June 20, 2007 -
The N121a begins its journey at the impressive Navarre
region capital of Pamplona and casually wanders the
70 kilometres north to the border city of Irún in
the Basque country. It winds along the Río Ultzama
and Mediano before joining with the Río Bidasoa,
which for its last 10km creates the border separating
Spain from France. It's a very green area with trees and
wildlife in abundance, along with many 'Granjas' or farms.
There are lots of traditional small Spanish villages
just off this route and you can always find a good
'Posada' for something to eat. Try the local dish of beef
cooked on coals, delicioso!
The road:- It's a fast route out of Pamplona and is typical
of many routes in Spain. But the further north you go,
the twistier and prettier it becomes. The surface is good
from start to finish with nothing to really worry you and
is ideally suited to sports and sports tourers. It's quite a
busy route and you'll not have the road to yourself for
long periods, but that's to be expected when you consider
the geography. There is still lots of fun to be found and
a rapid pace can be set if you 'feel the need for speed'.
We took it relatively easy and enjoyed the scenery that you.
There's not much in the way of elevation changes but if you
want that sort of thing you're never far away from the
mountains. There were loads of bikes travelling this road
when we visited and to see other bikers enjoying the same
road as me always makes me smile. Car drivers just don't get
it do they?
Accommodation:- We stopped on this road at the Etxalar Hotel
which is the stone building in the photos and is also shown
on the map. It's a great hotel and has to be one of the
best places we stayed on our trip. The staff were friendly,
the rooms excellent, and the food was to die for (not
literally you understand) It's right by the roadside
so you can sit and listen to the bikes riding past whilst
enjoying an ice cold lager. There was a traditional Spanish
wedding reception taking place during our stay which was nice.
The staff apologised for the noise but they needn't have.
We enjoyed watching the Spanish partying as only the Spanish
know how. You can have a much closer look at the
It's their official web-site with
details of activities in the area, photos, prices etc.
Would I stop there again? A definite yes.
Place of interest?:- Pamplona of course.
You could spend a few days taking in its history and if
you're there from 6th July you could join in the week
long festival of San Fermin. Why not join in the Encierro
The running of the bulls? If you're really lucky you could
get yourself gored or trampled. How nice.
I think i'll take my chances on a bike.
P.s. A big Hello to Kev, the owner of the Beemer in the photos.
We saw him the previous evening in Ainsa,
some 250 kilometres away, and somehow ended up in
the same place the following night. It was a pleasure
to meet you and we'll share a few beers next time i'm in
Barcelona. Hasta pronto.