Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesNorthern Spain 2018

Ocean Blue

By Sharon Parker

Another 4:30 am start. I found getting up early again OK. Bikes reloaded, breakfast and then we are off on the road for the planned 6 am.

I begin to feel the nerves kick in as we ride to the port at Portsmouth. Not the terrified nerves of my first ferry and trip abroad, more an excited but anxious flutter in my tummy.  Following signs from Ferring where Ren's dad lives to Portsmouth is fairly straight forward. We arrive at the ferry terminal in good time and proceed through passport control to security. 

Having the tank bag is fabulous for my passport and various other items. I was never a fan of them until recently. However I knew I would need one for convenience's sake while travelling. Ren bought me one and I have to say it is a fantastic present. Thank you Ren.
Security are friendly but ask me to open my luggage. Open my luggage? Arghhhh!  He does not realise how tightly and with the utmost precision each item is packed within my luggage. If I pop it open now he may find himself buried beneath an avalanche of knickers, socks and inflatables. Now then calm yourselves down at the back we talking sleeping mats here only.

I hopefully ask how many I have to open -  one? Errm, no all of them is his reply. YIKES!! I gingerly pop one of the bags open carefully. So far so good the contents remain inside. Once glanced over by security I quietly and with extreme gentleness close it again. One false move and the beast within may awaken and the resulting eruption may well register on the richter scale.

Ren smiles at the camera with his bright hi-viz, the bikes and the ferry in the background
I think someone is excited about his ferry ride.

It is only a short wait until we are told to board. We've had time for a quick chat with other bikers behind ourselves. They are on a array of bikes and I get the chance to sit on a lowered Triumph Bonnerville. Wow super low even lower than my own bike. 

Back on my own bike it is time to ride onto the ferry. Up the wide concrete ramp with surprising ease and into the loading deck. A sharp left turn on a wet deck is required to get the bike lined up where directed which causes a tiny moment of flutters but other than that it is amazingly simple. The crew strap down the bike and having already prepared my ferry bag I just take than from my luggage along with my tank bag and I am good to go to our cabin. 

2 helmet in the window recess and a book on the small table between the beds of the Ferry cabin
Comfy cabin and a good book, happiness for me

I am already having fun - l love ferry cabins. They are clean and comfortable and compared to being in a tent for me a cabin is the height of luxury. We even have an outside cabin with a window for our outbound trip, we're so posh. 

I suddenly remember I have not yet taken my seasickness tablets. I take them now and hope I have not left it too late. They worked fantastically last time I used them, I was pleasantly surprised how effective they were.

I read once and I quote from Sunbathing in the Rain by Gwyneth Lewis "Seasickness, by the way, is the nearest external equivalent I know to depression. You feel nauseous, disorientated and you couldn't care less about anything" Having suffered both I always thought this a most accurate description. 

Fortunately the seasickness tablets do the trick and I feel fine. Ren however is bored. Poor Ren. Me? I'm happy, I'm excited, I'm on route to Spain... Wahooo.

Sharon's feet are resting in the centre of a bright orange ring lifebelt on the ferry
Portsmouth harbour is seen from the ship as we sail away from England's shores
We are off upon the ocean blue.

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Building Up To EspaƱa In the prologue to their journey Ren can't help but feel that the forthcoming journey might be a costly disaster. Forever the optimist.
Getting Ready For Spain Sharon is determined to be ready, organised and prepared for her forthcoming trip to Spain. However life is even more determined to ruin her plans.
Bodging Daaan Saaaf Ren bears witness to an impossible event. Then there's some last minute bodging to be done.
Motorway Miles And Muses Sharon's derriere proves more than tough enough for the big ride across England. Can she manage to lose them emotional luggage while securing her physical luggage though?
To The Ferry What are the chances of Sharon getting out of bed very early twice in the same week. Well she'd better had otherwise the Muppet's will miss the ferry.
Ocean Blue Sharon's more excited than nervous but this is the first time the Kwakker has been aboard ship. That's if customs let her on board.
Lost Off The Ferry The great adventurer and motorcyclist Ren is proving that he is in fact a useless idiot. He can't ride and he can't find a campsite that is open. Oh what will become of the BAT muppets?
Campsite Conundrum Sharon is having way too much fun while Ren is trying to find a place to sleep. Well someone has to be happy when Ren's such a grump.
Discovering The Picos After a troublesome first day in Spain hopefully Sharon and Ren's luck will improve. Thing is they have a 187km detour to reach their destination. There have been worse detours though.
Heaven's Mirror Putting fear and doubt to bed for a while Sharon enjoys the wondrous ecstasy of nature and the joy of riding a motorcycle through it. Oh and a lot of sharp corners too.
Rain In The Picos Will the rain bring doom and gloom to the already grumpy Ren? Luckily there's enough scenery and interesting things to keep him going.
The Sound Of Silence In spite of a dire weather forecast Sharon's day in Spain is filled with the beauty of nature, fond memories and the creation of great new memories.
Riding to Burgos Is motorcycle touring a non stop stream of excitement, beauty, wonder and exploration? Erm, nope. It's a rather ordinary day on the road to Burgos.
Tin Tin It's both a good and bad day for Sharon as she travels from the delights of the mountains to the grim reality of the city and the rain. At least her hair is looking good.
Higher Than I've Ever Been In spite of the weather forecasts. In spite of no longer being in The Picos. In spite of Ren being a pessimist. In spite of all this it seems Northern Spain has more delights in store.
Magical Kingdom Sharon's having another amazing day riding around Northern Spain. She's on a high, metaphorically and literally.
Boots And Burgos Ren is suffering a footwear malfunction and it's time to go and do that city thing. Can Burgos convert Sharon and Ren into city lovers?
Burgos Bimble Sharon explores the city of Burgos, Spain. Architecture, stone masonry, pilgrims and tempting food. But can a city really endear itself to this country girl?
Lost In Luxury How to turn a fortuitous and splendid day into a nightmare. Just follow Ren and he'll sort the rest out. Still, it could be worse.
Dam Lost Fearing the weather Sharon is braced for a drenching. Thing is the weather isn't really the problem.
Gritty Northern El Bierzo There's time to explore a different part of Northern Spain today. It might not have the beauty of The Picos De Europa it is however a fascinating area.
Blink Of An Eye Sharon has an interesting day poking around north west Spain. There's a something of a shock in store for the evening.
Back To Beauty, Dodgy Caravan It's time for the dynamic muppets to saunter their way back towards the ferry and Ren is in reflective mood. Wonderful scenery, weird accommodation.
The Good, The Bad And The Musty It's a day of confusing emotions for Sharon, but life is for living. Will this evening's accommodation be as luxurious as the previous evening's?
Beautiful Potes While going to a now familiar town is hardly intrepid at least it means Ren is calm, chilled out and not lost. For once.
Head In The Clouds Sharon is calmed by the wonders of Northern Spain's wondrous scenery as she returns to the comforts of Potes.
Sun, Sand, Sea And Santander The weather has improved now it's time for the dynamic muppets to head back to the ferry. Ren is intrigued by stories or walking across Northern Spain, will we see "Walks And Travels" or W.A.T.?
Splish Splash Santander The beauty and grandeur of the The Picos means Sharon does not want to leave, ever. It's back to the city, ready to sail home. Fear not, there's still pleasures to be found.
The Ferry Home It's the dynamic muppet's last day in Spain so it's time to catch the ferry. A mixture of sadness and relief for Ren, but what about the other riders in the queue?
Final Thoughts On Spain Ren crosses the T's and dots the I's on the Spanish trip.

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Home Travel StoriesNorthern Spain 2018

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