It was pretty chilly even though the sun was shining when I exited Lisbon via Vasco Da Gama bridge. I took N4 – A5 road and was so thrilled with the beautiful white, yellow and purple wild flowers along the way. It was an easy 275km ride to Merida. My Air BnB host was a Muslim. She’s a very nice person and she served me lunch and dinner even though it’s not included in the rental.
The next day, I rode 476kms to Madrid. It took me longer as my gps directed me to take a back road, which was narrow and winding. However, the view was very nice and it was a peaceful ride as I seldom met other vehicles on the road. I spent too much time stopping for pics.
Realizing that I’m already late, I sped fast towards Madrid on A5. There were some hassles and tense moments for me when the 2 lanes highway expands to 8 lanes with fast speeding vehicles racing the road. I also had to ride inside a 3km long tunnel. My gps lost its signal and I didn’t know which exit to take while inside the tunnel. I took the wrong exit and had to go round and round to find the correct way. I found the building where my embassy should be located but I couldn’t see the embassy’s office because it was actually inside a shopping mall. I had to park GD a bit far and walked to the address. I managed to find it and reported the Ambassador, H. E Kennedy Jawan. One of the staff, sis Zarina invited me to stay with her which I gladly accepted.
The next day, sis Zarina and I fetched another Msian advrider, Faizal Sukree who happened to be her relative. I already knew that some Msian riders will be in Madrid for their ride in Spain but I had no idea that Faizal will be leading them. I received a call from the Ambassador’s secretary telling me that the Amb invited me to his residence for dinner, so I told her about the presence of the other riders. The Ambassador was so nice to invite all of us to come over. So on that night, we had a nice gathering at H.E. Kennedy Jawan’s residence. His wife, Madam Josephine and the staff made Laksa Sarawak, a popular traditional cuisine originated from the Ambassador’s home town.
Before saying goodbye to my kind host and all the riders, I managed to visit the famous Real Madrid stadium.
Then, I rode 346kms to Zaragoza via A2, and the next day, another 410kms via N11 – A2 – C25 to Girona. It was a pretty chilly ride as it’s cloudy with on and off showers, but enjoyable with beautiful view & twisties.
I also met my friend, Jorge Saeta in Girona. We first met in Laos in 2007 and later in Malaysia in 2008. It was very nice to meet him again after so long.
BACK TO FRANCE
My ride from Girona to Marseille was a very stressful one. It started with very lovely weather and temperature. But as soon as I entered France, things changed.
While riding along the French Riviera, I had to fight strong side wind again. I was being swept by the wind for 5 times. I had already lost control of my bike. It was very very scary, scarier than on Ruta 40 in Argentina. Scarier than in Spain. God knows I almost wet my pants. When being swept by the ferocious wind, GD’s wheels were no longer touching the road. At times like this, I envied those riding big bikes. They didn’t seem to be affected by the wind at all. Only smaller bikes like myself had to struggle. I had to fight the strong wind for 9 continous hours!!! Even though the view was so beautiful, but I couldn’t enjoy it. I was very tired but so relieved when I finally reached my host’s place at Aix de Provence. I did some research to check on the wind. No wonder the wind was crazy. My route today was along Languedoc-Roussillon region, which was the windiest place in France, caused by the wind named Mistral. No wonder I could see wind turbines everywhere.
I stayed 2 nights here and took the chance to visit Marseille. The wind was even stronger here. I can hardly walk as the wind kept pushing me backwards. I had to force myself to brave the wind and visit the super famous Port Vieux, and the surroundings.
The wind was still strong when I left Aix and headed east. However, it was a very nice and beautiful ride along French Riveira via DN7, passing towns such as Cannes and Nice. I stopped too many times for pics.
The ride to Monaco was even more beautiful, but the road was smaller. It was really a stunning ride along the narrow, winding and hilly coast. Blue skies, blue ocean, big and small boats, yachts, the ordinary ones, the luxury ones, good weather and some wind, but not as bad as the other day.
Entering the capital city, Monte Carlo, there were lots of road works going on with very bad traffic. I couldn’t zip in between the vehicles as the road was small, so I was stuck between Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Porsche…u name it 🙂
Accommodation was very pricey, so I decided to pitch my tent near Menton Beach.