Normandy!

Waking up was hard to do, but no hurry, my destination was only 4 1/2 hours away.

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After waking up with a great crape breakfast I said my good byes and packed it up. I left at noon to get from Tours to Maisons, a small town near Bayeux. By now I’ve gotten used to the routine of no routine. Get up when I want, leave when I want, go where I want. It aint bad!!!

The western part of France is beautiful, almost immediately I’m riding through old towns with castles as their Frances most prized tourist attractions.

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I want to stop in every town, but I know by now, I can’t see everything. I’m on a small time crunch. I stop just to catch glimpses of some of the castles but not long enough to explore.

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As well as some old roman temples….their in shambles but they’ve preserved most of whats left, and they turn these areas into peaceful parks.

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As the ride went on, I did stop and take some small detours, but my goal was still to get towards Bayeux before sundown. It  didn’t stop me from appreciating such a nostalgic region.

As I made my way towards Maisons, Bayeaux was biggest and closest city, it has a strong history including being the first town to be liberated in world war 2. So I did a quick cruise through there.

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I arrived to Maisons and met Corinne and Didier. Their place immediately felt like home as I stayed in there granny unit which fell more like it’s own apartment.

That very night I had the opportunity to hang out with Corinne, Didier and their friends. We enjoyed some beer, wine, a local drink Calve. Their also musicians so we had a little jam session.

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Once again it couldn’t have been more perfect. We sang or at least they sang and played :). I could not remember the words to any american rock songs. I must have been in Europe too long. Here’s a small clip;

I’m only 5 or 10 miles from the beaches of normandy and there is so much history here and all I can feel is a sense of pride. I started the next morning by going to the Museum. I wanted to hear the stories and see the faces of those involved before I headed to the beaches.

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They do a nice job of chronologically going through the years of the war and the different parties involved. So once I was done with that I rode out to Omaha Beach.

These motorcycle rides are taking a life of their own. Each journey, destination, and the people in it are giving me unique euphoric experiences that can only come from traveling alone, and on a motorcycle. If you allow yourself to understand the history and take the time to let it set in, you can almost feel like you’ve been there during that time.

In the video below there were heavy feelings being on the beaches and seeing the monuments and names. Those heavy feelings of sorrow, were followed by a sense of freedom, once you understand how they captured the beaches and towns. That feeling of sadness, yet, Joy for them must have been unfathomable.

Spending time in normandy was a cool experience, but I’ve have rugby game to play in wales. The last thing I needed to do was change my tires. So I called up a couple of shops and found one in Caen, France. Every city has its history but I had no time to explore Caen, so I set out to get the tires. I needed to ensure once the rain hits I’ll be able to ride with confidence. This shop took care of it in a flash, with enough time for me to go explore.

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After getting the tires fixed,  I set out to bayeux, and visited their cathedral.

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It’s another beautiful french town with rivers running directly through it.

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But with no time left I had an over night ferry to Plymouth, England. So just with an hour ride to the ferry I packed up and said my goodbyes to my air bnb hosts. Not before I stopped off at a mansion near my air bnb.

This mansion was captured by the Nazi’s but taken back by the british after D-day.

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My last ride through the normandy region at dusk was beautiful, I found the western part of France to be a fun region. Friendly people, tons of history and beautiful castles and scenery. I would love to come back here and explore it some more. For now I’ve got another adventure around the corner.

Jolly Ol England, Rugby in Wales, and a familiar face from home are all ahead. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve just got to get on another ferry first,  this one though looks nicer then the one going to Barcelona. See ya their mates!!!

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Bordeaux to Tours, France!

As I made my through the southwest of France I was heading to Bordeaux. It s more of a stop then a visit.  My air bnb host Hanae was very welcoming and we had great conversations. Including one about the differences between americans and the french. On a very generalized level she put it to me this way.  The French are like a coconuts hard on the outside but soft on the inside. Once you crack there shell their friends forever. Americans are more like Avocados soft on the outside but hard on the inside. They are very friendly but can toss you aside rather quickly. I cant say that is wrong actually, again if we were speaking generally there is some truth. We all judge different cultures and people off our initial experiences, and it doesn’t help when the media shapes your thinking either.

