Addictive Andalusia, travelogue by Annemiek and Ad two fanatic bikers from Holland.
We liked it so much last year, that we went again this year. A tour through the Sierras and a visit to Cordoba with his famous Mezquita and Cathedral.
On Tuesday we travelled first to the small village Essen and by train to Zaventem in Belgium where we can take our flight to Malaga in Spain. Already dressed up in motorcycle clothing in styl on the plane! With the helmet, gloves and a change for the evening as hand luggage my holliday can start. At 18.00 PM we arrived in Malaga and picked up by Jac at the airport who took us to our basic hotel “El Mirador”. We knew this hotel from last year. After Jac instructions and a Michelin Roadmap, the TomTom navigations and wise advice we were prepared to start our motorbike tour the next day. In the evening we had a nice diner at Paco place that we also knew from last year.
The next morning, we saddle up our bike with our luggage and headed to the Alpujarras in the Sierra Nevada. This year Travelmoto has made a total new route with beautiful landscape and wide views. I am always impressed by the Alpujarras. When we arrived at our destination Valor I had a typical “non-RT moment”, I missed the last instructions of my navigation where my TomTom start to recalculated directly my directions. Bad idea! This new road was to narrow with a steep drop down of more than 20% and a dead end (phoephoe !!). So emergency stop, I pulled my glove off and tried to take my phone out of my inner pocket and called Ad: Helluuppp, I’m standing behind the church and can’t go forward and backward at all anymore.
My friend Ad finally found me, he looked at the situation to see how we could get my motorbike out of this street. Pushing back up was impossible, so the only option that remained was to let the bike descend down on this narrow street in a controlled manner. On both brakes and with united forces we managed step by step to get the motorbike down well. It tooks us more than a half hour to get the bike out of this narrow street and to put it in front of our destination “Los Arcos“ in the centre of this village. David had arranged a dinner at a fine restaurant on the main road where we are served witch tasty Spanish food with a nice bottle of red wine. What a day and what an adventure today.
Leaving Valor we headed for the Sierre Nevada. The TomTom leads us over the mountain passes of Ohanes and Alto de Velefique. Beautiful riding and …… here they also ride up these passes by bicycle in the Vuelta !! Plenty of names are written on the road: average gradient almost 8%. I had a lot of neck strains to view the beautiful landscape and watch the road and always amazed that they go up here by bicycle! Later we went into the desert of Tabernas. Quite flat and wide and indeed yellow sand and stones. Here are the remnants of the buildings that served as the backdrop for many western films, even for the well-known The Good, the Bad and the Ugly !!
The desert led us to Velez Rubio and Hotel Sibileys. After a stretch of about 2 km off-road we were warmly welcomed by Stephen and Debby and there dogs. On the terrace was an exhausted Italian (39), Luca, from Brixen who had lived in London for 20 years. He was there for a 4-day off road driving course (Solmoto enduro) given by Stephen and his son Ben Kupferberg (multiple enduro riding champion). He had just finished his first day and was totaly broken. In my own words! He was only deathly tiered. Luca said that when you see Ben and his father Stephen driving it doesn’t mean anything until when you start, it is so hard working. Except for the food, we haven’t seen him until breakfast. He was allowed to go for 3 more days – hihi. Besides being an excellent enduro rider, Stephen is also an exceptionally good cook.
Motorcycle paradise Cazorla
After a good breakfast and goodbye to Stephen, Luca, Debby and the two dogs we start our next day. On our road to Cazorla through the Sierra de Segura. The road itself was sometimes curvy and sometimes long straights and a paradise on the motorbikes. The soil itself varies from deep dark red to very light gray. Just like previous days, we dirve for hours without any traffic, sometimes we only encounter a single car. After riding through the Segura de Carzola and his exit pass out of this nature park we arrived in the city Cazorla.
Jac had already indicated that we had to put our motorbikes in the garage with the assistance of the hotel owner Pedro. Once on the spot, it became clear why. Just a little too far, and learned about my experience from two days earlier, I first explored the road on foot. Ad thought this was a bit nonsense and laughed at me. We will see who has common sense and indeed a number of stairs. After finding the right way up instead of down, back on the bikes and trying to get back where we had to be. Pedro the owner of the hotel was already aspecting us and assist us to ride up that narrow street to park the motorbikes in his garage under the hotel. After the silence area of Hotel Sibileys, this hotel “Guadalquivir” was in the middle of the old town centre and more crowded. Nice time for a terrace and dinner in the evening where we spent our time between the locals and many toerist that visits this famous nature park.
