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Old 01-27-2009, 06:00 AM   #61
Avispao OP
Hornet 900 Adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Oviedo, Spain
Oddometer: 177
Tue. July 2008, 29th.

When we awaked up Scotland was crying because we were leaving her. She welcomed us with brightness after some horrible days, but then that we were leaving it was raining.

This is the same view from the room than in the night. I like that golden angel in the church in the left.

We did a reserve in the Etap in Leeds, which resulted me a bit difficult, because Leeds' people speaks too fast for me. A thing i noticed was that when i got used to welsh accent, i was going to south Scotland (which accent are softer than any i noticed there), and then i was in north Scotland, which are stronger, and then in Skye which is different. And then in Leeds... where they don't speak, but vomit words. My spoken english is not very good, and i sometimes seemed stupid asking "repeat please" almost three times to understand something.

But hey, in Spain we have asturianos, gallegos, andaluces, and catalanes, that it's very difficult for you to understand a word even when we try to speak real spanish (not talking about other home languages).

Well, we then took the road to New Lanark. We hadn't planned go there, but was in the way to Galashiels. We took a look from the upstairs, as it was raining and we didn't have time to explore. Afterall, we live in a mining region and the oldest blocks of mining villages are very similar to these, so it wouldn't be very different.

We reached Peebles and went for Galashiels. This road is very good for biking, but beware, there were warning signs saying "74 motorcyclist have died here". I think it's because the road is narrow and has heavy traffic (buses and trucks). It also was difficult to pass lorries because visibility is poor. But even under the rain, we enjoyed it.

We stopped finally in Melrose, to see its abbey. The rain stopped too and we enjoyed the ruins and could took a look at the cemetery, to see that the oldest of the lapids were from s.XVIII.

We tried to see Dryburgh Abbey, near of Melrose one, but didn't find the way. So we went to Kelso to see its one. If our third day in Wales was the day of the castles, this was gonna be the day of the abbeys.

Near Kelso we could see Floors Castle, but only from the road. The village of Kelso liked us, with is cobble stone streets and the bridge. The abbey wasn't as spectacular as Melrose, or Sweetheart one (this was in Dumfries, remember?).

Then to Jedburgh, to see its abbey too. This one was really huge, with less grass and more "old stones". It has all the ruins of what it was an abbey: kitchen, bedrooms, mill, etc. We enjoyed for an hour visiting it.

It was time to leave Scotland in sorrow and enter England again and in sorrow too, as our travel was finishing. We have to go back, cause we missed Glen Coe and Trossachs!

We crossed to England through Carter Bar pass, inside Northumberland National Park.

We looked after Hadrian's Wall (132aC). We took a small road full of overloaded wood trucks (i could see its tyres) which went up the hills at only 10mph. But police do nothing, as always. After passing some of them, we reached Chester, and its roman fort. I have seen many roman ruins in Spain, but seeing another one in such a northern place excited me.

It was getting late, so we went to Housesteads fort in a hurry. But we couldn't go up and only see it from afar.

Back in the road we could see the Wall in its splendor. This road goes near it, and sometimes you can see the moat in its side, and other you can see the old wall.

I was time to go to Leeds. I tried to gain time going south directly through A68, instead of taking the motorway that goes near Newcastle (and do 50km more). I think i didn't gain it, because it has traffic and lots of villages. But hey, now i can say that i see something in that part of England!

We reached Etap hotel about 9pm. after eating in a McDonalds at the entrance of Leeds. We asked for our room and went up. As i was entering the room i could see a young woman entering the shower. "Mmm, i think this is not our room dear..." She didn't see us, so we hadn't to stand for the shouts.

I went down to reception to see what was happened. "Oh, sorry was our fault, take this one". We went up again to our new room... and found it undone. "What the f**k? They're gonna hear me!" But no, i couldn't shout nothing, my vocabulary of damning is not very good. I had to eat my frustration while she gave us another room. This one was the one.

But i want you to imagine the situation: two people on cordura clothes, tired of doing 400 km. and seeing many things that day, with rain and sun and rain again, at nine in the afternoon, with two cases, two bedrolls, a tent, a tank bag, two helmets and gloves, going up and down in the lift for three times. It was surrealistic.

After a shower we went to look after our pints. We did a walk through some comercial streets, with some beautiful galleries, and many clocks in the walls.

Top of it we could see some nightclubs and bars, and entered one. They had damned belgian beer! Franziskaner, Leffe and so. Don't misunderstand me, i love that beers. I have ALWAYS some of them in my fridge, but we wanted real ale, our time in Britain was finishing. British beers are not distributed in Spain, and i don't know why, as 15 years ago (when i started to drink alcohol) i could find Bass, Tennent's and Caffrey's (at least).

