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Online Mikie

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2015, 02:02:03 pm »
What a trip!!!
:paw:

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Offline bud500

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2015, 03:44:02 pm »
Great trip and lekker travel writing.
May the bridges I burn light the way...
 

Offline Sputnik080

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2015, 03:56:46 pm »
Absolutely wonderful!
History:
1) 2008 Vuka XT125 (sold)     2) 2013 Motomia Java 170 (sold)     3) 2000 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin (sold)     4) 1994 Honda CBR600 F2 (sold)     5) 2004 Honda XL650V Transalp (sold)     6) 2004 BMW R1200GS (current)
 

Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2015, 08:31:53 pm »
The time had come to carry on. It was difficult with our friends being so nice to us and looking after us so bloody well, but our bums were itching, to be honest. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that I could not stand up straight in my mates house! I'm 1.95 and his place is a 500+ years old house and the flat, they provided for us, had such small headspace that I had to walk bent most of the time.  ;)

Our route lead us via Gstaad, Col de Pillon, Chamonix, Martigny to Grenoble. The Montblanc was not to be seen as it was totally covered in clouds. We found a nice little campsite and finished the day of with Pizza and Lambrusco once again. In France, the bathrooms are not separated for male and female, which I did not know, just wondered why there was a chick half dressed talking to her boy shaving. Interesting!

We were eventually riding on the Route Napoleon, cutting further south. Nice riding, as faster speed was possible than in Switzerland, until my speed control knocked on my helmet..... ::) Our next overnight destination was Digne des Baines, a thermal bath. It was raining and we decided to take a hotel room. The place was rather empty and the restaurant was closed because of that. So we had to ride back into town for dinner. No soccer, as no TV with the appropriate channel to watch the worldcup. What the heck, it did not really matter. We wanted to see some games but took it easy, when we could not see it. The last thing I was missing for three months was actually TV. Don't know if we missed much, but I don't think so.

The following day was a hammer. The distance was rather short, but the scenery was stunning. We rode  the Gorge du Verdon, plenty of other bikes and campers on the road, but what a fantastic area. If you ever get close, do it! We continued via Grasse to Vence, where we found a nice B&B to stay. We went to town and had a couple of drinks and eventually found a nice little speciality shop where we bought cheese, ham and fresh bread, some whine, so dinner was "at home". Carmen was a touch sour grapes, as despite TV we missed the Germany game, only to learn afterwards by our neighbor, that it was on, just on a different channel. Was I glad that I was not responsible for that! >:D

Hitting a natural road block:



Entering the Gorge du Verdon



Gorge du Verdon



Travellers breakfast



We always wanted to see Monaco, Nizza and in general the French South Coast. Monaco is just one hell of an expensive place. Old buildings, in very good nick, compared to rather shoddy looking places in Nizza. The undergroung highway system with traffic circles was impressive. We did part of the formula one race track (well you can't really miss it, the place is not that big...) and at least I can now state that I stood at pole position. We took a break in a little coffee shop which we needed to charge our camera battery. Whilst sitting there, we noticed that once again scooters are kings, but we also saw millions of rands going past us in form of top of the range cars.  It was good to have seen it, but I am not sure if I need to go again. It is just not our scene.

Cannes was even worse. People are there to see and to be seen. Luxury cars for hire by the hour, one boutique next to the other. Prices from different planets than the one we live on. Traffic: stop and go. We found a nice little campsite, quite empty and we had peace. Our cooker didn't do the job, so we went to a restaurant, at least we could watch some soccer that night. We had a swim in the Mediterranean and a good nights sleep before carrying on to Saint Tropez. Another place which is kind of nice, traffic horrific, old town ok but full of other tourists, so we left it again and went inland towards the Provence. How beautiful and what a nice change. Rolling hills, forests, farms led us eventually to a small place named Carces and we found a hotel with cheap accommodation. We were the only guests. Dinner was bought at a local super market, but it was rather nice. Better than camping, as it was - yes you guessed right - raining. The bike was parked in the street and in the middle of the night I was checking, if she was still there. She was. ;)

Nizza



En route to St. Tropez with the red rock formations, for which the area is famous





Bike parking in Carces



Checking at night



Leaving Carces we approached the coastal stretch again. Something was not right with the gears and I stopped in Montpellier to check it out. Could not find it right away and had problems, to gear down. Only when I stopped, could I do that. That was a bit of a nuisance and concerning, when going through the Carmargue.



