17-18/07/2019: Valencia
Km travelled today/sum: 199km / 9394km
Sun shine, 35 degrees, highway

An easy ride on a hot day. We took our time and arrived arround 17:00 at the hotel we had earmarked but not booked yet. The entrance had a boom gate and the receptionist was sitting in a what looked like bullet proof compartment. We thought it looks a bit odd, but we checked in. Parking was easy, we got a number and parked the bikes in our own garage. We had seen something like this before, in central america. There they were called Love hotels where hotel rooms could be booked by the hour and it felt a bit similar here 😅. Well, we parked the bikes and went upstairs.

The room looked awsome, an Egyptian theme😁. Behind the bed was a huge glass window depicting three pyramids.

Regardles if this was a purpose build hotel or just something different, it was comfy and fit our budged.

A longer planning session ensued, it turned out that it was feasible to visit Mallorca for a couple of days. We booked the ferry for the next day. We did know that an old school friend of mine lived in Mallorca for the past two years, so we contacted her and arranged a meeting at a café near the habour for tomorrow morning. The ferry was leaving at night, so we had the day to explore Valencia. First we went to the beach, which was nice but everything around there was just expensive. Exploring away from the beach while we crossing a road, I noticed something different at the traffic lights. On side of the traffic light had the standard male figurine, on the other side was a female one. How is that for gender equality? 👍

Instead of the beach we decided to have a look at the ‘Arts and Sciences complex’. We read about it, and the comments that “…if you are not a Valencian tax payer, just go there and admire the buildings…” intrigued us. Apparently there are plenty of constructions problems absorbing large amount of tax money. We gave it a shot and were happy that we did. First we saw the L’Agora, which is a multifunctional complex, used for exhibitions or meetings. The area around it, where Sigrid stands, is shallow water, which was nice to walk through on a hot day.


We continued under the bridge and saw the next three buildings.
The first one was the Science Museum; it is the building on the right with all those ‘spikes’.

Passing the building, we saw some head sculptures in the water. They were nearly flat, but when we passed them, the heads seem to turn. What an awesome effect!

Further along the way, past the Science building, we saw these two buildings, which reminded me on the movie ‘Independence Day’.

The first building was called the ‘Hemisfèric’, not sure what this means, but it contains an Imax 3D cinema. The last building was the ‘Palau de les Arts’, the opera and culture house. One building looks more interesting than the next here!

Here is a view back to the L’Agora. On the right you can see the ‘l´umbracle’ a sculpture park with native plants. That was where we were heading to next.

The park is on top of the car park and the vents look like purple stars! Another ingenius way to incorporate art!

The park was full of native plants and palms with some sculptures scattered around.

It was nearly time to head to the ferry, so we thought we have something to eat in a shopping centre nearby. Here, in Cordoba, many people are riding scooters. So the problem is where to securely put your helmet. We were surprised to find the solution at the entrance of the shopping centre, a free helmet locker!

Motorcycle Helmet locker!

Motorcycle Helmet locker, this one is used

After having dinner we rode to the ferry which would leave 2 hours later

Tomorrow morning we shall be in Mallorca having breakfast with Ilona!

14-16/07/2019: Cordoba
Km travelled today/sum: 172km / 8700 km
Sun shine, 32 degrees, highway

It was a hot day again, but the distance to Cordoba was short. Most of the way we were on country roads leading us through olives fields. When we arrived at our accommodation, there was a cool pool waiting for us 😁

The reason why we were here was the Mezquita, a Mosque-Cathedral. It is viewed as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture. From 780 to 1290 it was build and used as a Mosque and after the Reconquista it was converted to a Cathedral. From the outside it looked pretty much like a mosque.

Some colorfull houses in the neighborhood. Clearly visible, the moorish influence.

This is what it looked like when you enter the church.










As we walked through the cathedral, we found this window in the ground;








It showed some remains of the church the mosque was built on.

After the mosque was converted into a cathedral, some parts were opened up and completely changed. Here you can see the part which was rebuild/converted into a cathedral.

We also noticed that the part converted to a church was much warmer than the rest of the building.

