Chris' 1994  R100GS/PD ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650

Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

June 4th, 1999 -- things have changed a bit more...


The Alhambra - Granada, Spain

When we arrived in Spain in the port of Algeciras we had to set our clocks ahead 2 hours.  This meant it was nearly 8:00pm in the evening and we still wanted to make some distance up the coast towards Granada before settling down for the night.  As we drove up the coast through one lovely coastal town to the next we understood why so many people come to this region (Costa Del Sol) for their holidays.  It is simply beautiful and romantic!

One little village in particular struck our fancy, Estepona.   There we found a nice little hotel with a room overlooking the beach and boardwalk.   I had thoughts of a second honeymoon!  It was such a wonderful little town that we didn't want to leave, but we had to make it to Granada the next day to stay on schedule.Estopena.JPG (56345 bytes)

The ride to Granada from Estepona took us east along the coast and over the Sierra Nevada mountains into Granada.  When we pulled into town it was 5:00pm and hot as hell (not really but it just felt like it after riding for several hours).  We did our typical thing and drove to the city center hoping to find a tourist office that would help us find a decent camping facility (p.s. it hasn't worked yet!).  It happened to be a special fiesta in honor of Granada and most stores and offices closed early that day.  We parked near a plaza filled with artisans and vendors and Chris took off to search out information in a hotel, to no avail.  When he was about to give up, he noticed two Our Escortsmotorcycle police officers who happened to be riding BMW F650's just like mine!  He flagged them over and told them (in his broken Spanish) that we rode motorcycles too and would they help us find a camping spot?  The minute they saw our BMW motos they stopped traffic to let us exit the plaza safely and they escorted us out of town to a nice little camping spot.  When we arrived we expected the nice policeHmmm, maybe our next profession? officers to turn around and wave goodbye but they didn't.  They got off their motos and told us to get on their police bikes so they could take our camera  to take a picture of us!   We then took pictures of them and we thanked them profusely for their kindness and assistance.

That night, our new friends, Fede and Inma came to our camping facility on Fede's very clean, red F650 to pick us up and show us around town.  We met Fede on the internet after he sent us an email and said he would be happy to have us visit him in Granada.

After exchanging introductions at our campsite, Fede and Inma took us on our first tour of Granada at night.  We drove up to a church which overlooks the river Darro and across to the Alhambra, which is a spectacular castle designed in both Arabic and Christian architecture.  From the vantage point of the church at sunset, the Alhambra is a magnificent first view of this wonderfully diverse city.  (We were also told by many citizens of Granada that Bill Clinton said that from this site it was the most spectacular sunset he had ever seen.)

After this view of the Alhambra Fede and Inma took us for a wonderful dinner in the old part of town for some authentic local food.  The next day we met Fede and Inma early so thatInma & Fede we could go see the Alhambra.  But as luck would have it Chris got a nail in his back tire the day before and he and Fede went off to get it fixed, while Inma and I bought tickets to the Alhambra and walked the beautiful grounds and talked.  When the guys returned, Chris' tire had been patched (internally) and we went to a great local place for lunch.  At 5:00pm we arrived back at the Alhambra and started our tour of the gardens and palaces.

Unfortunately we only had 3 hours to see this huge place, when one could easily spend all day wandering through it.  It was built and occupied by both Arabs and Christians at different times in history, so that you get the flavor of the differentOne of the many gardens in Alhambra cultures as you go from room to room in the palaces.  The gardens are filled with fountains (fuentes in Spanish) and beautiful flowering plants.  In fact, Inma told me that running water was an important factor, especially to the Arabs who treasure it so much.  This is apparent every where you go as there seems to be little channels of running water along every path and drinking fountains everywhere.

That night, Fede and Inma took us to their office, an actual observatory on the university campus that had been converted to a seismology lab.  Both Fede and Inma are seismologists and this is where they work.  We had been having difficulties uploading information onto the website before then and hoped that we could somehow succeed in their office.  They gave us a tour of the observatory which included seeing the old telescope up close and inspecting the seismographs to see what was trembling in the world.  Their office is on the second floor where the telescope is and we watched a beautiful sunset fromThis is living! their rooftop, better than what Bill Clinton saw I'm sure!   Well, the computer connection did not work, again, so we decided to get dinner at 11:00pm and went for tapas at a local bar.  Tapas are a wonderful tradition in Spain.  In most bars you can get a plate of tapas free when you order beer or wine.  We found this to be a great way to stay on budget, considering the beer and wine are only about a dollar a glass each.

Then next day we decided to tackle one of the biggest mountains in all of Europe, the Sierra Nevada!  We thought, ahh, we'll have a nice leisurely drive into the mountains, see some trees, and maybe some nice views.  Not so!  This would turn out to be one of the most memorable rides I think we will have on the ultimate journey.

- Erin     

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