Because of the gearing problem, we decided to carry on to Barcelona, as the do have BMW bike garages. We arrived Thursday afternoon and met with the service manager, who spoke no English at all. Oh ja, on the way there the cable ties ripped off and the screen said hello to me, going down flat. So I held it with one hand in place, as the wind was hammering at 130kmh. Do that for about 10 minutes and your arms are getting tired. Very tired. Eventually I slowed down as I could not hold the screen upright against the wind any more. Only then did I realize how much pressure is on the screen at 130kmh plus.... it is enormous!

The service manager did not really understand what I was talking about and pretended, he did, but he was looking at places at the bike which had absolutely nothing to do with what my problem was. I booked her in for the next day, she was also due for the 40,000 km service in any case. We found a hotel in walking distance (quite a walk, though) and headed for the local night scene. The place was called Sabadell, which is a suburb of Barcelona. At least it was local and not overrun with tourists. One of restaurants not far from the hotel became our hotspot for the next couple of nights for dinner. They had tapas and all kind of other things at very reasonable prices and a TV which showed the soccer games. All of them realized rather quickly, that we were Germans. I wonder why? :biggrin:

At night I established a list of the things I wanted checked and explained the problem I had with the bike and translated everything with google. Since I had no printer, I had to write everything down. The next day, I gave the list to the mechanic. What a fantastic guy, as usual, a biker himself, speaking good basic English and we struck an immediate repertoire and understanding of the issues on hand. What was interesting was that BMW Spain does not recognize the BMW worldwide guarantee I had purchased with the bike!!!! Unreal. I was concerned as it might have been a problem with the gear box, which can get rather expensive.  The mechanic did the service and - as usual - could not find anything wrong with the gear box or the clutch either. The bike was fine. Yeah, right! So on Saturday we rode up to Andorra, I always wanted to be there, don't ask why. Beautiful road through Spain to get there, stopped by the Police! Once we got closer to Andorra the traffic thickened and became stop and go, us right in between the cars. On the right side was a separated lane, obviously for bicycles. After the third motorbiker went through, I followed a Spanish chap and bypassed all the traffic. Only to be picked out by a nice police officer, who mentioned that it is an offence and the penalty is EUR 250.I explained that I followed the Spanish guy, as he should know the local laws. But  he was not happy with that. I apologized profusely and eventually he let us go with a stern warning not to do that again. Would I? :patch: :ricky:

Andorra



Andorra is very modern, in fact too modern for us. It was nice being there but even the old town was re-built and looked somewhat too modern to us. It is a purchasing paradise for Spanish and French people, as it offers tax discounts for electronics and all.  Other than that it is not such a big attraction, but rather sterile. We left it to return to Sabadell via the French side. A stunning ride through the mountains. Again I developed problems with gearing down. Furthermore, the GPS packed up completely, obviously on a day when we had planned to watch a Germany soccer game. We managed by memory and a bit of criss crossing to find the hotel in time and could watch the game in our favourite restaurant. The following day we did the Barcelona Tour in the hop-on hop-off bus and soaked in the most important sights of the town. It is Gaudi Town, the architect, who is responsible for the most impressive buildings in town. It was quite impressive. Once again, full with tourists like us.....

Back via France





Graffity, a sign of disrespect by somebody. I hate it.



Monday morning back to BMW, changing the timing belt which they did not have on stock and checking the problem again. What a relief, a nut had loosened which kept the connecting rods in place via a ball joint. One can not see that unless you remove the part in front. It was quick and cheap and that was the one and only problem we encountered during the whole trip. What a pleasure.

We quickly went to the Garmin shop in town, they could not find the problem, did not have a spare battery, but gave us the cabling and a new mounting thingy free of charge. They checked our purchase details from years ago from SA and had us on the system!!! Wow, that was impressive.

