Saturday, March 24, 2012

MotoGP 2011 rewind and review @dstoresf Dainese D-Store San Francisco

Fireside MotoGP evening photo with yours truly courtesy of Jules Cisek aka PopMonkey
The evening was set for Friday March 16, at the rather huge and plush Dainese D-Store in San Francisco.  That day, storms decided to hit the Central Coast and the Bay Area with a vengeance. As my wife Emily and I set off from our little village of Capitola we had resigned ourselves to an evening that might be a little more intimate in terms of attendance than a the time we inched our way through the traffic that always backs up for the Bay Bridge, we arrived at the store around 6.20pm.  Kick off was 6.30.  After running back and forth with computer bags, my Hawaiian shirt, plus the artwork, prints and my Marco Simoncelli 58 of #58 books I brought for people to look at and possibly purchase we had arrived...

Well, shut the front door! If there wasn't a huge crowd of people there (it was mentioned to me that possibly as many people as there were in attendance for the visits by Marco Simoncelli and Jorge Lorenzo!  Totally humbled!)  Shelli, the lovely manager of the store, mentioned that she thought that due to the weather that there wouldn't be the number of people that were actually there, and as it turned out they didn't have enough seating for everyone.  A rough guess put the numbers around 40 plus.  Which just goes to show what a hardy bunch we NorCal motorcycle racing fans rain is gonna put a damper in an evening of MotoGP (and of course beer kindly supplied by Peroni as well as some tasty pizza).  What was evening more humbling was people kept on arriving...and no-one got bored and left --- phew!! After a brief karaoke moment whilst I figured out the microphone, and with some minor hiccups involving my laptop and the syncing of the slideshow we went around the world with yours truly accompanied by some travel images, and a handful of my favourite shots from all fourteen MotoGP races I covered in 2011.

The whole "show" last a little over two hours.  With some good humour thrown in along with many great questions being asked it made the weather irrelevant! Hopefully the answers were as good as the questions!  Shelli deemed the whole evening a success, and I too was thrilled by the response and of course the turnout, especially for such a dour evening. Meeting up with likeminded people all fans of motorcycle racing and photography, and many of whom are good friends and as a result making new friends during the evening was extremely special.  Being accompanied by my wonderful wife Emily made it moreso....

I think we'll be doing something similar later this year.  So make sure to "like" the Dainese D-Store Facebook  page as well as my Andrew Wheeler - AutoMotoPhoto FaceBook page for updates that will be posted throughout the upcoming MotoGP 2012 season. 

Thanks again to all who attended.  It was a special evening for me and I hope for all of you.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

On The Road with Andrew Wheeler! AKA me! @DSTORESF D-Store San Francisco March 16.

Now that we're all caught up, I'm very happy to announce....

The official flyer pretty much spells it out.  On Friday March 16, from 6.30-8.30pm I will providing an insight and visual treat (and of course banter) at the Dainese Store located here in San Francisco. I will also a have a few items on sale for those attending and of course you can also order items directly.  To help relieve you with some serious shopping therapy I do accept credit cards!! Bring your questions and let's have a good evening a couple of weeks ahead of the MotoGP season opener in Qatar!

There will be refreshments and food provided! If you're local and would like to sign up there is a FaceBook event sign up located here I look forward to seeing you this coming Friday!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto and MotoGP. Part4 Catching Up.

5037 "likes" as of March 10, 2012
It's been a few weeks since we passed this little milestone of 5000 "Likers". As I'm catching up with everything MotoGP related before the season kicks off in a few weeks and especially how it relates to what I do as a photographer, I wanted to also add a huge THANK YOU to all who like and interact on my Facebook page at Andrew Wheeler - AutoMotoPhoto .  It's always a pleasure to be able to interact with like minded people, and even more of a pleasure to meet people out "on the road" when at a race track. 

I hope to meet more people who are part of this movement and who help make the friendships that exist with @automotophoto on TwitterAndrew Wheeler - AutoMotoPhoto and now on Instagram a tangible reality starting with RD1 at Qatar and then onto Jerez and Estoril,  and on through the rest of 2012.

