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Offline Kerritz

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2015, 09:35:39 pm »
I heard a rumour about this trip......cant wait for the rest Rainer! I think "epic trip" is an understatement.

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Offline Wild Woody

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2015, 09:41:57 pm »
Its taken long enough for this RR ........
 ;D
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Offline DirtRebell

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2015, 08:35:37 am »
Nice! Keep it coming!
 

Offline Lem

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2015, 09:09:47 am »
This is some awesome stuff Ranier! Keep it coming
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Offline Splash

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2015, 12:06:10 pm »
What an amazing trip. Please keep the reports coming.
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Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2015, 05:30:53 pm »
On the way to Kavala we stopped over for lunch at a restaurant in Kozani, no other guests were there but the owner was rather friendly. The language barrier hit us. I managed to order my first Greek salad in Greece, but the drinks order went like that: Carmen: Can I have a cup of tea please? Owner: Yes, Greek coffee! Carmen: No, I meant tea! Owner: Yes, Greek coffee! Me: Could I have a cappuchino? Owner: yes, Greek coffee! Me: Maybe you have an espresso? Owner: Yes, Greek coffee! Me: ok, two Greek coffee please! Owner: YES, I CHAVE!

We made a detour through Thessaloniki, which did not impress us much so we carried on to Kavala, a small but nice coastal place. Missing out on the campsite and being tired, we chose a 4* Hotel with a nice view over the harbour and all action was in walking distance. Good call that as it started hammering down with rain. That would have been fun in a tent...



Here a typical Greek activity (male dominated!)  :biggrin:



We were greeted with blue skies the next morning and after a large breakfast with lots of sweet stuff we got going towards Turkey. Along the stretch on the coast we stopped in Alexandropoulis for coffee and made another experience. They do not serve you coffee unless you order a meal? We asked why some other people had coffee and were told these were personal friends, not guests. Go figure.

We reached the Turkish border and had to pay EUR 30 for insurance cover. All of that because our mate Frank forgot to give us the green insurance card when we left Germany. At present we believe it is in Villach at our friend with the Oompa band, it didn't get any further than that. Then the Customs official wanted to see Frank's passport, in whose name the bike is registered and I already saw some problem coming up. But the chap simply accepted my explanation regarding SA residence and let us go. I was quite happy about that.

I had read on the GS-forum that max. speed for bikes in Turkey is 90kmh so I took the first opportunity at a police road block to stop and check with the occifers. They confirmed that, although you don't see anything on their traffic signs. He said 90 is allowed, 99 still accepted, 100 BIG problem. That's the rule, by which I stuck. Strange feeling when many cages overtake you on a bike, but not worth the trouble should you get fined.

Turkey smells different than Greece, no joke. Don't know why but it does. The road  was rather boring and the architecture - apart from the odd mosque - as well. Square buildings seem to be in. We reached our next overnight spot in Tekirdag at the coast. Again our incredible language skills provided us with a nice meal. The waiter said he speaks a little English, but he didn't. Not even a little. So instead of red wine we received Raki, a local aniseed Schnaps and instead of chicken, we got lamb based meat balls. All a local speciality according to the waiter. Back in the hotel Carmen got a little laughing fit when for the first time in her life she heard the muezzin make his prayer call. He sounded as if he was dying, maybe he was, we didn't go to check.

The distance to Istanbul was only 135 km and the ride was uneventful. I intended to make a picture at the city border, but didn't really find it and all of a sudden you are right in Istanbul. One of the most hectic traffic situations I have come across in my life. Total chaos, nobody gives a damn about bikes, everybody wants to be up front, they push in from all sides at all times, lines and robots are mere ornaments without any meaning. The hooter is important and a relative aggressive riding style helps. We made it into the city centre and found a hotel within walking distance to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia, the rates were ok and we were allowed to park the bike on the pavement, which is not normal. Istanbul is full of parking houses and big signboards with indicators, how many (if) empty bays are available. Obviously cars need to adhere to that, otherwise they will be towed away in no time. Here is our parking spot in front of the hotel:



A quick shower and off we went to the Blue Mosque, which was only 1.8km away. We lost the orientation, in the Orient nogal (!) despite a road map, but the road signage was not always there and we walked around a fair bit until we eventually found it. Shoes off, scarve for Swambo's head and we were in the Blue Mosque. Packed with thousands of other tourists, the smell was overwhelming, but what the heck, we don't get here too often.  Afterwards we walked over to the Hagia Sofia. Now all these old buildings are just awesome as they survived the war, different from central and northern Europe. We really liked it and will some day go back. Luckily we had no space on the bike, otherwise Carmen would have started a shopping spree. I mean these buildings are from the 6th century, can you believe it?