Our Spanish friends we met in Italy had told us not to use the road down the coast southwards, and I had in mind to see Madrid for no particular reason but wanting to be there. So we continued inland towards Madrid.

 

Offline michnus

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2015, 08:38:34 am »
lekker, subscribe  :sip: :thumleft:

Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #45 on: March 07, 2015, 12:41:03 pm »
The road to Madrid gave us a completely different scenario from the coast, interesting from a different landscape and the smells. Really. Via Zaragossa it smells of pig farming all the way. This earthy clay smell, but not overbearing. The Spanish must kill every pig coming into sight, because we did not see a single one in the whole of Spain. I'm not lying. Another reason could be that we ate all of them en route. Everything with jamon this, jamon that, starters with jamon, main dish with jamon. In the tapas bars they usually have complete hams hanging, 80-100 is the norm. When we saw three pigs on a farm some 200m away cruising through Portugal we actually stopped to take a picture. As much as going to Kruger and sighting a leopard. Actually I have seen more Leopards in Kurger than pigs in Spain!!! :imaposer:

Our GPS gave up it's ghost completely and we stopped at a petrol station and purchased a map of Spain/Portugal, as our European map in the tank bag was just not detailed enough and we zigzagged through the country without much orientation. With the more detailed map purchased we found our bearings again and carried on to Madrid. Now that city surprised me. Millions of people, very very clean city, lots of historical buildings, nice parks, despite the fact that it was full with traffic, they somehow manage to keep that traffic flowing, by far better than in other big city we visited. How they do that I do not know, but it was quite a pleasure to have such change. We did not feel like camping and found the "Best Western Hotel" in the city centre, so we could reach many attractions on foot. At a price, though. The parking garage for the bike was 14 EUR per day.....! We walked and walked and walked and just enjoyed it, it's a lekker place to chill and enjoy food and the old town buildings, I liked it a lot.

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza



Motocross fans?



The chap was real, check the next pic.....some way of making money, ain't it?



The royal palace



We walked the old city and hit a tapas bar to increase our jamon intake once again. Although I cheated a bit with chicken. Carmen, as usual, thanked them in French. She has a knack for languages, so in France she usually said mille grazie, in Spain Merci beaucoup, in Portugal grazias, back in France obrigado and so on. Funny enough people never said anything, possibly wondering more about her hubby who cracked regularly when she applied her verbal tricks. But sometimes, she was happy...see for yourselves:





Nobody there?



But now! There she is, queen Louise....



Beautiful park



Spanish village with olive plantations surrounding same. They have huge areas just for olives. Did I say huge? Yes, huge.



From Madrid we took the route via Toledo and then side roads down to Granada, which lies beautifully before the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We were looking to find accommodation with TV to see the Germany/USA match. The campsite didn't have. Neither the next three hotels. I had done around 500km, which is on the longer side of days in the saddle and wanted to park the bike, eat something decent, wash it down with some local wine and put legs up. After a short intercom notification (slap agains helmet from behind), I slowed down so we could communicate and we decided to carry on to the coast, as it was only 70 km away and I thought to add that and call it a day. It did not work out. On the way the intercom knocked on my helmet again. Slowing down again, what now? Don't you want to go to Sierra Nevada? No, I'm tired, I'm moeg, we said we gonna go to the coast now, didn't we? Yes. So where do you want to go now? Sierra Nevada! :biggrin:

Guess what, we turned left towards Sierra Nevada. A great road lead us up the mountain towards the top of Sierra Nevada and whilst riding, we noticed a sign: campsite, which you could not see from the street. Turn around to check it out, decision made chop chop. Very few campers, nice, clean, quiet, with pub and restaurant. All we needed. The tent was pitched with the door opening facing the surrounding mountains and Granada in the distance, stunning. The pizza we ordered was possibly the worst we had the whole trip, but the wine made up for it. No shops close by  either, so you put up with what you can get.

