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Old 01-27-2012, 02:43 AM   #16
AlpineGuerrilla
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Love your offroading excurses, makes me want to go there. Looking outside I can only see fog and the cold thermometer.
Please go on.
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:30 AM   #17
antipode
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Although you've taken your time before starting you RR it's looking good, don't stop!

Do you remember where was that first little road?
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:54 AM   #18
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Awesome ride.. thanks for the fantastic pics... looking forward to some more
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:49 AM   #19
ata
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in!!
waiting to see how far did you go
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:04 PM   #20
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Thanks for the encouragement, guys ... I was already wondering if I should pretend to be female ... they seem to get a lot more attention in this testosterone filled forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
Do you remember where was that first little road?
You mean the canyon on the first day? I wish ... I remember heading directly west from Narbonne for roughly 30-50km, then turning south. I haven't found any pictures on Google Earth though that support this idea.

Onward with my RR: After a wonderful breakfast at El Vilar my journey continued. South of the scenic little town named Sort I enter elven wonderland.




Apart from its optical marvels the canyon caters to various kinds of adventure sports.



A little further on I saw four girls changing into climbing gear, young students probably. Having brought along my own basic climbing gear (shoes and harness) I stopped after passing by, turned around and asked them if they'd take me along. The one in the yellow shirt seemed to be the leader of the pack, a friendly and open girl; she instantly agreed, much to the dismay of one of the other girls who thought it's insane to go into the rocks with an unknown, potentially dangerous giant man. She absolutely refused to go even near me, so the group split. The two girls in the pic went with me, blue shirt girl adopting the role of the arrogant beauty.



Being out of practice, my intention to pose as their hero failed utterly. The clay and stones conglomerate was very alien to me, even more so when it started to rain. Their response when I asked what would become of this "rock" when it rains was "¡Pasta!" and soon enough we had to abseil from this slippery, treacherous surface. (Ha, small wonders of language, one of those few german words which conquered the english language.)

While redressing I asked for the way and distance to Salamanca ... about 900km, I had only 24 hours left and was still amidst the mountaineous regions with no fast road nearby. I set off without further delay. Heavy rain showers accompanied me further down the day, alternating with better weather. Deep in the night I turned in for a quick sleepover in a motel and started again early morning.



The spanish high plateaus rise up to and above 1000m. Even in late april it can be cold, later on I learned that spring often only lasts two or three days in these regions, from winter to summer it's almost like turning a switch.

Expecting to ride into summer I wasn't prepared for this neat birthday surprise:



Being late on schedule, I had no other choice than pushing through for the next 200km, fingers and everything else stiff, painful despite grip heating.

In the afternoon I arrived at my destination, finally! Riding into town I stopped a passing motorcycle police patrol to ask for the local KTM dealer ... the bike needed maintenance and a fresh rear tire. Turned out, they knew him, it was the garage for their bikes too, and they showed me the way.
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FlameDance screwed with this post 01-28-2012 at 03:37 AM
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:25 AM   #21
ata
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Quote:
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Thanks for the encouragement, guys ... I was already wondering if I should pretend to be female ... they seem to get a lot more attention in this testosterone filled forum...............
hey, hey, hey
i´m lost

what´s that?
brand new washing machine?
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:35 AM   #22
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Quote:
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hey, hey, hey
i´m lost

what´s that?
Told ya this was going to be educative.
Read this!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testosterone
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:17 AM   #23
ata
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men´s brain is no so simple

Dopamine

Endorphin

seems a girl with that speech
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:33 AM   #24
horsti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antipode View Post
...

Do you remember where was that first little road?
Hello !
The road You are searching for is the Gorges de Galamus, see here: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorges_de_Galamus
This is an extreme nice and pitoresk area with silent roads, great offroad tracks, old villages and the Katharer Castles, see here: http://www.catharcastles.info/queribus.php?key=queribus and http://www.catharcastles.info/peyrep...y=peyrepertuse.
I love to travel in this area.
C U on the road !
horsti

horsti screwed with this post 01-28-2012 at 06:41 AM Reason: 2 big fingers 4 keyboard
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:42 PM   #25
antipode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horsti View Post
Hello !
The road You are searching for is the Gorges de Galamus, see here: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorges_de_Galamus
This is an extreme nice and pitoresk area with silent roads, great offroad tracks, old villages and the Katharer Castles, see here: http://www.catharcastles.info/queribus.php?key=queribus and http://www.catharcastles.info/peyrep...y=peyrepertuse.
I love to travel in this area.
C U on the road !
horsti
Danke Horsti!

