Tag Archives: maps

The way down

Salamanca (Sp) to Lisbon (Pt) (01/12/18)




I woke up late, slightly hangover, dry and with a headache, silly me!!!!… Thinking I had a 350 mile journey ahead almost turned that headache into a migraine. After a shower and a good reinforced breakfast at the hotel I was ready to get back on the road. Today I would arrive in Lisbon!!!

I left Ibis around 11 am, as usual, the weather was good in South Europe despite the season of the year… nice, warm and sunny.  I did not ride much as I wanted to see a bit of Salamanca before leaving. I parked the bike and walked for a while to the historic side of the city. Sunday morning, the streets where crowded with people, coffee shops were busy and there was even some street animations going on. Salamanca is a lively city day and night for sure.

Walking to the historical center







Salamanca on a Sunday morning.
Historical Salamanca














New Cathedral at the back , I had to have a look.









The New Cathedral is together with the Old Cathedral of Salamanca one of the two in the city. It was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries in a Gothic and and baroque styles. 

The Impressive New Cathedral
The Old Cathedral. I believe at the time I was passing people were exiting after the religious service.













The New Cathedral
One of the towers of the New Cathedral.


Salamanca old Salamanca
These pictures don´t make justice at all of how impressive the Cathedral is.













Ornamental sculptures are carved along the facades of the Cathedral. In particular the figure of a modern astronaut and a gargoyle eating an ice cream on the facade of the north entrance of the Cathedral, unlike any other, attract dozens of tourists to the door just to photograph these unusual carvings.


New Cathedral of Salamanca
The North entrance of the Cathedral
New Cathedral of Salamanca
Note the amazing sculptures carved on the wall all along the entrance.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
Challenge 1: Find the astronaut. Challenge 2: Find the dinosaur eating ice cream.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
The famous intriguing Astronaut.
New Cathedral of Salamanca
The dinosaur or Gargoyle eating ice cream.














How could anyone have carved such a clear picture of a modern astronaut in a cathedral built hundreds of years ago and long before such a character existed? 

Apparently this would have happened, in fact, very recently, when, in 1992, the cathedral was restored. The fact would have obeyed an old tradition, in which the restorers usually include some modern element.

Of course this is just a hypothesis, and many claim that the figure has been there since the original construction of the cathedral.


There is a lot more to see but I had to start making my way to Lisbon. It was getting late and I had to make a move. I was only 50 miles away from the Portuguese border and could have entered Portugal via Vilar Formoso (North Portugal), however you have to pay tolls on motorways and they are quite expensive together with high petrol prices. It was better to head South and enter Portugal in Badajoz (Spain)/ Elvas (Portugal) meaning that I would be still riding in Spain for another 200 miles or so, and then another 200 miles until I arrive in Lisbon.

The Map
My route from Santander. As usual, I am anti GPS so the route marked on the map together with notes works wonders.

The Spanish autovia A66 (E803) was quite pleasant to ride, nearly empty, in very good condition, and the best of it all, no tolls to pay. I stopped after Bejar to have a quick snack and to refill the petrol tank. Quite curvy and scenic this section and a great sigh seeing of the Autovia I was in. Had to stop for a couple pictures.

The A66
The motorway after Bejar, empty and going downhill towards…
A66 motorway
... towards this great curvy section and amazing scenery. Loved it all the way!!!
The Spanish soil
The places, the scenery, the odors, the bike, the road and the exhaust growling on my ears. All the problems, all the noise in my mind, gone!!! Nothing else matters besides what lies ahead!! That´s why I love long rides!


I passed Plasencia, then Caceres and then Badajoz. By 6pm I was about to enter Portugal, so I stopped again to refill my tank right before crossing the border as prices are insanely high.

I entered Portugal on the A6 in Elvas towards Pegoes and then the A2 motorway to Lisbon, in 200 miles I would be at my Portuguese home in family. I did not take any other pictures as I wanted to get home. By 8 Pm I was safe and sound in Lisbon,  although I did not feel safe at all on the Portuguese roads. 

Here is a warning:  If you are planning to ride a motorbike in Portugal, I advise you to do so only if you are an experienced biker, otherwise chances are that you might end up having a serious accident. Portuguese drivers are mad and bad, speed limits are there but nobody respects them at all, most drive dangerously, unconsciously and very aggressively. Also tolls are very expensive, I paid 16.60 Eur for some miserable 120 miles on the motorway,  please be aware of these facts.

 My holidays were just starting…                    

  … Keep an eye for future posts, more to come!!!



U.K/ Portugal Dec 2018


This road trip came up quite unplanned and unexpected… Personal reasons led me to embrace on this adventure. I was supposed to fly home and get back in early January, however my traveling bug on two wheels was stronger. After a brief chat with a friend I decided to book a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander in Spain and from there ride to Lisbon in Portugal.
This is a solo trip, time for myself, the road, the bike and I. My plan is to ride straight from Santander to Lisbon depending of weather conditions, or maybe I will book a night at an hotel half way so I can enjoy the scenery (which I am not expecting to be that amazing). The way back will be by the 10th of January 2019 via Bilbao to Portsmouth.
I will sail for the first time on the 30st of November from Portsmouth at 5pm being the arrival time in Spain next day around 5.30pm. It is going to be a tough and a lone trip, but I will try to update with pictures and posts in real time as I progress instead of writing it down later like the previous trips.
As usual, I did my usual research and prepared all the essentials in order to avoid surprises whilst on the road. While routing the trip I didn´t look at any scenic routes as I usually do, this time I will be mainly doing the boring motorway until I arrive at my Portuguese home.
I might end up taking you on a discovery trip about Portugal and its beauty on my future posts. It will also be my first time in Portugal by motorbike since I left to the U.K making this trip more exciting. 


