Monday, June 30, 2008

Spirit of Portugal

When thinking of great motorcycling destinations, the places that come to mind immediately are like a Hall of Fame list: the Pacific Coast Highway, the Alps, and of course the Blue Ridge Parkway.  They're the Ruth, Cobb, and DiMaggio of motorcycling roads. What these destinations have in common is the stuff of riders' dreams; for instance, they feature in no particular order fantastic scenery, twisty turns, meager traffic, and interesting stops along the way. But mention Portugal among these superstar byways and you're likely to be greeted by bemused expressions.  "Portugal? Is that in Spain?" asked a riding friend upon my description of the country.

Portugal in fact is a sovereign nation about one fifth the size of its tapas and Rioja consuming neighbor to the east.  And, get ready, it has some truly amazing motorcycling country.  This statement is not hyperbole I assure you.
In late May, my wife Ellen and I hired a guide and 2004 Triumph Sprint RS through the British tour operator Motocadia for a week. Motocadia's owner, Julian Cade, promised an adventure consisting of twisty roads, elegant lodging, local food, and desolate motorways of prime Euro-tarmac ripe for enjoyment.  Our guide, Ken McKay, a former bike racer, civil engineer, and diamond merchant kept things lively both in and out of the saddle.  In the following posts, I'll talk about the trip and share some insights about Portugal, a country that never failed to entertain, amaze, and stir our curiosity.  Meanwhile, photos from the trip can be viewed in the Spirit of Portugal gallery.

No comments: