TP 8 Tavira to Beja

0% off road, 175Km total

Last evening while pulling up at the B&B we saw that Donna’s front brake pads were worn down to the metal and the disc was already worn down a lot. So we decided to try our luck in Loule a small town not far off with a KTM Dealer. But it is Good Friday in a very Catholic Country, but hey maybe someone is there and we might get something.

As Murphy and his law must have been taking the day off we stumbled onto the Baja Loule, a local Rally for Bikes and ATVs. One of the teams was so kind to sell us a set of Pads. Thank you very much.

We then road on, back to Beja to the same Hotel.

TP 9 Beja to Alvega

40% Off Road, 312Km total

We had an early start and went via road for a while to then join the track a bit further up north.

We needed to get some KM done today and the tracks helped a lot. Wide smooth and swooping changing into tarmac and back to gravel. The odd Castelo to stop and enjoy the view.

Surprisingly early we arrived at the endpoint of the track only to find that the bridge over a massive gorge we had to cross the next morning was closed. Also Accommodation was a bit pricey with Room prices hitting the three digits. So we checked on Booking.com and found another Hotel not far off in Alvega. Turned out it was owned by a Brit, Paul, who was there for the Easter Weekend to clean the pool. We were the only guests and choose a little apartment next to the courtyard where we could park the bikes right in front of our room.

We then got invited to join Paul and his partner for Dinner. Home made Salad, cheeses, olives and meatloaf. Check it out ‘Solar de Alvega’

TP 10 Alvega to Mantaigas

40% Offroad, 185Km total

After a nice evening meal and a guided tour of the property we had a very good breakfast with loads of coffee. It was difficult to leave so packing was a bit slower than usual.

Goal for today was to reach Mantaigas, a village that seemed to have a lot of Hotels.

The riding today was very relaxed, a few gravel tracks followed by twisty road and then up the mountain in loads of hairpin switchbacks onto a piece of gravel track over the pass.

Then down some more switchbacks into Maintegas, which actually is a Ski Resort, hence the number of Hotels.

But we were out of season so a lot were either closed, or still expensive. We did find a nice little B&B with a bar and stayed there. After a quick Shower we went into the Village and had a nice fresh Salad.

After that a beer and a game of Pool in the Bar before we went to bed.

TP 11 Manteigas to Braganca

10% Offroad, 235Km total

This morning we found out that the B&B was just a B, no Breakfast. So we strolled down into the Village for a Coffee and back to load up. The luggage packing is now done in under 5 minutes.

Getting pretty good at it and the luggage is just great.

Today we would mainly ride roads as our tires are pretty much dead and we still had a long way to go. But the last few miles we hit the track again just to finish it off as we began, on the beautiful trails of Portugal.

We went to the Castelo Braganca for a cold drink and the first time on this trip we were ripped off. 2.- Euros for a small can of Ice Tea which everywhere else in Portugal cost 1.-€. Thieves!!

Back at the Campground, the Van started fine. We sorted our gear, went shopping to get provisions for the trip back and fell into bed.

To then discover that the air mattress in the Van had a puncture, but we had our Exped Mattresses. We are prepared!!

Travel Day 15 / TP +1 Braganca to Ribadesella

After loading the bikes in the van we set of back to UK. This time via Ferry from Bilbao.

We had one extra day so took the scenic route up to the Costa Verde. From Braganca up to the Spanish border the road was ideal for Adventure travelling. Twisty and empty all the way through the mountains. In Spain we took the Motorway west for a bit and then north east via more twisty roads to Leon in Spain. From there we followed the Motorway to Gijon through the Picos de Europa.

What a fantastic area and certainly on the bucket list now.

So far we were lucky with the weather, sunny and warm-ish all the way. Now after we crossed the Picos and arrived at the coast the weather turned. Heavy clouds and strong winds.

Travel Day 16 / TP +2 Ribadesella to Laredo

After a good breakfast we went on to Santander. The day was sunny and warmer than the day before and we had a full day to explore. So we strolled through the town and watched the people hustle and bustle about. We visited the indoor market, looked at strange fishes having their heads chopped off and being gutted. The fish that is.

As last task of the day we went a shopping for the cruise, water, nibbles etc and even bought some new walking boots.

After that we set off to Laredo, half way between Santander and Bilbao and found a Hotel on the beach with sea view and everything. Weather was getting windier and colder again, so we had an early night.

Travel Day 17 / TP +3 Laredo to UK

After a quick breakfast we loaded up and set off to Bilbao Port.

Before going into port we filled up the van at a Truck filling station which Donna had found a few trips before. €1.02/L Diesel. Very nice.

While waiting for the boat we chatted to a few Motorbike riders arriving and also met a group of riders leaving the boat on their way to Morocco. I was ready to unload my bike and go with them ……

The crossing itself started out a bit rough. Loads of people did not enjoy it. There was talk of category 12 gales, which probably were more cat 5, rocking and shaking the boat. But in the morning the sea was flat as a mirror and when we passed the Isle of Wright it was foggy.

We landed in Portsmouth right on time and a couple hours later were back home.

What a Trip. I want to do this all the time !

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