View Full Version : Green Spain. May 2014

Dave B
25-05-2014, 11:01 AM
These trip reports are few and far between nowadays...

The Picos De Europa in Northern Spain had always been on my list of place to take the bike. Through a steady build up of day, then overnight, then weekend and now a full week away with some mates I thought it was high time we went. (I now have weeks of ‘making up’ in the form of garden and building projects to do !)
4 of us settled for the Portsmouth to Bilbao, Santander to Portsmouth crossings. 24 hours with a crossing of the notorious Bay of Biscay. To break my journey and ensure I didn’t have an 0430 departure from Yorkshire on the Wednesday, I set off at lunchtime the day before and stayed with Mongo 1 in Guildford.

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95% of my journey was dry and 17C, the other 5 % were 3 big ‘showers’ where the temperature dropped to 10C and I got drenched on the outside (soon dried off). A nice evening meal and half decent kip and I was up and off for the ferry by 9am. A very pleasant ride down the A3 to Pompey and a dead simple ride through customs/tickets and we were sat waiting for the ferry.

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The cabin was, erm, cosy for 4 blokes and all their bike kit.

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We hit the bar and were well on the way to merry by the time we set off.

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Poncy cocktails...

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An uneventful crossing and 24 hours later we arrived at Bilbao. All the bikes were on the lowest deck on the Cap Finistere ‘ferry’ and we had a warm wait until we could disembark.

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We then had an unintended tour of Bilbaos industrial outskirts untl my satnav sorted itself out. (always used maps up until now, thought I’d get with the times)
An hour in and we stopped at a lovely little town for a coffee/coke, Balmaseda. No one spoke a word of English, Perfect. No, really. Proper Spain.

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4 Hours later we got to our home for 4 nights, Casa Las Vegas, Potes. I was dubious about the name but we were met by a sprightly pair of octogenarians who had embraced technology, he was the booking in guru, only taking 10 minutes each to type our names and passport numbers, she had her smartphone and a voice translation App. After belly laughs all round at the way it translated various phrases. “ We’ve come to ride out motorbikes round your beautiful region” seemed to translate to “ Gandalf wants to shag some goats”
We got a restaurant recommendation and set off for the 100 yard walk to ‘town’. One of the guys REALLY fancied a Pizza so we ignore Roy and Hayley and went to a bar offering Pizza. The beer was nice, the pizza was dire. ‘No mushroom n mine thanks’ and you got a pizza identical to all the others except for the holes where the mushrooms had been dragged out with a fork. Good old £1 shop frozen pizza. Beer on the patio back at the apartment and then a relatively early night.

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Dave B
25-05-2014, 11:01 AM
We wake to glorious blue skies so set off on a route around the area.

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We rode 10 miles to Fuente De and went up the cable car. Staggering doesn’t cover it.

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The metal platform is a bit of a bottle tester as there’s a step down to it and you look through the gaps in the metal a few thousand feet down. Being a childish tosser I couldn’t resist waiting until one the lads stepped on it tentatively and the I jumped up and down on it.

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From there we rode over some passes to a town called Riano where we had a burger lunch at a beautiful hotel where, unlike nice hotels in the UK where you’re often treated like something on the sole of their shoe.

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From Riano we headed along the most amazing road I have ever ridden on, constant radius curves left and right with great cross views that hugged the side of the lake/reservoir. Over another pass to another little town Cangas de Onis where we had another brew. The final stint was through a steep gorge back into Potes where we passed a line of Lambos/Ferraris and Astons with a Police bike escort ? Dunno what that was about.

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So the meal last night was crap, we’ll do our own tonight so a quick shop was in order. 3 full Chorizo, cider, cereal, milk and BEER.

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A great ‘meal’ of bread and sausage with a fair bit of beer sat watching the sun go down.
2nd day of riding, similar to first. Amazing views, roads, people.

