so i made it safe and sound again. something really attracts me to the life of a roaming gypsy, moving around every few months and doing something different, but let me fill you in on the journey.
i landed in faro at around 4,30 on monday afternoon and headed stright to raposeira to pick up my insurance documents from russ at the garage. After a quick beer i headed onto sagres to meet with english anna for dinner. The weather was warm again after nearly two weeks of rain but i didnt have time to surf or hit the beach. After dinner i went to see frannie and kati to say goodbye, luckily they were both at work in the bossa nova so could get them both in one hit.
By now it was dark and getting on for 9pm. i got home, emptied all of the crap out of my car (as usual, there was a lot) and headed indoors to start my rapid packing session. Ms Beckenbauer coaxed me into another beer and then i started. Frantically grabbing everything and trying not to forget anything i worked through each room in the house. XBOX, CDs, maps, shower stuff, clothes, work clothes, shoes, pumps everything i needed. crammed it all into my bags and squeezed it into the car. Stripped the bike down and got that inside too, lastly, mikes kiak on the roof. within two hours i was ready to leave. ran through a few things with julia before i left and at three minutes past eleven local time, i hit the road.
My first tune would be madonna, confessions. I still think she is something of a goddess so it seemed a good choice. as l left the house, the cargo straps that were holding the kiak on started to vibrate and resonate, and they wouldnt stop again until i hit valencia some 12 hours later.
My first stop would be Olhao services just before the spanish border for some fuel and red bull. Anna had given me some herbal uppers to try out too, with just one warning, they turn your pee orange, so i bought some water and mixed it all up. hit the road again without delay and popped a couple of cans of redbull without warning. At 7am that morning, i was just getting out of bed in maastricht to fly home so now some 15 hours had passed. travelling is mentally tiring, and sometimes boring so i knew i needed to do my best to stay awake. i wanted to catch the 4pm ferry from valencia on tuesday afternoon, dont forget, spain is one hour in front.
when you look at the map, the major towns dont seem too far apart. my first checkpoint in spain would be sevilla but that is a good three hours from home. next stop is cordoba but as you leave sevilla and you pick up the signs for cordoba, your heart sinks when you see the distances, 160kms to my next checkpoint and that still wouldnt be half way. luckily , its all good roads, fast dual carriageways and the reason for travelling at night is the roads are empty.
cordoba soon appears but as you push though the other side you begin to look for signs to albacete, my next checkpoint. This stretch is by far the longest and hardest but will also take me past the halfway marker of the roadtrip. this leg is 300km long. already the cargo straps have drummed my mind into a state of semi closure, the stereo is on loud and i am singing to myself to stay awake. Coldplay, chili peppers, sade, foo fighters, all of them were graced with my singing ability and i didnt hear anyone complain.
by the time i made albacete, i was in good time. i had stopped for an hour to catch a few forty winks, i was completely shattered, now over 24 hours of concious travelling. time to eat and take a big caffeine hit. Anna was right about the herbal medicine, my pee was bright orange, never seen anything like it before, as orange as if i only ever ate orange peel.
the last leg was short, around 170 kms and a breeze in reality. the sun was out, the skys clear and blue, my skin burning in the late october sun.
One more stop for fuel on the outskirts of valencia and then i would be there. I had now been driving for almost 12 hours but the end was clearly in sight. one wrong turn in valencia which i corrected completely by fluke, saw me on the main road into the city that also ended at the port where i needed to be. Sometimes, i have more jam than hartleys.
at 12,30pm i arrived at the offices of trasmediterenea in the port of valencia. i had made it with over three hours to spare, just enough time to walk into downtown valencia and buy credit for my telephone, take money out of the bank and find somewhere to eat.
the fast ferry would leave at 4pm and have me in mallorca just a few minutes after 8pm – journeys end
so all in all, around 1000kms, 638 miles door to door. sixteen and a half hours total travelling time, a tank and a quarter of diesel (that bloody kiak again!!!) and i made it in one piece, no problem
life is one great adventure