Surrounded by animals
The next day became our most northerly route. Direction Ubeda along the lakes to La Carolina. Here the Spaniards had organized a event around the nature park, I understood from the agents who made clear with gestures and sounds, something with horses and all kinds of horse races. The young officers were clearly trying hard and it is not nice to laugh at a neighing officer. Unfortunately the feast was not for us, but we were not allowed to drive on. So back and had to go around this park.
Through the Sierra de Morena and his national Park Sierra de Andujar we passed the pilgrimage site “Virgen de la Cabeza”. The statue of Mary on the mountain near the church is very visible from fare. Because we still had enough time, we drove there to visit this spot which a huge cathedral. This pilgrimage was created in the past because a shepherd says he saw Mary who had helped him with a new hand he missed, and now million of visitors find their way to visit this special place. We believe it has been a very credible shepherd and a gullible community to build up such a church on his belief. As far as I am concerned, the France have Bernadette in Lourders and the Spanish people their place in Andujar. After leaving Virgen de Cabeza, it is only a good 20 km through the nature park known for the presence of lynxes.
Just as with our hotel Sibilyes in Velez Blanco we also drove a bit off-road here, we are welcomed by Roland Wassenaar in Villa Mathilde. Villa Mathilde is located in the natural park and is surrounded by forest. After some fun with the animals, a nice dip in the pool. We were lucky and surprised by a good and delicious paella that Roland had made for us and the other guests. Woken up in the morning by the birds and a braying donkey I took an early walk through the forest around our villa where I had the luck to spot a lynx that lives in this nature area.
With a good breakfast and good care by Roland we start our bikes again for our trip to the capital Córdoba. It would be a short trip around 130 miles and also a very warm day. Leaving Andujar direction Cardena and Villanueva de Córdoba we went on the A3100. Yes, the A3100 because after a few miles the nice road is gone and turned into an all road rack with sand, stones and sometimes a bit of asphalt but with a beautiful view over a deep blue lake what was the Embalse del Guadalmellato. Despite the fact that our bikes lend themselves well to this, I go downhill a little more cautiously than Ad, he is more experienced in off-road driving and behaves like an accomplished champion.
In Córdoba Jac has arranged a typical family hostel in the middle of the old town. We can park the motorbikes in a garage and went downtown. It is busy because it is the Feria of the Patios. Residents open their courtyard to admire the beautiful flowers against the wall, on the ground and courtyards. This contest for the title “most beautiful courtyard in the city Córdoba is very serious. It is also very busy at the Mezquita (mosque) entrance. We have to wait for more than two hours to get our entrance ticket and time to visit this Mezquita, so we make another plan for this afternoon and night. After strolling around the city, we return to the coolness of the courtyard in the old town and visit a night the illuminated fountains that takes part in this contest Feria of the Patios. Córdoba is truly a city to experience, and we loved it.
Almodovar Castle. There we went again into and through a natural park “la Sierra de Hornachuelos“ where we pass the Rio Guadalquivir. Andalusia is really a motorbike paradise and again the scenery had me so distracted with all the beauty but still be able to keep half an eye on the road with his countless bends. In the direction of Torremolinos we pass large agricultural areas with sunflowers, grain and olive trees. Near Navarredonda we arrive at familiar terrain. Last year we also drove the road at Embalse del Guadalteba and Guadalhorce. One thing is certain: the road has not got better, on the contrary. Fortunately we have the right bikes with us to enjoy this part of the route. We hit our base Torremolinos and checked in our hotel Tarik located on front of the boulevard. We took our luggage from the motorbikes for the last time and bring them back at the Travelmoto Rental office in Torremolinos.
Well, here we are, de-motorized!
Impressed by a great holiday through the fantastic nature of Andalusia, thanking Jac for the beautiful routes and the nice hotels and B&B s and of course our host ladies and hosts.
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