CBR600f4Honda CBR600 F4  2001, A.K.A. “Sophia”


Stage 1: From Portsmouth, 30 of November 2018 at 5pm. 24 hours by Ferry to Santander. ETA 1st of December 2018 by 5.30pm


Stage 2:   Santander to Lisbon, 1st of December 2018 being the ETA in Lisbon unknown… I guess I will play it by ear.


                                                                                                                               To be continued…

Maps and Routes

In this section you may find maps and routes that I particularly liked for some reason and decided to share with you. I will try to be precise and give you a review about the route:



Glossop to Hope Valey  (Snake Pass) (A57)
Great route for motorcycles, particularly between Glossop and Snake Pass. Very steep in this section and with a few tight bends, sinking in towards the Ladybower forest alongside the Ladybowel reservoir and the dam, a bit hilly but not so twisted or steep . Surface in good condition, good scenery and fun to ride. Be aware of cyclists in the area.


Castleton to Sparrowpit (Winnats Pass)
Very short but sweet!!! Worth passing by Castleton and explore the caverns around before crossing Winnats pass. It´s a small pass (no more than a mile and a half), steep and very picturesque with the road cutting in between two big hills and a couple tight bends. Surface in good condition, be aware of  roaming sheep and people hiking, this road can be busy during the high season. The other sectors are pleasant to ride as well. Be aware of hidden small junctions.


Sparrowpit to Baslow (Peak District) (A623)
Very nice country lane cutting across the southern side of the Peak district. Scenic, with a few good bens able to put a grin on your face, some hills and dips. Good vision towards the road and fun to ride, however not as picturesque as Winnats Pass or Snake Pass.




Saint Sauveur sur Tinee to Beuil (D30/M30)
Great route, mountain road, good surface, very curvy and not too steep from Beuil to Col de la Couiolle (1678 mts). Be aware that D30 Changes to M30 after the Col towards Saint Sauveur sur Tinee, very steep and curvy, narrow at points with a few hairpins and pittoresque tunnels. It is very scenic and pleasant to ride. Very recommended!!
Gorges cu Cians (D28)
One of the most scenic roads of France, ride through a canyon of red rock, a couple sections are closed to traffic forcing you to divert through some pretty tunnels dug in the rock. Wide road in the most places, not steep with a few good corners. and very well maintained. One of the top french dangerous roads, this one will take your breath away with it’s scenery. A MUST DO!!!
Gorges du Nan (D22) and Route des Presles ( D292)
One of the most scenic routes I have ever done, balcony roads, narrow, high altitude, not for the faint hearted. Very curvy and steep, fantastic views. surface in good condition. It will take you a lot of time to complete as it is impossible to not stop to take pictures.


Col de Rousset to Chamaloc (Die) (D518)
Mountain road, ride from 1300mts to 470mts above the sea level, light to moderate traffic and possibility of lots of motorbikes on the road. Wide with road markings well-defined and  many wide hairpins. Very curvy, not too steep and the surface maintained in very good condition. Great scenery independently if you are traveling on an ascent or descent orientation. Starts after the Ski Station du Rousset thorough a 770mt long tunnel and ends in Chamalot. Low police presence. A great road for all bikers!!!
Gorges du Daluis (D2202
One of the most amazing roads of France. Ride through 17 narrow tunnels and through a road cutting red rock, great gorges alongside the Var river. Surface in good condition, not too curvy and not steep, amazing scenery and very popular among bikers. National route but not too busy. Low police presence.  highly recomended!!!!!


 Les Scaffarels to La Roche Percee  (N202 route de Grenoble)
 Only 3.2 miles but one of the greatest roads, mountain road,  very curvy and slightly steep, a few tight corners with the perfect camber, very well marked and maintained, narrow in a few points but with a good visibility. Go through a great pierced rock and simply enjoy it. Be aware of a small village ” Rouaine” where you should slow down a bit. Low police presence, GREAT ROAD!!!!


Route Des Cretes (D23 Gorges du Verdon)
WoW!!!! What an amazing route!!!  Mountain road, very steep,  curvy with a few tunnels and a few more hairpins. Very well maintained, however can be narrow in some points. High altitude and no road side protection in some places. Stunning views, can be crowded in some areas during the summer time and there is a possibly that this route is closed during the winter season. Dangerous balcony road and definitely not for the faint hearted or those who are afraid of heights. To be taken slowly as there are lots of points of  interest.  
 Aiguines to Trigance (D71 Gorges du Verdon)
Amazing route, twisty, with a fantastic scenery all around including the blue turquoise Lake de Saint Croix in the Verdon. Ride through the Grand Canyon of Europe. Twisty balcony mountain route, a few hairpins and not too steep and frequently used by tourists during the Summer. Be aware of slow caravans on the road and people walking around. Good surface but be aware that the road becomes a bit unstable a 5 or 6 miles before Trigance due to tree roots, do not over speed there. Otherwise read road in excellent condition. A must do!!!



More coming soon…