A small market on the way...



On the way to the mosque, a derelict building, still people living there...



In a mosque:



Shoes off, nose closed:



Blue Mosque ceiling:



Hagia Sophia:





Locals:



All highly interesting and impressive, the pics hardly reflect your real impressions. The evening was spent with a couple of friends who are pilots for Turkish Airlines. The next day we visited the cisterns, a water system from the 3rd century, still intact, with fish in the water.

Turkish coffee:



Tourism police:



the cisterns:



This was followed by a visit to the Grand Bazaar, a fantastic market place with plenty of Middle East influence, colours, smells, approach of dealers, we just loved the place.

We bought a silk scarf for our daughter:



I nearly bought this pure silk carpet. EUR 6000 only!



Every carpet dealer has a brother in Cape Town, who owns a restaurant in Long Street, can you believe it? We heard the story about three times, seems Istanbul's population is one big family.... :biggrin:

Grand Bazaar in daytime:



Another carpet dealer/coffee break:



At the Bosporus:



Grand Bazaar at night:



The evening was spent at a restaurant with the view of the Bosporus and the prices of that, too. A tourist trap of note, into which we walked without great hesitation. What the heck, first time in our lives. The people selling goods at the Grand Bazaar throw the packaging and all right into the street before closing the shops and the garbage collectors come during the night, next morning all is clean again, one well oiled machinery.


 

Offline Sláinte Mhaith

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2015, 05:38:23 pm »
 :sip:
 

Offline Kerritz

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2015, 05:44:38 pm »
What an adventure!
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Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2015, 02:21:50 pm »
The following morning it was time to visit the dentist and get rid of that problem. Carmen was worried about communication and they would just pull the tooth rather then fixing it. Where we in for a surprise. Obviously lots of Europeans travel to Turkey specifically to have their teeth fixed. The clinic was top modern, the dentist spoke English, albeit a touch limited and/or rusty but she could voice her concern and it took under an hour and she was done. I had a nice chat to the two ladies at the reception who wanted to know what we do and checked the bike with big eyes and said they would love to do a trip like that. They also brought me some lekker Turkish coffee, so my time there was no waste at all. Pity I had only space for one pillion... ;D

Here at the dentist:



After that we decided to go over the bridge at the Bosporus which separates Europe from the Middle East. Pointed the GPS right onto the bridge and went. But not onto the bridge. There were a few one way roads which were not marked as that on the GPS and we took an unwanted detour, following the rough direction to where we wanted to go. The traffic was getting thicker, thicker and thicker. I could smell the clutch, we could not or only hardly move, the traffic was completely gridlocked and it took us effectively half an hour to move like 20m. It was the first time since I ride adventures that the over heating warning light came on. We were also running low on fuel, so we decided to get off the bike for a while, let it cool down and check the next petrol station. Couldn't reach the one on the GPS as the traffic was directed by a cop who had different directions for us in mind than the GPS. Eventually we just followed the road and found a garage to fill up. The traffic was absolute chaos and we decided that the bridge is not a total necessity, so we rather wanted to carry on with the trip and made our way out of Istanbul, back towards Greece. In the evenings we had plenty of time to look at our options how to continue and the question came up if we should go to Athens or rather one of the Greek Islands which we had eyed during our planning stages. Athens lost out and we were on our way towards a greek island. Going back to Greece we followed the same route we came and stopped over night in Tekirdag, following the coast from there further down to Thessaloniki via a slightly different route. We found a cheap place in the middle of town, at ourselves silly at one restaurant, where a single portion would be sufficient for both of us. We had to round it off with some grappa. Walking back to the hotel it was the first time whilst travelling through Greece how bad the economic situation is down there. Every second shop or so was closed, but not for the day rather than barricaded for good. Sad story.