Emily and VR46 OFC t-shirt. You go girl!
As I'm having a "personal update" I'd also like to share some good-ish news with regards to my wife Emily  who is dealing with Stage4 colon cancer.  After a rather unexpected brief sojourn into hospital for a little side effect that got a little out of hand, in part due to the fact that the chemotherapy drugs were actually doing their work and attacking/inflaming the tumor in her colon and creating the issue, following the tests they undertook during her short stay it transpired that in the words of her oncologist, that it looks like "we're hopefully turning a corner".  Now if you know anything about Doctors who work in this world you'll know they're not the purveyors of false hope.  The goal being to have the tumor reduces significantly to have it removed sometime later this year and apparently we're on track.  This is by no means easy on Emily and at times I feel terribly helpless because she has been in an awful lot of pain especially during the "side effect" weekend.  But, as of today it does appear that things are normalising again.  With that I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all who have sent us emails, messages through FB or simply posted words of encouragement and support.  It means so much to us. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto and MotoGP. Part3 Catching Up.

Some of you who are "Likers" on the Andrew Wheeler - AutoMotoPhoto page here on Facebook would have seen or viewed the individual rider galleries I put together to keep us warm and interested over those cold winter nights...(doesn't that sound all squishy warm and fuzzy?)

Well, I figured that not everyone is on Facebook, and so they're worth sharing here.  I'll most likely be adding a few more to the Facebook page between now and Qatar just to get people in the mood for the new season, but in the interim here are the galleries.  To search or view nearly 20K images from the AMA, World Superbike and MotoGP you can also visit my archive and create your own lightbox, search for any name it, you can almost do it all.

Except download.  For that you'll have to pay me!  =)

Starting off this collection of slideshows is the 2011 MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner...
Not forgetting that man in yellow...Mr 46 himself.  Valentino Rossi...
Then we went to take a look back over Ben Spies' 2011 in MotoGP.....
The talented and charming factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden....
The rather talented Alvaro Bautista aboard the factory Rizla Suzuki in it's last year of MotoGP (for now).  They'll be missed this year. But Alvaro did a great job, as did the team....
...and by coincidence here follows a little something from the waaay back machine when the current AMA champion Ben Spies tested at Indianapolis for the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team..

All the galleries and the images contained can be shared on FB or on Twitter, as can the galleries so don't hold back.  Feel free to share.  Also, prints can be purchased.  Just send me an email if there's something that grabs you...more to come...!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto and MotoGP. Part2 Catching Up.

Casey Stoner MotoGP Wold Champion Valencia 2011
Over 105 motorcycling events (and some retro car images from CART and F1) are now contained within the cyber-walls of my now up-to-date website, AutoMotoPhoto.  Possibly one of the largest publicly accessible collection of motorcycle racing images on the web.  Covering more than a handful of races from all three major racing series that I have been fortunate enough to cover including, AMA, World Superbike (WSBK) and of course MotoGP.  I typically like to up date the last few races of the year in the following year as it gives everyone something to look at during the quiet periods we all face, as well as it gives me a little time to reflect on what I have covered and to see how I can improve for the upcoming season.

Fortunately I have been accredited for a hard card for the 2012 season in MotoGP and as always am extremely grateful for the acceptance. It doesn't come easy.  But I am grateful to every outlet, magazine and editor that chooses my work to enhance their publications.

Okay....more updates to come.  I have to nip out.

Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto and MotoGP. Part1 Catching Up.

My beautiful friend - Emily

I wouldn't normally share this sort of stuff on here, however, it's important to me, and without Emily I wouldn't be doing this in the first place so I feel a short post, and update might be in order.  It's been a few hectic and busy weeks...albeit at home.  As some of you may or may not know my wife Emily was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer during the week between Christmas and New Years. 

We have shared the experiences on my personal Facebook page and also on her Facebook page.  Right now she is well, the symptoms that have plagued her for the past 8-10 months or so appear to be subsiding (it was thought to have been IBS and simply didn't appear to be what it turned out to be until it had come to a head - nothing like living a healthy lifestyle doing everything right then this cropping up huh?) thus the comfort level is going up with each salvo of chemotherapy.  She will be having her third salvo the week after next...and right now it's open ended because of where the tumor and it's "friends" have placed themselves, but the outlook is good, and surgery is the goal.  The downside of all of this is simply financial.  But regardless, we're fortunate to live where we live here on the West Coast of California close to two of the best cancer research and surgery locations in the world.

