On the Road: Motorcycle Touring Madrid to Lisbon
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We spent the night in a nunnery which was built in 1830, but because of politics, a nun never slept here. From Obidos we followed the coast through a series of small Portuguese towns. I had a luncheon of Octopus in Ericeria, which was wonderful, on the Atlantic beach at a surfing area. We arrived in Queluz, where we had a rest day, and then travelled into Lisbon via high speed rail. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and a very busy city, with many historical sites. Ann and I had deep fried sardines for lunch in the old section of the city. Leaving Queluz we headed over the Vasco de Gama Bridge that crosses the Tejo River. This bridge is the longest bridge in Europe and the ninth longest in the world and fun to ride over. On our way to Merida we stopped in Evora, which is a United Nations world Heritage Site. It is considered Portugal’s showpiece of medieval architecture and boasts a Roman temple, cathedral, Moorish arches, and a 16th century university. After seeing all the Roman ruins and roads in Spain, Portugal, Morocco and England, you realize how much of the earth the Roman’s did control. Merida is built upon Roman ruins; they are all over the city and actually inside some buildings.
Soon we were on our way to Jarandilla de La Vera with a picture stop in Trujillo in front of a statue of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who conquered the Incas in Peru. The horse has one hoof up meaning he died of wounds from battle. Romans, Visigoths and the Moors had settled in the town before the Christians conquered it in 1232. There is a 10th century castle which was built by the Moorish armies on Roman foundations. It has a history which dates back a full 600 years before the birth of Christ. We continue on to Jarandilla de La Vera passing through a beautiful mountain pass to the Yuste Monastery, where Spanish King Carlos I retired to in 1556 with his 60 servants.
Then it was on to Toledo via one of Spain’s great motorcycle roads, which means narrow, twisty, winding and in the mountains. Toledo is the ancient capital of Spain and was a center of Knights Templar. Here I purchase the stamp of the Templar; the emblem of the order is two knights mounted on the same horse (representing the duel vocation of the order - religious and military) with the inscription in Latin "sigilum militum Xpisti" - (stamp of Christ's militia). We visited the Knights Templar exhibition, La Mancha Tapestries, and the Cathedral. We left Madrid passing historical windmills and riding through some of the most beautiful country we have ever seen twisting up and down in the mountains and through the valleys. It was a fitting way to end a wonderful motorcycle touring experience.
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