I bought a new bike, I'm moving out of my apartment by the sea, and I've getting ready for my summer adventures, thanks for being patient!
First lets say goodbye to my home for the last 8 months, the coastal region of Murcia.
Today starts with an early morning in Cartagena. I haven't updated for a while because I have been busy with a bit of work, but more importantly with getting my EU drivers license. The preparation was worth it because I passed all 5 tests (2 car 3 motorcycle) on the first try and became the first one in Autoescuela Campillo, my driving school, to have done so.
Here's a shot of the little bike I took the tests on.
I also bought a new motorcycle for myself, and sold the other one of course.
So let the RR begin, I celebrated my victory with a sandwich (2.50€) and a good dark beer at my favorite sandwich shop. Cartagena is a cool city and a bit chaotic for a drive test. But I had been racing around its streets on my own bike for weeks, to get to know it better rather than paying for classes like they want you to. It was a little sketchy ever since my international license expired but I was lucky and it saved me lots of cash. In Spain they give you a headset and a bike, and they follow you in a car, it was an interesting experience.
To be honest, it was a good exam, you have to know how to ride to pass it and that is a good thing.
I think I was the only one that drove myself to all the drive tests!
Ok, so heres the sandwich.
And my shiny new ride:
Leaving the sandwich shop I wanted to take a look at "Algemeca Chica," a small community on the outskirts of Cartagena.
Down this tree lined highway
Its a beautiful location and a very chill spot in general but by the looks of things, probably not too comfortable for year round living. Unfortunately for some folks they may not have another choice. Times are tough in Spain.
From there I hopped on the highway and rode for a while until I saw an unmarked building with some folks sipping coffee on the patio. It was on the side of the road near the turn off to Portman so I decided to check it out. It was hot and I was thirsty.
It was a simple place and the scenery reminded me again of the Southwest of the US.
From there things changed dramatically. I entered in to the mining area.
You can see the color of the water, similar to the mines near my little apartment but the ones near Portman and La Union are HUGE. Its a never ending mine. The highway twists and turns through the strangely colored landscape.
and the town of Portman, once a mining town, it's now in fast decline.
The "Port" of Portman is the site of one of the worst ecological disasters in the Mediterranean. A company called Peñarroya-España paid off the officials to let them dump thousands of tons of waste and mining bi-products directly into the sea. From up above you can see that what was once a bay, is now filled in with a strange colored sand. They dumped so much waste that it filled in the bay.
Regardless of this saddening sight, this part of Murcia has some great riding. The bizarre colors of the earth, the abandoned mining towns and, if you dont mind a little dirt riding, you can pass through the mining areas and head towards the coast to some great beaches. I continued my ride inland and then noticed an intriguing dirt road heading to what looked like the perfect beach paradise.