We are not completely sure what we are doing next. One possibility would be to have a look at Mallorca, visiting an old school friend of mine. Looking at the weather and the time we have, it will be most likely that we ll do that!

12-13/07/2019: Granada
Km travelled today/sum: 171km / 8528km
Sun shine, 30 degrees, country road

We managed to leave Ronda the next day after all.  Following a beautiful ride through the mountain we hit the highway and were in Granada in no time. From our hotel room, we had a nice view onto the surrounding mountains.

The next day we hopped onto the train, which would bring us close to the Alhambra.

We walked from the train station to the entrance, most of the way being… uphill. The Alhambra is a fortress complex, which was built on the ruins of a roman fortification and then extended from around 600 BC by the Sultans and later by Kings. We entered the Alhambra through the Justice Gate.

The tickets to the Nasrid Palaces, the most interesting part of the Alhambra, are time bound. We got some tickets for the late morning. We were amazed as soon as we entered the palaces. The details in the decoration were magnificent!

Entering the Palace of the lions was the highlight of our visit. The rich decorations as well as the court yard were just awe inspiring. Below is the entrance to the court yard.


And here is the court yard and the fountain, which gave the palace its name. Each of the twelve lions is slightly different. Some have different paws, other different faces or fur.

One side of the court yard leads to the hall of two sisters, which had a dome honeycombed with tiny cells comprising the ceiling.

We were again and again amazed by the intricacy of the craftsmanship in plaster, stone or wood.

Some ceilings had small windows with colourful glass, which illuminated the wall with different colours.








Below is a nice view into a garden with a fountain. In the palace, the temperature was pleasant even when it was around 35 degrees outside. The open design with the fountains and the garden worked like a natural evaporative air condition.








From the place we walked to the ‘General life’, the sultan’s summer place outside of the fortified Alhambra. In case of danger, the Alhambra could be reached in minutes by foot. The garden with the water fountain felt really nice, particular during the hot day.








One staircase had a water channel as a handrail, which I found quite unique.

From here we walked to the older part of the Alhambra, ‘The Alcazaba’ which was the fortress only. Later on, the Palaces, Gardens, Housings and new rampages with defence towers were added. I must admit, we had the best view over Granada from the largest tower.

And here is the view from the tower along the rampage. It is hard to show the dimensions of this defence structure.

After around seven hours in the ‘warm’ weather, we were exhausted and went back to our hotel with aircon J. Tomorrow we ride to Cordoba to have a look at a cross pollination between Christian and Islamic architecture.

10-11/07/2019: Ronda
Km travelled today/sum: 20km / 8357km
Sun shine, 31 degrees, highway and country road

The next morning we had a nice breakfast in the hotel. There is a huge difference between a Moroccan and a Spanish breakfast. In Morocco you get Juice, Coffee or tea, Roti-like Bread, Omelette, sweet pastry, Fruit and Yogurt. In Spain, you only get Coffee, Juice and a two halves of toasted bread with jam 😩
Nevertheless, breakfast always tastes always good after a diet day😅. After breakfast we hopped onto one bike and were in Ronda 10 minutes later. We parked the bike on the plaza.

From here we walked through the streets to have a look at a palace, ‘Casa del Rey Moro’. The whole city was fortified and to supply the city with water the Moorish king built a water mine.

It sourced water from the river below and a human chain brought the water up to the surface..

The way down to the river is about 60m deep with around 300 steps.

Slaves had to climb those steps with skin bags full of water. Well, it was hard enough for us to make it up, even without any additional load like waterskins.

This is the view from the top of the stair case. The water mine was down by the river.

And here is the bridge which caught our eye when we were riding through Ronda yesterday. To take the picture, we had to climb down a bit. I think we managed it around lunch time – like always…. so it was really warm here.










Some more views from Ronda to the ravine and to another bridge.

After walking up and down the whole day we relaxed for dinner in one of the many beauituful restaurants. After a nice meal we went home and I had another look into the lonely planet. There I discovered that nearby was a town called ‘Setenil de las Bodegas’. It is known for dwellings built into rock overhangs above a river. So we decided to stay a day longer and check it out. Our host smiled when we extended our stay again. We promised that we would try harder to leave next time 😁


So the next day we hopped onto one bike and went to ‘Setenil de las Bodegas’. Not knowing exactly where to go, we went for the highest place. Well, that turned out to be a dead end with a nice view, but we would really like to be at the bottom. So back to the bike, put our riding gear on again, and off we went down to the main attraction.