The view from the campsite



Packing up the tent and all had become a routine, chop chop and everything has it's place. The only problem was lifting the luggage roll on to the bike, when my back said to me, I don't like this. I have had this before, signs of wear and tear from years of competition dancing and playing squash. So halfway up I dropped the bag like a hot potato. This can develop into a nasty situation, as you can't move much any more. I took a painkiller and took the riding very very easy, particularly the slow manoevres. Luckily it did not get worse, you still move around 450kg in motion and one wrong turn can have nasty after effects. We encountered very little traffic taking an extended way through the mountains to the coast. Absolutely scenic ride, very enjoyable.

We hit the crest of the mountain pass and I was already excited to see the coast and smell the salty air. What a disappointment when that happens, you are looking at a sea of white plastic sheets all over the place. Green houses (white one's) as far as the eye could see. The air full of fertilizer smell.



A quick decision was made to carry on via Adra to Motri



Because of my back we decided not to camp and found a little two star hotel, absolutely nice. We walked along the beachfront and came to an area with various restaurants and took seats in a good looking place. Receiving the menus, we had one glance at the prices, closed the menus, got up and out of that establishment. Tourist rape of note. After a while we found one that we liked and the prices were more budget like. Nope, no ham today! Curry chicken for madame and pork chops for me and a decent wine rounded up another different day.

 

Offline Dorsland

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2015, 02:32:29 pm »
This is an awesome trip KL, different from the normal types of adventure rides we read about here but really lekker.  I'd love to do a trip like this.  Spain looks beautiful, those parks so clean and neat and civilised.  Great reading, looking forward to more. :thumleft:
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Offline Topie

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2015, 07:18:51 pm »
Awesome report, looking forward to the rest......   :happy1:
 

Offline DirtRebell

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2015, 08:31:58 am »
What a beautiful trip you've had.
At least a once in a life time must-do.


 

Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #49 on: March 15, 2015, 03:48:21 pm »
Carrying on south towards Malaga, we stayed on the coastal road. The GPS was still non-functional, we googled the next Garmin shop in Malaga and after a bit of criss crossing the town we actually found the shopping centre with the mentioned shop. Yeah! Packed with electronic gadgets, but no more Garmin products, neither a fitting battery.

The campsites along that coastal road did not look promising, the towns of Malaga and Torremolinos are hot spots for tourists and we were not impressed. It was an easy decision to turn inland with Ronda as our next destination. We found a small but very decent hotel right in the city centre and had a good night out in the old town of Ronda. The surrounding area is well known as the route of the white villages, roads in excellent condition and beautiful surroundings. We planned a route for the next day, which we could not do as on road was completely closed to traffic and we changed direction without a detailed plan. What a fantastic ride and for the first time we saw the trees out of which wine bottle corks are being made.





Zahara village





Cork trees



Cork factory



From there we rode to the southernmost part of Europe, Tarifa. A paradise for kite surfers and beachbums. The old town is packed with bars and restaurants and a permanent stream of tourists is around, the ferries to Tanger going hourly. We found a bar with soccer coverage of the world cup, the atmosphere was great and supporters of all teams were around. I had to inform a couple of Dutch supporters that their country's participation is ok, but unfortunately they won't get far.They did not like that and branded me, which I could not avoid, there were too many of them.

Dutch fans





Washed in the morning, warn first time at night, spare ribs....



The Rock. Gibraltar



15km from Africa



This was a bit touchy for us, being 15 km away from our home continent. Sounds kind of melodramatic, but that's just the way it was, even if SA is still a tad away. The next day was spent shopping as camping was planned for a few days after Tarifa. Carmen still insisted on putting her feet into the two different seas, similar to our Cape Agulhas. Done and dusted.

After shopping we took the road north and after a 20 minute ride we found a very nice campsite with direct access to the coast. A kitesurfers dream and I will be looking into that, looks like great fun and the kitesurfers we spoke to recon that it is actually easier than windsurfing. We watched these okes for hours and spent plenty of time walking the beaches. It was not peak season and suited us just fine. In summer this place must be packed to the hilt. If we should come back to Spain some day, this will be one of the spots to be re-visited!

As usual on the trip, we split the workload. Carmen had to wash some clothes and cook dinner, I had to open the wine bottle, still being rather exhausted from the 20 minute ride. ;D

Kite surfing





We spent a couple of days relaxing and doing very little but eating and drinking local wine/lemonade mixtures, which were just lekker.