Whats appealing when you travel on your own is you begin to appreciate, more then when your at home,  the opportunity to connect with a complete stranger. We have friends and family to distract us at home and we can tend ignore others around us. By being indifferent or lacking common courtesy, it can close the opportunity to meet some amazing people.

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I never actually saw Bordeaux,  I stayed on the out skirts. This time through France I wanted to focus my attention on the World war 2 sites. So after just one stay in bordeaux I headed for an afternoon to Oradour-sur-Glane, France.

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©PHOTOPQR/L’ALSACE/Jean Marc LOOS ; 05/12/2011. Massacre d´Oradour-sur-Glane: perquisitions chez 6 suspects en Allemagne ARCHIVES 10/06/04 ORADOUR SUR GLANE LES RUINES OUVERTES AU PUBLIC DU VILLAGE MARTYR D’ORADOUR SUR GLANE DETRUIT ET DONT LA POPULATION FUT MASSACREE PAR LES NAZIS EN JUIN 1944.

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On 10 June 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, in then Nazi occupied France was destroyed, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a Nazi Waffen-SS company. A new village was built nearby after the war, but French president Charles de Gaulle ordered the original maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.

It’s quite surreal to be here in this place first hand. There are movies about it, and history that you remember studying as a kid. But I cant think of a better way to understand the true travesty of war and its impact then being right here.

Below is the church where most of the towns people were put into and were gassed, burned and shot.

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You can see the bullet holes in the muraldsc_0163

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We cannot comprehend the tragedy this town was put through, but we can remember the sacrifices those have made to ensure it never happens again.

One minute you can be on top of the world, enjoying the scenery and jollily moving to your own beat. The very next moment I’m  stopped in my tracks wondering how someone could do this to people.

In the video below I was inspired by my scenery heading out of san sebastion, spain and  into france, then immedietley halted by the energy of the town, left as it was on the day it was slaughtered, June 10th 1944.

Lol..not a laughing matter but I tried to capture what it felt like on this ride in the video, not sure if I did. But like in life, one moment your on top of the world feeling good, and then in a minute your mood can change.

I didn’t take long to feel good again as I hit the road to my next destination Tours, France.

The ride was beginning to become more and more beautiful as the scenery was very lush with greenery, rivers, vineyards, and small french towns.

My only problem was NOTHING was open. It was an independence day for France on a Monday, and I couldn’t find a place to eat. I hate being hangry!!!  Unless I ventured off into a  bigger town to a mcdonalds, towns were completely closed especially for lunch. So I rode about 5 or 6 hours to Tours starving.

As I got closer, about an hour away, there was some great castles to visit. This one I randomly found.

I finally arrived and met anne, I chose her house out near farm land.  I didn’t want to deal with the city stuff and again I’m only staying for one night. Before I head to the normandy region to check out the beaches.

Anne was fantastic as her family whisked me away to hangout with them in the town of tours. We went and hung out on the terrace -Guinguette de Tours sur Loire- by the river enjoying wine, beer, music and appetizers.  A vibrant place with great food and drinks.

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Reportage pour Ville de Tours. Tours-sur-Loire 2012. Photographie Cyril Chigot.

I was tired but you don’t sleep when your experiencing something that won’t happen again. Anne, her family and friends were very welcoming and we finished the night watching a light show on their towns old cathedral.

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I’m moving fast through central France towards normandy and I’m making connections with people just as fast.  Its tough to when you make such genuine connections with people and then have to leave so quickly, but I’m on to the next adventure. I plan to stay in normandy for at least a couple days before I head on to England/Wales. There is so much history there and I’m looking forward to understanding more about the sacrifices of  World War 2.

Madrid back to France

I stayed in the old part of granada. To get to the apartment was always a workout. It was about 1/8 of a mile into the old granada hills. There were many transient types in the area spending their days high as a kite. Playing music, drinking and smoking as if it was the last night on earth. It made it for some interesting moments as I made my way through the park next to the air bnb. Like the time a guy thought I was Alex. He insisted I was Alex and instead of telling him my real name I went along with it for a few. Until he said I owe him a joint and some money. I thought he was joking but soon realized he couldn’t tell his hands from his feet. If it wasn’t for few of his friends it might of turned ugly. His friends said theres no way I was Alex, I was too brown. HA! Too brown?!

