Ah, those Romans ...

August 28, 2018

We've handed out our card recently to a couple of people we've met in our travels but our website is woefully out of date. What can we say? Life gets busy so our apologies. We are nowhere near Broome now (our last post) and haven't been for over 3 years. This brief article is just a short update to say that we are in the UK. 

 

Granted, there is more to it than that. After a hectic year of travel and business and studies (which we can write about later) we packed our possessions in Spain and handed the keys to the house back to the owners. And, we took off for 10 days on our motorcycles through the Pyrenees and then on the ferry to the UK. A wonderful part of the world to experience and a chance for a few much needed sleep-ins. 

 

The title of this post reflects a common expression that we have come to use regularly in Europe. In Australia, there is only one ruin of an old building that is more than 200 years old. Here in Europe we seem to regularly find, and even stay in, buildings that are many hundreds of years old. In Spain, every hilltop seemed to have an old watch tower or castle dating back 1,000 or more years. 

 

As we'd ride along through the Pyrenees, taking only the back country winding roads (hint: the N260 is probably the best road in the world for motorcycles) we'd find ourselves regularly pointing out beautiful views or architecture via the bluetooth intercoms. Until moving to Europe, we had only the vaguest idea of the breadth and might of the Roman Empire. No longer. Hence, the expression "Those Romans ... " is regularly heard as we travel. 

 

It's fascinating to think of the reach of the Roman Empire over time and even to think that in many ways, the modern western world is a direct descendant of the Roman Empire. As indeed Rome was of the ancient Greeks, the Mesopotamians, etc. Shortcutting that train of thought rather than going all the way back to the Rift Valley 200,000 years ago, we in the west might even choose to consider ourselves as still partly of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire left it's mark in many ways but the daily reminders via the influences of Roman architecture certainly leave their mark. 

 

We've since learned much more about Moorish, Arabian, and other architectural styles of course, so the "Those Romans" is sometimes shorthand for "those Greeks" or even modified to be "Those Arabs". In any case, experiencing Europe up close and for an extended period is opening our eyes.  

 

We found this incredibly cute Gaudi Style ApartHotel in Naquera only 1 km from where we had lived and it was a welcome couple of nights sleep in the aircon after 10 days packing and cleaning the house.

 

It's hard to describe how lovely and quirky this hotel is but if you're looking for a great place to chill for a few days near Valencia, then Apart Hotel Gaudi Style should be high on your list. 

 

 

 

And it was a great chance for a much needed sleep-in in some aircon and a swim. 

 

 Did we mention the food that you can find along the Pyrenees? 

 Every charming village has it's own specialities. 

We stop a lot. Our bikes are sports bikes. They love the winding roads but aren't set up for doing long distances. It takes us about 5 hours to cover 200km per day. We stop a lot for photos, coffee, and a leg stretch. And we rarely travel on the motorways. If you want to find us when on a motorcycle trip. just look for the most convoluted route taking in winding mountain roads and small roadside cafes in small mountain villages. That's our natural habitat.

 Not a part of the N260 but it's not far off it. 

 

 Another fine place for lunch. 

 Spanish lunchtime is between 2 and 4pm. Given the warmth of a Spanish summer, even in the Pyrenees, we would usually ride from 7am to midday or 1pm and were happy to be sheltered from the sun in a nice hotel for lunch before 2pm. 

 

 

 

San Sebastian is a lovely town but gee whiz the beaches are crowded in Summer!

Bit quieter of an evening however.

We stop a lot. Think we might have mentioned that :-) 

Another nice thing about traveling by motorcycle? Parking is never a problem. 

Cruise past a cafe that looks nice and fancy a coffee? Just ride up onto the footpath beside the table and order a cuppa.

Doing it tough in an other 300 year old country villa for the night. It's lovely to be able to stay in and experience these places, but we are equally happy not to be owning them or be responsible for the upkeep...

A step back in time.

 Lovely. But oh, so many ways and places to collect dust. But a treat to experience such places. 

 

Eventually we ended up on a boat (the Pont Aven) from Santander to Plymouth and it's a very respectable way to travel.  Even if the weather on the Atlantic isn't quite as nice as the Pyrenees. 

 Our first grey skies. But a minor detail in the scheme of things. 

 Leaving Santander...

 So now we are in Stroud, in the UK.  Hopefully, we will update this site slightly more often in future. 


 

 

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