haven’t seen quite as many bikes leaving the port at once in a long time, but as is with the Spanish – it was fluid and efficient. We began to navigate our way out of Santander where my Sat Nav decided to turn itself off! After a few stern words with it at our first stop, I had it up and running again..

After a lovely afternoon riding through the national park we arrived at our hotel in Llanes. After getting settled into our rooms, we had a great evening in the bar reminiscing about the day and looking forward to the days ahead.

Llanes to Tineo
Today started really hot, with everyone leaving the hotel at around 9am to get some great riding in before it got any hotter! We headed up through the local national park with some beautiful sweeping bends and breath-taking views.

After coffee it was time set off towards our lunch stop in Las Regueras which is nestled in the countryside just outside of Oviedo. You wouldn’t believe that a bustling town could be so close to the quietest place you could imagine! The Spanish really are good at hiding their treasures.

The restaurant did not disappoint providing some delicious sandwiches and coffee. We had spent much of the day heading towards grey clouds, but we managed to miss all of the rain and just see the evidence of the heavy downpours that happened before we arrived. Let’s hope this luck continues into the trip!

We left our lunch retreat and headed through some more glorious countryside into Tineo. We got into the hotel nice and early, which meant a nice walk around the village was in order.

Tineo to Santiago de Compostela
Today we left our hotel in Tineo in lovely sunshine, despite the weather apps on our phones saying that we were in for a lot of rain!

Heading out of Tineo we were treated to mile after mile of traffic free roads with superb bends, each one better than the last, meandering up the mountain side and following the route of the Pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela. As we climbed higher and higher we got nearer to the looming clouds at the top, which looked as though they would engulf us in their wake. Once in the clouds my heart sank a little as the views would be severely obstructed, but my wishing for good weather must have paid off as no sooner as we were in the clouds, they made off to reveal the most beautiful scenic views you could imagine.

As we headed down the twisty bends it was fun to see everyone at one point or another stopping to take in the sights. Some riders had open faced helmets and I could see the smiles that went from ear to ear.

Dinner today was near Touro and it did not disappoint, with a large 3 course meal on offer for a small 10 Euros. A selection of food was available and left everyone full and wanting a siesta!

It was then off to our coffee stop, about an hour away. The warm sunshine that had followed us all day turned it up a notch providing us with 26 ½ degree heat to ride in, which was glorious as we headed into the national park. After a huge cold drink to rehydrate, we made our 45 minute journey to the bustling city of Santiago de Compostella. Our route took us through the quiet meandering roads before popping out in the south of the city. By this time the temperature had got to 27 degrees and although when riding it was pleasant, as soon as we stopped we could not get our riding jackets off quick enough!!

As I arrived at the hotel John and Dave appeared having changed clothes, with arms full of cleaning products! They promptly set to work on washing and polishing their Kawasaki sports bikes ready for the next day! That’s some dedication right there!

The beauty of staying in a bustling city is that whatever food you want, it is available somewhere and in abundance. As we all headed out on foot, some found a lovely restaurant where we could have the obligatory steaks, while others headed for the traditional tapas bar.

As with any city there is always something going on and tonight was no exception! In the square by the cathedral, there was a concert that entertained the crowds well into the night. Thankfully this entertainment was far enough away from the hotel that it didn’t disturb our much needed rest!

Santiago Day
The ride-out that we have planned for today is spectacular, it takes you west all the way to the coast and back. Not only are there long open sweeping bends, but there are more of those spectacular (yes you guessed it) views.

Some chose to get back in the saddle on the ride-out, while the others chose to relax and explore the city taking in the amazingly beautiful architecture of the cathedral and surrounding buildings.

Santiago to Vizela
Today saw a cloudy start and some pesky Sat Nav problems! But that didn’t dampen our spirits as we headed out of Santiago! Before long we were cruising along some sublime open curved roads, heading up and over mountains, bound for our coffee stop where again the local shop keepers welcomed us with smiles.

