Motorcycle Spain & Portugal – sunshine & warm roads. Part 2.


Motorcycle Spain & Portugal – sunshine & warm roads. Part 2.

When I posted Part 1 I mentioned I had stayed overnight in Mudford at  The Half Moon Inn & Country Lodge

Staying at the Half Moon left me with less than 100 miles to do after breakfast to reach the Brittany Ferries terminal in Plymouth.

The morning weather was just glorious so I stepped out for a short walk before enjoying a decent breakfast.

Oddly enough breakfast was accompanied by the seemingly randomly timed whistling (from the chap serving breakfast). He whistled sections of that classic Tom Robinson Band hit from the late 1970s 2-4-6-8 Motorway. It gave me an early morning reminder of my age and I laughed to myself at the thought of some of the 1970s fashion I used to wear.

Early morning at the Half Moon

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Routine and easy

It didn’t take me long to get packed up, on my way to make the routine journey from Mudford to Plymouth. I stopped for fuel a few miles from the ferry port.

I was there with time to spare and enjoyed coffee, a bite to eat and the afternoon sunshine.

There were more bikes on the ferry than I had thought there would be, which I knew from previous experience was likely to add to the inevitable delay of disembarkation at Santander.


Massage chair

Once on the boat bikers were given a leaflet with the usual reminder of which deck they were on and which staircase to take on their return.

The leaflet also flagged up that ‘disembarkation for motorbikes may take some time’.  The offer on the reverse of the leaflet (some compensation perhaps for delays) was a 50% saving on the massage chair service. It wasn’t enough to tempt me.

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I’ve sailed on The Pont Aven a few times and it looked like it had had a refresh since the last time I was on, although I suspect it’s probably had a few since it was first launched in 2003.

Although a fair size ship you really wouldn’t know there can be up to about 2,400 passengers on board – despite that number of folk it’s still pretty easy to find a quiet space if that’s what you want.

The sailing was fine and thankfully the Bay of Biscay was calm and it was perhaps as smooth a crossing as I have ever experienced.

I enjoyed a couple of beers, plenty of sunshine and (unusually for me) plenty of sleep.

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Fabulous sunrise … and I don’t want to be organized

The sunrise was quite stunning as we made our way to Santander, breakfast was good and I took the opportunity for a little more sleep before taking a coffee in the cafe area of the boat.

Coffee was good as were the croissants that I had with it. As I sat looking forward to my day and the trip generally I couldn’t help but overhear a ‘group briefing’ being held for about a dozen or more bikers who were clearly on an organized tour.

Now whilst I’m not knocking that sort of thing, there are clearly plenty of people who take up that type of a trip – it’s just not for me..

I don’t think there is any one right way of travelling on a motorbike, but for those lacking confidence, wanting to be part of a group, or those who just prefer to have something thought through and planned out for them then fair enough.

Being part of a large organized group just isn’t for me, but if it works for you then great but it’s not quite how I want to see the world. (As an aside I read an online advert for a 10 day trip in 2024 (Pico’s and Portugal) and I thought the prices were eye watering when compared to my lived experiences of travelling in those countries.

I don’t use my brakes …

Some of the conversation at the ‘tour briefing’ I overheard was detailing ‘rest days’, petrol stops, overtaking procedures etc etc. Additionally of course I don’t suppose you really get to know your travel companions until you’re on the trip.

I think the comment that had me shaking my head along the lines of  ‘I wouldn’t want to sit next to you at dinner’ and ‘there’s one in every group’ was one chap, who after grabbing the attention of the ‘group leader’ pointed out that any folk following him should know they wouldn’t see his brake lights as he didn’t use brakes, only used his gears to slow down….

I’m sure they were all decent folk and I hope they went on to have a great trip and a fabulous time – that stuff just isn’t for me

Off the boat and onto the Picos

Leaving the boat wasn’t quite as bad as I had expected.

It was slow, bikers as usual were last off the boat, but Brittany Ferries have introduced a policy of holding the bikers upstairs rather than having them go down and spending 45 minutes or more getting extremely warm below decks, before moving.

I’d have to say that I think that’s an improvement and I think the general level of service (including that from deck hands is really good).

It was still mildly chaotic getting to the bikes, they really do pack them too close together – but it is what it is. Once off the boat the passport checks were rapid and I was soon heading for those warm roads I was looking for and the Hotel Infatado near Potes.

What I hadn’t realized until I was home and looking at the pictures I had taken, was that the two guys who I was to speak to the following day and that I mentioned in Part One (remember the guys heading for the conference in Malaga) were on the same boat as me and both of them are in the pictures below that I snapped as we were getting ready to leave the boat!

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Back on familiar roads

The run from Santander to my accommodation was good – and I was soon on some roads that I had ridden on previous trips. The weather was pretty much perfect and temeperatures reached to around 33/34c.

I really like motorcycling in the Pico’s, in fact in some respects I prefer it to the Swiss Alps.

Obviously the scale and expansiveness of the Alps could make the Pico’s seem almost insignificant and I really do think there is something totally breath-taking and unique about the Alps.

But if I had to choose today between a return bike trip back to the Swiss Alps or the Pico’s I opt for the latter.

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Although I really like biking in the Pico’s I was only in the area for one night. This was primarily due to the time of year and the increased likelihood of warmer weather further south in Portugal and Andalusia.

A decent overnight stay

My first stop on the trip was only a couple of hours from Santander and as I have already mentioned, was at the Hotel Infantado located in Ojedo in the region of Cantabria.

Ojedo is actually only about a mile from the town of Potes and if you are ever that way and haven’t been to Potes then it’s worth a visit. It’s pretty touristy but nice enough to wander around nevertheless.

The hotel is easy enough to find – literally just off the main road. There’s plenty of space to park in the large car park at the front of the hotel and I felt perfectly happy that my bike was secure and safe.

Staff were good, room was good, bar was decent and my bed was comfortable. Who could ask for more?

There’s a couple of shops and bars within a short walk and it’s generally a decent place to stay, its proximity to the ferry port make it an ideal stop over for the first or last night of a trip, or indeed if you were to base yourself in the Picos for a period of time.

I’d certainly recommend it and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there the next time I’m travelling that way.

Nice end to the day

After having had a wander around the small village of Ojedo I  finished the day sat on the terrace outside the hotel – by which time more bikers had arrived, including the two guys who were on their way to Malaga (but I didn’t know that until the next day)


Part 3 – available here