Two things that I remember came to mind. First of all the Garmin Europe Map has got speed restrictions built in. Whilst correct in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, they became more and more unreliable in the more southern countries and you have to check the actual signage rather than trusting the GPS. It can become rather expensive in Europe... We have not received one ticket in Europe whilst riding, by now we received a police picture from Italy, doing 79 in a 50 zone, I have no idea yet, what and if anything will come at all. Our friend, in whose name the bike was registered, can prove that we was working in Germany on that date and the bike is not registered any more. Time will tell, we just don't want our friend to bear the consequences of our action, that is not on. You collect point s rather quickly and it may be expensive. Time will tell.

The second matter was general usage of ATGATT in Europe, which was prominent up to Austria, the further down south you go, the less they deem it necessary to care. A big factor will be the higher temperatures around the Mediterranean countries, I guess.

From Thessaloniki we followed the road south towards via Katerini, past the Olympus to Larissa, from there to Trikala and cut from there right through the middle of upper Greece direction Arta, which was our destination for the day. What a great decision, see for yourselves:

At the Olympus



into the mounains:



A seldom used road, rocks the size of helmets had to be doged:



An old brigde:



Where we came from:



The road varied from tar to more potholes to gravel and we only came across a few cars during the whole day, the scenery through the mountains, on top of them and back down to the coast was fantastic.

The day was reaching the end for riding, but we cold not find a camping site. A hotel, 4*, that looked better than budget, was eventually found. As it was off season, the were quite happty to reduce the rate to budget level, how nice. As we arrived, we were the only guests. Whilst having our first beer we were watching a Durch Tourist Bus arriving and the group provided us with the entertainment for the evening, which would have been somewhat dull without them. About enquiring with the guy at the reception, he provided us with a tip where to go and the next aim for the day became Lefkada, which was also recommended previously to us. The ride
was easy and via a little bridge/sleuth we arrived on the island. After a bit of searching, we found the campsite. But it was one km away from the beach, which we did not want and also closed!? We spoke to another German couple who toured with their bus and they told us about a campsite on the mainland, further down and we agreed to meet there again as we were somewhat faster on the bike than them. The first campsite we found was actually crappy and whilst having our first beer and checking it out, we didn't like it at all and left again. We found another one further down the road, slightly better but still questionable. But we stayed. The other couple did not come, so they must have found another place to stay. I got orders to go shopping for beer and onions for supper. Easier said than done. I got an 8-pack of beer, no problem. But onions? No chance. First I had problems to find the greek word for onions, secondly this dorpie was inhabited by locals, who hardly spoke any English at all, so it was a lekker game of guess what I'm saying with lots of gestures, drawings etc. Then I received a tip from a young man who spoke a little English and said, I am in the wrong dorpie for onions. I had to go to the next village. On the GPS that was like 10km away? I asked how far and he said: 200m!  :imaposer:
They have a fruit and veggie shop. Which I could not find by means of the signage or trying to talk to locals there. I found a bakery (by the bread and cake pictures outside), which proved to be the veggie shop as well! Go figure? 5 Oranges were on display,three bananas, two aubergines, a few salads, NO ONIONS. I bought green peppers and decided, they had to do! I got back to the campsite quite late and swambo already was worried something had happened to me as it took such a long time. And I don't waste time when shopping! :pot: :peepwall:

She thought I had gone, with money, passports, telephone, i.e. everything she would need in an emergency. We laughed it off, tried the local beer and enjoyed our self made supper. The campsite was weird. I also noticed that they had big signs in the toilets not to throw the used toilet paper into the toilet but dispose of it in an open bucket. Really? Eish! :o

We followed the road north towards Igoumenitsa, where we wanted to board the ferry to Brindisi/Italy. The campsites we found along the coast did not impress us much and after a short discussion, we took the option to go to the island of Korfu instead, hoping it would be better as we had heard good feed back about Korfu. On the road to Igoumenitsa I spotted a 1200 Tenere and the rider sitting at a close coffee shop. The bike had Italian plates and we stopped to have a chat to the rider. What a good decision. He just came back from a trip to Teheran/Iran and had some good stories to tell. After learning that we were on our way to Italy, we took out our European map and he told us where to go and what to eat, always concentrating on things we were not aware about or simply did not know. All of it proved to be great advise and we have seen parts of Italy, which people don't visit often and tested local dishes and wines. Wunderbar!

En route to Igoumenitsa with our newest friend Luca, giving us fantastic tips:



Some roads on Lefkada came to an end, where they simply stopped and I had to turn around, no other way out.



