Starting this Friday 17th, I’m going to be spending some time riding my motorbike around Europe.
Pictured below is everything I’m taking—except for the camera I took the photos with—and everything I need to ride, camp, work, eat, swim, hike, etc. It also happens to be the majority of what I still own.
With this trip I’m going to try something new and post more regular and complete updates as I go, rather than come back with a pile of photos to sort through. Check back soon…
First two days of the trip were tough. Left at 4:30am to catch the ferry, and was up until about 10pm for a cold night’s sleep in the forest. Then a simple but not very interesting 500km to reach my first stop, Geoffrey (who I first met on our trip around France in 2009), by early afternoon.
Geoffrey’s hospitality has been much better than the weather, so the plan is to head south again after staying here for a week.
Like something out of Lost…
After some good times with Geoff, and too much rosé and pamplemousse syrup, I saw a window in the weather and decided to continue south. This was to be the first time I’d visited Spain and didn’t know what to expect. The northern coast of spain is known as the Costa Verde, and I should have known that verde, meaning green, means rain—my break in the weather wasn’t to come quite yet.
At the end of many, many kilometers I headed up a mountain road. Hoping to find a camping spot I climbed into clouds, and the air chilled with each hairpin bend. Already sunburned, and now soaked, the prospect of a good night’s sleep was not looking likely, so, defeated, I turned around and parked up at the first B&B I could find. I learnt two important lessons about Spain; nobody speaks English (and I speak no Spanish) and it’s pleasantly cheap (€30 for a charming room).
Next morning the clouds had lifted somewhat, so I went to look at the town and the lakes at the end of the mountain road.
With plenty of time left in the day I set off east to complete some more kilometres, the story of which I will save for the next post.
Long sections of this part of the trip are already forgotten, whispers lost in the wind noise of 500km+ days across open country. On such days the focus tends to be on the next destination, and the good experiences don’t become cemented until they have the context of a past and a future built around them. The worries, boredom and sore throttle hand are forgotten quickly—by being surmounted they amount, in hindsight, to nothing.
One memory was delivered fully-formed: leaving Oviedo on the AP66 up into the mountains under moody skies, entering a tunnel and emerging, on the other side of the pass, into glorious sunshine. Shouting inside my helmet; it felt like I’d arrived.
My mood at this stage of the trip would vary greatly with the weather. On the bike and camping you’re out in it all the time. But after this section of the trip I was getting back into the routine of stocking up during the day, finding somewhere to camp with an hour or two’s light remaining then getting up with the sun, driving until I found a warm cup of coffee, and somewhere to sit and trace the previous 24 hours onto the map. Being methodical with even the most simple things helps.
Stealth camping tip: radio masts often have access roads which are dead ends with lots of potential spots.
Finding time to edit and upload the photos on the go isn’t too tough, but these updates are about 1500km behind. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to catch up somewhat over the course of the next week.
I arrived in Granada mid-morning and found a budget hotel. I needed a day off the bike, somewhere to charge electronics and wash clothes, and there were things there better seen on foot. So I went full tourist and set off for the Alhambra. It’s one of the few places I’ve been (and not just on this trip) that feels like a sort of paradise and is where all of the following pictures are from/of.