RIDING IN AN ARCHITECTURAL PARADISE

After a great ride from Bratislava, I arrived in the city of Buda with the sun beating out of the sky, and a temperature of around 36 degrees, and on the way over the Árpád Bridge, I noticed that the cooling effect of wind on the motorway had been replaced by an invisible furnace, slowly cooking me in my own sweat. Best thing to do, was find a place by the Danube, where I could remove some layers, and eat that questionable bread roll I got at the petrol station, 203 kilometres ago...



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EAST SIDE GALLERY, BERLIN

Famous for many reasons, the East Side Gallery is one of the largest open-air art exhibitions in the world, as well as the one that has existed for the longest time. It features murals by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990, just after East suddenly became West, and the overpowering desire for freedom dissolved what was known as the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart".



In the years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, many things changed in Berlin, and the residents of the former East Berlin were left in a vacuum of elation, disbelief, freedom, scepticism, hope, doubt, and a desire to express to the world, the effects of Soviet oppression throughout the Cold War, and afterwards. The remaining 1,300-meter stretch of 'Soviet Segregation Architecture' provided the perfect canvas for artists to express their many conflicting emotions, both freely and without consequence, possibly for the first time in decades.

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TORNADO ALLEY ON THE AUTOBAHN




The road back to Denmark from European Bike Week in Austria this year, was full of great experiences, but some will remain more prominent in our collective memory, than others. For example, the 11th of September, 2011. We've experienced a lot on our motorbikes over the years, but we've never tried a Tornado on the Autobahn... until now...

In the space of this one hour, the skies changed character completely, morphing from a sunny afternoon in northern Germany, to an winter evening, in Tornado Alley. A sudden storm was building up around us, around Magdeburg, and engulfing the the small towns in the area, one by one. The hot air, had met the cold air, right where we were located...


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ZOLLVEREIN, THE RUHR VALLEY, GERMANY

Up at 5am to a sundried morning, threw an Autobahn-ready breakfast into myself, swilled it with a double black coffee (black on black), and rolled the meticulously pre-packed motorbike out of the garage, eager to make the early morning ferry from Rødby, at the ass-end of Denmark, to Puttgarden, at the top of Germany, before the roads are clogged with 18-wheel road trains, force-feeding humanity's insatiable addiction to consumerism. I had packed the motorcycle the night before, to give myself an extra hour of sleep when I needed it most, because I knew the caffeine wasn't going to last forever....


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MOTORBIKE EUROPE IN THE PARADOR DE BENEVENTE, ZAMORA

One warm Spanish evening last week, MOTORBIKE EUROPE (Valle, Vagn, Carsten & Dave) rolled into the Parador De Benevente in Zamora, Spain, looking for a good night's sleep, after the 500km ride from Santiago De Compostela. The road from Ponferrada to León was a sheer rollercoaster of intertwining motorways and flyovers, byroads, viaducts and bridges, making it one of the most interesting routes we've tried recently.  We were even thinking of turning the bikes, and taking it again from the other direction. Maybe on the way home :)

The Parador De Benevente is something special, the castle was built on the orders of King Ferdinand II of León and served as the venue for the legislative assembly of 1202. The Renaissance Caracol Tower (Tower of the Snail) has been preserved. It was part of the old walled area of the town and almost destroyed in 1808, during the Peninsular War period. The monumental Caracol Tower houses a function room with an impressive Mudejar coffered ceiling.


Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the castle's interior has classical decorative features such as tapestries, forged lamps, coffered ceilings, as well as Spanish bricks and woods. Its spectacular rooms are specially equipped to be an ideal location for social gatherings or excessive recuperation for tired bikers. The sleep-inducing bedrooms are cosy and accommodating, and the restaurant offers local cuisine: Bacalao a la tranca (cod with boiled egg), arroz a la zamorana (rice and pork dish), dos y pingada (fried egg and bacon on bread) and tocino de cielo (custard caramel).


A very biker-friendly hotel, we parked our motorbikes directly outside the main door, leaving about 25 meters to the rooms. No stairs or lifts necessary... It has never been easier to get the luggage from the bikes to the hotel rooms! See you next time!

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THE RIDE TO THE END OF THE WORLD

This morning, MOTORBIKE EUROPE rode from Sandiago de Compostela out to "The End of the Earth", at the Atlantic Coastal village of Finisterre, in the province of A Coruna, in Galicia, Spain.

Finisterra is situated on the rocky and jagged coastline, known as the 'Costa da Morte' ("Coast of Death"), due to the many shipwrecks along these shores. We rode out to the spectacular lighthouse, situated on a 600 meter peninsula called "Monte Facho", one of the westernmost points of land in Spain, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

Out here, you could really understand why this wild coastline earned it's name, and why people once thought that this was the most westerly point of civilization. From the stone cross at the top of the hill, you look out over a vast and apparently endless expanse of sea, and if you cast your eyes in one direction, you're looking over towards Canada and Greenland, in the other direction, Brazil, and 'straight ahead' is Mexico.




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MOTORBIKE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO, GALICIA, SPAIN

Motorbike Europe just rolled into Plaza de Obradoiro, the main square in Santiago de Compostela, completing our 6-day motorbike pilgrimage from Copenhagen to the famous Cathedral. This fantastic route, otherwise known as the Camino de Santiago, has attracted pilgrims for more than 1,200 years, and in recent times, a growing number of pilgrims from all parts of the world have walked this spectacular route. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle James were brought to Galicia for burial, and to honor St. James, the cathedral was built on the spot where his remains were said to have been found. From the condition of some of the people that arrived on foot, it seems a lot easier to do this route on a motorbike.


We started the day blazing past the Picos De Europa, somewhere on the other side of the speed limit, awestruck, as they moved slowly past us on the left, reflecting the fresh rays of the early morning sun. We took the 400 kilometers from Llanes to Santiago de Compostela before lunchtime, to arrive before the crowds blocked up the main square.

GALICIA; SPAIN

As we parked the bikes outside the cathedral, a random, Celtic-looking man started playing Galician Bagpipes, which immediately reminded me of the timeless affinity between the various Celtic tribes, spread across Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Galicia. Even though I’ve never been here before, it felt really familiar, probably because of the blood-bond between Celts, which has existed for thousands of years, down through time.

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