In August 2010 I rode my Ducati Monster from my parents’ home in the countryside near Karlstad to where I lived in Alcobendas, a suburb of Madrid.
This was not my first major journey but somehow it felt like it. I was going to bring my bike down and get Spanish registration and then ride on a daily basis in Spain. The plan was great and the journey was fantastic.
I rode to Gothenburg and took the ferry to Kiel in Germany. From there I continued to Holland to attend the WIMA Rally in the village of Markelo.
The cultural event had the theme “The white lady” since there is a mythological white lady in this region. For team Sweden’s performance we did an alternative Santa Lucia procession.
The rally was as usual action-packed with games, dinners, rides, the parade etc. When the festivities came to an end I rode south to the Mosel valley and continued into France. This was my first time riding in France and it felt very exotic. I was going to ride the Grand Alps, some smaller passes as well as the famous Route of Napoleon.
When decending from the Alps I rode towards Spain stopping for a night in Avignon. A lovely place where I had loads of sushi with generously applied soy sauce to cure my dehydration and a long evening walk.
Last night in France I spent on a farm in the mountain area of Corbieres. An absolutely beautiful place where getting lost was partly scary because of the fear of running out of gas. I was never as far from civilisation as I thought though.
Crossing the Pyrinees was cold but lovely. I entered Spain by Bourge Madam and the view was impressive but impossible to capture with the camera.
My last stay was in Lleida and I had a nice walk and look around before making the last stretch home the next day. When seeing the skyline of Madrid with the four towers in the distance life felt unreal but at the same time very real. I had rode from one home to another, crossed Europe from north to south and had a very good time doing it.
When at home I was exhausted and hungry, I spent two days just eating and sleeping. Now I try to include days of rest in my journeys, this had been a massive trip, riding from Holland being on the road from morning until late everyday for 8 days. And touring on a Monster is hard work.
When finally digging into the Spanish paperwork I found dificulties of another kind, August is almost impossible to get anything done. With great help from a Spanish friend I had a list with things to do and I knew in which order, so the problem was limited to opening hours and general paperwork troubles. I needed to do a “Ficha reducida”, it’s a document in Spanish that explains the specifics of the bike, like the manual almost. This cost me about 100 euros. After that I could go to the ITV to do a revision of the bike. They did measure the sound carefully and complimenting me for meeting the requirements, well after all I had put the original silencers back so shame if I hadn’t. They basically measured everything, wheelbase, handlebars etc… and in the end I failed because I didn’t have the little red reflector at the back. So off I went sticking one on and returning within the hour and everything was fine. Now off to the Hacienda, tax office, I now was told that despite already owning the bike for several years I had to pay import tax, 400 euros. Then I was ready to go with all papers to the Jefatura de Traffico to get papers for the bike and pay another sum of money, then finally going to another office to buy the licence plate.
After spending a total of 700 euros the bike was legal in Spain and I was welcome to sign up for insurance! The feeling of victory overpowered the feeling of poverty. You don’t know a country until you start doing paperwork – this was when my life in Spain really started.