It’s been eighteen months since I have posted on this site, eighteen months of patient waiting and planning but now I’m finally back on the road once more. Let me quickly fill in the missing past for you.
I returned home to Australia mid April 2012 only to discover I wasn’t ready to face reality quite yet. I stayed around for a few weeks before the urge to travel kicked in once more. I took off with a little backpack, destination Asia. I travelled around Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand once more, stopping in Thailand at a health retreat in the mountains of Koh Phangan (http://www.montevistathailand.com). Here I participated in daily yoga and meditation classes and had my insides flushed out routinely before being refilled with nourishing gruel. Here I was once again made ready for the world.
Again I returned to Australia and to my beloved fiancée. This time I was able to settle back, I even got a job and pretended to myself that this was normal. Life continued without much to report for a year or so until I headed back to Thailand with fifty of our closest friends to marry the most beautiful woman I have ever met. We stayed for a month and celebrated until our livers had heart attacks before returning to Australia once more.
I was now determined to get back on the road and start my African motorcycle adventure ASAP. I had originally planned on riding from Cork to Nordkapp in Norway and down through Eastern Europe before hitting Africa by this has not worked out. I arrived in Europe a month later than planned so I have had to cut out Scandinavia and Eastern Europe for now. The weather has turned cold up north early this year and I really don’t like the cold.
So now the plan is to have a quick ride around Europe, head down through Italy and into Tunisia. From here I will enter Libya and Egypt before heading south along the east coast then across to Namibia and down to Cape Town South Africa. I reckon the trip will take between four and five months all going well. Trish is joining me in Tanzania for a month comes December so we’ll have to see what happens then. She is willing to get on the back of the bike but I fear we may not cover much ground. I can picture her in a taxi full of shopping following me through the dusty roads.
Right now I’m in a hotel in Rome Italy. I left a sunny Ireland eleven days ago aboard a ship bound for Roscoff France. From there I rode 1070km in one sitting to Pamplona Spain, not much to report along the way, the weather was cold and I figured Spain would be warmer so I just kept going. I explored the city for ten minutes before crashing out in a hotel. The next day took me to see friends of mine Aidan and Carmen in Barcelona. I stayed with them for two nights, explored the city, eat tapas and drank some beers. There was much rejoicing. Thanks for looking after me guys.
From here I rode through the Pyrenees Mountains and through Andorra. The mountain pass was cold but the roads and views were amazing. On the descent into France my back wheel started to slide all over the road. I thought the bearing in the rear wheel had given way as there is a little play in it so I pulled over just outside a little French village. You have never seen a man so happy to discover he had a puncture. I was delighted it wasn’t my bearings. I set about unpacking my bike to retrieve my puncture repair kit but decided against it. I had a good feeling about this and decided to roll slowly down into the village. To my delight the first place I came across was a tyre repair shop. I removed the wheel and had it quickly plugged. The whole incident only cost me an hour. I pulled up that night in Montpellier France, tucked into a giant steak and crashed out in some dive of a hotel.
From here I rode along the French Rivera to Monaco, I had a spin around and some lunch before heading to Italy and setting up camp. The hotels in Monaco were a little out of my budget. I had wanted to camp before reaching Africa just to make sure I had everything I needed, to my delight it seems I have.
The next ride was to take me up into the Alps to Bern Switzerland. The road was slow going along the coast so I had to jump on the motorway if I wanted any chance of reaching Bern before dark. The motorways in Italy are fantastic but pretty expensive. Petrol here is ridiculous as well, up to 1 euro 90 cents a litre. The trip to Switzerland cost me over a hundred euro’s in total but it was defiantly worth it. As I ascended the Alps the temperature fell rapidly. This crossing took me through a 6km tunnel and into Switzerland. The border checkpoint is actually in the tunnel. To my dismay I exited the tunnel and into Switzerland to find the place covered in snow. I didn’t hang around but got down and out of the Alps as quick as possible. I reached my buddy Andre’s place in Bern bang on six o’clock. We had dinner and many beers that night. The next day was spent exploring Bern with Andre. It’s a beautiful city which I would highly recommend visiting. Bern actually translates into Bear and they have three of these beasts in the city underneath a bridge. That night we went to an ice hockey game between Geneva and Bern, It was great to see a live game; Bern won 3-1 as well. Thanks for your hospitality Andre.
The next ride took me back into the Alps and through a 17km long tunnel before the road exited into Italy once more. Entering the tunnel the temperature was 6 degrees, in the middle of the tunnel the temperature was 34 degrees and I had all my riding and rain gear on, exiting the tunnel it was 5 degrees and I was covered in sweat. I pulled up in Venice that night. I went and explored a bit of the city but there’s far too much walking to be done in Venice and knowing as I do that I will have to bring my wife there someday I decided I had enough and got a night’s sleep, Venice can wait.
All roads lead to Rome so that’s where I ended up next. I got a hotel in a pretty central location and set off on foot to see as much as I could. In a few hours I saw all the main attractions but decided to spend another day here and see it all again properly. The next morning I went to the colosseum, the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain, the Roman forum along with many other sites before finishing up in the Vatican.
I must say the Vatican is pretty impressive for sure but why wouldn’t it be when they have all the money in the world. My hat goes off to them in a big way. They have scammed the people of the world out of there hard earned money for centuries. People today give out about Scientology beliefs and practices but what’s the difference. One religion had been making up rubbish for centuries longer that’s all. L. Ron Hubbard who saw an opening and thought he could also do with some cash would have us believes we are all aliens trapped in physical bodies. Joseph Smith would have us believe an angel gave him some golden plates from where he translated the book of Mormon out of a hat. We think these people crazy but forget about the Bible stories. Stories like the one that tells of two of each type of animal being brought aboard an arc or the tale about the Garden of Eden with its tasty apples and talking snake. These two stories even imply we all descended from the same people not only once but twice. Just because these stories are centuries old doesn’t make them any more believable. As I say my hat goes off to the Catholic Church, May God bless them.
Tomorrow I head for Sicily; how far I will get has yet to be seen. I hope you will enjoy the ride.