The next couple of weeks took us from France to Spain to Portugal to Spain and back to France. We don’t know which country we are in at the best of times but this stretch of the tour merged totally into one. The only way we could tell we were in a different country was when people stopped responding to the few words we had learnt in that particular language. “Une demi s’il vous plait…” ‘Que??’.
We had a single rider for most of the France to Spain leg, a dude called Jeremie, who was another motorcycle journalist and so put the bike through its paces at every opportunity. He was a really friendly guy and got really into the spirit of what we were trying to do with the content. Him and John got on particularly well. Much of France (the first time around) was a bit of a blur but it ended in Barcelona and Montserrat, which was stunning. Pro, Louis, and I had to stop in Barcelona for a week leaving John to take the car onto the Spain leg on his own, with us lot missing out on most of southern Spain. We all met back up in Lisbon where we were due to drop off Old Faithful (the Skoda Yeti we’d had for a couple of weeks) and pick up two replacements. Unfortunately we got lumbered with a single Opel Zafira to get us to Spain because of a mix up at the rental company. After our initial scepticism, Pro worked his packing magic and we managed to fit all our gear and all our luggage into the smallest boot we’ve had so far. OK, we had no leg room and it only managed a top speed of 100kmph but we managed to get to Spain. The rest of the Spain leg went pretty smoothly and we even got two nights in the nicest B&B we’ve had in many weeks, just outside of Santander. Naturally, we only ended up there because of a booking mistake, but it was really nice all the same. It was run by the loudest woman I’ve ever encountered but she also made us feel so welcome. She made sure we had an extra bed in our room so none of us had to endure sharing a bed with Pro and his flailing limbs, and she made dinner for us despite us arriving late.
The next few nights were a pretty stark contrast for accommodation, including the smallest bunk beds in the world, a hotel directly opposite a power station and a ‘Premiere Classe’ motel that was either a drug den or a knocking shop. Despite the shady accommodation we sometimes have to stay in the trip is still going well. We all have our ups and downs and it can get pretty testing at times, but we are all making the effort to enjoy it when we can. And although we take it for granted sometimes, like when we stumble across a free Manu Chao concert on the beach at San Sebastian, or get taken to an amazing restaurant by a local, we still know how lucky we are to experience all this.