Spain - Portugal

June 2017

Part 3: Ronda - Algarve - Lisboa

If it wasn't for this persistent and intense heatwave I would had already left Alicante for Granada and Sevilla earlier. I extended my stay though thanks to my good friend and host Mar at Alicante but no change on the forecast so I'm leaving heading South West to overnight at Almeria expecting bearable temperatures there by the sea. What I didn't expect though was that I would make it so quick there thanks to the toll free wonderful Spanish highways. At this point I gotta say that drivers in Spain are very decent too - at least better than I expected.

I arrive at the meeting point with my Airbnb host and wait for him at the shade. His listing was kinda sketchy but was the only available around at a sane price so...He arrives on a scooter and leads me to the place. You'd all wonder how the hell there was no address on Airbnb in the first place? When we arrive at his "Airbnb" I understand why. First of all the guy is probably working under the table and second... a barn converted to an Airbnb in a field can't have a street name and number. I leave my stuff in my stinking from AC odour room and go to the sea to relax a bit. Bad move - a small stretch of barely swimmable dirty beach is not my kind of party so I go back to wash my clothes instead and work on my laptop.

Only happy to leave this place behind next morning and my updated plans would take me up to Ronda through Malaga via A397. Wanna see parts of that ride with a bit of my music? There you go:

Struggling with the heavy traffic around Malaga in the heart of Spanish summer isn't much fun but the ride on the A397 around the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park was really nice. I made a short stop for water under a tree and the view was quite Greek I must admit:

Ugly fences in nature's beauty unfortunately feels like home :)

I arrive at Ronda and this time I have the exact opposite of last night's: One of the best places I've ever rented. A lovely house of a lovely family with two lovely labradors:

Chiqui welcomes me as Gabriel (her husband) would come later after work and shows me around. Such a nice new house they have and wonderful people they are. She even offered me lunch which I accepted as time is gold when you travel and I'd spend a lot looking for something to eat around. Ronda is a must if you are around but since it was my second time there I spent the day resting and shorting out my trip files on my laptop.

I try their tiny pool and watch the sunset later:

Next morning we all have a nice breakfast together and Garbiel offers to help me take my bike out of their garage. I say goodbye to these amazing people and continue my way West: Portugal, here I come for the first time!

By the way, do you know Spain has some of the funniest road warning signs for motorcyclists? Like this one:

The A374 is a pleasant open road:

Same goes for the A375 later:

Crossing the border to Portugal my cell provider decides to leave me without signal. Just what I needed as I have to contact my host later. However, I must say that Portugal impresses me from the first moments. Crossing the Portuguese forests for my first time ever makes me happier and happier till at some point I stop to enjoy the silence:

Wanna enjoy it to?

The Algarve region is a masterpiece. Unfortunately, late June is not the best time to explore its flooded by tourism seaside so I left it and stayed at a village close to Rocha da Pena park. This place is owned by an old couple of farmers and after they showed me my house they brought me some of their goodies which I didn't hesitate to make them part of my meal. Who says no to fresh tomatoes and eggs?

With nothing to do in this village and a whole house at my disposal I grab the chance to wash my clothes again.

Weather is already much different. Cloudy, huge drop in temperature with chances of rain. Next day I continue my way North hoping that I will reach Lisboa dry as I start crossing those amazing Eucalyptus forests of Algarve:

My nose is full of this fine smell from my beloved trees and it literally feels as if I'm dreaming. This route is beyond a magic carpet ride. Adorable area for all senses:

Wanna ride with me?

This was the best part of my ride up to Lisboa as the more North I was going the heavier the traffic was and the rainier the clouds became. As soon as I enter the city I am already impressed and I ignore the heavy traffic on my bike knowing that I will be happily walking around this interesting Capital the next days. I arrive at my next Airbnb, Tania my host takes me to her garage so my bike will be dry and safe during my stay and as soon as I leave my stuff at my room I rush out doors to find something to eat. Being too hungry doesn't give you a lot of options hence I have the worst hot dog of my life at Lisboa (a vegetarian one by the way) while watching (as hungry?) pigeons waiting to attack my leftovers:

Click below to continue: