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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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 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.


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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