Well my adventure is over and I am safe and sound, back home after a horrendous journey on the motorways yesterday. I arrived back at 7pm, cold and damp, but otherwise OK.
So, my thoughts about the tour …..
Overall, it was a fantastic experience. It was a great way for a relative novice like myself to get an introduction to motorbike touring overseas. It was just so good not to have to spend time thinking about where to go and to be able to rely upon your knowledge of the area and your perception of what would appeal to most people who love riding a bike. Also, knowing you would be able to converse with the natives and I wouldn’t have to rely on sign language and the few Spanish words in my head!
The quietness of the roads outside the city and big towns had possibly the biggest impact upon me, and I was certainly reminded of that from the moment I rolled off the ferry yesterday until the moment I finally left the M6, just 8 miles from home. I know
I joked about the terror touring, but actually it was fantastic, going across the mountain passes and taking in the amazing views when I had the courage to glance sideways! Even when the roads were straight and stretching into the distance, it was wonderful to see them so devoid of other traffic and being able to overtake so easily when necessary. The passes certainly provided a challenge for me, but I’m glad I did it and I think I’ve come back as a better rider, both technically and in my confidence. I also enjoyed passing through all the little towns and villages, seeing what a quiet and peaceful way of life the locals seem to have. It was good to go to a variety of bars and restaurants in all those remote places, mostly with great food, with one notable exception of course! They were places I would probably would not have ventured into by myself.
In terms of the amount of riding I did, it was by far the most I have ever done, starting from Tuesday 9th when I left home to Friday 26th when I arrived in San Sebastian for my chill out week, having ridden substantial distances every day during that period. On another occasion, I might split the total time more equally between touring and chilling. Actually, compared to some people who like to cover hundreds of miles every day, maybe it wasn’t so much. However, I think there’s a bit more to a holiday than spending all day every day in the saddle, so for me I would say it was about right. I think having a base to go out from every day is a good thing, being able to get to know a great place like Salamanca, rather than unpacking and packing every day. I also found it good to be lodging in your place, especially as it was only me on the tour for most of the time. It was good to have you and Belen to spend time with some of the time, although I’m also quite happy to spend time exploring bars by myself! And as for Manolo, well it was beginning to feel like home, although I’ve got some work to do now to shed the pounds gained through his magnificent breakfasts. A great little place!
Thanks for a great tour Hugh.