I will make sure I visit that area next time I am in Spain (hopefully in May), it looks beautiful and it is just a 250 km ride from Barcelona.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:44 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlameDance View Post
Thanks for the encouragement, guys ... I was already wondering if I should pretend to be female ...
Don't think you'll get away with that after the very first picture you put on the RR
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:04 AM   #27
Sylvia Stuurman
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What a great ride report!
The photos, the writing, and especially the way of traveling: the roads you choose, the way you look at people: I like it very much.
Please go on!
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:10 PM   #28
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Thus ended the first part of my journey in a small room in Salamancas university district, ending a cold and mainly eventless birthday. Though I was tired a little walk through the surrounding roads was obligatory, rebuilding my mental map of the area where ten years before I've been for the same purpose. Salamanca competes with a couple of other towns for the title of oldest university of the world. Strolling through the university district, among big and old buildings with walls that look as if they'd fit a fort ... this area breathes old intellectuality, impressing me whenever I visit the town. Love it.

Thus began the second part of my journey on the next morning. Remember I said educative? So I went to the inscription bureau of http://cursosinternacionales.usal.es/, underwent a couple of formalities including paying money at the nearest bank and absolving an extensive language test. Heavy rain welcomed us new students.





The aftermath, as seen on front of the theological seminar:


During the following week classes absorbed me. They have excellent teachers, various kinds of courses, ranging from grammar over conversation to spanish culture, arts and history. Strong recommendation, if you consider learning spanish in Spain. As they have many students, they can afford to individually tailor classes to your specific needs: Weak on grammar but good in talking? You get low level grammar and high spirited conversation classes. Other way round? You'll get courses adjusted to your needs as well. Another treat is that the people in the streets and bars speak the same academic castellano (one of the four official spanish languages and the one that is commonly referred to as "Spanish") as is spoken in the classes. Surely taking spanish courses in e.g. Granada is attractive too but you'll have to put up with a strong dialect outside classes.

Side activities included organizing a date for inspections and tire change at the local KTM dealer. Surprise, ordering and obtaining a tire took them ten days, but in the end I can't complain about the quality of works done and they're friendly too.

Ten years earlier I'd been in Salamanca for the first time, so I knew the town pretty well. Several changes, of course, but nothing substantial. Back then together with another student I had lived with a spanish family, so I could practice the language all day. Very interesting people, at least the mother of the family. She had panic attacks whenever she left her house, except when accompanied by her husband. They felt a lack of ... well ... input from the world. Their solution to this dilemma was taking in students from all over the world, by talking to them, by helping them with their language classes, by actually living with people from all continents. Instead of traveling they called the world into their house. Rarely have I met people in Spain with more international flair than this family, amazing. I wished they'd still host and work with the university but all the university told me was: They don't. I was sent to another family, and to my regrets I have to say, this time it didn't work that well. Different schedules, different eating times, always TV while eating instead of conversation, nothing in common to talk about ... let's rest it at knowing I was disappointed and eventually left them during the last days, even though I had payed for the full duration.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:54 PM   #29
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Even though I love Salamanca, for the weekend I had other ideas than staying in town. Portugal is just 100km to the west and I've never before been to this westernmost continental european country, reason enough to pack the bike with tent, some learning materials and a little food. Sifting through the pictures of this weekend I really wonder which to show here and which not ... expect a little flood.

Westwards on the Autovia until the boarder. As soon as I crossed the border I hit smaller roads northwards, sparing the south for another weekend. It didn't take me long to find more offroad trails to follow.



No action pics as I traveled alone, sorry to the eager audience. My bike will always be parked during this RR. Usually upright but sometimes sleeping too, as seen before.



To the mid-european eye it is quite unusual to see vast stretches of landscape without any sign of recent agricultural activity ...



... and ...



... though apparently there has been farming using waterlines which look fragile and sturdy at the same time.



Portugese economy, though the country strives to be an industry nation, seems to be stuck in the past century, at least in remote areas:



Which not surprisingly leads to abandoned farms ...



... and old machinery picturescly loitering the landscape.



Honestly, which of these pictures would you omit? I'm so fond of them, I just include them all.



Slowly following gravel roads for hours, always on the lookout for beauty and more stunning pictures, I had an encounter of the cute kind. Experiencing this donkey foals shy curiosity still warms my heart.



In the next village I found local musicians rehearsing for a local festival: Feira das Artes e da Cultura - I found posters tacked to many trees in the region and I wondered if I should return for it on the next weekend. For now I loitered for a while, taking in the villages atmosphere.



Heading towards gravel again I found rock formations that sparked my phantasy ... an Earth Giants foot?



The rocks structure was extremely grip-proof, so I fooled around a bit ...



... before heading on.



Clouds and incoming evening led me to believe it'd be a good idea to look for a bed for the night.



Turned out to be a long search, much longer than expected, but in the end I found a tourists hotel with a remarkable dessert buffet.

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Old 01-30-2012, 12:48 PM   #30
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A man of many talents! Fantastic photographs! It's a privilege to know you (In person) Top marks. Keep it coming...
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