Via Sevilla and Huelva we finally reached Portugal with it's Algarve coast.



Up to Faro the area is pretty much covered in marsh and not that attractive, from Faro the long white sand beaches began. We reached Lagos, a very clean and neat city where we had some lunch and continued to Sagres, the most southwestern part of Portugal, where the rocky part of the Algarve starts, which most people know from pictures. It is a pitty that you have to take the mainroad inland to the north and if you don't know exactly, what the actual coast is like, you have to take chances without knowing what you will see. Without fail we came across beautiful beaches and rock formations.









The day ended in Sines and we were keen to see the Germany/France game. The Vasco da Gama Hotel looked rather inviting  but was out of our budget at 110 EUR. As they were rather empty, and we explained that our budget would not allow us to stay, they dropped the rate to 75 EUR. So we took the room. Super service, very friendly, top restaurant and for a change I had a fillet steak. Very nice, but not close to our meat in SA. If you want to enjoy good meat, stay in SA! Just a hint, you know.....

Our next stop was Lissabon and once again we attempted to visit a Garmin dealer. WIth google maps and a bit of memory we managed to find the shop. And it was a Garmin dealer!!! But it was Saturday, the shop was closed. I don't know what it is with me and Garmin, I really don't.

Many houses had tile pictures on their walls, depicting the profession of the owner, rather interesting



We worked out way up to Estoril and further and I managed to find a "Salao Cabelleireiras Estetica Hombre" = barber, where I managed to get a hair cut. They did not speak any English whatsoever and we had some fun explaining what I wanted with many handsigns and pantomime moves, followed by lots of laughter. It cost 7 EUR and I left a 3 EUR tip, the lady doing the haircut was more than happy. I don't think that happens too often as these little places are more or less only used by locals.



 

Offline michnus

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #50 on: March 15, 2015, 05:20:35 pm »
I can live in Portugal easy peasy, it's a seriously cool country.  :thumleft:

Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #51 on: April 11, 2015, 03:32:55 pm »
Well we are not done yet..... :ricky:

The evening was spent in a recommended restaurant, which was excellent and we had Portuguese flat chicken, wine for swambo and a beer for myself, as I still had to ride back to the hotel, they had a restaurant but it would not open before 8 and as usual, we were rather hungry and decided to go downtown. It was a good choice. Some light drizzle woke us up the next morning but stopped just before we started riding towards Porto. It rained on and off and the temperature had dropped considerately, so we decided to skip camping and booked a room in the Ibis Hotel, not expensive and pretty central so we could walk to the old town of Porto and stroll around the many very old buildings and the river front, where all the action is. In one of the side streets we found a local restaurant, that really looked good but they specialized on prawns and octopus meals, which swambo does not eat. She said we should stay and she will have something later but that was not ok with me, so we carried on and found a place which made lekker prego rolls and we tasted various Port wines from the region, which went down well. There were many people around and lots of live entertainment, altogether a round evening and we enjoyed walking quite a bit for a change. The bike was safe in the underground parking and the hotel staff very friendly.

A tram, which we haven't seen for quite a while:



Some of the port we had to taste



Interesting road signs!



Everything is pretty run down in Portugal. Either they do not have the funds for maintenance or they do not spend the money for it, which is a pity. We had done enough coastal stretches and decided to cut inland towards the mountainous area. What a good call. En route we still found another Garmin shop, but once again no battery in stock and a three day waiting period, which we thankfully skipped. So we continued without GPS and followed the map, which was rather large. Often we circled a round about a couple of times, before somehow deciding which exit to follow, as neither was the road named nor the next city we wanted to go to. Eventually you follow the general direction and get to where you want to be. The road led us via Braga through the mountains to Chaves and further to Braganca, a beautiful stretch to ride and very little traffic. Not far from the old city centre we found the Tulip Hotel, a three star establishment with a Pizzeria restaurant attached. Two beautiful old beemers with Swiss plates were parked in front.