At Mytikas, the second crappy campsite, at least right at the beach, my first swim in the Mediterranean sea:



Dinner, the cooker is crap!



Boarding for Corfu:



Our campsite at Dassia/Corfu (the owner wanted to keep our passports during the stay, we said, certainly not, we can pay cash, don't worry...we came across such request regularly!)



Corfu is a lekker island, it was really nice and quiet still being just before the holiday season started, they where just getting in shape for the tourist hordes, which we avoided.

We cruised the island, found nice restaurants at acceptable rates, including the campsite restaurant which was really good. The only thing, the Greeks don't make good wine. One afternoon we went for cocktails (about 7,50 EUR average), Carmen got a neck massage, in general life was good!



Transformer 3:



At a graveyard, a personal shrine with matters from live on display, this  chap did aged 27, possibly on the bike?



This chap stopped, we had also stopped to take a picture, and asked, if we were alright or needed help with/for the bike! We really liked that, genuine fellow that!



We spent four lekker days on the island and it was time to move again. Leaving Corfu:



We had the ferry from Igoumenitsa to Brindisi booked at a travel agent on Corfu. They only leave after midnight and as we have never done this before, we did not want to take a chance. Corfu was left in the afternoon and we rode around Igoumenitsa's port/town a bit, took some photos and had a beer or two, rounding the day off with dinner not far from the dinner. So we thought. Then we went to the quayside were the ferry was leaving. 30 trucks and three bikes were waiting, more trucks arriving. I found some Turkish Lira in my pockets and we could not use them or change them any more. I went and joined a group of truck drivers and asked, which one the driver was from the Turkish truck. They did not know what I was after and I was met with some reluctant faces, one guy saying, me, why? So I gave him the money and said he should buy some beers for his friends... Their faces lit up and big smiles and thank you's came over. I went back to Carmen and the waiting game started. It became dark and we looked far into the sea, not seeing a thing. A boat came and the lights became bigger, yay, our ferry! Not so. It docked next to us. Another one came about half an hour later, at good last! It went past our anchorage. Cut a long story short, ours came around 1 in the morning, you just sit there and waste time. Nobody knew (or told us) when it would arrive. A touch frustrating. I'm used to that in Africa, but in Greece?

Trucks and bikes



Waiting, seeing, and again waiting....



Finally time to board



Since the ferry took 7 hours we took a cabin to catch some sleep, I did not want to continue riding totally tiered. Well invested money and we caught some sleep before entering Italy.







« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 02:30:53 pm by King Louis »
 

Offline Dorsland

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2015, 07:36:22 pm »
Lekker adventure.  What's that saying about when in Greece, um Rome, do as the Greeks do  ;D
Geleerdheid in die kop van 'n dwaas is soos 'n lemmetjie in die hand van 'n aap.

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Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2015, 04:58:59 pm »
We went from Brindisi to Salerno, taking the side roads. Boy do they have curves in Italy, like well build women. Plenty of them. In fact, that day I had enough of them once we reached Salerno. You think our 22 is hectic, go to Italy. The closer we got to Salerno, the more hectic the traffic got. Go for the gap, all the time, from all sides, never mind what you ride/drive. I thought Istanbul was hectic, but the Italians are not far behind. We found a little B&B and a restaurant not far from it. The door was open, although there was nobody else there. Again we were too early - as usual. But hungry. The owner/chef was very friendly and we ordered our first Italian Pizza in Italy. Man was it good, just for that I would go back to that restaurant. The picture does not do it justice but it was hellishly lekker. The house wine was that good that we ordered another one for taking along. We kind of regularly kept an extra bottle with us, in case you don't find nice accommodation or run short of time to go shopping.



The next day was cruising along the Amalfi coast. Stunningly beautiful and a must for anybody in that area. The traffic is weird, although it was off-season, it was a good mixture of incidents. Either you do have Michael Schumacher on your arse or you have somebody going at walking speed. I have not yet worked out, how it works for Italians. Add in the odd bus on a tight bend and it becomes interesting.





We were set at our touring speed, taking the scenery in slowly. Beautiful coastline, small villages, tight street, nice old buildings, lots of cyclists (as crazy as here in the cradle....) and every now and then checking if the banana still works. On and off.



