Goldwing Iberian Encounter

Our participation in the 2019 Goldwing Iberian Encounter was going to include several ‘firsts’. It was also going to provide some answers that would guide our future Goldwing touring aspirations. For Bev, this would be her first Goldwing event; her first time riding more than two hours to a destination; her first multi-night motorcycle trip; and her first motorcycle trip outside Portugal. We have tentative plans for a two-week bike tour later this year, as well as other motorcycle weekends that we could attend. But we wanted to see how Bev made out on this trip before making any commitments. After all, we couldn’t be sure whether she would enjoy riding the longer distances, or participating in Goldwing club events. So there was a lot riding on the outcome of this weekend trip.

Every year, the Goldwing clubs of Portugal and Spain collaborate to run an Iberian event. The annual event alternates between Portugal and Spain, with this year’s event scheduled to be held from 15th – 17th March, around the historical town of Plasencia, in the Extremadura region of western Spain.

Our first challenge was determining how much luggage we could take with us for the weekend. We could obviously only take what would fit on the bike. Each of us had one saddlebag for the side-panniers. Bev had a bag that fits inside the rear trunk and I had a bag that attaches to the rack on top of the trunk. Both space and weight were somewhat restricted, but we managed. Our club president, Marco, has a lovely trailer that he pulls behind his bike. Once Bev saw the trailer, she promptly asked “Why can’t we have one of those?” Hmmm!

 

The fastest route from Porto to Plasencia utilises the A1 and A25 motorways in Portugal and the CL-526 in Spain. The route covers 390km and would take about 4 hours without stopping. A small group of us from the Porto region rode together, on our five bikes/trikes, to get to Spain. Other groups from different parts of Portugal did likewise. We all met up at the event hotel.

 

Approximately halfway to our destination was Ciudad Rodrigo, an old walled city that is just over the border in Spain. It was a convenient location for a lunch break, dividing the ride into two segments. Rodrigo started out as a Celtic village and was occupied for a time by the Romans. The city walls date back to the 12th century. Its location between Portugal and Salamanca made it an important fortified town during the Napoleonic Wars. The city maintains much if its historical architecture and I’d like to spend a bit more time exploring at some point. But on this occasion we were just there for lunch, so I was limited to getting a few pics of the plaza where we parked. We ate our lunch at Bar Arcos.

 

Our base for the event was the Hotel Ciudad de Jerte, a short ride away from Plasencia. As the various groups from both Spain and Portugal went to check-in, we discovered that the hotel couldn’t handle all of the attendees who had registered. Many had been re-located to a nearby hotel, causing some consternation. Most would prefer to stay in the hotel where the events were taking place. At least a bus had been organised, so that attendees didn’t have to ride their bikes back to their satellite hotel after dinner (and drinks). We were amongst the lucky ones and were assigned a room at the main hotel.

 

The only scheduled event for Friday was a late dinner (9.30pm). Pre-dinner drinks provided an opportunity to renew acquaintances and to get to meet new people.

Saturday was the main day of the event. The activities got underway at 10.00am with an organised group ride. Within a short distance from the hotel, we turned off the main N-110 road and onto the narrow, winding CC-51 road that climbed up through the cherry-producing region. The cherry trees were all in blossom, enhancing the already-lovely scenery. Occasionally, a gust of wind would blow the small white petals across the road, like a light flurry of snow. I wish that I had photos but, on a group ride, there isn’t an option to pull to the side of the road for a quick pic. The CC-51 became the CC-133, as we ran parallel to the N-110 but at a higher elevation. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The temperature was around 25C (77F) and I could feel the heat of the sun through my trousers. A truly beautiful day!

After an hour of riding, we got our first opportunity for a leg stretch as we parked on the side of the road, close to a waterfall on the Garganta de las Nogaledas (Gorge of the Nogaledas). As you will see in the video clips below, the break gave me an opportunity to take a walk to see all of the parked bikes, as well as the waterfall.

 

 

 

After our break, we continued our ride along the narrow road until we reached the small town of Cabezuela del Valle around 11.45am. A section of the narrow road in the centre of the town had been set aside for us, so that all the bikes could be parked. Drinks and an assortment of finger-foods had been laid out on long tables in a restaurant called Bar Yusta. Meanwhile, the town’s residents and visitors were enjoying the spectacle of 69 Honda Goldwings that were parked outside.

 

About 1.00pm, we left the town for  short ride to the Restaurante Vadillo. The bikes were parked in an enclosed grassed area whilst we went for our lunch of ‘typical Extremadura food’.

 

Following lunch, we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed a short rest. But we didn’t have long. We were scheduled to hit the road again at 6.00pm.

We encountered a slight delay in our departure, as we waited for the police escort to arrive. But once they made an appearance, we rode the short distance to the historic town of Plasencia. We were escorted into the main plaza, where we were able to park our bikes.

 

 

Here is a short video clip as we entered Plasencia.

 

Plasencia was founded in 1186, during the rule of King Alfonso VIII.  A 13th century city charter allowed Muslims, Jews and Christians to live together peacefully. This old walled city still has many old buildings that date back to its early years of existence.

Our large group was divided into two, with each getting its own tour guide. We were then treated to a one-hour guided tour of the old town. As expected, the commentary was in Spanish, but I was able to enjoy the tour and found English translations on most of the signage assigned to each of the buildings. I’ve included images of the signage in the photo groups below.

A lovely old bar – I only got to pop my head inside for some photos ..

 

15th century Casa de los Toledo Cadena …

 

16th century Capuchine Convent …

 

16th century Casa de las Infantas …

 

City walls and the Berrozana Gate

 

16th century Casa de los Carvajal/Giron …

 

13th century Iglesia de San Nicolas …

 

13th century Palacio del Marquisado de Mirabel …

 

18th century Casa de los Varona y Vargas …

 

15th century Casa de Doctor o Arcediano de Trujillo …

 

15th century Santa Maria Hospital …

 

17th century Casa del Dean …

 

Plasencia Cathedral, dating back to 13th century …

 

Following our guided tours, we headed to the City Hall where we were formally welcomed by the mayor, who also made a presentation to the Goldwing Club of Spain.

 

We exited City Hall and it was time to mount up for the ride back to the hotel. The people in the square were treated to a light show as we left, as several of the bikes were highly illuminated. Once back at the hotel, there was time to shower and change and then up to the bar for some socialising, followed by dinner. Our club members had been asked to wear blue club shirts for the dinner. Until that evening, I hadn’t realised just how many of us had made the trip. It was an excellent turnout, as we have a fairly small club by Goldwing standards.

 

Following breakfast on Sunday morning, everyone prepared to depart in different directions to get home. We had a group of seven bikes making the trip back to Porto and nearby areas. The glorious weather had disappeared and we had cool temperatures between 10-12C (50-53F) for the ride home. We even got hit with a downpour of rain during our final hour. By the time we reached home, my bike had covered a total of 567 miles (912 km) during the trip.

It was a very enjoyable trip. The only criticism that I could offer involved the food, which I generally found to be unappealing and without much variety. We’ve become accustomed to excellent Portuguese food and the Spanish food didn’t quite measure up. But the friendship, camaraderie and the riding were excellent!

Bev enjoyed the trip and enjoyed the comfort of the Goldwing’s rear ‘arm-chair’ as we crunched the motorway miles. As a trial-run for future rides and events, it came through with flying colours. We are now planning to attend the Portuguese Goldwing Treffen in May and I can continue with our plans for a longer bike tour. Time will tell whether or not we acquire a trailer for the bike!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s