I just wanted to add a little note to my blog to that effect.  I love her dearly, and as I said without her encouragement, love and selflessness I wouldn't be doing what I do now.  I felt it was right to share here as it's as she is my life.  Many of whom in the industry know Emily because she has been with me through the AMA days, the World Superbike days and now the MotoGP days and we have received and continue to receive words of encouragement, love and gifts from all over the world. 

I would like to take this moment to publicly thank everyone for the support.  It means so much to us.  The world of motorcycling, and racing has the coolest, most caring people I have ever met.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

58 of #58 - The Book

58 of #58 - Marco Simoncelli
There has been so much going on in my life recently, especially with my wife Emily's health that I have neglected to update "BlogWorld" with this little book I put together of pictures I have taken of Marco Simoncelli from 2008 through to Malaysia, 2011. It's my little tribute if you like, to someone who didn't follow the corporate model, but was a true racer, with that Barry Sheene flamboyance that seems to have been lost due to everyone worrying about their sponsors.  Possibly the natural successor to Rossi?  Who knows.  The world is full of surprises and "what if's".  If you're interested in owning one of these simply click the link HERE to find out more

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Josh Hayes MotoGP - Cycleworld - Racewatch

A lightning update here....

My good friend Josh Hayes (accompanied by his wife Melissa) were initially invited by Tech3 Yamaha to ride their bikes following the race weekend at the final MotoGP round at Valencia in Spain last November. After Colin Edwards was injured in the collision that involved Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi, the test ride became a race ride....I photographed and interviewed Josh Hayes for Cycleworld Magazine over the race weekend on his thoughts about Simoncelli, Edwards etc, and his emotions about the opportunity and how he approached the entire adventure...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

MotoGP - 2011 Season In Pictures - AutoMotoPhoto

Happy New Year!

I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who views my blog, follows my ramblings on Twitter @automotophoto  or is a "Liker" on my Facebook page at "Andrew Wheeler-AutoMotoPhoto"...
I was going to go on and on about Valencia, the last round of the 2011 season but have since decided that the best way to summarize the year would be to put together the mother of all slideshows. Starting with round 1 in Qatar and ending up with the  final round 18 in Valencia.  You'll see a selection of images from each round that I covered (14/18) that hopefully will tell a story.  Maybe it's more like a novel.  It should hopefully keep you going until at least the season opener at the beginning of April!

If you wish to view the slideshow full screen simply click on the little "expand" button that sits next to "Share" and of couse, should you wish to share feel free to do so. I will let the slide show tell the story as for me, it was a wonderful year tinged with sadness.  2012 hasn't started off in the best of ways, but we'll see what happens and there will be updates as we go forward.

Monday, December 19, 2011

MotoGP wall art for 2012?

VR46 #58 limited edition giclee canvas print
I thought I had added this update to my blog...but with Christmas and the decompression that takes place after the end of the season I overlooked this one medium.  OOPS!  I wanted to add that these have been rather popular, so if you're interested in having something a little bit different to hang on your wall follow this link for information on how to order/purchase, but don't wait too long!
Actual product - photographed outside in natural daylight 24"x18"
AutoMotoPhoto 2012 Calendars

Whilst I am writing about items of beauty, it might  also be worth mentioning that my annual AutoMotoPhoto calendar is still available for purchase.  In fact, not only can you have it custom made with your favourite MotoGP rider, but the start month can also be changed.  So if you'd like you calendar to run from February to February, this can be arrange.  I have included below a photograph of one generic calendar, and two custom calendars so you can see the quality of the finish as well as how beautiful they look...

Friday, November 04, 2011

AutoMotoPhoto 2012 Motorcycle Racing Calendar now available

Available to order now...
Andrew Wheeler's 2012 AutoMootoPhoto GP Calendar

Last years high quality calendar was a roaring success and so I am offering this calendar yet again. With 12 uniquely different images taken at MotoGP races all over the globe during the 2011 racing season this calendar offers a traditional calendar starting on Sunday combined with a photograph chosen from one of the races I have covered.

Also, what makes this calendar special, is to be able to specify your own favourite rider from the MotoGP class to have as a custom calendar at no additional cost.  

For ordering information click here and to view actual photos of the 2011 calendar (on FaceBook) click here .....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

#CiaoMarco - A selection of images from 250cc to October 23, 2011

Today was his funeral.  

Today I put together a selection of images I hope reflect the man.

I also have the same gallery here on FB

If anyone is interested in using any of these images. Or wishes to purchase prints etc, please contact me.