We reached the outskirts of Naples, a hectic city, traffic still crazy. Being in front at all times under all conditions is a local sport, scooters rule. A Golf GTI tried hard to get past but eventually gave up, I could just not make way and try to be polite but he stuck to my bumper within a couple of cm, so maybe my hand signs helped a bit, as he backed off. Luckily the bike has got some presence. As per our friend Luca's instructions, we took the road leading inland to L'Aquila.

On the way





The ride was stunning, through part of the Abbruzzes and Grand Sasso National Park. Pity we did not see any bears, which we were warned about. Finally we reached L'Aquila, which was subject to an earth quake six years ago, 308 people died, reconstruction costs at 16 billion USD. The centre of town was the most affected, the buildings are still under construction. As per further information supplied, the guys in charge pocketed the money rather than spending it on the reconstruction!!!! Pretty much like in SA, isn't it? In Germany, the town would have been fully re-done 6 years later.



All hotels which we "found" in the GPS, were either non-existent any more or simply closed or under construction. The weather turned for the worse and the first four we found, were all full, so we decided to get out of town and put up with whatever we would find coming up. I was tired and the rain hammered down. Not a pleasure. After a while we saw the sign "Hotel" and followed the little road leading up to it. Under construction, brand new, not yet open to the public. And on we went. A short while later we eventually found another one and they had "the last room" for the night available. We heard that phrase often.....but it was good, clean and the restaurant provided us with the specialities Lucas mentioned to us, plus a top class wine, so the day was rounded up in complete satisfaction. We had pasta Amatriziana and Raviolo D'Abruzzo, washed down with a rather expensive red wine from the Abruzzo area.

Fresh, but dry, we continued the next morning via Assergi to the Campo Imperatore (surprisingly not well known amongst other bikers in Europe?), a beautiful mountain area. Going down to Ofena for coffee we went via Teramo to our day's destination Benito del Torro....(plus VAT) were we found a campsite again.

Campo Imperatore





The GPS directed us via strange side roads once again, one ending up in a dead end, closed off by a barrier. A bit of squeezing and we just made it, as I was not interested to go back and find a different route again.



See honey, it worked, no problem



Benito del.....Gran Tourismo? I do not want to be here in peak season. The campsite was nice, but right at the railways and trains going through all night. Yeah, camping is great.....



Short cut under the railways



For what it's worth, I checked the oil the next morning before getting going. Right empty....of course it had to be a Sunday morning. No shops open, petrol stations closed, petrol available prepaid for notes or credit card. Sherbit! We went back to the campsite, at least they spoke English and could tell us where to get some, what a relief.

We went north to Ancona and cut left inland again to the Toscana. Beautiful and via GPS side roads again. But GPS lacked a bit of talent when it came to interpretation of English in terms of camp site. We were lead over a gravel road to the top of a mountain, but absolutely no campsite there. The next 4 B&B's fully booked, it was a long weekend, which we did not even know. The day got long and we found a very nice little B&B somewhere in Chianti (area) and had a great dinner. The Italians can't drive but boy can they cook up a storm. First time I had a white pizza. Based with Brie cheese and apples, a great combination!

A wine farm





Along the strada del vino



Carmen found out that we were actually more in the Umbria area than the Toscana and we took direction inland again, avoiding the bigger roads and staying away from the main traffic. The weather was great and I have the habit, to ride with an open visor often. As usual, you are paying for that with getting hit by insects regularly. One worked it's way up my sleeve and stung me three times, another one worked itself between the buff and my neck, not too bad but good enough to be irritating.

We found a campsite and it was time for Swambo to proof her talent in the clothes washing area, which I leave to her. I checked the bike for wear and tear and all bolts etc, which can be done with a wine glass in hand, right? The inner lining of the tankbag had a tear and needed fixing with duct tape. Exhausting....

The route for the next day was just zig sagging along, towards Siena / Florence.

Some impressions



That's what happens when you don't understand the sign board....no way around this one but back to where we came from



Self catering the next evening, one does not always need a restaurant



The Tuscany, what a nice part of Italy, beautiful to ride and enjoy the old stone buildings, coffee shops etc.





Every couple of km I had to stop the battle ship and turn around, as Carmen needed to take pictures. Again the scooters were kings in the towns and we eventually reached Florence. The city is hectic and didn't do it for us, so we decided to carry on to Bologna.

Of course we picked the route with a certain rain forecast...



