Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Diary of a Goldwinger , Part 11

image Caminha, Northen Portugal was the venue for the 2009 Goldwing Club of Portugal Treffen.

1017 ks from home according to the sat-nav on the bike. Having never been to a Portugese Treffen we decided to give it a go. Having heard several stories about it we booked in for the camping and all the meals. This is the only Treffen that caters for you if you want it.

We set off with the trailer in tow and headed for Madrid expecting a 10 hour trip. I have noticed that since the credit crunch or crisis as they call it here, the roads are a lot quieter now. We had a quiet trip and as we hit the 700ks we noticed a big drop in the temperature and the clouds were getting very black, it started to rain and the temp went down and down before hitting 8 degrees. We rode through a few showers and arrived at the camp site after an 11 hour journey.

image The camp site was OK, looking a bit on the tired side but we soon found our pitch and put the tent up amongst the many wingers that were on site. That all sorted it was a quick shower and down to the bar. A very small bar but anything will do after the trip. We chatted to the wingers that were there,from many different countries. Had a meal and retired to bed.

Up and about the next morning was the plan, into the town of Caminha for coffee and toast and a walk around. What a lovely little town it was, very colourfull in the main square with its many cafes and shops. The weather was not very good but we had a good walk around,found the local super market, stocked up and made our way back to the site, parked the bike and walked the short distance to the beach, sat down ordered a coffee and within 5 mins we were hit by rain and boy did it rain, this turned out to be the pattern for the whole weekend, heavy showers and sunshine. Friday night was into a marquee on the local football pitch, a 200 metre walk away for a typical Portuguese meal, roast pork and rice with salad. A few beers,in fact quite a few beers, a stagger back to the tent and a good nights sleep.

image Heavy rain fell during the night and it was still raining when we got up. During a bright spell we got on the bike and headed back into Spain to a town called Pontevedra, a big town with lots of shops (bad choice) after a bit of lunch it was back on the bike and headed for Caminha. Petrol is 24 cents per litre more expensive in Portugal so we filled up before the border. We also took note of all the overhead gantry's displaying that there was a campaign on about speeding motorcyclists in the area and saw a few unmarked Guardia civil cars on our way back. Saturday night was presentation night and we were all transported by coach to a local town to a very nice hotel for a very nice meal. There were 17 countries represented at the Treffen, France took the top spot, Spain came in 3rd ( I think ) A great night and we got back to site about 1 am. Sunday again was a wet day and we rode into the town for the parade of nations. A manic 20 min trip around Caminha, lots of locals out on the streets to see the bikes as normal. Back to the marquee for another meal of Portuguese food, a few beers and off to bed.

Monday morning at 2am we were hit by a severe thunder storm, heavy rain and wind saw us both holding on to the tent and we were lucky not get blown away, some tents did on site and a large branch came off a tree onto a camper, luckily nobody was injured but a very rough night to say the least. At 6 am during a lull in the weather we packed our soggy belongings into the trailer and set off for home. Torrential rain for 3 hours on the way, forcing us to pull over at one stage, the rain stopped and we encountered 80 /90 kilometre winds for the next 4 hours, very poor riding conditions but we carried on and it took us 14 hours to do the 1000 + kms home.

image Despite the weather we both enjoyed our first Portuguese Treffen and found the people friendly and really enjoyed their company and their food. Next year is still on the coast but further down the south of Portugal, we will be booking in for that one. 202 bikes inscribed for the weekend and the Portuguese club were pleased with that number. Not a big Treffen but a good one.

Next week sees us at the Spanish Treffen in Lloret de Mar. So watch this space …

Ride safe, Steve and Lorna.