Tag Archives: Van Van

Adventures In Andalucía

Well after a whirlwind exit from Melbourne and with everything I own either sold, in storage or in the suitcase I’m now travelling with, I find myself in gorgeous Granada. It’s been a few weeks of good living here as my great friend Paula and I have made the most of everything that’s so wonderful about Spain – tapas, vino tinto, picture-postcard scenery, fascinating history, and the quintessentially Iberian laid-back approach to life.

Cadiz, city of intrigue

Cadiz, city of intrigue

I’m missing my motorbike, of course – but happily we’ve got a car for a bit and have been doing some great road-trips to some of Andalucía’s most beautiful areas. We drove via Gibraltar and Tarifa to Cádiz in the west of the province – a magical city where the cobbled lamp-lit alleyways and fading centuries-old buildings reek of sailor’s stories and shenanigans from times gone by.

Following a tip-off from a friend, we then headed north to El Puerto de Santa Maria to seek out the Bodegas Obregón and sample their extraordinary sherries – fino, amontillado, and my favourite, the “Oloroso.

Mmmm, sherry....

Mmmm, sherry….

Warmed by a few tipples – and with a case in the boot! – we then drove the incredible Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) route, along precarious twisty roads climbing up through steep mountain passes leading to gorgeous whitewashed villages like Grazalema and Ronda.

The road to Grazalema

The road to Grazalema

After getting hopelessly lost as darkness descended, we arrived late to friends with a villa in La Viñuela, a tiny village somewhere north-east of Málaga and shared sherry, cheese and stories from the road with them until the small hours. Next morning, we woke to the sound of birds and the sight of more green rolling hills generously dotted with little white cottages. Bliss.

So as you can probably tell, it’s all good here in Spain! It’s still winter here, with chilly temperatures and a lot of rain, so I’ve already made a conscious decision to hold off getting a bike until the weather improves a bit. I also need to do more research into whether I’ll hire or buy and the places I want to explore, both here in Spain and further afield. I’ve seen a few Suzuki Van Vans but, having had a preview of the kinds of roads that are out there, I’m already starting to wonder if one would be cut out for Europe, North Africa and beyond.

Still, plenty of time to figure all that out. First, another fino and a generous helping of tapas, I think… 🙂

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A Fork In The Road

Hey, hey. Well a week since my last post, it’s been all systems go as I start packing up my Melbourne apartment, ready to move on. Life’s become a whirlwind of op shop runs, Cash Converters dashes, and other cross-city errands to sell, trade or otherwise offload the vast majority of my material possessions. Furniture, car, household goods…all are gradually being “re-located” to new owners. And all I can think is: How the hell did I end up with so much stuff?!

Which way next?

Which way next?

Happily, Volty’s been keeping me sane – regular daily rides down the coast are my “Happy Pill”, as I feel the sea breeze through my helmet and riding jacket, and enjoy the sensation of freedom on the road all over again.

I’m making the most of these rides. I’m still undecided about whether to do a cross-Oz trip on the bike or head to Spain to cook up a whole new two-wheeled adventure exploring Europe and Africa. But right now, it has to be said, Europe’s looking like the more viable – and cost-effective – option. And that being the case… it means I’ll have to sell my beloved Suzuki in a couple of weeks. This is of course gutting – regular readers will know how much I love my TU250X – but having looked into shipping/freighting options, I just don’t think I can afford to take the bike with me. 😦

On the up-side, once I’m in Andalucía I’ll hopefully be able to buy the new bike I’ve already got my eye on – the sturdy, characterful Suzuki Van Van – which hopefully will be the start of lots of new moto adventures! 🙂

At this fork in the road, I’m excited about what’s to come but also rather trepidatious about which road to take. It’ll be another week or so before I finally make up my mind – I’m going to enjoy the Adventure Travel Film Festival next weekend and then see how I feel after mingling with the great and good of the adventure world!

Whichever path I choose, I can’t wait to be out in the world again, exploring new places, meeting new people, and soaking up lots of fresh life experiences. Bring it on! 

New Year, New Adventures…

So here’s the thing. Christmas Day, I’m sitting at home staring down the barrel of yet another year spent thinking about lots of adventures I desperately want to do but can’t afford. Maybe it’s the rather nice Spanish jerez I’m sculling, but from somewhere very deep within something suddenly clicks: Fuck it, life’s too short. If you keep waiting till you have enough money, you’ll be sitting here till Doomsday! Within the week, I’ve handed in notice on my TV job (much to the chagrin of my employer!), on my rented Bayshore apartment…in short, on four years of life in Melbourne. That’s it – I’m off!

So what’s the plan, I hear you cry?! Well…Let’s just say it’s evolving by the day. No, really. First task is to drastically “downsize”. That means clearing out the contents of my flat, putting personal items into storage, selling the car, the furniture, getting rid of the cat… (oh hang on a minute, scrub that last one – I don’t have a cat!).

Plan #1: Head off across Oz on Volty?

Plan #1: Head off across Australia on Volty?

Then, somewhere swirling in the back of my brain – as yet not fully formed – is “The Plan”. Well, it’s two plans, actually. First is to take off with minimal luggage on my beloved Volty – yes, the Suzuki TU250X that has been my absolute joy and salvation since I purchased it a few months ago. I’ve put nearly 5,000kms on it from new so it’s well and truly run in, and I’ve got this idea of a kind of “last gasp Australia”, in which I’ll head across the country for an indeterminate amount of time and actually experience some of this vast continent I’ve been living in for the last few years.

Plan #2: Head across Europe on a Suzuki Van Van?

Plan #2: Explore Europe and beyond on a Suzuki Van Van              Photo ⓒ Suzuki (promotional)

Then again… After such a long time in Oz, I’ve a real hankering to head east for a while, to Europe. I’m craving history, culture, old buildings, speaking foreign languages, joie de vivre! After a couple of trips to Andalucía last year, I’m thinking of going back to hatch a plan that – surprise, surprise – also involves una moto! I’ve been looking at a particular motorbike there – the Suzuki Van Van – and reading about people crossing the Alps, Mongolia and other far-flung places on just such a bike. It looks like a kind of “off-road” version of Volty, with chunkier wheels and a more rugged set-up, and I’m thinking what an adventure it would be to buy one and ride through Europe, North Africa and beyond…

So there it is. I’d love to tell you the plan is more formed than it actually is, but there’s something rather delicious (if bloody scary!) about making it up as I go. Which plan I’ll plump for (or maybe I’ll do both!), I have no idea just now. All I know is, 26th Feb I have to vacate my apartment and hand back the keys once and for all – so I guess I’d better make my mind up by then, eh?! Maybe you guys can help me decide…

PS For anyone who’s wondering, yes I will still be at the Adventure Travel Film Festival 15-17 Feb! I’ve been working hard on the press and PR for it and wouldn’t miss it for the world! Come join us for a weekend of adventure and cold beer! 🙂

http://www.adventuretravelfilmfestival.com/australian-festival/