Thursday, 1 June 2023

Retirement trip - Day 8

 Today I'd planned riding in the Picos de Europa mountains. These mountains have had a lot of publicity recently as a good place to ride a motorbike, and I would estimate that half of the bikes in Potes are British registered. 

I had downloaded a route that I had found on the Internet of an interesting ride, but realised it would entail eight hours on the road. So instead I started following the route and would deviate from it at some point.

First part of the ride was from Potes to the famous viewpoint on the way to the summit of Puerto de San Glorio.

Lots of bike groups (and others) have left their stickers on this board and along the barrier

I then rode up the the summit.

Saw a sign for a higher viewpoint 2km away so went for a look.

Continued to follow the sat nav route until I saw a sign for a side road leading to the Picos de Europa National Park, so headed that way. The road was a lot narrower and bumpier, and I stopped at a view point where a Welsh couple and their dog spoke to me. They were on an open ended holiday, not knowing where they would go next or when they would return home.

From there I carried on into the mountains.

Soon after I made the previous video the scenery got a lot better, so I started videoing again.

As it turned out, Cain is at the end of a dead end road so I had to ride back the way I had come and go the other way at the junction. I was starting to think about buying petrol so headed towards Riaño, a town in a beautiful location between lakes and mountains.

I headed on looking for more passes, but the weather started getting a lot colder and there were grey clouds overhead. Soon I had to stop and put my waterproofs on, and rode through very heavy rain. I decided to head back to Potes and the sat nav advised returning by the Puerto de San Glorio. Temperature got down to 10C (from about 25C) and I put my heated grips on. Who would have thought that I would have needed them during a summer trip to Spain?

Coming down from the Puerto, the weather cleared up and it got warmer again and my suit had dried by the time I got back to Potes.

It was a great day out on the bike, riding on great roads and seeing amazing scenery. Well, until it started pouring with rain! I'm leaving Potes tomorrow and heading on with my adventures.

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Retirement trip - Day 7

 Went out on the bike on a rather overcast and grey morning, temperature was about 18C. My plan for the day was to ride along the coast and stop at tourist information offices to get details of holiday houses for rent for a friend and her family. The ride through the mountains was spectacular, even on a dull day, but there are very few places you can stop and take a photo.

My friend wanted me to look at towns near the ferry port of Santander, so I stopped in the first one of any size I could find, Cormillas. It was fairly small and had a beach, but not much else. Although it was signposted, I couldn't find the tourist office, so took a couple of photos and headed onwards.

Along the coast all I could find were very small villages and the next town of any size was San Vincente de la Barquera. It's tourist information office was open and they directed me to a nearby 'agency'. However, this was like a British estate agent and they sold or did long term rentals but not holiday lets. I tried two more agencies in the town but they were the same.

Carried on through nice countryside and improving weather until I got to the town of Llanes. This is a really nice town full of interesting buildings, busy streets of bars, cafés and shops, along with an attractive harbour full of leisure boats. I found the tourist information, housed in the wonderful Art Deco former fish market.

Unfortunately, I arrived there at 14:30 and it closed from 14:00 to 16:00. However, the sign outside said they could offer accommodation (sign was in a number of languages) so I decided to walk around town until it opened. During my walk I met an Australian Couple in a supermarket who had flown to France, hired a bike, and were touring Europe for 3 months.

Lots of interesting buildings around Llanes.

I headed back to Potes along a lot of route I had ridden this morning, so the route is a 'T' shape. The sun had come out and it was a very comfortable 25C. Managed to stop on the route to take some photos.

Approximate route I took.

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Retirement trip - Day 6

 I decided on having a 'non riding' rest day today. Much as I like riding my bike I know the value of taking a break every so often to stop it becoming a chore. So today was spent wandering around Potes exploring the town, doing some washing, going to the supermarket etc.

My bike is parked next to where I'm staying in a cobbled lane. The cobbles make the bike sit at a jaunty angle, but it seems to be secure enough. About 50 metres along the lane is the office of the Guardia Civil, which is the 'big' police force in Spain, the Policia doing the regular day to day policing. This means that officers walk past my bike many times a day, lowering the chance of theft!

Entrance to the apartment block I'm staying in.

Various views around the town.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Retirement trip - Day 5

 A day of contrasts! 

I left Biarritz on a fairly dull, overcast morning and headed west towards Spain. I crossed the border, but it's hard to tell as there are no country signs, just a sign saying the name of the 'county' you are entering. I crossed on a bridge over a river, but unless you knew it was the border, you wouldn't know.

Now in Spain and the architecture changes, you can tell you're not in France any more. Road along the coast and had the occasional trip into the hills. Passed through Bilbao which is a particularly attractive but very busy city, and I didn't really have a chance to stop and take photos. I passed the Guggenheim Museum and it is particularly impressive.

Photo I found on the Web. I went over the bridge in the background.

  Once out of Bilbao I was quickly into the hills and over a few passes.

Eventually I arrived at my destination, Potes in Cantabria, at the centre of the Picos de Europa mountains. I'll be staying here for four days so have rented an apartment so I can get my washing done, cook meals for myself etc. 

Hear a map of the approximate route.

And I talk about today in this video.