Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

I arrived in Jerez de la Frontera the day the Moroccan Govt closed the border with Spain

That was the end of the Morocco trip

I had booked into the alburgue in Jerez. I extended my booking a couple of days so I could think of the next move

In Jerez some sherry tasting a must

No tasting for this adventurer

I guess it was a sign of what was to come.

So I had to console myself with some garlic prawns and red wine

The was hardly any activity in the Square. Some locals and a few tourists, from the USA and UK by the accent

The cafe owners strangely subdued. Maybe they new something was about to happen

Maybe the lost income from the covid19 pandemic was weighing heavily on them

That Saturday night the lockdown was proclaimed for 15 days

Everything to shut except food stores, pharmacies and petrol station.

Stay indoors

The streets of Jerez totally deserted on Sunday mid day

Initally I had thought Id sit out the lockdown in Jerez.

Sunday all seemed OK. A long term rate could be negotiated. Fix it up Monday morning

It was warm in Jerez, the alburgue was modern big grounds to exercise in and a pool. Perfect place to sit out the lockdown

Monday morning all had changed. Tuesday I had to be out.

Thinks change quickly during a pandemic!

Sunday France had declared a lockdown so travelling back through France was off the cards

Frantic work on the phone.

Booked a ferry spot from Santander to Portsmouth the next Saturday.

All the hotels were shut. Where to stay.

Thank you to the good hearted souls who have given me shelter via airbnb

It was a cold ride from Jerez to Valladolid where Im currently staying locked down

It had snowed the night before on the skifields south of Salamanca. But the sun was out

I pulled into a parking bay. Pulled out my little burner and made a coffee and had a snack of cheese, olives and manderine

And though Spain is beautiful even in the time of a lockdown

At 10pm at night in Jerez, in Valladolid and across Spain. People clap and cheer in appreciation of the health workers.

Cause they are on the front line of the pandemic

The Spanish are beautiful people

Nimes to the Dordogne and beautiful gorge country.

Nimes to the Dordogne and beautiful gorge country.

The Pont du Gard sits near the southern end of a series of beautiful gorges that run over 400km north into the DordogneThrough the Causses et Cevennes and the pretty village of FloracRoads winding through the beautiful Gorge de la Vis and the Cirque de Navecelles.To Millau and the Viaduc de Millau, the tallest bridge in the world, that spans the Tarn Gorge with its steep precipitous cliffs.From Millau the roads continue through windy paths till reaching Cadouin in the Dordogne with its beautiful 12th century Abbey where a room can be found

And chamber music in the Abbey Church.

A taste of the Savoia, Annecy and Aix les Bains.

A taste of the Savoia, Annecy and Aix les Bains.

The old town in Annecy built around little canals that flow into the lake is a treat

The lakes are the feature of both Annecy and Aix les Bains.

In Aix-les-Bains the steep cliffs around Lac du Bourget provide a riding and viewing pleasure

Especially when you find a little Cafe perched on the cliff edge

To enjoy a beautiful Savoia pinot noir and chucaterie selection.

I was lucky enough to be able to join in solidarity with French Climate Activists and march is support of the world’s beautiful natural places. The planet is worth making a stand for!

Fireworks, fruit, snowy passes, history and motorbikes in Northern Italy

Fireworks, fruit, snowy passes, history and motorbikes in Northern Italy

The Moto Guzzi open days on Lake Como go off with a bang

As the marques faithful followers flock to Mandello de Lario.

From Trieste it was a winding road over passes both broad and narrow.

Lakes dotting the path

To Como the Lake of Dreams

Its early September on inthe villages the fruit on the trees ready to pick

As by the weekend end the first snow had started to fall

Dusting the Alps with white and adding a chill to the air in the passes.

Then there is the history of the area such as Bergamo it’s old and new city, home of Pope John xxiii and comrades of Garibaldi.

And the little village of Glorenza that time almost has passed by.

And is on the door steps of the Swiss Alps.

Romania two further places of natural beauty

Romania two further places of natural beauty

New companions on the Transalpina

For the touring motor enthusiasts the Transalpina rates highly

Its a long pass that’s what makes it so special.

148km of curves over the Carpathian Mountains

With beautiful lakes

The top of the road is more like a long ridge across the top of the Carpathian Mountains than a pass

From the southern end of the Transalpina it’s not too far to the Danube and the Bulgarian border

And encounters with well pravelled riders

Follow the river west and there is a gem

The Iron Gates of the Danube road which is cut into the cliffs along the Danube

The start of the Iron Gates are marked by this ancient Statue

The road then runs for about 100km mostly cliff face with some beaches

Until the you reach the point where the strict girdle of the mounts stop and the mighty river opens out again.

Two very special rides!

The Danube three impressions

The Danube three impressions

Hot Jazz on the banks of the Danube in Budapest

The Danube is one of the halmarks of this beautiful city.

This is the urban Danube winding through many of Europe’s great cities.

A working river transporting people and good across the continent.

The Iron Gates of the Danube forms the border between Romania and Bulgaria

A gorge around 100km long with small villages dotted along the way.

And finally the Delta

The great Danube starts in nature in Germany’s black forest and is a protected nature park when it reaches the Black Sea.

Im so glad the nature aspects still remain.

Those are the places that really fill me with awe

Maybe because it complements the wild flow of riding a motorbike.

Transylvania, legends, royalty and that Irish connection.

Transylvania, legends, royalty and that Irish connection.

Bran Castle

Battling the crowds on the narrow road to Bran

Past Dracula signs

One thinks how did Irishman Bram Stoker imagine this place and create the legend Dracula

The narrow roads are thick with tourists inspired by the legend

The citadel at Sighisoara also claiming it’s part of the legend

Any where that Vlad the Impaler, (who Dracula is based on) stayed dines out on the legend

But the legend disguises the the true beauty of Transylvania

View from Bran Castle

The amazing country side of open pasture

And the old forests around Brasov

And some wonderful biking roads

Near Brasov

The Transfagarsan

And memorials that tell the tale of the fight for Romanian independendance. Achieved in 1918

Though the Habsburg empire still had influence in Romania till the Soviets exiled the remaining Duke in 1947.

Romania is a beautiful and varied country and I’ve still a week here

The Danube Delta, Romania

The Danube Delta, Romania

It was a long haul across Europe.Many mountain passes and next to no motorways.Crossing borders and venturing into Eastern Europe for the first time.

The sun rise over the Danube Delta made it all worth while.

A small boat tour of the Delta just breathtaking

Moving across the lakes and through the chanels. Wild life abound

And in the morning sun water lillies emerge

Small traditional fish traps reflecting a sustainable approach to fishing.

On the ferry crossing the Danube to its Delta

Le Dolomiti

Le Dolomiti

In the Dolomites

From my camp in Cipena near Bormio it was over Stelvio once again and onto Merano, a gateway to the Dolomites.

Jaufenpass

The high road from Merano leads to the Jaufenpass.

From there the amazing rock structures that are the Dolomites unfold

Campsites tucked under the monoliths give amazing mountain sunsets

Over the Passo Gardana, a favoured by bikers the way I took toward Cortina d’Ampezzo

Cortina is such a beautiful Alpine city.

Looking down onto Cortina

Cortina centre

The there is the back roads and villages. Little campsites where there is space and few people

In and around the village of Cimolais

Like all Alpine areas you have to sometime pay for the beauty with thunderstorms and a day of rain

Rain after the thunderstorm in Cortina. It’s a small price to pay.