The restaurant proved to be a pearl of note. So far the only good pizza you can get in Italy, in other European countries it is called pizza, but it is just not the same. The owner had his training in Italy and cooked up a storm. The waitress was a gem, extremely helpful, not overbearing and made some really good suggestions regarding the food and which wine would be best to round the meal up. Eventually she told us that she was the owner's daughter. After dinner we joined the Swiss couple and had a great evening. We exchanged details and hope, they will come and visit us in SA. They were quite keen. Some Spanish chaps we met told us about the beauty of Galizia, but eventually we decided to carry on to Picos de Europa instead. Towards the Spanish coast, we reached Leon, where we found a BMW dealer. I quickly went in and asked them to check the GPS, one of the wires had come lose but we still had the issue with the dead battery. They had a BMW GPS unit, which is identical to the Garmin and has the same battery. Once swapped, the GPS worked like a charm. But they did not have a battery in stock, it would take three days to order. I don't know if I mentioned this, but we heard that story rather often. So I said to the guys, order one, but give me the BMW GPS battery. That seemed to be a strange concept but after a while they agreed. Yay, our GPS was fully functional again. We found a little tapas bar/restaurant and decided for dinner to buy some lomo ham, cheese, bread and red wine, for the pricely sum of EUR 14 which proved to be a rather good dinner which was consumed in the hotel room while watching the demolition game between Germany and Brazil. We could hardly believe what we saw...... :o

En route to Leon



The Bazilian demolition



We focused on Picos de Europa, what a stunning area, a must for anybody in the area. We found a bed and breakfast for hikers in the little dorpie of Sta. Marina de Valdeon. Bunk beds (too short for myself), in a loft room, toilets and showers two stairs down, pub/restaurant in the middle. But the owner, a young couple, were fantastic and did everything themselves. A couple of dishes were offered in the evening and it was really nice, homemade food and as usual some local red wine. The owners father also stayed for a couple of days and really enjoyed talking to us in German nogal, he used to work for Siemens. The total population of Sta. Marina de Valdeon is 13, During summer a few more, so the one night we met with 75% of the local population in the pub. We stayed two nights and toured the area, nature at it's best, Mountains, valleys, gorges and all, very good roads, little traffic, all in all a little paradise.

See for yourself



Sta. Marina de Valdeon



Handmade weather forecast



We hiked a bit



Our B&B, very cosy



Riding all days was fun...



Picos de Europa





Our very nice hosts



Our next station working along the coast was Laredo. The original plan was to go to Biarritz and up north along the French coast, but the weather forecast got continuously worse so we changed our minds and went east to Pamplona and do the Pyrenees instead, which was a good call. Once again we were caught by rain in Pamplona (the bull run was over already....) and one car was just so slow I had to overtake. Just as I accelerated, the rear wheel started spinning and the battle ship made a funny side move. The traction control kicked in and steadied the bike instantly. I am quite happy about such technology and can't say, if I would have saved it on my own, but fully loaded two up it is a handful to control.

The weather got worse, the rain more and fog was added to the mixture that you could hardly see anything right in front of the bike. Eventually we called it a day in a small hotel on the French side, very neat and very expensive.





Dinner, various courses, the menu looked very promising and it tasted great. Just too little and after all courses I started getting hungry. The French....



I had enough of the rain and ordered sunshine for the next day. It worked!  :biggrin:



The further we went, the more beautiful it got. Up and down, serpentines, switchbacks, stunning views, mountains and valleys you can cruise through all day long and it does not get boring.



Some of the roads through the Pyrenees are actually part of the Tour de France and plenty of signage tells you when it will be closed for public traffic. There were plenty of cyclists on the road, I still rather use the throttle to get up the mountains..... :pot: :ricky:





We zig zagged through the Pyrenees, followed the scenic routes as per map and worked our way north. From the German forum we picked up that the bridge of Millau is something to see so we took the general direction towards Millau.  We stopped over in a small coffee shop. They do not serve breakfast?! But the owner managed to get us some toast and jam, plus two coffees. All for just under R 200..... At the coffee shop we met two Swedes, father and son team on their enduro bikes. We had a quick chat and they admitted, they would love to have a full German breakfast again. Once again as we were about to carry on, it started raining heavily. We had taken out the map to  check the route and I quickly shoved it into the compartment of the tankbag. As the bike was standing in full sun, they plastic was very soft and in my haste I ripped the top corner open with the map. Nothing that can't be fixed with duct tape, though.

