This was an errand day. Neda was suffocating in the heat in Andalucia, so we had to do something to make her feel comfortable on the bike. I checked the web, and there was a BMW Motorcycle store in Algeciras, which is near Gibraltar, so off we went at 6AM from Arcos. The weather at that time is beautiful, about 20C and it feels even cooler on the bike. Things start to heat up around noon, when the sun turns it on full-blast. We didn't really venture too far into Algeciras, the dealership is on the outskirts of town. Unfortunately, they were a smaller dealership so they didn't have any mesh gear in stock. They called their sister store in Marabella, about 200 kms to the east, on the coast near Malaga (a popular tourist resort town), and they had the gear in stock in various sizes. Over the phone they told us they could ship it anywhere in Spain for the next morning. They were surprised to hear that we would be coming over in the afternoon to pick it up. Apparently in Europe, travelling 200 kms is just not done, let alone 1100 kms!
That's the moon actually, over Arcos de la Frontera. Taken from our hotel room at 6AM before sunrise with long exposure
Cool motion blur shot. On the way to Algeciras
BMW Autos Sierra Blanca in Algeciras
Neda inquiring about motorcycle gear. They were quite helpful
So off we went to Marabella. We plotted several twisty roads along the way, so 200 kms, became a 400 km trip up into the mountains of the Parque Natural de Los Alcornocales and Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema. The parks were beautiful and the road was awesome! We met a couple of British tourists near Ubrique who were vacationing in the area. They told us that there was a village with an enclave of UK ex-pats, so it was an entire village of English-speaking people in the heart of Andalucia!
Met a couple of Brits who were showing us where they were heading.
Then we showed them where we were headed. We *so* totally won that one...
Sierra de Grazalema
This is what we shared the road with in Sierra de Grazalema
Stoopid %$%# GPS! Picturesque. But wrong turn...
Everytime we stopped, this is me cursing the GPS
"I am so freakin' hot!"
We made it to Marabella around 2:30PM to find the BMW store closed!?! A quick check on the store hours revealed it was closed from 2-4PM everyday! Wow, the Spanish take their siestas pretty seriously! So we headed into a bar for a drink, only to find it was owned by another Brit ex-pat. Had a couple of drinks and lunch in a restaurant around the corner, and by that time it was 4PM and Neda went shopping for her mesh suit. She ended up getting an Airflow jacket and pants, same as mine. Good thing it's in red, or it'd be the matching rainsuit fiasco all over again! When it came time to pay, both our Visa cards got denied from all the foreign usage over the last few days, so it was off to find an ABM.
BMW Autos Sierra Blanca in Marabella. Is there another one we can go to? The air-conditioning in these stores are top-notch!
BMW police bike in for service. I was committing the design to memory for future reference.
And here she is! Decked out in the latest BMW Motorrad fashions!
By the time this was all done, it was around 6PM, so we wanted to get out of the city, and headed back into the mountains to a town called Ronda, which is less than 80kms away from where we were in the morning. We had logged close to 300 kms today and only made it that far away from our starting point! At least we got some good twisty roads in! We knocked on a couple of hotel doors in Ronda but they were all closed. We were to discover later on that despite this being the beginning of holidays in Spain, it's actually low season for Andalucia because of the heat. I found a nice hotel in the centre of town and lo and behold, another Paradores. I should look into getting a membership at Paradores...
In Ronda. Asking around for available hotels
Ronda is another white town on the edge of a cliff
Ronda in the evening
Neda captured some fantastic sunsets in Ronda
I just realized, we had a moonset and a sunset opening and closing this note. How poetic!