Maps and Stats

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Italy, Milan, Alfa Romeo Museum, 19 – 22 June 2022

From Logroño I rode to La Jonquera an overnight stop near the freeway. 612kms in 6:05 hours with 3 fuel stops, 4 lanes all the way with very little traffic and only one toll stop €16.45. Spain is eliminating Tolls and demolishing the Toll Plaza infrastructure, there are a few still left in the North West of the country. Windy with many Wind Turbines in parts.

Then to Frejus in France another overnight stop near the freeway. This starts on the busiest Freeway in France and continues all the way along the South Coast of France, trucks occupying 2 lanes most of the time, winding roads and tunnels, no time to relax. Stopped for tolls 6 times, first to take a ticket and at the end pay for the ride €15.10, €2.70, €6.10, distance 445kms in 4:36hrs

Until I arrived at Lianate on the outskirts of Milan where the Alfa Romeo Museum is located. I crossed over from France to Italy at some point probably in the middle of a tunnel. 4 tolls stops on the French side €2.30 for 28km, €1.90 for 28km, then €0.90 no receipt, €1.70 for 20km, mind boggling. Tunnel, viaduct, roadworks, tunnel, viaduct, roadworks all along the coast until I turned North to Milan, beautiful views along the coast. The Italian Toll Department only asks you to take a ticket at the beginning and pay for it at the end, therefore only 2 stops €29.50 for 295kms exactly €10 per 100km. But when I arrived at the Ring road around Milan I had to pay two tolls (€3.30 and €0.80) hahaha, usually once you get to a city there are no Tolls but not in Milan. The traffic is almost as bad as Antwerp without throwing Toll stops into the mix.

The Alfa Romeo Museum in Milan, one of the best of its kind.

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Spain, Logroño, 16 – 18 June 2021

Pamplona to Logroño – a short ride 104kms in 1:10hrs.

Logroño is the capital of La Rioja a major wine producing region in Spain and Rioja wine has been accredited with “denominación de origen calificada” . It is also famous for several streets that specialise in Tapas bars but you would have to stay here for a year to sample them all hahaha. Calle Laurel is the most well known street. The first day was 40c, the next 41c and the third day was 42c but no rain so I was happy.

The museum was free, surprisingly well organised and immaculate.

Concatedral de Santa María de la Redonda

Calle Laurel, party street

Laguardia is a village on a hill that is riddled with tunnels dug during the Middle Ages as a place to hide from invaders. They are now used to make wine. I went on a tour of one of them. By bus it takes 30 minutes to get there from Logrono and costs 1.90 Euro.

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Spain, Pamplona, 13 – 15 June 2022

Bayonne to Pamplona over the Western end of the Pyrenees. Maximum altitude 718m compared to 1,818m when I crossed over from Toulouse into Spain. Once I got past the villages in the foothills good ride through the mountains in fine and cool weather upto Elizondo.

Elizondo – a Basque town in the mountains, made famous by Dolores Redondo in the Baztan Triology. Having read the books I had to see the town for myself and as I was passing through I stopped and walked around, very pretty. From there to Pamplona I joined up with a 4 lane highway with trucks, looks like they are headed for France by another route. Distance 104kms, time 2:44hrs.

Pamplona – where the Running of the Bulls takes place every year. This is where the bulls chase a crowd through the narrow streets of the town. The runners wear white with a red scarf and a few get gored every year while the Bulls finish up in the Bull ring where they will be killed. The city also has some impressive defensive fortifications and an interesting Church.

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France, Bayonne and Biarritz, 10 – 12 June 2022

Bilbao in Spain to Bayonne in France both in Basque country. Short ride 2:05hrs and 159kms with 6 Toll stops and €24.77 in tolls, a real nuisance. At one stop the system did not detect my bike and did not ask me to pay, I was stuck holding up traffic, so I pushed the Help button and after a few minutes the bar was raised without me having to pay, first time for everything. More traffic and more trucks on the winding mountain roads not a good combination with trucks trying to overtake trucks and blocking both lanes.

Bayonne – I came here mainly to visit the Basque Museum and Biarritz. The old town itself is very nice with narrow lanes and cobblestone streets, many street cafe’s and tourists wandering around. There are also free bike parking spots around the town. The Saturday market was in full swing when I was there with some genuine local produce.

Biarritz – Once a playground for the rich and famous, now everyone goes there. Not a bad place if it stops raining hahaha. I took a bus from Bayonne to Biarritz €2.20 for a 24 hour ticket wandered around, it is not very big, had lunch, wandered around some more dodging rain showers and back on the bus.

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Spain, Bilbao, 07 – 09 June 2022

The ride from Santiago de Compostela to Bilbao was fun, through the mountains all the way, there was only a short stretch of toll road at the beginning which I avoided by going down a back road. The back roads are fun but the speed limit is 90kph which is ignored, mostly. A Police car went past in the opposite direction when I was doing 110kph and I was worried for a few minutes because in Australia that would mean they would do a U turn and come after me to save the world from a dangerous criminal and fine me $800 but here in Spain even the Police acknowledge it is not a heinous crime. Police motorcyclists wave to me as they go past at a 150kph hahaha. 566kms in 6:12hrs.

First stop was the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao fantastic architecture and some fantastic exhibits inside, in other words, come and see for yourself. As a bonus there was a special exhibition of iconic automobiles.

The old town is the next place to go in Balboa. For a change it was not raining, I wandered around, had lunch at the Market, a huge variety of Pinchos which are tapas by another name, nothing particularly remarkable in the rest of the city. Went on a ride on the Funicular to a lookout with views of the city.