Until Valencia.
Ciao Marco

Sunday, October 23, 2011

From happy to sad in less than 120 minutes. Goodbye Marco.

I never knew him that well.....
Marco Simoncelli locking down the 250cc Championship in Phillip Island 2008
..but when you travel constantly with the "MotoGP" circus you become a familiar face. Over time you'll receive a "ciao" or a "bongiorno" when passing in the paddock in the morning, during the evening or even as these people walk through the media centre. However, it was in Phillip Island in parc ferme where Marco recognised me when I asked him to look down into my camera for a goofy shot of him waving.  He obliged.

This was only my second trip to Malaysia covering MotoGP and the heat and humidity aside, it is a happy place to visit, even if this is work (!).  You have people who seem to have a positive gene in their DNA.  Nothing is too much trouble if you need help, directions whatever.

hopefully they buy their tickets sequentially....or do they swap t-shirts if not?
I never thought that the heat would become so transparent simply because the energy of the people who live here rises above this little niggling thing.  So it was after the end of the Moto2 race I simply decided I would sit on my scooter in front of the grandstands and stay in the shade.  Rather than go back into the media centre and then have to go through the painful process of acclimatizing to the heat from the cold once again, it just makes sense to simply "stay out".  Which I did.  So here I am, sat in front of all these fans who have travelled from all over the region (from Indonesia etc for this race weekend) and they're smiling, waving and asking me questions about "the job". I felt so connected and so not far away.  Knowing I only had a race day and Monday here in Malaysia this makes the day complete for me. As I have mentioned before, I love this place, even with the crazy drivers and crazier scooter riders.  It's fantastic.

Happiness is infectious

Time to go to work.  First up the starting grid row girls that show the grid rows...then the teams roll out accompanied by the umbrella girls that keep the sun off the rider...the grid is prepared with tap crowd barriers around the various locations on the grid where the riders are placed.  The grid is full, aside from the riders.  The bikes are fired up, they head out on track, and the final wave of crew chiefs, mechanics come to join the their various crews out on the grid... dignitaries arrive and the clock starts ticking down to "go time"  The mad scurrying of TV crews, photographers, people who have been granted access to the grid all trying to capture, talk to or see their subjects makes it a challenge, but a fun one at that.  The back drop sounds of fans chanting "Rossi" "Rossi" make this feel somewhat gladiatorial.
Alvaro Bautista keeps himself focussed and cool
With the clock ticking, and most photographers having got their required images, it's a mad scrambling of crazy scooter riding to the first corner (or wherever)...with everyone in place, you watch from distance the grid clear.  Warm up lap.  The bikes leave in no particular order for the last lap before race start.  The anticipation grows within.  Next, you see them arrive on the grid.  The flagman at the rear confirms everyone is in their place, the flagmen at the front and rear, signal to each other then clear off the grid..the lights come on and we're under way.  The bikes come at you and everyone is capturing the race start.  The pack disappears around the corner and you hear the roar of bikes in the distance racing.  
Next you hear them coming down the track on the other side of the grandstands, then they're in full view coming at you, here comes lap two. They pass, then we all break out to a new location.

The "last lap" for Marco Simoncelli
Then the red flags come out.  Silence.  Nothing on the jumbotrons except replays of the start.  Then we see why there is a red flag.  The normally smiley faces of photographers turns to worry.  One mentions to me that "his [Simoncelli's] helmet came off.  We knew that wasn't a good sign even from where we were standing.  But speculating isn't what we do.  So we wait and wait and wait.  Then the call comes, race cancelled.  Deflated.  We knew something was not good.  We head back to the media centre.  There's an eerie silence.  

The loudest noise in a normally very noisy media centre is the air conditioning fans.  

Then it is announced that Marco Simoncelli has succumbed to his injuries. People who you know have seen so much through their lenses now have red eyes.  No one speaks.  There was a press conference at 5.45pm to provide an opportunity for questions. People seem to be in a state of disbelief.  Surreal.

Thank you for being so colourful, vibrant and full of life - image taken at Phillip Island, 10.15.2011
Marco was different. Cavalier, dynamic and and was loaded with energy.  You'll be missed. My thoughts go to his family.  I'd also like to send some get well wishes to Colin Edwards as well.

