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Thread: Carcassonne, Pyrenees, down to Madrid and across to Santiago de Compostelo

  1. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinten View Post
    Madrid, Thanet, Bristol, Northampton, the Geneva road network... These are some of my "must avoid" places.
    Northampton and Thanet, I can endorse....... though the Saints are OK. It is such a shame, as Northampton used to be a nice town.

    Bristol, I can’t say I have ever visited.

    Geneva, has the world’s best motor show

    Madrid, is a great city

  2. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wapping View Post
    Northampton and Thanet, I can endorse....... though the Saints are OK. It is such a shame, as Northampton used to be a nice town.

    Bristol, I can’t say I have ever visited.

    Geneva, has the world’s best motor show

    Madrid, is a great city
    Bristol is a fantastic city with horrendous traffic. Loads to see and do there, often free of charge. Top flight egg-chasing, lower league football and first class/international cricket for the sports fans. Also got a great foody scene from street food to Michelin star.

    Clifton suspension bridge and the camera obscura, a walk down to the floating harbour (that's what it's called) and Brunel's Great Britain. Lunch at the Pump House or in St Nicholas' market and dinner at Casa Mia, covid permitting.

    Balloon fiesta (even worse traffic. Nightmare!!). Get there early for an early morning mass ascent. Food festival. Great live music scene.

    But, expensive housing and did I mention the traffic problems. Minor accidents cause huge jams and gridlock.

    I loved living and working in Bristol and I'd highly recommend a visit, but I don't miss it now I've retired and moved to the Dorset coast.

  3. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bristolsaint View Post
    Bristol is a fantastic city with horrendous traffic. Loads to see and do there, often free of charge. Top flight egg-chasing, lower league football and first class/international cricket for the sports fans. Also got a great foody scene from street food to Michelin star.

    Clifton suspension bridge and the camera obscura, a walk down to the floating harbour (that's what it's called) and Brunel's Great Britain. Lunch at the Pump House or in St Nicholas' market and dinner at Casa Mia, covid permitting.

    Balloon fiesta (even worse traffic. Nightmare!!). Get there early for an early morning mass ascent. Food festival. Great live music scene.

    But, expensive housing and did I mention the traffic problems. Minor accidents cause huge jams and gridlock.

    I loved living and working in Bristol and I'd highly recommend a visit, but I don't miss it now I've retired and moved to the Dorset coast.
    A fine effort on behalf of the Bristol Tourist Board.

    As my Mum hails from Bristol and I still have family down there I see regularly (when Covid allows, naturally) I may have to reserve judgement. Too many Bristolians are trying too hard to persuade everyone what a lovely place it is. Like any city, it has lovely bits and horrible bits.

    My Aunty lived in Long Ashton for a while and had a cracking view from her back garden of the balloon festival. It is indeed a very impressive sight.

  4. #20
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    I am sold on Bristol.

    If anyone can persuade me that Thanet is anything but a shite hole, step right up.

  5. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wapping View Post
    I am sold on Bristol.

    If anyone can persuade me that Thanet is anything but a shite hole, step right up.
    Don't hold your breath. Unless riding/driving through Thanet.

  6. #22
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    That's a nice looking tour for folks who also like cities! As noted above Madrid is a great place to visit 8a crap place to live though!) but no place for bikes IMHO.

    If it were me I'd ride up the Pyrenees zig-zagging into France and avoiding the N-260 as much as possible - also all of the horrible N-240 Jaca to Pamplona! Donistia/San Sebastian is a must do but I'd by-pass Bilbao unless I specifically wanted to visit the city. Skirting Madrid is easy and the roads and scenery can be great but by heading west through Avila and Salamanca you're missing following the 'Sistema Central' mountain range that runs right the way into Portugal and instead riding across immense and immensely boring plains of the Meseta - I wonder if these aren't the trail sections? - the downside if that is that you get a lot of Portugal to ride up before you enter Galicia. Portugal is a matter of taste, of course, but in my (limited) expereince the riding is spoiled by endless straggly villages where after just a few kms of open road you're back in a 50 kph zone for miles and miles ...

    Just saying like

  7. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinten View Post
    I have a week's leave with nothing else to do, so I may just do that.

    Here's a brief summary:

    Ferry Portsmouth-Bilbao
    One night Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada
    Two nights Parador de Cuenca
    One night Parador de Alarcon
    Two nights parador de Cazorla
    Two nights Parador de Jaen
    Two nights Parador de Ronda
    One night Parador de Caceres
    One night Parador de Plasencia
    Two nights Parador de Zamora
    One night Parador de Leon
    One night Parado de Corias
    One night Parador de Limpias
    Ferry Bilbao-Portsmouth

    This is by far the most extravagant (and expensive) bike trip I've ever planned. A combination of (a) using the money we saved from 2020's cancelled holidays and (b) partial retirement celebration jaunt and (c) I'm not sure how many more long 2-up trips on a big bike I'll have left in me before the temptation of car trips becomes tempting!

    The Amigos de Paradores loyalty card provides some savings and we'll rack up enough points on this trip to pay for future jaunts. Have used Paradores for years and the worst experience we've ever had was "merely very good." Several I would rate as "out-bloody-standing." I expect to come back suntanned and at least a stone heavier.
    Nice, but you’ve missed out Parador de Lerma, Parador de Ferrol and Parador de Santo Estevo !!!!

  8. #24
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    I know I said avoid Madrid but if you want to break your journey then it’s a wonderful city to visit with great culture, restaurants and folk music bars and the Spanish people are more hospitable than a lot of other major cities in Europe. Give me Madrid over Paris any day.

  9. #25
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    That looks an absolute cracker that.

    Quinten, that's quite some way to do it.. I would pack a fair amount of Rennies

  10. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmaslen View Post
    I know I said avoid Madrid but if you want to break your journey then it’s a wonderful city to visit with great culture, restaurants and folk music bars and the Spanish people are more hospitable than a lot of other major cities in Europe. Give me Madrid over Paris any day.
    + 1 for that!

  11. #27
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    Most big cities are great, I live in the middle of one.

    You don’t have to ride through them all day. Just find a hotel, park up and buy a rover ticket for the public transport, exploring on foot. I really like the Green Michelin guides for days like these, not least as they often have easy to follow walks. I should do more of it really. I think bods often think Michelin is just for maps and guides to restaurants and hotels (from the pre-internet days) but it is so much more.

  12. #28
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    I'd also say for a city, Madrid is pretty straight forward to get in and out of, certainly wouldn't be afraid of it on the bike.

  13. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsey View Post
    Nice, but you’ve missed out Parador de Lerma, Parador de Ferrol and Parador de Santo Estevo !!!!
    Parador la seu d'urgell never seems to get a mention either.

    Have stayed there a few times and a lovely building, underground parking and close to some very good roads.

  14. #30
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    Very disappointing that the Millau bridge does not get a mention. It is a ‘must do’ for every jaunt on a motorcycle, even when going to Tesco.

  15. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wapping View Post
    Very disappointing that the Millau bridge does not get a mention. It is a ‘must do’ for every jaunt on a motorcycle, even when going to Tesco.
    Overrated and just a bit...er.....too far....:-)

  16. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsey View Post
    Nice, but you’ve missed out Parador de Lerma, Parador de Ferrol and Parador de Santo Estevo !!!!
    Part of the brief is staying at Paradores we haven't used before. (We may nip into Lerma on the way past for lunch.)

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