¡Iberian Espectacular! – Day 9

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June 10th, 2018 – Porto, Portugal to Madrid, Spain: ~390 miles
Portugal tries to smother us with rain, so we go back to the welcoming arms of Spain.


Did you miss Day 8? Vy and I see some pornography on a leather vest.

Feeling too lazy to make multiple trips between the room and the bike, I wore my helmet so that I could carry a saddlebag in each hand. Vy got the trunk and we were able to bring everything down in one trip, even if I looked a little silly in the process.

The weather in northern Portugal was going to be full of heavy rain for the next few days, so we made the decision to cut that part of our trip out and instead suffer through a few hours of rain to get into central Spain where the weather looked nice. The weather had cleared up in Porto so we briefly headed to the riverwalk as we had skipped that yesterday because of the rain. The gloomy sky put a damper on the colorful buildings across the river.

Soon, I found that the most interesting thing wasn’t the buildings, it was a member of the crowd that was admiring them…and had brought a blow-up doll along.

At a red light, Vy started laughing and then called my attention on our headsets to a pigeon that was actually using the crosswalk to cross the street.

We then proceeded to eat up boring miles in inclement weather.

There wasn’t much to see, so Vy and I just alternated between chatting and listening to music on our Senas.

This service station wasn’t offering much in the way of “service” anymore.

2 and a half hours later, we crossed into Spain.

The country changed, but the sky remained constant.

Doorknob or piece of fruit?

If there was one benefit to the hours of rain, it was this double-ish rainbow!

As we made our way to Madrid, it was impossible to miss a community surrounded by castle walls. This is the town of Ávila, and it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain.

The walls (known as the Walls of Ávila) have an average height of 39 feet and are almost 10 feet thick. Construction began in 1090, and the walls are supposedly the largest fully illuminated monument in the world. We didn’t have enough time, but if you find yourself here you should plan on a hike, as you can walk on the top of about half of the walls. We went in for a quick riding tour, and it was incredibly charming even from a superficial view. I could see why Orson Welles called Ávila the place he most wanted to live.

As we got closer to the capital, we saw more modern motorcycles…like this Z900RS (in the wrong color, in my opinion).

Central Madrid greeted us with the Arco de la Victoria, a 160 ft-tall arch built to celebrate Franco’s victory in one of the battles of the Spanish Civil War – specifically the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria.

Disney is everywhere.

When we got to our hotel in Madrid, we encountered a Lambretta club in the facility’s parking lot. Did you catch my Picture Intermission about these British adventurers?

Vy’s Lonely Planet had a few suggestions for dinner, but once we saw the name of Vi Cool the choice was obvious.

We aren’t food connoisseurs, but our general rule with meals in Iberia was to order patatas bravas as an appetizer as a baseline to compare restaurants. This was one of our favorites.

Our hotel had an ant infestation!

Back at the hotel, I was amused by the name of a band that was advertising themselves. Peloj means hair, so I think you can figure out the gimmick here.

Our original travel plans did not include Madrid, so Vy and I stayed up late planning new stops to see to make up for our lack of northern Portugal. I was most excited to see the windmills made famous in Don Quixote…but that’s for tomorrow.

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