Tragic day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Casey Stoner - World Champion

Casey Stoner atop his motorcycle in parc ferme after winning the race, and the World Championship
A quick update from last weekends MotoGP Round 16 at Phillip Island in Australia..and a simple update at that...with nothing more to say...Casey Stoner really put his stamp on the season and pulled off the race win, the championship and it was his birthday to boot...not bad going I guess.

The trip to Phillip Island was, as it always is, a lot of fun.  I know some wonderful people who visit the island over the race weekend that it almost feel like a family gathering.  So thank you to all who made my visit most enjoyable. Also a big thank you again to those who attended my first seminar and to Paul Stafford of Spice Island for being able to host it.

Images from Phillip Island and previous rounds are online in my AutoMotoPhoto MotoGP Photography searchable archive.

Next up, images and tales from Malaysia....where I am penning this update.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You can't keep it all to yourself - Sharing and helping others to "see"

I admit I was nervous.

But after we had the meet and greet, and the av-display had been set up and connected to my laptop I felt that something clicked within me.  This just felt right.
That's me!  AutoMotoPhoto inaugural seminar Phillip Island
My wife Emily had suggested I take my photography and what I know in a new direction and this was it.  The day went well and I was amazed at the level of enthusiasm of the people who had joined me for the day.  We ran through the program I had put together, with the morning focussing on image ideas, "seeing" and thinking differently as well as taking a look at peoples images and taking input from people on not only each others images and ways of thinking, but also my own images.  In the afternoon we looked at self promotion, marketing, search engine optimisation as well as how to use the freely available social media outlets to build or share your work with others.
The day ended with dinner and a few beers before everyone headed off for the race weekend....

A fantastic day, and a big thank you to Helen, Frank, Anant, Simon and Robert who signed up.  A good sized group which allowed for everyone's questions and discussions to be heard and answered.

The next Andrew Wheeler AutoMotoPhoto Seminar is being organized...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

AutoMotoPhoto - Website is now updated...

Casey Stoners RCV212 in parc ferme, Motorland Aragon

A quick mention to let you know that my main website, AutoMotoPhoto has been refreshed with images from every race I have covered in 2011...and in total there is nearly six years worth of racing images that could kill some time over a wintery weekend..

Join me and others at the Phillip Island MotoGP Photography Seminar

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MotoGP Phillip Island Exclusive! AutoMotoPhoto seminar and dinner!

AutoMotoPhoto Seminar Poster
Many people have asked me if I would run a seminar. I have gotten together with a good friend who lives on the Island and we're going to be putting on the inaugural AutoMotoPhoto Photography Seminar and Dinner in San Remo. Wednesday (10/12) before the race weekend is when it's going to happen.

Also!!! After a long day of instruction, critique and big thinking, Paul and I will be cooking dinner for those who will be attending.

This seminar is designed for amateurs who have a solid understanding of the principles of photography but want to develop their skills in this one day intensive class.  We'll cover subjects such as your goals, peer reviews and to make do with the equipment you already have and how to think outside the box...we'll also go into how to sell or market your images using current methods including social media tools...and how to approach the mystical world of getting published...I can't teach you how to have a "style", but I will hopefully impart enough information to fuel that desire to enable you to think differently and to feel confident about your work.

Seating is limited due to the nature of this class.

For pricing and further information simply send an email to me, Andrew Wheeler here and by return I will send you the schedule and a link for you to sign up and pay for your seat! To download the poster click here

I look forward to hearing from you and we'll see you there....

Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner...from Misano to Aragon. The Renaissance, castles and the countryside...

Valentino Rossi at his "home" race wearing his special liveried Misano special helmet
I love castles.
So it's rather interesting that we go from the Adriatic and the home of Lucrezia Borgia (and all that lovely warmth and kindness as the perfect dinner host she was) to Aragon, where the two regions are actually loosely connected by families marrying one off to the other.  I love this region of Italy, the coastline that becomes extremely dramatic not too far inland with huge outcrops of rocks topped with castles.
Last years trip to Misano started out tinged with sadness  of the loss during the race weekend prior at Indianapolis. Little did we know that the race weekend at Misanowould also end in sadness (see the previous blog entry).  Fortunately, this years events ended with no tragedies but with an excellent showing of racecraft by Jorge Lorenzo...
Jorge Lorenzo and his crew celebrate his crossing the finish line
A side trip was in order to Valentino Rossi's village, Tavulia, although the mood in the village did seem a little a little quieter than last.  
Valentino Rossi's hometown
The banner that shows his 100 victories has faded somewhat, but in many of the windows as before, there are cardboard cutouts of the maestro himself watching over the visitors.  One thing that was different from last year was the video booth.  This appeared so as fans visiting to send Valentino a personal message if support.  
the VR46 video box in Tavulia
Gone was the life-size cardboard Yamaha team cutout and garage that was very popular with folks who wanted to have a picture of themselves taken with whoever works in the garage.  Maybe next year there'll be a Ducati version.