It was a poor sign of globalization. We drank our belgian beers and made a different walk to the hotel.

This nightclub was in a interesting place, under the train rails. It remembered me that kind of gothic films, like Blade or Underworld, filmed in Praga.

It was a long day.
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:03 AM   #62
Avispao OP
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Location: Oviedo, Spain
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Wed. July 2008, 30th.

This was gonna be the first of four days in the motorways. From Leeds (West Yorkshire) we went to Leeds (Kent), about 400km to the south. We surrounded London under horrible 35ºC, and reached Leeds for lunch. Why did we go to this Leeds? Well, because Lord Conway wrote this:

"Wonderful in manifold glories are the great castle visions of Europe; Windsor from the Thames, Warwick or Ludlow from their riversides, Conway or Caernarvon from the sea, Amboise from the Loire, Aigues Mortes from the lagoons, Carcassonne, Coucy, Falaise and Chateau Gaillard - Beautiful as they are crowned with praise, they are not comparable in beauty as with Leeds, beheld among the waters on an autumnal evening when the bracken is golden and there is a faint blue mist among the trees - the loveliest castle, as thus beheld, in the whole world"

You can see that we visited three of that list in this travel: Conway, Caernarvon and Leeds. I hope to see the others sometime.

The price was 15£ pp (18€ in that moment), but fortunately we could use the Heritage Pass that we used through all of our visits. We saved a lot of money with that passes (more than 100%). The castle is surrounded by a big lake, and this one by a big park, and this last is why you pay so much.

Leeds Castle, despite its ancient origins of s.XII, was always updated, and now appears stalled in the seventies, when the last owner gave it to the nation. I think that many castles were donated to the Government by that years, perhaps because of petroleum crisis, could it be?

You enter it from the cellar.

The Throne Hall, as supposed it was by Henry VIII ages.

She doesn't like to read.

After having an ice cream i phoned my cousin, who is living near, in Canterbury. She booked a room for us in Alicante Guest House (and they weren't spaniards!), so we went to Canterbury to spend the night. We had a great desire of getting our Cordura's off!

We walked to High Street seeing nice buildings. We remembered the ones from Chester (south of Liverpool).

Then we entered to the cathedral enclosure under this door. We have one of this style in Burgos, with a fantastic cathedral too.

Really nice cathedral, isn't it? While we were walking we saw a priestess... ein? It was a shock, we know about that but we weren't thinking about it.

We could enter to the cloister (great!).

And then to the origins of this cathedral, a norman door from s.XI.

We went our by another point, and see this famous house in Canterbury.

Even the door is inclined, forming a trapeze instead of a rectangle. More pics from the village, which we liked a lot.

After the walk we had some pints and dinner in a pub with a terrace in the backwards. We had some more pints after that in another pub, and then i drank the worst of all of the beers i've ever drunk, the Pedigree Ale. As you can suppose, it tastes to dog pee! I had to drink another Spitfire after the Pedigree, to cut off that awful taste before going to bed.
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:59 PM   #63
Avispao OP
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There's little to write yet, but i will finish it.

Thu. July 2008, 31th.

Before leaving Canterbury, we wanted to see the interior of the cathedral, which we couldn't last afternoon. We asked our hosts to leave our luggage in the room to make the visit, and take it all afterwards. They agreed so we walked again to the old building. This time we had to pay 7£ each to enter, even to see the outsides of the church, where we walked for free hours before. Our British Heritage Passes weren't useful here.

It wasn't important if they were anglicans or catolics, in gothic churches height and light were the most important things.

After seeing lots of cathedrals in Spain (lots are lots, from Girona to Santiago de Compostela, and from Oviedo to Sevilla), i can agree that this one of Canterbury is more splendid in its interior than any i know in Spain. That's because in Canterbury tombs are decorated profusely while in Spain religion was understood as modesty and they usually have only a sculpture over the lapid.

It could be that spanish churches had to pay their tithe to Rome, while english churches had to pay to Canterbury, and Canterbury to nobody, so they could spend the money in decorations.

It is commonly known that Thomas Becket was murdered in this cathedral. It was made a shrine here for the pilgrims to worship, but Henry VIII didn't like it for what it meant and destroyed it.

A Disney-style window.

We walked back to the guest house to change our clothes before taking the route to Dover. We could see its castle from the highway but we couldn't go to see it and its WW2 tunnels, as we were recommended by my cousin.

After buying the tickets we waited under the suffocating sun. The ferry was older and dirtier than Santander one, but we had to suffer being enclosed only for an hour, while we ate our sandwiches.

