Viva Espana! – Andalusia, Southern Spain – October 2016
Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 – Prague to Alicante to Gaudix
As usual, after a long and busy Summer, in which we had no time off at all, we decided we simply must have a holiday.
We wanted somewhere warm – and, late in the year, Spain was very inviting. As ever, we still could not really spare a lot of time. Riding there, on our own FatBoy, would have taken longer than we felt we could be away, so we investigated some rental possibilities.
Having found out that we could fly directly from Prague to Alicante, we chose to hire a Harley from “Well Come Bikers Espana” (see below) and selected a Heritage Softail from their list.
In Prague, in the morning, it was raining and it was cold.
When we arrived in Alicante, the sun was blazing and it was very hot.
We called the Well Come guys (because of parking charges, they wait outside the airport until they know you are ready and waiting). They were there in just a few minutes. Even in the short time we had to wait, we were cooking in our motorcycle gear.
The guys turned up with an Electra Glide Ultra on a low-loader, which was not what we had ordered. Unfortunately, the previous renter of our reserved Heritage Softail had crashed it, the day before. Luckily (for him) without hurting himself, but the Heritage was not roadworthy. To avoid disappointing us, they had, in effect, “upgraded“ us with no cost penalty. Our FatBoy is not a small motorcycle, but, with its hard cases, top-box and fairing, the Ultra looked huge.
I will admit to being momentarily daunted by its size – but, hey, how hard could it be ?
The handover was simple – as was the method for returning it at the end of the hire.
I did choose to extend the insurance cover though. All the fibreglass on the Ultra made me nervous of having even a tiny “spill“. Although I know the “trick”, Lord knows how I would ever have lifted it back onto its wheels had that happened !
Almost as an afterthought, we were offered waterproof jackets and trousers. this seemed, in the hot sunshine, to be almost laughable, but luckily we took them. We stowed the clothes in the huge panniers and we were soon on our way.
We hired from
Well Come Bikers Espana – http://www.wellcomebikersespana.com
All our initial contact was via email, in English.
They did what they promised, when they promised and were very helpful in the planning phase.
Our Rental Harley
2015 ElectroGlide Ultra – 103 Cubic Inches
Fully equipped with radio, GPS navigation and security system
Odometer on pickup 19,186 km
Odometer on return 21,269 km
Distance travelled 2,093 km
The Ultra was much heavier than I was used to – and seemed as wide as a house.
As we wound our way a, little ponderously, through the backstreets of Alicante, the sun suddenly disappeared and the weather became cloudy and much cooler.
After about fifty kilometres, a strong gusty wind started to blow. This wind caught the fairing and, because I was not yet used to it, I cursed the way it moved the Harley around. Perversely, when it began to rain, a few moments later, the protection the same fairing gave to us both was quite amazing ! The rain became very heavy indeed, reaching a point where even all that fibreglass could not keep us dry.
We had heard the food in Spain is a bit special and we were not disappointed when we stopped for lunch. We had a local “scrambled egg with something of choice“, in our case it was one “choice“ with local cod and one “choice“ with shrimp and small eels. Both were simply delicious.
When we set off again, we put on the waterproof clothing and it did keep us dry. Thank goodness we did not spurn the offer !
Over time, the mountain peaks began to be visible through the clouds, but then we entered an area of dense fog. According to the Looney, we drove through an area of outstanding natural beauty. We did not see a metre of any of it – so we will have to take their word for it.
There were some positives. Lucie loved the Ultra. She had a VERY comfortable seat, which even had armrests. She said it was basically an armchair on wheels and that she had never before experienced such comfort on a motorcycle.
With a damp evening drawing in, we found a hotel beside the road. It was very cheap (only 49 Euros) and overlooked the (original, Spanish) Sierra Nevada. I am sure that, in better weather, the views would have been wonderful.
Oddly, when we checked in, we were handed an AC controller which, in view of the ambient temperatures, almost made us laugh. It was then explained that it was also for heating and it worked very well although it was a little noisy !
We were also quite hungry, but we both thought the prospect of looking for somewhere in the rain and darkness at 10:30 at night was nonsense. For this reason, we chose to eat in the rather drab looking restaurant attached to our hotel.
As I will probably say too often in these notes, the Spanish DO take food seriously. Not only was my steak extremely good, but Lucie’s shrimps were of a quality and tastiness that caused her to proclaim she would quickly be addicted to them !
In the past, Lucie had studied Spanish, but I had never heard her speak it.
There is a Czech legend about Dalibor and the violin, where an imprisoned nobleman learned to play the violin in order to get enough food to survive. “Necessity taught Dalibor to play.” After leaving the airport, it was hard to find many people who understood English and it was quite astonishing how quickly Lucie managed to dredge the appropriate Spanish words from her memory. She was a star and I was left hoping she would not share Dalibor’s cruel fate of finally being decapitated with a sword !
Before going to sleep, we decided to go to Granada on the following morning. Then, without delay, we would head straight to Tarifa where there was a beach and where it might be warmer. The forecast was a rather dismal “rain, rain, rain and cold again“. Nothing much to look forward to.
We are not really “resort“ people, but good old Booking.com came up trumps in the end and we managed to find decent, out of town, accommodation by the sea.