This year I stayed at a fabulous little flat in the city of Cattolica with Ben Spies Fan Club creators Luca Ottolini and his fabulous wife Chiara.  We had a great week of good food, laughter, Jesus ducks and of course being less than 3 minutes from a gelateria, gelato.
The fan club!
Lots of gelato....thanks again to Simone for being such a help in having the apartment for us....looks like next year we're all set for Misano too!
Ben Spies rounds turn 9 at Misano
With that, it was back home for a few days before heading off (again) to Barcelona for the Motorland Aragon experience!  Arriving late into Barcelona it was then a solid 2-3hour drive to the lovely little village of Beceite. 
Beceite, Teruel
I stayed here last year and we loved it so much not only did we come back, but we rented the entire building to avoid the racket we suffered at the hands of a rather large group of excitable motorcyclists who were upstairs.  

Base camp Beceite!
This year, I shared the upstairs apartment with Andrew Northcott, Jules Cisek and his wife Bernadette.  Mr Motomatters, David Emmett, Jarno from Holland, Abraham (from Spain) and his friend occupied the floor we stayed on last year.That meant we had normality and tranquility upon our return from a busy day at the track.
Quite the dramatic scenery commute to work...
As before the drive to the track winds through some seriously spectacular scenery.  Jules Cisek ran his Go-Pro during one of our morning drives and hopefully, when he has edited the footage, we'll have something to share here...we'll just back track a bit.
Motorland Aragon race day
Motorland Aragon, as I explained last year, is out in the middle of nowhere, not far from the town of Alcaniz, which is also, out in the middle of nowhere.  That said, this area is chock full of history, especially related to The Renaissance, the invasions by the Moors, and long before that, the Romans and Greek.  Evidence in the forms of minarets, aqueducts and castles show the various cultural influences in the area.  It is well worth visit and a stay.
Race weekend came, sadly Friday was a morning only job.  A local transformer blew up and caught fire and that killed the power to the race track.  In the afternoon, because there was no timing and scoring, or power for anything it was decided to abandon the afternoons sessions.  Personally I felt the riders could've gone out and done some fan laps on scooters because there were an awful to of very disappointed fans in the stands who'd stuck out the heat and winds waiting for something to happen.  
The Great Wall of Aragon - dramatic and the perfect backdrop
But that's me I guess.  Someone was so miffed off that they threw their sandwich at ME!!  I thought that was funny, but still.  I do feel something should be on hand for moments like this.  After all, this is all about entertainment IMO.
Hayden rounding the mini-corkscrew
Race day rolls around, the factory Honda's roll out a rather interesting race day livery in some shocking orange colour (which initially I wasn't too keen on - but it looked good in photos).  
MotoGP Aragon race winner Casey Stoner
The race wasn't exactly earth shattering, and Casey Stoner didn't surprise anyone by winning...with Aragon in the bag, it was back to the house.
A cava moment with Casey Stoner
With my flights to Barcelona that would take me to Amsterdam leaving on Tuesday afternoon, I had all day Monday to futz around and take it easy.  So, I left the house about 1pm and drove over a huge range of mountains to coast and the seaside town of Peñíscola.  It was just a zip trip to snag some photos of the castle on the Mediterranean (and I was reliably informed that this was the location for the making of the film El Cid by David Emmett) and so with some images captured I took the long route back to the house.  
The castle at Peniscola
Returning in time to finish up dinner and celebrate Jules and Bernadettes wedding anniversary.  Which was a rather nice way to cap off a wonderful week in the Spanish interior.
The view from room 503 at CitizenM
Tuesday, I would drive to airport.  Eventually find my good friend Abel, have lunch, board my flight to Amsterdam and then spend a nice evening in my favourite hip-hotel at Schipol, CitizenM. The next day it would be an easy walk to the airport and eventually home.
Padron peppers - happy anniversary to Jules and Bernadette
Next up, Australia, Malaysia...but for now, I am enjoying my time at home.