We all came out the ferry as The Devil was pursuing us. If you stopped by any reason, people could drive over you, so we ran. We could see at the distance the clock tower of Calais, but we didn't want to stop as we were very far away from home to do the travel comfortably. We decided to avoid toll highways, but after some miles we discovered it was as bad decision: in France there are lots of villages one after another, and you can't travel fast outside the highways.

I felt strange driving on the right after almost 3 weeks in UK.

We could leave The Devil back in the ferry, but the hot of Inferno was burning us. The hot was rising more and more, and if we were slower than 120kph, we could boil inside the Cordura although we had it open at all. My t-shirt was completely wet. It resulted the hottest day of the summer, more even that the one in Balmoral, or the hotter in Leeds, because humidity was higher. But while we were reaching Rouen, the sky got darker and darker, and when it got black over Rouen, the storm fell.

Under the painful rain we followed a silly tomtom (tontón in spanish means silly, so it's a proper name to that device) through Rouen looking for an Etap Hotel. Every street had changed its way, and it resulted difficult to find it. Finally i had to use my instinct to reach it because tomtom didn't know how.

After we got dried and changed our clothes, some sweaty and others wet, we asked receptionist how to reach the center of the town. She fortunatelly spoked english, and explained us how to take the tram and what to see. Rain stopped and we could walk admiring the cathedral and other buildings, and we discovered that Rouen was a nice city. Most of the center is pedestrian zone (as in Oviedo, our city), and in every square there were musicians making concerts, or other spectacles to entertain people.

The pity was that i forgot my camera in the room, and i had to use the mobile's one.

We discovered that in France alcohol is sold in little shops apart from supermarkets, and that in fast food restaurants they don't have even a beer. We had dinner in a small kebap's bar, trying to make us understand to a very kind moroccan guy (i suppose he was from Morocco). We don't know a word in french, but fortunatelly he spoked two in spanish (yes, only two ). After that, we bought a pair of beers in that little shops (belgian beers, no more ale) and took the tram back to the room.

We only made 250km that day.
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Old 03-08-2009, 02:55 PM   #64
Ola M
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Very nice report, enjoying this particularly as I intend to travel a similar route this summer!
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:48 AM   #65
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A fantastic report, I've only just found it.

It's great reading about your own country from another's point of view.

You came very close by me as Cerne Abbas is only just "up the road".

Thanks again for the effort of writing and posting the pics - Great Work
Only ride as fast as your guardian angel can fly!
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:39 AM   #66
Edmond Dantès
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Location: Château d'If
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Wonderful Ride Report.
I am left very impressed. Are you two history majors by any chance?
You make Simon Schama seem like an amateur historian.

My favorite castle happens to be Caernarfon. Which castle left the biggest impression on you?

As we were leaving Ullapool we had the horrible sensation of being finishing our travel yet. We got to the northernmost point and we were going south then. And although we were 3000km from our home, and we had to visit Skye and many other places, that rare feeling wouldn't leave us in the rest of our trip. It was a bit like the light of the last days of September, which can be hot but shines announcing the fall.
These words are so profound. One of the greatest parapraphs I have read on this site.

Thank you so much for sharing your trip.

Nos divertimos mucho. Hasta manana

Edmond Dantès screwed with this post 09-28-2009 at 05:48 AM
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:32 PM   #67
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I just read this again, I must go to Scotland soon...
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:16 PM   #68
Jim K.
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Brilliant RR Avispao. Fine photos & your mastery of English is admirable. What few mistakes you make only serve to make the read more interesting. I've traveled some by car & moto in Spain, mostly in Catalunia, (where my total Catalan is "bon nadal") How did you find driving on the "wrong" side of the road? My fear of crashing has kept me on the continent in all my European trips. Perhaps if you can do it two-up, I could try on my next holiday?
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:31 AM   #69
Avispao OP
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Location: Oviedo, Spain
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Originally Posted by Jim K. View Post
Brilliant RR Avispao. Fine photos & your mastery of English is admirable. What few mistakes you make only serve to make the read more interesting. I've traveled some by car & moto in Spain, mostly in Catalunia, (where my total Catalan is "bon nadal") How did you find driving on the "wrong" side of the road? My fear of crashing has kept me on the continent in all my European trips. Perhaps if you can do it two-up, I could try on my next holiday?
Thank you.

Driving on the wrong side was easy peasy. The first or two days you are on alert, specially in the morning after sleeping, and specially at the crosses, but after then you're one more on the road. It was so easy that when i entered France i made the crosses as i were one more brit.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:15 AM   #70
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Weather Makes All the Difference

Fantastic trip! And Scotland's weather seemed to be mostly good to you. I went in October 2005 (link to my story below), and wasn't so lucky. That said, I never saw a midge!
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