We found a very neat camp site in Lacaune. Once again joint bathrooms for men and women. Our cooker's fuel line became porous and all I managed was a big fireball, again and again, burning some grass, but not heating the water for our spaghettis. Eventually I gave up and we walked into town, about half an hour from the campsite. With our usual luck, it was a public holiday in France, which we just did not know about. After a while, we found the one and only open pub in town and had dinner.

Well dined and wined we made our way back to our tent, to fall into some well deserved sleep. Not so! about 50m away was a small hall and it was the local bingo night, with entertainer, loudspeaker at full blast so did not miss anything at all. Swambo mentioned, it will only be until 10 and then it should be over. Well ok then. Not so! First of all it carried on up to 10:30, after which the disco started. I could have killed someone and was about to take my leatherman and cut the main power line to the campsite....but eventually I fell asleep. Camping is great!

The following day led us through beautiful areas as we were approaching Millau, to view the "Le Viaduc de Millau". I had not seen any pictures yet and for what it's worth somehow I expected a gazillion year old stone bridge. Were we in for a surprise. check these pictures of this masterpiece!







A BMW advert worth picture: Freude am Fahren





Once again, despite GPS, I got lost and we did the bridge twice. We cruised through the Cevennes, a stunning area. Whilst doing so, I saw a sign diverting from our route and named Gorge du Tarne and after a quick consultation with my cruise control, we agreed to give it a try. It was a good decision.



Camping along the river Tarn



Definitely an area for another visit...
 

Offline woody1

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #52 on: April 12, 2015, 09:41:07 am »
What a nice trip.  Thanks for sharing  :ricky:

I WOULD RATHER BE AN HONEST ASSHOLE .... THAN A FLIPPEN LIAR !   


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Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #53 on: May 03, 2015, 03:27:23 pm »
The following day led us along the river Tarn, what a beautiful part of France this is. Carmen just regretted that we did not add another day to do some canoeing, one more reason to come back to this part of the world some day. Through the Cevennes we made our way up to Lyon, where after a couple of fruitless attempts for accommodation we ended up at the Best Western Hotel, which we knew from Madrid, expensive and bad internet connection. Same as Madrid. We rounded the day off with a lekker meal in a close by restaurant.

Now it was time for us to decide if to carry on through France or back to Germany. The world champions won and we decided to go to lake Constance (Bodensee) and check out the Rheinfall on the way. Due to the distance we took the highway for a change. We went past Geneva when all of a sudden I saw black. Just like that. The adjustment screw from the beak had come loose and the beak dropped down in front of the visor, at about 120kmh, great feeling and Carmen wondered why I slammed on the brakes and brought us to a complete standstill in no time....luckily all went ok and I just took the beak completely off for the time being.



Back in our old home country



The Rheinfall



Once again we could read menues and got what we wanted, always helpful when you are able to praat die local taal. In Sipplingen we found a very nice B&B, totally reasonable and within walking distance to a restaurant on the lakeside. The food was very good, the wine was excellent and we were in great mood. On the way back to the B&B we had a great show of a gentleman not being able to reverse his car in a construction site, which he should have avoided in the first place, but he just could not drive his car. His wife was fighting a traffic sign that had attacked his car and we just stood there and smiled, it was just looking funny. She complained how we can just stand there and laugh instead of helping them - so I did but could not just leave and mentioned that this would not have happened if he could drive properly. They eventually managed to reverse the car and drove off, we continued walking to our B&B. Needless to say that their car drove into the car park a few minutes later and they were staying there as well. We quickly walked up to our room.....

