For this blog post we thought it would be interesting to talk about each of the photographs that were used for the 2021 viajarMOTO calendar. All of these were taken during our motorcycle travels in 2020.
Each of these photographs immediately puts us back into the moment. The memories, feelings, and senses are flooded as we are transported back in time!
January: Trans Euro Trails (TET), Croatia
We never intended to ride the TET throughout Europe. Honestly, our bikes are a bit too heavy for this kind of riding especially once loaded with all of our possessions strapped to the sides and tail of our trusty mules. So why did we ride the TET? We like the challenge and the isolation that these trails provide. Being able to ride through a countries natural regions and camping each night was one of the highlights of our time in Croatia. Was it easy? No. We dropped our mules a bit, but we lifted them up, dusted them off, and continued onward – better for the experience.
February: El Torcal de Antequera, Spain
This was taken on July 4th – a special day to me for two reasons. First, as a citizen of the United States, we celebrate this day to mark the start of our country as an independent nation. Second, it’s my birthday! Spending the 4th of July in a country that doesn’t take the day off to enjoy parades, summer food, and fireworks can be a bit of a bummer. However, spending the day riding our motorcycles from Córdoba to Málaga and then hiking through this beautiful park made this a special day – even without the fireworks.
March: Port Lligat, Spain
This picture looks so serene and peaceful doesn’t it? It was. However, it came the next morning after a challenging day and evening…
We had just arrived into Spain and the winds were blowing pretty heavily. We found a wonderful dirt road that climbed a hill and provided incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. I wanted to capture the moment of us and our mules overlooking the view so I set up my camera on the tripod, set the shutter timer, and ran back to capture the moment. Within seconds, the winds blew over the tripod and camera, smashing the delicate retractable lens onto a rock. While I was in the process of determining how bad the damage was to my camera, the winds blew over my mule! We decided to get off the exposed cliff and find shelter before the winds caused even more damage.
It was getting late and we still had not found a campsite since all of them were closed for the season. Once it got dark, we got desperate. We rode to the end of a dirt road and found what we though was an isolated area. While setting up our tent we were approached by a man and his dog. He was not happy with us and I could tell by his composure that he would be calling the police if we didn’t pack up and move along. We ended up returning to town, parking our motorcycles in a parking lot for travel vans, and sleeping on the outside deck of a restaurant that was closed for the season. This was about as close as I felt to being homeless the entire trip so far.
The next morning, we woke before sunrise, stored our sleeping bags, and enjoyed a peaceful morning along the beach. This picture, of Chantil sitting under a tree, enjoying the sunrise, was taken with an iPhone 6 since my Canon camera was broken.
April: Strada delle 52 Gallerie, Italy
This elaborate hiking and mule trail, consisting of 52 tunnels, was built in 1917 to provide military access to the summit Mt. Pasubio. This region of northern Italy is an incredibly beautiful area and we were grateful for our good health that allowed us to hike the narrow trails.
May: Villa del Balbianello, Italy
Chantil and I are fans of Star Wars. When we found out that there was am Italian villa overlooking Lake Como where a scene from Episode II Attack of the Clones was filmed we thought “We gotta see that.” We spend a wonderful morning walking among the villa gardens and enjoying all the artifacts of Italian explorer Count Guido Monzino.
June: Galicia Region, Spain
This photograph was completely by surprise. We ended up taking a wrong turn and decided to ride on a dirt road to get back to the main road instead of turning around. The dirt road wound around a corner and this beautiful field of sunflowers was our reward. Sometimes taking a wrong turn can be rewarding!
July: Costa Nova Beach, Portugal
This coastal town of Portugal is world famous for its bright and colorful striped houses. There was enough tourist that day that I would occasionally have to wait until they walked past in order to capture the colorful homes. However, when this little girl rode her bicycle ahead of her parents, I knew I had to capture this adorable moment.
August: Alhambra, Granda, Spain
The Alhambra is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. We visited this area in late June when typically tickets would have to be reserved months in advance. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and Spain not opening to international tourism until July 1st, we were able to book tickets on the same day as our visit. When we showed up for our appointed entry time, there were only 12 other guests instead of the typical hundreds. Walking among the expansive gardens and snapping pictures of the moorish castle without other tourists was a photographers dream come true.
September: Las Médulas, Spain
This spectacular landscape is the result of man destroying nature for resources. The Romans mined this area for gold used a technique known as ruina montium (wrecking of the mountains) which involves undermining the mountain with large quantities of water causing the cliffs to erode.
This region is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site where visitors can take in the incredible views and enjoy some wonderful hiking trails.
October: Fort de Viraysse, France
We heard about this abandoned fort up in the high mountains of Spain near the Italian border and wanted to experience this remote area. We were surprised at how difficult it was to get to. The road to the fort was steep with many sharp switchbacks that were a challenge to navigate for our rather heavy mules. It took us all afternoon to reach the fort but the experience was totally worth it. The Alps are definitely one of our favorite places in Europe.
November: Asturias Region, Spain
The Osborne Bulls of Spain were first built in 1956 as a billboard advertisement for a brandy sold by Osborne Sherry Company in 1956. In 1994 a law prohibited roadside advertisements of alcohol so the bulls had to be removed, however public response resulted in keeping the bulls and removing any reference to the original advertisement.
We noticed quite a few of these Osborne Bulls but could not find any that were accessible because they were on fenced land. On our very last day in Spain, we managed to find one with a dirt road that allowed us to ride our mules right up to this national symbol.
December: Camping Punta Batuda, Spain
Just a short walk from the overcrowded and noisy campsite, is this wonderful spot that offers great views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding forest. We especially loved the morning fog and bright orange-colored lichen that covered the rocks along the beach. Very beautiful!
Order your viajarMOTO 2021 Calendar
If you would still like a 2021 Calendar you can order them direct from Shutterfly: https://www.shutterfly.com/share-product/?shareid=7f70dd6c-28c2-4f18-b2de-9c42ad0f2d07&cid=SHARPRDWEBMPRLNK
Looking forward to more adventure in 2021…
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love the calendar and with all those background information, even more 🙂 you guys rock !
Perhaps in the future we’ll find a way to include a bit of the narrative in the next years calendar.