After a relax and some coffee we headed along the curvy route towards the now disused border into Portugal. On route we stopped for a leg stretch and everyone was gathered around chatting when I felt an extreme pain to my left shoulder! I ripped my jacket off to find a bee! He had stung me! … I have to say that this was a near death experience and I was a split second from summoning an ambulance! But in an incredible show of bravery – I soldiered on…. The group were really sympathetic! As they wondered which of them should hold me down and take my belongings……. Oh how we laughed!!

At the border a café was available for coffee and ice creams, and while we were sat enjoying them, the sun came out and the temperature hit a really warm 23 degrees.

It was then time to ride the 20 minutes through the national park towards our next coffee stop by the lake. As we got closer and started to descend the mountain through the hairpins the temperature absolutely sky rocketed!

After a short break in the shade, we made our way to the hotel in Vizela all arriving safely in 29.5 degree heat!!

Vizela to Cavilha
A great start to the day with temperatures already into the mid 20’s, we all headed off in search of a new adventure. This is one of my favourite days riding from this trip as the scenery really takes it up a notch!

As we headed out of Vizela Garry & Mandy’s bike – a trustee BMW K1200 decided that it didn’t like the heat and cut out. After leaving it to cool down, we were on the road…. only to stop a few minutes later, when the bike finally said enough was enough!

While stopped on a busy (ish) road, we looked at the bike and deduced that it was a problem with the spark enhancer that was making the bike cut out. Unfortunately at the side of the road there wasn’t a lot that could be done, so it was out with the AA gold card to summon assistance.

As we waited for the recovery van to come, a car pulled up and the ladies inside asked if we were ok. We explained the situation and in an incredible show of kindness the offered us some water and some biscuits for the wait. They remained with us and when the recovery van showed up they were kind enough to translate our problem with the driver to help us find a local dealer to fix the bike.

We loaded the bike, Gary and Mandy onto the recovery truck to make their way to Porto to the BMW dealer. It transpired their bike would not be fixed in an afternoon, so they were given a BMW F700GS to carry on with. Safely on the new bike they made their way to join the group! Everyone cheered when they arrived back, as they were very much missed throughout the day.

While Gary and Mandy were having bike troubles the rest of the group had one of the best days on the tour so far, riding the countless twisties through the Douro Valley and cruising through the endless vineyards to arrive at the spectacular climb through the Sierra de Estrella. Tails of how amazing the roads were circulated around the dinner table and it was lovely to hear the laughter resounding through the restaurant.

Cavilha to Zamora
Today we were blessed with more beautiful weather as we headed down the mountain from our amazing hotel and through the Sierra de la Culebra hunting reserve.

If you ever get chance to ride in this amazing country, you should head here as the national park is incredible! You can see lots of different animals but above that you get to really see what rural Portugal is like –  Jaw dropping scenery, tiny little streets and of course incredible hairpins and sweeping bends opening up onto breathtaking vistas. What’s more is that the people are so friendly, giving us little waves as we pass. It’s always a joy to come here.

Once at the hotel that evening in the lovely city of Zamora, it was time to freshen up and head into town for a meal at Casa Bernardo. This restaurant is a magellan favourite as the food is sublime and the staff are so nice! Once again a fun evening was had reminiscing about the days riding!

Zamora to Cangas De Onis
Today some would argue is one of the best days riding on the trip, as the Picos Mountains offer up their delights for our riding pleasure! Today we visit Riańo and see the beautiful lakes, before heading for a play in the Picos for a few hours! I never get tired of riding these roads!

The smiles on everyone’s faces were amazing! I really do get a massive buzz out of bringing people to this amazing country – especially this part. Views forever, roads that have curve after curve, gorgeous weather and no traffic! A true bikers dream!

Unfortunately we couldn’t share this wonderful day with Gary and Amanda, as they were off to pick their bike up from the BMW dealership in Porto. Don’t worry though guys, we had a few drinks for you in the evening!

Toby
Tour Guide

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