HANGING OUT IN THE PYRENEES
We’ve been there before. But now we aimed to cross the Pyrenees east to west on our motorbikes, to end our trip in the Bardenas Reales, an unreal beautiful desertlike area south of the mountains on Spanish soil.
Our bikes were a hybrid Yamaha XT500 with a C&J-frame and a SR500 engine and a 1976 Yamaha XT500, all stock except the Supertrapp performance trumpet and the excellent Michelin T63 tires to handle the rugged terrain. The bike has been my companion for 25 years, and it isn’t spared.
Our base camp was La Puebla de Roda. An excellent campground though it may be a bit Germans-infested. Nice people, with all equipment perfectly organized, having their breakfast, lunch ánd dinner in the restaurant, while snoring away in the comfortable bungalows at night.
No such comforts for us. Our self-inflicted miserable sleeping-facilities were army-supply bivouac-sacs to protect us from the elements. The upsides were many, looking at the stars while falling asleep, hearing the wild hogs scuffle for truffle and living without walls for 10 days straight, to name a few.
Our first ride was up the Vulture-Cliff, a warm-up-run to loosen the stiff limbs and get the feel for the rocky roads again. This led us to our first challenge; we got stopped by road-workers. “No problemo” according to the Spanish road-chief that helped push our bikes past a narrow path alongside the just cemented-road with a steep cliff on our side. ‘What could possibly go wrong’; a 150KG machine with running engine in first to help get it uphill. Well we made it, and said hello to our vultures. Up there you realize you are in the middle of very different and very beautiful world, just a day after we left Amsterdam.
Next day we set out on our trip. Our gear packed on the back of the bikes. Put-putting along great vistas, The Maladeta mountain range, Monte Perdido, the Canyons of Guara and so many more. Eating great food at local restaurants, adapting to the Spanish schedule from day one.
While riding through their country I came to appreciate how the Spaniards advance their world with time. Not overthrowing everything for the sake of renewal, but develop with respect for what was. Because what was, wasn’t so bad. Why would it be. I love their villages and cities. They combine old with new, not preserving hysterically. This way there is no need to. It seems that everything grows organically, even buildings.
As said, our nights were spent outside in the wild. Once overlooking a valley with bald ragged mountain-tops as a backdrop, sitting there gazing at the sundown while darkness crept over us, trying to stay awake to look at the stars a little longer. Another night placing our gear in the middle of a pasture with cow-shit under our noses. And the next time flies keeping us awake all night. Still we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Each morning the obligatory mug of black coffee got us underway to the next winding road, up and downhill, going off and on road.For 1500 km we were welcome travellers in their wonderful world, and we loved every minute of it.
Spain see you next year!