After we found a suitable bike park, we walked back to the main street. It was nice and cool here, so we had a coffee and some small snacks and let the world pass by.

This is a view inside the restaurant. The rock formation have not been altered, so they build a wall in front of the cliff and ready was the pup/shop. It was nice and cool in summer, not sure how much water soaks through the stone in winter when it rains.








From here we explored the cliffs dwellings a bit more. At one stage the road leads through a hole in the cliff, so the width of the street is just a bit wider than a car. So if a car is coming, you better search for refuge, otherwise you risk your toes J

As in overall in Spain, there is an Islamic influence in a lot of buildings. We found this beautiful restored house front, I thought I knock and let the owner know that we like it 😁

I liked this street sign, it translates to something 'non-macho violence'.

Here is the church of ‘Setenil de las Bodegas’. We thought is looked a bit like a mosque which was converted into a church. The Spanish peninsula was occupied by the Islamic Moores for around 700 years, so it is quite common that buildings were converted to be used by christians. We couldn’t find anything about it on Wikipedia or the internet, but in the church we found a pillar which looked like it had the typical islamic symmetric pattern engraved which was removed later on.

These houses were really different, and it was nice and cool along the river. We hopped onto our bike and went back to our accomodation for a swim. Tomorrow we will really make an effort to leave, maybe it will work this time. The next stop would be Granada to have a look at the Alhambra.

09/07/2019: Ronda
Km travelled today/sum: 130km / 8357km
Sun shine, 31 degrees, highway and country road

When we bought the ferry tickets, we got a mail with some paperwork to print. Our host was luckily nice enough to to print it all out for us! So in the morning, we arrived at the harbour early and since we had printed everything we followed the signage for travellers with tickets. As we found out, we didn’t print the tickets, we printed the booking conformation. So when we parked the bikes to walk back, an official approached us and tried to sell us tickets for the ‘fast ferry’. We explained that we had tickets and where happy with what we had. To cut the story short, he ‘helped us’ to get our tickets and our passport papers, and in the end his friend was asking for money, because ‘they’ helped us. We had only 50 Euros and which would have been way too much, so we told them we didn’t have cash with us. Obviously prepared for this, they had a great solution at the ready “over there is a ATM, you can get money from there”. In the end I gave it to the guy who really walked us through the process and simply said to the other guy that he wasn’t much help to us and left. It is amazing, how quickly you get a helper without wanting one J. Anyway, there was no fast ferry in the first place; we had booked the fast ferry J. So we continued down the street, had to wait for our bike to get a full body scan and then we went down to our terminal. When we arrived, there was nothing, the gate was closed. There was a guy standing nearby, so I ask him and he explained that the terminal was changed to the first one…. Great! So we drove back with a couple of semi legal turns and finally arrived at our terminal really early.

We got our camping gear out and had breakfast there. Well, it was diet day, so it was pretty basic, but fun.

Two hours later, we hopped onto the ferry and waved Africa goodbye.

The crossing was really fast, we saw Gibraltar within a few minutes. I think the ferry spends most of the time around the Spanish habour, since there seems to be a speed limit. I was looking for the Iranian Oil tanker, which was meant to be stuck there due international disharmony, but I couldn’t see it.

We left the ferry, followed the highway until we reached Algeciras and filled up the bikes, had a coffee and defined a way point so we would follow mountain roads instead of the highway. Not long after, we left the highway and had beautiful windy roads with mountainous landscapes.


When we arrived in Ronda, we were looking for a supermercado, and we found Lidle. Somebody was happy about it:

We arrived at the hotel, which had a pool. After settling in our room, we had to sample the pool J


We decided that we wanted to explore Ronda because when we passed the bridge we saw amazing looking ravines… So we extended our stay for a night.