In line with the weather conditions, we decided not to camp and stayed at a little Hotel in the middle of town. It is a student city with a different old city centre, rather interesting, but somewhat dirty. Lots of graffiti. I find this a lack of education and respect. Lots of people flowing through the narrow streets, plenty of shops with specialities, hams, cheeses, sweets of all kind and obviously boutiques. All at rather high prices, which I doubt the students will pay, rather the tourists. As we did not know how long we would still be in Italy, we once again had pizza and a lambrusco to dream off. We also found some nougat, cookies and Grappa, one has to taste local specialities, right?







More to follow...


 

Offline dirtyXT

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2015, 07:11:33 am »
 :thumleft: my dream trip through italy and all the little places inbetween. keep it coming!
Bike history:
Ital jet 50 - sold, DT 50 - scrapped - AR80 - sold DT185 - confiscated  KDX250 - sold ZZR400 - sold KX500 - XT660R Swapped for R1 YZF R1 - sold - XT660Z - current

 

Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2015, 11:58:27 am »
Venice was our next destination and to get there is best a quick job. Once out of Bologna, it get's boring crossing the Po delta. Straight roads, flat surroundings, but absolutely nothing exciting. Our next door neighbors at Korfu told us about a nice campsite just before Venice. Mestre was reached quickly and after a few words with some friendly locals we found the camping ground. It was quite well organized, clean, and a few more international visitors than the usual German retirement army with their top of the range campers. The tent was up in less than ten minutes, security not an issue according to other campers, so we left the luggage roll in the tent, locked the bike panniers and took the bus to Venice.

A tourist city of note, expensive and packed with tourists from all over the world. Despite all this, we liked it a lot, the city has got a good vibe. You can virtually walk all of it or you can take a boat connecting the various parts of the city or you can take a gondola, including an "o-sole-mio" performance with an on-board tenor. We skipped that and just looked at one performing whilst his partner was propelling the gondola with a stick through the canals. Entry level for a gondola trip about EUR 80 for half an hour. Some of the shops had so many different things on offer that even I would have bought some stuff, but due to space restrictions we stayed away from that.

A masque manufacturing/selling shop:



A monkey and a grappa



Evening approaching



Holding on



The next day was planned to get back to Venice and take the day to see what else it had to offer. It did not come to that. I thought, I had a bout of food poisoning. Left the tent to go to the bathrooms, half way there something tore me down, hard and fast and the world was spinning around me. I never had that before. I managed to go to the shower and wash, dried off, put my clothes on again and round number two hit me. An attack of note which made the world spin around in all directions and no order, I went down again, managed to crawl to the shower, sat against the wall and showered ice cold until it felt a touch better. Dressed again and walked slowly back to the tent, swaying like a drunk. I started feeling sick. Carmen had left the tent already, I went down again and threw up, sweating profusely. It was the first time in my life that I asked my wife to call an ambulance, I did not know what was wrong and knew I could not handle it on my own. Time to check out our travel insurance. It worked well and Carmen managed to call an ambulance - doctors don't come, you have to get to the hospital. Another advantage is you do not have to sit in the waiting area when you reach the hospital but go straight into the emergency section where a doctor starts checking you. Blood tests, ECG, blood pressure tests were all done, I was put on a drip and waited what would happen. Carmen was not allowed in and one of the male nurses helped translating between me and the doctor. I insisted on malaria and bilharzia testing, which they initially did not want to do, but I wanted to know. In the afternoon I got the all clear and we took a taxi back to the campsite, I was good again. What a relief. Even the Discovery peeps checked up how I was doing - probably they also wanted to know if any further treatment and associated costs would be necessary. We paid cash at the hospital and got all refunded under our policy, no problem at all. Good to know, if and how the system works.

In the ambulance



Venice was delayed by a day, but I was good again and we had a fantastic touristic day. Piazza San Marco (clap made the trap and they hammered us for two beers at EUR 27,60 - so far our record in Europe. At the exchange rate valid at last year it came to about R 420.00!!! Rialto Bridge and some of the churches and other cultural buildings were visited, mixed with some food and drinks.

Alternative transport

 

Rialto bridge



Where we bought the pub



Venice was done, I was good again and back at the campsite we met three Spanish club riders, who hardly spoke any English at all. We took our Europe map out and explained to them in the typical hand fashion dialogue about our tour. They took out a  pen and left marks on the map where we should go. Again, like our Italian mate from Greece, these tips proved to be worth their value in gold. A couple of beers later we shook hands and went to bed.

