This week was the beginning of Phase 1 for our region of Murcia and 51 percent of the rest of Spain. Phase 1 is the first time we are allowed to ride our motorcycles for anything other than getting groceries, visiting a pharmacy, or emergencies since March 14th. Yeah, nearly two months!

🗓: 11 May | 🌍: Providence of Murcia
Just 69 km today from Cartagena (D) to El Portús (B) to Bateria de Castillitos (C) and back home.

Monday brought more excitement than a child on Christmas morning. We were FINALLY going to go for a ride together We planned to head south to enjoy a bit of the seaside and then ride to the Sierra de la Muela region where we hoped to explore the abandoned military fort Bateria de Castillitos.

We packed the mules lightly with nothing more than some water, a lunch, our video and camera equipment, first aid kit, and a tire pump. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom, that had me grinning, as I started the motorcycle, pulled the clutch lever, engaged first gear, and twisted the throttle. It was hard to believe that the day for us to begin traveling again was here!

Our first destination was El Portús, a small town located on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea. As we approached the town, we spotted a sign for “Camping Naturista” that featured sun, sea, a palm-tree, and what appeared to be a family of three – all in the buff! What could this be?

What is this sign all about?
El Portús
Apache parked at the beach near Cola Rambla.

A short dirt road later we were at the Cala Rambla del Portús. This is a small pebble-stoned beach with clear water, incredible views of the Mediterranean, and topless sunbathers.

As Americans, we are not accustomed to seeing topless sunbathers on our beaches. This kind of activity is typically only reserved for designated nudist beaches. In Spain, however, it’s common at all public beaches. Different strokes for different folks.

Cala Rambla del Portús (sans topless bathers)
Playa de la Morena – Closed due to Coronavirus
The nudist colony pool was also closed due to Coronavirus

Just a short ride later we arrived in the small town of El Portús. It looked like it would have been a nice little town to enjoy however, due to the Coronavirus and country-wide state of alarm, everything seemed to be closed.

Our two mules parked at El Portús
Video highlighting lockdown and riding for the first time in two months!
E-22 Towards Bateria de Castillitos

We headed back inland to find the next road to the Bateria de Castillitos. Along the way we came across some unique windmills at Molino viejo de Zabala. These windmills have been used in this area since the 16th century and we hope to get a closer look at more before we leave the Murcia region.

Southern Spanish windmill
The E-22 had a nice twisty section of motorcycle bliss

After crossing the small bridge the RM-E23 gets even narrower. Some sections of the road are about a car’s-width wide. No bueno for RVs but perfect for motorcycle traveling!

Narrow roads lead to the Bateria de Castillitos.
Bateria de Castillitos

The Bateria de Castillitos has a small parking area where we parked our mules, changed into some hiking clothes, and enjoyed walking among the ruins of a deserted military fort.

This fort was last used in the 1994 and time is slowly destroying it.
Narrow walkways are still well preserved.
A beautiful crest in Spanish colors marks the storage facility.

There are at least three different installation in the area and one could easily spend hours exploring the buildings and walking among the curved roads of this historic site.

We ended up spending three hours exploring different area and crawling through the abandoned buildings.

The walls and ceiling are crumbling with time.
There are incredible views at every vista

Signs warn “DO NOT PASS”. There was definitely a chance that a deteriorating ceiling or wall could fall down on an unsuspecting explorer.

Exploring tunnels was exciting.
A ladder leading to one of the gun emplacements but all were welded shut.

Although much of the buildings are falling apart and have become victims to graffiti there was one section that seemed to have some preserved history.

Battleships from the early 1900s

One of the stairways to the targeting bunker had walls that were painted with silhouettes of naval ships to help with identification.

Of course, some smart Alec decided to add his own boat.

The highlight was witnessing the massive 381mm guns with their 17m long barrels mounted on an enormous turret.

Big guns! These guns shot a 1 ton projectile over 35 miles!!

These guns were only used once in combat during the Spanish Civil War by the Republican Forces against Franco’s Nationalist fleet in April 1937.

One last view of the sea before returning home to Cartagena.

🗓: 14 May | 🌍: La Manga, Spain
120 km today from Cartagena (A) to La Manga (B) and Puente de la Risa (C) and back to the AirBnB

Maria, our hostess, recommended visiting the coastal tourist town of La Manga. Why not? Let’s go check it out.

We got a late start but it ended up being a perfect time to visit since most of the few locals were observing siesta from 2-4PM.

Out first stop? KWIK-E-MART! Who would have thought Springfield was in Spain!?

A tiny market that was closed due to coronavirus.
Marge Simpson – Spanish style!
Springfield, Spain?

I enjoy different architecture and this tourist area was full of unique buildings and high-rise apartments and hotels.

Love the colors!
A Mediterranean Arabic style
The peninsula is about 19 km long.

It was a bit eerie walking around and not seeing anyone on the boardwalk or restaurants. All closed.

Completely empty.
Beautiful blues in all their varieties!
Palm trees. I don’t ever want to live too far from swaying palm trees.
Chocolate and Apache taking a break from riding.
A bright blue and white tower that is used for controlling the operation of a drawbridge.
More architecture with empty balconies and closed windows.
One of our favorite sayings “Life is Good!”

On a remote section of rocky beach we discovered a mud and brick silo…

… that made for some interesting photographs of historic structures contrasted among modern hotels.

Chantil noticed a lighthouse…

…where we enjoyed a short walk along the rocky jetty…

… and enjoyed gulls soared gracefully in the clear blue skies.

After our short walk we returned to the mules and made our way down the peninsula where we joined the autovia for a short ride back to the AirBnB. Another successful outing!

Video highlights of Bateria de Castillitos, La Manga, and street art in Los Nietos.

6 Comments on “Phase 1 = More Freedom!

  1. Loved the views  Spain is lovely through your eyes  thanks

  2. On the road again! I’m happy with your happiness! Very nice the first route along the coast, I don’t know that route, but I went from Cartagena to La Manga along the coast, very beautiful roads and in a natural environment. As for La Manga, is what it is, resort area and holiday apartments. Better to see it now, because in August it’s saturated. I have gone on holiday twice when my children were babies, but for the only reason that the apartments are literally on the beach, being the peninsula so narrow, and that way we don’t have to carry all the things they need during a long walk. Today it could not have been built as the law requires to preserve 100 meters of beach inland

    • Hi Nacho. Thanks for the info. We’ll try the route you mentioned along the coast. I too don’t really like tourist areas – I much prefer nature. We’re hoping to be able to ride some of the TET later this week!

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