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  • Writer's pictureJim Clarahan

Sonrisas Sin Cancer (Smiles Without Cancer)!

A poetic finish to my ride through the Iberian Peninsula, was the all-to-brief Teams video meeting with Griselda, leader of Sonrisas Sin Cancer! Sonrisas Sin Cancer is a leading non-profit organization in Spain, born from the united cause of the struggle and social awareness needs for the fight against childhood cancer. The foundation's name, Sonrisas Sin Cancer, best sums up its goal, no child should lose their smile. During my final visit to RSM Spain's Barcelona office, I was surprised to receive this wonderful care package from Griselda. Sonrisas has agreed to collaborate with Ride 4 Dray as our mission and purpose are aligned 100%. We have shared logos and agreed to post hyperlinks to each other's websites. Thank you, Isabel Marin and Irene Blasco from RSM Spain for the introduction to Griselda!

A very big thank you to Jose Maria, managing partner of RSM Spain for the warm welcome to Spain. The BCN (Barcelona) team; was more than fantastic to meet, L to R: Tomas, Victor, Albert, Andres, Neus, me, Mireia, y Jose Maria. Second photo: Neus y Jose Maria. Third photo: y Diana.

The Valencia office is located in the old city center, an historic building on very narrow streets inconvenient for my bike but easy enough to walk to. Once there I had a photo op with Aito Urresti Gorostiza y Carlos Cano. And then Carlos took me on a tour, meeting various team members. Thank you, Carlos!

A quick jump back to the Rock, Gibraltar that is. Moe Cohen of RSM Gibraltar and HDC Gib (Harley-Davidson Club of Gibraltar), flexed their muscles with local media there which resulted in my visit claiming a front page posting in the Chronicle, the oldest newspaper in Gib (est. 1801) and the evening Gib TV news. Thank you RSM Gib and HDC Gib!

Gib TV, Tuesday 9 May 2023.

Granada = the Alhambra. Claiming to be one of the best-preserved Islamic palaces and fortresses in the world. Thankfully I've been there before, because tickets are sold-out until the end of May. Hungry for tapas, nourishment from Puerta de los Tristes with the Alhambra overlooking from above was the perfect stop. How many more cathedrals and churches and museums can the human brain consume in a week, a month or four? All wonderful to experience, but by the end of week two, my brain is a bit overdosed.

Behold Valencia! An amazing old world seaport city. High on my list for a repeat visit someday. The third largest in Spain, behind Madrid y Barcelona. The architecture of my hotel, the Palacio Santa Clara was stunning, and its rooftop bar's ceiling is something to behold. Luca, the bartender originally from Rome was a great host and gave me a list of places to checkout when I visit Italy next month.

And Alex at the Marisqueria Civera restaurant gave me a worldclass dining experience with the freshest tuna tartar and lobster tail followed by a complimentary bottle of Valencia's very special after dinner beverage - Mistela de Valencia! Made from Muscat of Alexandria grapes - a delicious dessert indeed.

Some of the sights of Valencia to behold.

Final stop in Iberia - Barcelona. Old world meets the modern world, the 2023 Barcelona auto exhibition. Every major car maker, excluding the USA's big 3, had a complete line-up there, mostly focused on hybrid and electric powered vehicles. They still featured several petrol burning beauties too.

While wandering around Barcelona for two days, a big SHOUT OUT goes to Horacio, Syed and Elam, the team at Alvato Nano Diamond, detailing my Harley-Davidson, making it look better than new.

End to end, the ride through Iberia (Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar) was packed with amazing scenery, historic sites, warm greetings from friends old and new, and incredible food. Closing the chapter on segment one, the cumulative miles logged are 1,855, ~300 more than planned.

Segment two, turning north to Montpelier, then onto Lyon, Geneva and Paris this week, and then Luxemburg, Brussels and Amsterdam, before turning south to ride the Rhine River to Koblenz, then onto Zurich. H-D Amsterdam will be top priority as my bike is scheduled for an oil change and 2,500-mile service appointment.

Thank you to RSM Spain, RSM Gibraltar, RICC, Sonrisas Sin Cancer, HDC Gib, and all of the friends I met along the way! Memories for a lifetime were made, and together we are making a positive impact in the fight against childhood cancer!

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