Home and feeling restless again

A few days ago I got home after my annual European motorcycle camping tour with friends (something we’ve been doing for 15-20 years).

This year our destination was Moldova (one of the few European countries we hadn’t visited; Andorra, Cypress, Iceland, Malta, Monaco and Portugal still outstanding).

Since I retired a couple of years ago (friends still working) I started the trip off with a visit to Spain- Valencia and Barcelona catching up with work colleagues from my last employment). I then met a few more ex-work colleagues in Dusseldorf before meeting my friends at a campsite in Wurzburg (amusingly this campsite has a fairly large population of ‘feral’ domesticated rabbits that have the free run of the site- it’s called Kalte Quelle)

From Wurzburg we continued to Austria, through Slovenia into Croatia, Serbia, Romania and finally Moldova. Returning via Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France.

We had hoped to ride the Transalpina in Romania but it wasn’t, yet, open. We also had the Transfagarasan on the list but we’d done this twice before so it wasn’t so important. We re-routed and planned instead to spend a second night in Chisinau (Moldova).

Highpoints of the trip were:

  • Massive Central in France
  • French countryside south of Lyon.
  • Spanish coast
  • Austrian Alps
  • Hills/mountains in Slovenia
  • Romanian mountains; a lot of breathtaking views and the quality of the roads (tarmac, cambers etc.) reaching that of Switzerland except Romania has a horrible habit of cutting out damaged sections and leaving the road open; so you come around a corner to find your carriageway has a sudden 4cm drop to a planed surface that lasts for maybe 10m before a 4cm rise back to the original surface level.


  • Moldovan roads… My suspension got a thorough workout as did my core!
  • New process for entering Schengen as a third party national; I was ‘lucky’ enough to be part of a trial where they link photo and fingerprints to passport (when I landed in France). It was taking at least five minutes per person and some of it seemed tricky- my photo was taken three times, fingerprints about four. This really is going to cause chaos at ports that were used to be fairly free-flowing.
  • Traffic in Belgium… the last day as we were making our way to Calais (from Wurzburg) the skies opened and rain came down, the oil and grease on the roads emulsified making them slippery and the traffic came to a halt. Not fun. Everything got absolutely soaked.
  • Coming to the realisation that my choice of tent (small ‘mountain’ tents) is not really sustainable and I need to switch to something more age appropriate (more space, higher roof and door so less crawling around.)

Here’s the route I took; about 6000 miles over four weeks give or take.

And here’s the bike I did it on; 2012 BMW R1200RT.

Next year may be different; I’m planning a large solo trip in North America (two months or so I guess), just wondering if I can also get away with two weeks in Portugal/Spain…

I’ve been back for a few days and have been going through my kit, my photos, working on my journal for the trip and starting to think about the next trip… already ordered a replacement tent…


We know what this is… :crazy_face: :expressionless:

You have a treat in store when you tour Spain and Portugal, I have done that many times on a bike (although I stayed in hotels - couldn’t fit a tent with an en suite bathroom on the bike even though it was also a BMW R1200RT).
From your map it looks like you started and finished near Bristol. If that’s so I would be happy to recommend routes in person over a beer, otherwise it may be worth starting a thread nearer the time.

I may well take you up on that (I live just north of Bath).

I’ve toured Spain once but only for about a week, we went down to get a ferry to Morocco, sadly in my case work stopped play and I had to return sharpish while my friends got to ride around Moroco a little; something I’d have liked to have done but I suspect I’m not going to do much with unmetalled roads in the future. Sadly!

A very careful factual statement with a personal opinion projecting the experience into the future that made no political points… At least I hope that’s how it’s read…

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Indeed. Those facts… are so… annoying. But need to be stated.


Not a biker but pretty much done every road in Portugal. So much more to see than the classic holiday in the Algarve or Lisbon/Porto.

My favourite cities are Braga and over to the East Braganca.

Roads are amazing - we paid for them. I’ve driven back through Northwest Spain which is another area that doesn’t get talked about too much but is a hidden gem.


Agree with the NW Spain route in to Portugal. Picos, Leon, Vigo and then follow the coast roads down as far as you want.
If in a hurry to get a bit further south then Valladolid, Zamora to Porto.
Great driving roads.

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I did the drive down to Zamora earlier in the year. Favourite bit heading West entering Portugal at Miranda do Douro spending quite a bit of time in the North East part of Portugal.

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That sounds like a plan - I am in North Somerset, less than an hour from Bath and it’s a nice bike ride to get there. My email address is my user name at outlook.com.
I agree with all the intervening posts about North Spain and Portugal - all are brilliant roads to ride. Also any route through the Picos de Europa mountains is wonderful on a bike.
I’ve also been to Morocco a few times - there are plenty of well surfaced roads there, enough for a great tour without going off piste.

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I’m just back from the Dolomites in Italy - we stayed in a small village San Cassiano which is near Corvara and higherr up from the likes of Cortina.

We were on a hotel based cycling holiday. The area around us is a UNESCO world heritage area and my goodness is it popular with motorcyclists - majority Germans on BMWs (no stereo typing intended!). The climbs/ descents/ corners are sensational on the bicycle and I can only imagine how much better it must be on a motorbike! Recommended.


Nice bike shame about the tent :joy:

any photos about your tour?

Quite a lot but photography really isn’t my thing, here are a few…

Here’s a picture from outside a hotel in the Massive Central, about 8 AM. I’m at (something like) 1250m ASL and I’m looking down on the clouds (as is the cat; or maybe the cat’s just looking for prey)

Slovenia is a most beautiful country. This snap was taken roadside somewhere between Ziri and Vrhnika.

Stopped in Croatia in a small village called Cigoc which was a ‘Stork Village’. There were stork nests everywhere. One of the parents was on the nest at all times with the (I think) three young. When the other parent returned from hunting they all ‘clacked’ their beaks together (individually) almost like playing maracas. They brought a snake back and fed to the young once, not a pleasant sight…

Foothills of ‘Parang’ mountains in Romania. I liked the big sky

Soppy romanian sheep dog on a campsite

Everywhere you looked in Moldova there were European flags. Most small villages had the Council of Europe flag, their flag and the Moldovan flag at the entry.

There were a lot of horses/carts in Moldova (and a fair number in rural Romania). I think it’s the ethnic romani people using them.



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