03-05/06/2019: Huerta Grande (close to Gibraltar)
Km travelled today/sum: 168km / 5112km
Sun shine, 25 degrees, country roads, ferry

From Seville we were heading south and according to the weather forecast, the temperature would drop by 10 degrees. And so it did. When we arrived in Traifa the temperature was around 20 degrees, which was a really nice cool change. We parked the bikes close to the most southern point of Europe and walked the rest.


Just as we got ready to ride off again, a woman approached us and we got to talking. She had driven her car from Germany to here and was on the way to visit a friend. Eventually we exchanged addresses and said good bye.

Off we went to the Isla de las Paloma, which was fortified.

When we arrived there, it was closed. The island was not accesible for tourists. Turns out that it’s now used as a camp for Migrants from Africa, sounds quite bad and sad… We took a picture from in front of the gate and went back. Bjoen was hoping to see a sign that mentioned the most Southern Point of mainland Europe, but there was nothing!














So we went back over the bridge and had a coffee, watching the kite surfer flying impressively through the air.


From here it was not far to our accommodation, which turned out to be a small house in a national park



After breakfast we hopped onto one bike and drove around the bay to Gibraltar, or the Rock, as the Spanish call it. We read in Lonely Planet that there is a long queue when trying to enter Gibraltar, which is an English enclave. Not sure, why there is a border crossing, since Spain and England are part of the EU (at least now, at the time when we were here). Anyway, I marked a carpark in Spain, where we would park the bike and walk through the border, no queues here. Unfortunately I missed the turn and got caught in the car queue. Lucky there was a pedestrian crossing which we used to get out. Here we parked the bike on the footpath, got rid of our riding gear, covered the bike and off we went to visit Gibraltar.

We got a stamp into our passport on the English side, we have jet to figure why. After passing the English border control, we spotted an English telephone booth J


From here we caught the public bus to the cable car, which we needed to reach the top of the rock. Here we joined a queue, luckily it didn’t take as long as we thought and we were on our way. We got to around 400m high, the view was fantastic!


And of course there were the monkeys (Barbary macaques).

The youngster examined the wind screen wiper J

We walked to the sky walk, which apparently was opened by Luke Skywalker J. It was not as impressive as I thought but the hanging bridge was!

We bought a ticket to use the cable car down, but to get to the hanging bridge we were already half way down anyway. The stairs back up were steep and plentiful, so walking down was easier 😁

On the stairs there was a monkey – he didn’t mind that we stepped over him J. After I took the photo and showed it to Sigrid, she laughed and said, it reminds her of me. I can’t see any resemblance.

On this plaque, we showed Diddl where Morocco is, so that he’s prepared. On the right picture are the Mountains in Morocco.


Tomorrow is a rest, clean, print, preparation day and then we are off to Morocco, also called ‘Africa for beginners’. J

31/05-02/06/2019: Seville

The next day we went back to the city using the public transport, since it was cheap and fast and we didn’t have to bother with our motorcycle gear. When we arrived at the ‘Catedral de Sevilla’, there was a long queue at the ticket office. So we decided to follow a lonely planet tip, and walk to the ‘Divino Salvador’, another church which would sell the ticket for the Catedral as well and there were no queues. Being technologically savvy, we used google maps to find our way. Did I mention that Google maps doesn’t work very well in tiny alleys, since the GPS signal is really weak? Yeah… so it took a while to find the right way. When we arrived at the ‘Divino Salvador’, there really was no queue and the reason was obvious: the ticket office was closed for the next 4 hours…. Bummer!
We walked back to the cathedral and joined the queue. To be honest, the queue was progressing fast, so we would have been in the cathedral before we even got to the other church. It was not too bad in the queue as today was only 34 degrees J. As soon we entered the Cathedral, the heat was gone. It was nice and cool in there. The catherdral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and every thing in there seems to be huge. The ceiling, the chapels, the organs, the paintings…….


And Christopher Columbus is as well buried here. This is a picture of his tomb.

This is the main altar, the biggest one I have seen. It would have been a lifetime project for a single craftsman. We counted over 40 scenes there. Apparently each of these squares represents a scene of Christ’s live. 


And then there was the tower! We walked up around 35 set of stairs, well it took a while, but the view from here was worth it.

We could see the bullring not far from here and the orange trees in the cathedrals garden.