I had another attack last December, the diagnosis was that I had a viral infection of my balancing nerve. You feel like a permanent drunk without having to pay for it. Luckily in Europe it did last a day only and we could carry on with our trip. Last time it took me two months to get back to normal. Since it is viral, there is a good chance it will be recurring, although I hope not. There is no cure for it yet, the quacks can only treat the symptoms, but not the cause.

Out of Venice we took the highway for a change. The route is boring and we just wanted to cover distance, before we reached Verona, on to Bergamo in 38 degrees heat and over to Como. We found a small hotel in the middle of town, at the promotional rate of EUR 89 for the night. Hotels at the lake front start from EUR 120 upwards. Thank you. The hotel was good and clean, the staff very friendly and it was within walking distance of the lake front anyhow. We walked around a bit and had nice dinner with a fantastic view.

Lake Como



We checked the map and decided to take the St. Gotthard road, Grimselpass and Furkapass to get to my best mate Juerg and his wife Noemin in Switzerland. They live close to Gstaad and we were happy not to have to pay for accommodation, which is stupidly expensive. We really tried hard not to convert everything into Rands, but it does not always work, I promise. We paid for shopping food and wine and took our mates out, the good thing aside from the price niveau in Switzerland is that you get top quality.

Here a few shots from Switzerland, which I love....







These passes, paradise........







We were surprised about the amount of bikers doing these passes. There were hundreds of them, all of them going faster than us, enjoying the views and rather cruising through this utterly beautiful area. We had lost our feeling for time and did not notice, that we did the passed during a public holiday, that's why there were so many bikes on the road. We avoided the restaurants and stopped at a little caravan en route, much like a boereroll seller. They had swiss cheese samis on sale, wow, they were good!

We stayed with our friends for three days, who took us under their wings and we toured together in their car through the neighboring areas, including the Berner Oberland, Lauenburg, Montreux, Gruyere with the Giger bar and museum (the inventor of the aliens, who passed away last year).

We had lunch in front of the Eiger Northface, went via Interlaken, a clock shop town taken over by Chinese. They even have Chinese staff to cater for the busloads of Chinese who are buying watches. And they come in the thousands. A watchmaker was interviewed on TV and asked, why he would open another shop as he had already two in town. He said they simply can not cope with demand. And the watches they sell are not the cheap ones!

A few more impressions

 

Eiger Northface



Check the paraglider...



Coming back to my mates house, I park the bike next to his car and put it on the centrestand to check the oil. I don't do that too often, as I know the adventure pretty well. His car was parked on a concrete strip, the bike on grass. As I bend down next to it to check the sight glass, the soft ground gave in to one side and the bike fell onto my mates car. Fuckshit. Big dent and nice scratches on the door panel. On the bike, the throttle bent, the screen bent, on of the holding pins sheared off. So I bent everything back as good as possible, in the process breaking the second pin holding the screen. I fixed that temporarily with cable ties, the pins could be replaced at a later stage. I left some Swiss Francs with my mate and he told me later that all was covered plus a meal for the two of them. Man, 9000 km without any problem and then this shit. Anyhow, the company and the surrounding just were so good that this little incident did not bother us for too long. I still had to visit some business partners in Basel and Zurich, which was combined with seeing some old friends and we had a really good time. Then our backsides started itching and we needed to ride again into new areas, France was on the cards.

 

Offline Knucklhead

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2015, 12:31:22 pm »
Very mooi
 

Offline Dorsland

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2015, 03:20:51 pm »
Wow it has got expensive to travel on the Rand  :o  I have never been to Switzerland but it looks beautiful.  As a whenwe it would be interesting to get some of your general impressions of Europelater on in the RR KL.
Geleerdheid in die kop van 'n dwaas is soos 'n lemmetjie in die hand van 'n aap.

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Offline Jondu

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2015, 09:30:49 pm »
Sub
 

Offline Kerritz

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2015, 11:39:51 am »
Eeeish.....that food poisoning besigheid is not good!

Where is the rest?
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Offline ButtSlider

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2015, 12:44:27 pm »
Dammit, just as I was getting into it. . . . . . . it just stops.  :dousing: :sip:
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Offline Man from Nam

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2015, 02:19:59 pm »
 :sip:
Lekker :thumleft:
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Offline silvrav

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2015, 02:34:44 pm »
 :sip: