Southern Spain, Andalusia

Text: Chris Myers • Photography: Chris Myers

Depending on the reason and the place, it's often nice to arrive a little early. My Edelweiss Bike tour of Spain's Andalusia region is slated to begin tomorrow morning, and I have several hours to while away before this evening's initial briefing. What to do? That's easy. The Mediterranean's foamy, turquoise waves are slapping the shore outside the Tryp Guadalmar hotel, and they are just too alluring to ignore.

Our tour guide for the week, Claus Lazik, picked me up as scheduled at the Malaga airport and quickly had me situated in the beachfront host hotel. In no time I'm in shorts and a tee shirt, strolling the sand and sloshing through the roiling, chilly breakers. The sun's rays and a warm breeze soon have me yearning for a quick dip, an almost instinctive reaction after ten hectic hours in airports and jet liners. But as I walk toward the other sunbathers to drop off my shirt and flip-flops, I suddenly realize that, even in shorts, I am completely overdressed. I chuckle, shrug, and slightly modify an age-old adage, "When in Malaga…"

On the way back to the hotel, it dawns on me that my exposure to the local preference in swim-"wear" is first on the list of the many new experiences I'll have in Andalusia. My research had prepared me though, with many of the commentaries noting how very open-minded the people are. This, I thought, is going to be fun.

El Camino A Grenada

Oh yeah, this is fun. Our crazy caravan motoring out of Malaga consists of three rowdy Brazilian couples, a German engineer, a roadracing Ohioan and his pixie-like pillion, two thermally challenged Canadians, and me, a camera totin' North Carolinian assigned the enviable task of capturing it all. And with Ducati and Suzuki machines rounding out the usual-suspect BMWs, we're taking to the Iberian interior with an international flair that might leave the most jaded Spaniard scratching his head and muttering, "¿Que?".

Before we've left the city limits, it becomes obvious this little ride has a many treats in store. The pavement narrows, winds, and climbs into the Montes de Malaga, with every turn opening up better vistas than the one before of the beautiful city beneath us. Scattered and low, the clouds spar with the sun, constantly altering the range and intensity of the blues in the distant Mediterranean. The snaking roads leave little margin for error, so Claus wisely pulls over to let us begin filling our camera's memory cards. Already, group photos and laughter have become the defining theme of our ride.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the January/February 2009 back issue.