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We stopped at a small town called Cistierna and had a full Chinese banquet for lunch. Really odd when it was 25C but lovely non the less. As we sat there in the sun, two Cops rode past and did a double take at the 4 GB plated bikes parked up. We had a couple of cokes each with our meal and set off after a very pleasant hour. We rode half a mile to a petrol station and refuelled and then set off North. Spanish Cops obviously aren’t taught how to hide as I could see one of the pair half a mile up the road in the next tiny hamlet. He saw me 5 seconds later and jumped out of sight, stepping out 15 seconds later to ‘surprise’ us. We were sat at 49kmh and I lifted my flip front lid, smiled, indicated and pulled in ‘Hola’ The first cop dropped a plastic breathalyser mouthpiece in its wrapper on my tank bag, I picked it up and started to open it, ‘Alcol’ he asked. ‘No, no, Cocacola.’ He leant a bit closer and looked a bit fed up ‘OK, you go’ and that was that, we were all on our way. What a bloody anticlimax. I wanted some tale to tell about being banged up in a stinking Spanish jail or at least being able to say I’d been arrested. Bloody spoilsports. (They were really polite and professional to be honest, I was waiting to see his expression when he asked for ID...it didn’t happen) We came across the dam wall of the Riano Lake/Res. The road winds up to it and then goes across it and through a tunnel and along the side of it for a way. Staggering road.

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We ate and drank, a bit too much and sat with an Iphone and Spotify and bluetoothed old classic tracks through a small JBL speaker until well past late o’clock. Brilliant night.

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3rd day, one of the lads bikes wouldn’t start. Discovered it was rotten wiring to a relay, we eventually got it going but he decided to bum about the apartment for the day as he didn’t want to end up stranded. (He’d decided against euro cover on his breakdown!)
We had a wander around Potes.

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So 3 of us set off and decided to do the odd road we had already ridden including the sublime Riano lake on, the opposite direction. We also found some tiny little roads that I’d not want to take a car down !

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Lunch stop

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Monday, up early, packed, apartment cleaned, bill paid £440 for 4 for 4 nights in a lovely clean apartment with all mod cons incl wifi...great value and away we went. Discretion and valour and all that, we called at the BMW dealer in Santander who were great...but couldn’t change the realy in time for us to catch the 315 ferry.
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Sailing back we were on Brittany Ferries flagship, the Pont Aven.

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More cruise ship than ferry. While many stood on the starboard deck watching for dolphins and not seeing any, we hit the bar and saw loads from the Port side. As night drew in we hit a big sea swell and had a bouncy nights kip. A steady relaxing morning and then we docked at 2.15 at Portsmouth. A steady ride North, avoiding all the rain. Home for 8.
A brilliant trip. Quite simply the best roads I have ever ridden. We sometimes saw a car ! We could go 20 minutes without seeing another soul. The surface was good in most parts but some of the minor roads suited our GSs rather than a sports bike. I have altered my itinery for a trip with wifey in September to include a night here. http://www.hoteldeloso.es/hotel/

We are also going back for a week next May. It would be well worth a small in number car trip to the region. The ferry was £300 rtn plus about £70 for food and drink, OK, £20 food and £50 beer but it saved us a 1000 mile ride with at least one overnight so I reckon the price difference isn’t that great.
What really made the trip for us was that we’d all got Bluetooth intercoms and could talk bollox all day while we rode. Great for a laugh but also for hazard warnings etc. It made for great group riding and some startled looks on motorists face when we did the odd overtake.

25-05-2014, 11:15 AM
These trip reports are few and far between nowadays...
And the forum is worse for it.

The metal platform is a bit of a bottle tester as there’s a step down to it and you look through the gaps in the metal a few thousand feet down. Being a childish tosser I couldn’t resist waiting until one the lads stepped on it tentatively and the I jumped up and down on it.

We ate and drank, a bit too much and sat with an Iphone and Spotify and bluetoothed old classic tracks through a small JBL speaker until well past late o’clock. Brilliant night.

