Santander to Llanes,
After an eventful start to the day and negotiating the various obstacles that the port company have in place, it was time to leave the port of Santander and navigated through the crowded streets. Easier said than done with 16 bikes in tow, and innovatively the group got split up, so it was a great opportunity to get to grips with the sat navs.
We met at our first coffee stop and get some shade after riding through 25 degrees of glorious sunshine. The it was on to our rerouting point, showing us the way to the national park [name here] where we were treated to wonderful twisty roads with spectacular views.
Our final coffee stop was a time to re-group and chat about the great roads ridden so far and think about the roads that I know are yet to come!
After a quick refreshment it was time to head to our hotel. We all arrived in once piece and the smiles on people’s faces was a ‘picture’. After freshening up and enjoying a cold beer, we headed into the restaurant for an amazing meal to round the day off.
It was great to hear of all the stories of the day from everyone on the trip and how they navigated and above all seeing their faces beaming from the roads and scenery was amazing…. Onwards and upwards to Day 3
Llanes to Tineo
The day started leisurely with a nice breakfast and there we ventured out into the car park to see our trusty steads in wait. The weather, although dry was a little foggy and grey which meant that the start to our adventure today, needed a little more care to negotiate the twisties.
Heading over the mountains and then towards lunch presented some challenges with negotiating through Oviedo but all that were routed through with their sat navs managed this without issue.
Heading to Tineo and out resting place for the night, we were in for a real treat, not only did the sun come out with a vengeance, warming us totally through, but the roads opened up to some amazing long sweeping bends. What a way to end the day!
Paul celebrated a milestone in his life with a birthday, so the group (ably assisted by the fabulous staff at the hotel) had arranged for a birthday cake and drinks to start the night, before heading into Tineo to explore and find some tapas.
If you come to Spain, you need to try Tapas!
Tineo to Santiagio de Compostela
After leaving Tineo we headed along the Pilgrims route with spectacular views around every turn. So many places to stop and take pictures! With nice tight twisty’s taking us up and over mountains before finding some nice long open sweeping roads that felt like heaven to ride.
Day in Santiago de Compostela
After a leisurely morning in the City we headed up to the main square where we met our guide for the morning. We were told that the guide would have a blue umbrella so Toby approached the woman with the blue umbrella to introduce the group, only to find out that this was another guide and not the one we were waiting for! An awkward moment but our guide soon arrived and the group were treated to a walking tour around the city to hear about the history and see the sights.
Santiago de Compostela to Vizela
Today saw us leave a rather cool (both in terms of being a cool place as well as cold….brrrrr!) Having navigated the city we were well on our way to find some truly amazing roads. Stopping at a fabulous little café on route that does the most amazing sandwiches, we all stocked up before heading off.
As we were crossing into Portugal, you could feel the temperature rising as we weaved through the national park negotiating our position in between the many classic old rally cars that were on time trials from Santiago through the national park, but it was a real treat to see the many Mercedes and Porches that were whizzing by.
After negotiating some hairpins we made our way down to a beautiful café by the lake. After a relaxing coffee by the lake we made our way to the hotel.
Vizela to Cavihla
A bleak start to the day today when we packed our bikes ready for the days riding, but after breakfast, just before we headed off, the sun came out in all its glory to aid our ride through the Duoro valley and past numerous port vineyards set in the most stunning of locations.
Heading through Satao, some opted for a massive pizza while others tasted the various pastry dishes that were on offer.
Then it was on to the pista a resistance of the day and some would say of the trip so far, with us heading to the highest town in Portugal, Sabugeiro! Set in a landscape that resembles pure eye watering beauty, filled with views that meant you could literally see forever we headed up the mountains where the temperature dropped a little (down to -1!) as there has been a cold snap in Europe, but the roads were sublime! This was strange for this time of year asa it is usually much warmer, but the cold snap had certainly bitten this beautiful part of Europe. Curve after curve of unadulterated tarmac followed and after each corner there was another and then another! This part of the day takes ages to navigate, not because it is so long but purely because it is so beautiful and with the numerous places to stop for a photo or to take in the amazing views it is so hard to be regimented and keep riding!
Our stop for the next two nights is the amazing Luna Hotel Serra da Estrela. A hotel set at the top of the world, where in winter it changed it use into a ski resort we settled in for the night and ate in the fabulous medieval restaurant where there is literally a delicacy from anywhere in the world. It certainly went down well, perhaps as much as the red wine from the Duoro region too!
The smiles and stories bandied around the table that evening was true bliss to listen to, and recount every curve on the most amazing roads! Everyone had something that they loved about the day (even if it was a little cool).
Rideout in Serra de Estrella As we were staying at our hotel for 2 nights, an amazing rideout was planned for those that wanted to see those fabulous corners and ride those smooth roads with views to die for. Several people ventured out to these roads and had an amazing time, while others chose a more relaxed day and treated themselves to a swim and spa at a hotel nearby.
Today saw the group start relatively early in the morning, when due to the colder snap that Europe has been facing it was a little chilly (particularly at nearly 1900 meters above sea level) but once we dropped down into Cavihla it soon warmed up.
Today saw a mixture of some straight roads but lots and lots and lots of open twists through some of the most beautiful scenery yet. Meandering along the Douro river it was a bikers paradise.
Heading into Zamora, rather late for most, as the opportunity to stop to take pictures proved too inviting!
A fabulous meal at Casa Bernardo was just the ticket to end such a fabulous day.
To the Picos
Today after rallying together to help Terry get his ‘old faithful’ bike running again, we headed out onto the roads. The temperature had risen considerably and we made our way to our next stop in Congas. This saw us head through Riańo, a favourite for our riders with the best open sweeping bends married with amazing views of the turquoise coloured lake. We then headed over the Picos mountains for mile after mile of curves, views and riding
pleasure. On getting to our coffee stop before riding the famous Pots and Panes road, we were told that the road to Congas was closed for roadworks. Much to our delight, this only meant one thing! To ride the Picos mountain roads again to head to Riańo and then head to our hotel from there. Although a detour of another hour, this certainly meant that we had much more twisites to ride and everyone arrived at our hotel with smiles on their faces. Our hotel for our last night was a Parador hotel in a converted monastery set in the most sublime grounds you could imagine.
Once settled we all sat down for a fabulous meal and reminisced about our adventures of the day.
Our last day! It was our last day already! How can the trip have passed so quickly? Probably because we all had so much fun, that time didn’t really matter to us until it was nearly over. As the road from Potes to Pannes (the famous Pots and Pans road) was still closed, most headed on our ‘short route’ taking in more beautiful scenery along gorges and roads that were just sublime, while others plotted a different route and made their way.
We stopped at a fabulous restaurant for dinner and none of us were quite prepared for the amount of food that was about to be served to us. After deciphering the menu we all ordered and were treated to a final meal by the lakeside together.
Then it was time to head off to Santander were the whole group met each other once more and as the ferry had been delayed due to a medical emergency earlier, we had plenty of time to look back at our tour.
Before we knew it, it was time to board the ferry and meet on-board for a final farewell.
Another amazing tour with some exceptionally lovely people, of which I am sure will remain friends. Thank you to you all for making such memories that we will all treasure forever.