Some fun on the windows on the way down.

The ceiling and some beautiful inlay work at the floor.


By the time we got out it was late and we decide to get the train home. Tomorrow we will visit the most southern point of Europe in Tarifa and then travel to a small town close to Algeciras, where we will visit ‘the rock’ (Gibraltar) and leave Europe a day later.

31/05-02/06/2019: Seville
Km travelled today/sum: 227km / 5280km
Hot, mostly highway

Today we were aiming for Seville, which was just a 2 hour ride from Albufeira. So we had a slow start with a nice breakfast.

The border crossing went without any problems… well, there was no border crossing so that’s probably why there were no problems 😉 . After 100km, we had a petrol stop and thought we would give our host a call. As it turned out, he had to go to the hospital to have his dialysis done – which takes 3 hours – so he would be back home around 19:00. This was a bit of a surprise. Since it was really warm (~ 35 degrees), we decided to stay at the petrol stations restaurant a bit longer, which had good WiFi. After an hour we decided to ride to the accommodation and wait there. When we arrived we explored the area ’till close to 19:00 then our host turned up. We were able to park the bikes in his front yard, which was really convenient.

He also told us that this weekend there would be a military show and that the Spanish king comes to Seville on Saturday. So we planned to have a look at the army exhibition and maybe get a glimps of the king. Well, as usual we started the day slowly and when we arrived at the train station we realised that it was pretty packed. As we found out, that was nothing compared to how packed the train was. In the end, the carriage was so crowded that nobody could get in anymore. We got off the train one station earlier (we may have remembered the wrong station name…), but that was not bad, since we left the crowd behind for a short while.

A short walk later we had a look at the ‘Plaza de España’. This was huge place, there were even small channels with bridges and boats on them.The Palaza was in front of a nice park. When we strolled through the park, Sigrid found a orange tree with plenty of oranges. So Sigrid had a go at one, but it was really dry. I guess they don’t water the trees regularly.



When we left the park, we saw the crowd. We waited a bit and then we could hear some tanks coming. Unfortunately, this was the moment where we realised that we were waiting at the wrong spot. I tried to take some pictures above the crowd with very limited success.


A bit frustrated we tried reach the channel, but there was no way we could get there. So instead, we used a back road to get to the main street from there. That was when two young ladies approached us, asking if we would like to be part of a tasting group for olive oil and beer. This was organised from the University of Seville and it would be free… Cool! we’ll have that instead! A guy came to us and translated the proceedings from Portuguese to English. Now we could understand what it was all about. We learned that when tasting olive oil, you are looking for defects, and there were a couple of oils which were emphasising these defects so you could work out what it was all about. Anyway, the olive oil was ok. Now it was onto the beers – there however they tried a couple of new strange things. Some of them they shouldn’t waste the nice beer on (my opinion) but one other was quite nice, it was a mixture of Guinness with a hint of coffee. I liked it, Sigrid didn’t.



Anyway, when the tasting was finished, so was the parade. The streets were nearly empty. We walked along the river and it was really hot. Sigrid had some water from a nice fountain.


Our next idea was to hop on a boat and take a river cruise. The boats were leaving from the ‘Torre del Oro” (tower of gold), which was not far from us. So we walked there and hopped on the boat. On the left is the ‘Torre del Oro” and on the right the the building for the ‘Ministry of Education and Sport’.

The bridge on the left was built by the French architect Alexandre Gustave Eifel. It replaced a pontoon bridge build by the Moors in the 12th century – really-this floating bridge exists seven centuries! On the right, there is the Schindler tower, which is just an observation tower build for the Exposition of Seville 1992.

After the boat trip, we decided to have a look at the ‘Torre del Oro’, which is also a nautical museum. From the top of the tower, we had a great view over the ‘Canal de Alfonso XIII‘ one of the arms of the River Guadalquivir. We also had a glimpse of the ‘Catedral de Sevilla’, which we would visit tomorrow.

On our way back to the train station, we came across some nice arabic houses, and when we walked into the archway we found some beautiful tranquile court jards. In one court jard we found a reminance of the town wall and a water fountain.


This was enough for one day, so we caught the train back. This time the train was empty 😁