Get you with the modern technology ! :karl:

Thanks for that Dave, enjoyed reading it all. Sounds like a brilliant trip :veryhappy:

Dave B
25-05-2014, 11:20 AM
Cheers Nige. It was. Done lots of trips but all 4 of us have said that without any shadow of doubt, it was the best trip, best riding, best scenery and best belly laughs for days on end we'd ever had...hence going back next May. :thumb: (My end of working treat :rave: )

Dave G
25-05-2014, 11:20 AM
Looks like awesome fun!

Dave B
25-05-2014, 11:39 AM
Great family holiday destination Dave. Loads of nice beaches along the Northern Coast, no crowds, few plebs (except for a week next May)

Uncle Benz
25-05-2014, 12:13 PM
Nice trip!!

The Pont Aven is a great boat! It's our regular on the Portugal run.

25-05-2014, 08:51 PM
Great read - thanks for sharing :thumb:

26-05-2014, 07:32 PM
Enjoyed reading that :thumb:

Dave. You've never mentioned you are finished with work next year ? :whistle:

26-05-2014, 07:33 PM
Cheers for posting Dave. Really enjoyed reading that :thumb:

27-05-2014, 06:32 AM
And the forum is worse for it.


Thanks for that, Dave, enjoyed it. :thumb:

27-05-2014, 09:22 AM
You've wet my juices for a trip like this, with that report Dave :thumb:

Thanks for sharing:thumb:

Do you have your itinerary?

Dave B
27-05-2014, 09:36 AM
Dave. You've never mentioned you are finished with work next year ? :whistle:

Hadn't I ? Oh, Hey, I finish work next May.... :wave::rave::shock:

Dave B
27-05-2014, 09:37 AM
Ferry to Spain,
Ride West a bit,
Stay 4 nights in an apartment
Ride East
Ferry Home

Further detail needed ?

27-05-2014, 10:08 AM

Yes :angry:

Dave B
27-05-2014, 09:11 PM
Dunno what more I can add.
Brittany Ferries was good. Pompey to Bilbao out, Santander to Pompey back
Stayed in Potes. At Casa Las Vegas self catering
http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/casa-las-vegas.en-gb.html?aid=376362;label=booking-name-QC1opUOXwH54MwyDivxXcgS36229193602%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1% 3Ap2471%2C000%3Aac%3Aap1t1%3Aneg;sid=468714bcd2e1a ad495e1d706fd642e10;dcid=1

It was fine, we even had use of a secure underground garage. Supermarket is 200 yes away.
Loads of eateries in Potes, a few are great, the odd bar is fine for a beer but their food is shite.
Roads? Head NSE or W and you'll be fine. We used satnavs but had a michelin map with green 'scenic' routes on them. We rode the rides based on the green routes. Didn't need to do more than about 150 miles in a day. Roads, scenery, people etc, all great
Owt else?

05-06-2014, 12:28 PM
Great trip report, Dave - glad you had a really good one and thanks for posting it up :thumb:

05-06-2014, 01:24 PM
Great trip, thanks for sharing :D. Would you do it again?

Dave B
05-06-2014, 04:43 PM
Yup. A night this September to wet the wife's appetite then a week next Spring with 5 mates. A couple of them said they'd do it every year but I always feel that's a mistake. So may do next year then try another area for 2016 (TT for the whole fortnight instantly springs to mind) :karl:

05-06-2014, 05:03 PM
Great report, enjoyed that :thumb: Particularly liked your pizza-sans-mushroom, and the modern holiday photo of three blokes staring at their phones in a social setting :lol:

Dave B
05-06-2014, 05:41 PM
Great report, enjoyed that :thumb: Particularly liked your pizza-sans-mushroom, and the modern holiday photo of three blokes staring at their phones in a social setting :lol:

Texting each other and some mates back home on Whatsapp :lol: the later it got, the more beer and whisky was demolished, the more my sides ached through laughing like a child. Brilliant