Gibraltar to Toledo
I was done working in Gibraltar and I had to get my bike back to London. So, what better way than an epic bike trip across Europe? I packed nothing but a backpack of all the essentials. I had one pair of jeans, one leather jacket, one pair of boots, a few tops, socks, laptop and camera. I had over 2500 miles to ride. I needed to be light.
After riding across Gibraltar’s air strip for the last time I parked up and started filming my documentary (link coming soon!). I got on my bike and headed out of La Linea (where I lived for a year) and went north to Toledo. I had a lot of places to go on this trip across 9 countries. My first stop would be the famous windmills of La Macha, in Don Quixote land. I hit the road and the sun was beaming down. The feeling I was experiencing was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt in my life. It was just me and the bike, fuck everything else. It was beautiful.
I made it to the windmills in Consuegra and made the most of the time off the bike. I relaxed in the sun and took my time. I was only 30 minutes away from where I was staying for the night in Toledo. I had been riding for about 4/5 hours with only a few stops at petrol garages for a fill up the tank and grab a Magnum ice cream. When I arrived in Toledo I parked up outside the hostel and washed the day’s ride off before heading out for some food and beer.
Toledo to Bilbao
I got up early, very early. As I had a lot of miles to cover, so many that I had to use the highways for half of it, which I hated doing as I’d see less of the country and I’d be paying toll fees. I love Toledo, it was one of the best places I’d seen in Spain, but it was on to the northern city of Bilbao. I hit the highway and bypassed Madrid and then the roads started to become long, windy, smooth, brilliant. The scenery was getting better and better, more green.
I cruised my way north, covering mile after mile. It started to get colder the norther I got. I’d ridden around the northern mountains in Spain before and I knew how fucking cold it was. I ploughed on, spending most of the day on the highway and then as I was approaching Bilbao the landscapes blew my mind. I felt like I was in Switzerland with the tall green trees, rivers and blue sky.
I arrived safety and went to my hostel, explored the city. I got pulled over by the police for not having a GB sticker on my plate (I didn’t bother with it for the entire time I had my bike in Spain), the language barrier and the fact that I said I was catching a boat back to the UK in the morning from Santander got me off scot-free. I left Bilbao at sun rise. I didn’t like Bilbao. I was happy to move on. So, I started my way to Pamplona.
Bilbao to Zaragoza
I skipped the highways and stuck to the real roads, where I’d see the truest parts of Spain. I was heading to Pamplona for a quick stop before spending the night in Zaragoza. I wanted to see Ernest Hemingway’s old haunts in Pamplona after reading his book, Fiesta. The ride was nice and easy, it didn’t take long but he was very, very hot. The scorching sun had started to discolour my black leather jacket which started to look like an acid wash.
I checked out Pamplona and treated myself out to a McDonalds (again). I try to avoid Maccas but when you’re on the road and time isn’t on your side then what other options are there? I liked going to McDonalds in this sense as it had Wi-Fi and I could order my food on a machine and not have to worry about language barriers.
I left Pamplona and made my way towards Zaragoza. Most of the ride, the roads were dead, I had the entire road to myself and it loved every second of it. It got dark around 7.30pm and I decided to pull over and take a moment around 6pm. I pulled up in a rest area off the highway and sat down for 20 minutes. I had one of those moments you have when you’re travelling solo. I thought about how happy the trip made me and that only I was doing it. Nobody I knew was doing what I was doing. I was living life in the right way. It was fucking beautiful.