Once again we consulted our maps to plod our way back. We had been visiting the Kleinwalsertal 30 years ago and wanted to see, if it was still as beautiful as we remembered it. Here a few images from the road to the Kleinwalsertal

Typical Bavarian houses



En route to Riezlern



Oberstdorf



The stunning view from our "pension" in Riezlern



We walked to the "Kanzelbahn" and went up the Fellhorn mountain



As you can see we had lots of fun



Then it got funny, in the following picture you can spot the "Kanzelbahnstation" where the cabins arrive. From there you walk. We walked. Now in Europe, if it is nice anywhere and the weather is good, there are thousands of people. But here we were and fewer and fewer people were around us, which we quite liked. Then it struck us why.....we did not look at the signs and very cleverly missed the last cabin going down the mountain again.



Logically this was the one and only day in three months travelling, where we had a booking at a Restaurant, based on a recommendation from our hosts. The signs on top of the mountain indicated 2 1/2h walking time back. We had two hours left before the booking. 1955m down the hill in strops. We made it in one hour 40 minutes, but boy, we had sore muscles for the next three days. At least the recommendation was well worth it and dinner made up for it big time.

The way down the mountain



Our pension "Walserheimat", to be recommended should you go that way



The following day we took the bus to Oberstdorf and got us tickets to go up the Nebelhorn, stunning weather and superb views all around us. See for yourselves:

Edelweiss



Paragliders







Our next direction was to get to Duesseldorf to stay with my boet and his wife, en route the beautiful black forest area. That's what we thought. But once again whilst the first part from Riezlern leading north was great, but it started raining and raining, once again time for raingear and it was a rather careful, full concentration ride through the slippery roads of the black forest and not really enjoyable as it could be.

We found the Hoehenhotel Rote Lache, built in the 60s, and still looking the same inside.  But once again the food was typical lekker German fare and a great local red was going down very well with it.



From there we took the Weinstrasse up to Duesseldorf to visit my boet, the weather still being crappy we decided to spend an extra day rather with family, which was a good decision as we had - as usual - a fantastic time and my boet made a good effort to cut his work short and spend time with us.

The beginning of the wine route



In Duesseldorf, walking along the river Rhein



After a few days in Duesseldorf, we went to Gelsenkirchen to stay with bikers from the German GS forum. People we never met before invited us to stay with them, others joined and we were loaded with the best German Currywurst, followed by huge T-bones, washed down with great beer. Needless to say we had a long long evening with lots of stories from everybody, pictures from bike trips and all. We hope, they will come to SA soon so we can offer them a similar treatment and show them our beautiful country.

Eventually, it was time to ride back to Bremerhaven, the start of our tour. Logically it started raining, but it did not really bother us any more.

Back in Bremerhaven





We sold the bike in 5 minutes flat for more than I hoped, so all good. But it was weird to leave her there.....



Check the Spain sticker...





Here an overview of our route, all together 19,000 km



Well, that is it.

Hope, you enjoyed it! Planning for more is happening....

The End!


 

Online Mikie

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #54 on: May 04, 2015, 07:46:07 am »
EPIC, thanks for sharing

19000km, wow!!
:paw:

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Offline 1ougat

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #55 on: June 19, 2015, 06:57:16 am »
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: Excellent report

What did you do  to imbed the pictures between the text?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 06:58:59 am by 1ougat »
Make mine a Boxer with a shaft!!!!
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Offline King Louis

Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #56 on: June 22, 2015, 01:13:05 pm »
:thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: Excellent report

What did you do  to imbed the pictures between the text?

Thanks....

I used Photobucket. Write the text, open separate window with the pics on the photobucket site, click on picture to post, upload, copy and paste into text.
 

Offline 1ougat

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #57 on: June 22, 2015, 01:17:11 pm »
thanks
Make mine a Boxer with a shaft!!!!
2006 R1200 HP2 !!!! - La Poderosa - "The Mighty One"
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2010 1200 GS 1975 Suzuki AC50
 

Offline Hentie @ Riders

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #58 on: June 22, 2015, 04:14:42 pm »
Awesome  :thumleft:

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Re: Let me take you through Europe - the story of EU14
« Reply #59 on: October 03, 2015, 06:40:41 am »
Very, very nice trip report, well written, inspirational, with the right amount of humor, story length to picture content!

Felt like I was travelling along with you two!
Thanks
Chris
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