Page 2 of GPJMurphy Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Málaga May 21st 2012

Journey through Spain You could tell it was disembarking time on the ferry – the rain was hammering down outside and you could see little more than a thick drizzle grey everywhere. As the motley collection of bikers headed down to deck 2, the perennial fat hard “characters” who were always on the ferry or the chunnel, usually on cruisers, these ones on Goldwings, cited they didn’t need waterproofs ‘cos the Goldwing shielded them from anything, and of course because they were “hard”. They were nice enough lads but any moron could see they would have been soaked within 10 miles. Shame about the weather because the route once out of Bilbao’s environs was really quite stunning, carving its way through rock formations, weaving through tunnels and winding along pristine, albeit wet, blacktop. Only a short ... read more
Well parky!
View from the terrace
Tepa downtown

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao May 18th 2012

Friday This blog started as a diary to a semi-credible trip spanning several months – just the completion of the journey dictating its duration, rather than a few snatched weeks in the holiday schedule of someone stuck in more regular employ. It even had a credible strapline – “From the Fjords of Norway to the Sahara”. Still my abortive attempt at trying to limbo dance under a wire across a road whilst on the bike in Switzerland put a swift end to that. A painful, 3 hour ride on the bike back to hospital in Innsbruck, via Italy, and a couple of X-rays and CT scans later, and I was covered in more plaster than St Paul’s Cathedral. And that was that. A brief second abortive attempt to make North Africa the following Spring (after limbs ... read more

Europe » Spain » Cantabria » Santander July 30th 2009

Anecdotal Tripe To add to the lessons learned from my first trip: 1. Bungees linked together and stretched out between trees make an excellent washing line, assuming you had enough bungees. Never a problem for me, I always have an absurd amount - I could string a line across the Millau bridge. 2. Petrol is 30% cheaper in Spain. OK, so on the thimble sized petrol tanks on most bikes it is not going to realise considerable financial gain but by the same token it's hardly worth filling up in France just before you cross the border. Fuel prices seemed consistently 1.38E and 1.05E respectively. 3. OK so three pairs of gloves was ridiculous - I admit it I never used them all. 4. For hot countries summer kit and poor tex was definitely the right ... read more

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao July 29th 2009

Wednesday 29th July - Bilbao, The Picos, Santander The Guggenheim is an amazing building but I had to agree with the consensus that debated whether its content was worthy of its surroundings. That's partly because I don't really get gargantuan ultra modern sculptures, those more refined would probably disagree. As a basic sort of chap. for me art is about pictures on canvas, or other media and for that I generally do prefer modern art. So the top floor of the Guggenheim held most interest but even that was dwarfed by the architectural genius of the building itself. As amazing as the Guggenheim as a statement on the landscape was, it paled in comparison to the Picos de Europa. En route as I passed Santander on the bike battling a gale, I questioned the sanity of ... read more
Inside the Guggenheim
Another Guggenheim exhibit
The Picos de Europa

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » Bilbao July 28th 2009

Tuesday 28th July - San Sebastian - Bilbao After mucho milos (I'm picking up this Spanish lark already) the last couple of days, I had always planned today to be an easy, lazy day, but that was no excuse for taking the autoroute the 100km or so short hop to Bilbao. I studied the map afterwards (yes I know somewhat arse about face) and noticed the coastal road. Sure enough it even warranted a mention in Lonely planet. Wally. Still I have to say that it was by far the most scenic and interesting autoroute I have ever been on. The road flirted with the coast and then carved its way through lush valleys and hills, twisting and turning like the mountain pass it dreamed of being and with motorway quality tarmac and loads of space ... read more
San Seb 2
San Seb 3
Bilbao Cathedral - Old Town

Europe » Spain » Basque Country » San Sebastián July 27th 2009

Monday 27th July - Back to Spain, San Sebastian This was more like it - the hotel in San Sebastian that is. I am sat up writing this in a bed so large there is a walkie talkie on each side for contacting your bedfellow - should you be so lucky enough to have one that is. The Spanish tourist offices had come up trumps, both here and in Barcelona, so on that basis I could only but recommend them. I had struggled to find anything decent for under 200 sovs searching the internet with a budget that was half that and the Astoria7 was just the job. Anyway I had awoken in Foix to a dull overcast day, my first since leaving Salon la Tour, which always looked like threatening rain. Actually no I was ... read more
The 2nd beach at dusk
Looking out from La Concha at night

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Foix July 26th 2009

Sunday 26th July - Riding the Cols of the Pyrenees I was Col'd out. I loved riding these Cols so selected the “interesting” mountain pass route over the Pyrenees and into France, for a brief overnight sojourn there, travelling back across the border again to Northern Spain tomorrow. It was more interesting than the dull ride through the plains of central Spain and more importantly not as sun baked. And what a brilliant ride. If there was a prize for best biking road ever the N260 would have to be in the top 5. Stupendously good fun - awesome views and perfect quality tarmac, it twisted its way ever skyward from Ripol. Mile after mile it seemed to last for ever. If it looks a long road on my 1 inch : 1000 mile scale map ... read more
Oh Yes...
The N20
Foix 1

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Girona » Figueres July 25th 2009

Saturday 25th July - Olot and the lower Pyrenees Somone upstairs had finally turned the heating down and so I swapped plans and set off on the bike around 10am. It was a deliciously cool 22C and even by midday had only reached mid-twenties. I felt like I had my own personal AC unit. Perfect conditions for riding a bike - especially without full luggage on a range of cols. What a mega f*cking day! First leg was to ride out to Sant Joan de Abasses - brilliant road, Col de Joubert I think and I yabadaba-dooed out loud in my helmet. Perfect tarmac, excellent bends and stunning views across the Parc de Volcans and further afield to the Pyrenees. The next col, Col de Santiago was possibly the twistiest road I have ridden, it flick-flacked ... read more
Lunch in Beget
Beget
Sunflowers and Volcanoes

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Monistrol de Montserrat July 24th 2009

Friday 24th July - Barcelona - Central Catalonia Barcelona traffic was pretty dire so I was hoping this trip up to Parc Guell with me sat melting in the heat would be worth it. Was it? No. And worse I had to lug all the bungeed luggage round the park, due to the constant threat of theft of anything not bolted down. So I absolutely fried. The trousers were designed to be summer trousers so what muppet in the Hein Gericke design department decided on black as a color? Call me a philistine but I just didn't see the appeal in Gaudi's work. The guy just seemed to have a serious Hansel and Gretel fetish to me, intent on making all buildings appear like something out of a Hans Cristian Anderson fairy tale - why the ... read more
Toasted Murphy at Parc Guell
The road to Monserrat
Montserrat

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona July 23rd 2009

Thursday 23rd July - Barcelona It had definitely been a wise move to give up pontificating what next and just get a hotel. I felt infinitely better this morning. There was however no solution to the Morocco problem - even with a clear and air conditioned head. Still at least now I could reason that quite quickly. I had up to 7 days left and I estimated that 4 days of that would be flat out riding in elevated temperatures. All for 3 days in Morocco - it was a crazy notion and I quickly abandoned it. After the initial pangs of disappointment (this trip was supposed to be about finally getting, safely, to North Africa after all) I was philosophical and unusually rational. I would just enjoy Spain instead. The first step to that was ... read more
Le Catedral (I think...)
Museo Picasso
La Sagrada




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