Really the toughest part was dragging my bags for the bike down to the street. I was desperately trying not to make multiple trips. With each small alley and stairs to descend I was determined to do it, even it meant having my arms and shoulders burn and cry with sweat. It was time to go! Maybe it will be cooler in Madrid?

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Once I got my route in the map and the camel was packed I had the same euphoric feeling you get when your about to go on a vacation. Followed by an immediate sadness as well. I’m not sure where it came from but at that moment I was missing home. It quickly passed, as the road in front of me became a distraction.

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Besides scenes like this ^ once in a while, there was nothing but the highway between me and Madrid. Again I didn’t want to take the highway but the heat can get to you.

Besides the occasional abandoned castles on the hills it was nothing but desert, I screamed down the highway at 80 thinking Ill get there sooner then later. Once I got closer, Madrid crept up on me and so did the street for my next air bnb.

I met Sandra and she showed me to my room. A very sweet women who told me she was a working actress in madrid. The town is known for its theatrics. The room had no air condition but it didn’t need any as it was tucked away from sunlight.

At this point I’m not feeling like going out but trying to push myself anyway. So I wandered around looking for a place to eat. What I found was burger place. Hmmmm!? A Burger!! I haven’t had one of those since Barcelona.

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Its a lively town but somehow I’m just not into it. I’ve been going out, so to speak, almost every night for the last couple months. I know boohoo!! Maybe it’s time to pack it in, find a place for the bike and head home? Then I gave myself a little pep talk. This is the something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and now I’m doing it. Here I am in Madrid, Spain and I’m sulking about going home. It actually never crossed my mind as something serious. It was just a thought.

I don’t need to go out and pull an all nighter, but i do should see the town and feel it’s pulse. The only way you can do that is to put yourself right in the mix of all the madness.

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Of course after the burger that never happened. Immedialty following my pep talk I headed back to the room and put on a pre-season game of the raiders. What I really needed was piece of home. Or at least to feel like I was home. American football will do! Not to mention I had to finish an online course for traffic school. That ended up taking some time.

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The next morning I woke up and I decided I needed to take my camel in as the check light was on. I have hit about 8000 miles of riding now since my last oil change, it’s recommended every 6000. So after finding the BMW shop I take it in. They tell me they have one more day before their holiday and then they will be closed for 2 weeks. Now between the fact that no one eats lunch between 2-6pm (not the case in Madrid by the way) and the fact that these guys are going to be closed for 2 weeks, I’m not taking it too well as a spoiled get what you want, when you want american. As I started to look at other options one of the workers says, “you know what I’ll work it out hold on a minute.” I lost his business card so I forgot his name, but it was much appreciated as they accommodated me even though they were busy. A shout out to Rolen motor in Madrid!

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He did a brief overview and then said they can do it. He looked at my back breaks and also said they’ll need to be changed or at least soon. Yep change them I responded. Not something you want to leave until the last minute. My back tire also is just about worn. The cost though would have been close to $400 for the tires. Yeah I think I’ll wait until I get closer to England. Way to pricey. I’ll more then likely need it as I head into England and beyond. I haven’t hit much rain, but that will change once I reach northern Europe.

I left the camel their for the night and he told me to make sure I get back here by 4pm the next day otherwise we’ll all be gone. Yes sir no problem. I make my way to the Tube train and head back to my section of town. He told me to download the app as it makes it easier to navigate their subway. Yep, just type in you address and it tells you exactly how many transfers and which one to take.

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My night was spent wandering around town in my area. Venturing too far was not in the cards for me. Madrid is much bigger then Granada. It is however much more eclectic. More a modern feel then your typical old Spain.

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Really nothing in Madrid excited me.  Not because there wasn’t things to see. I just would of liked to have been with someone familiar. It can get exhausting meeting new people  constantly. The highlight was meeting up with Andrea who I met in Truckee with my Finnish family. Her and her friends were in the Tahoe area studying and experiencing the California life for a few months.

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Fast forward three years later and we managed to find a way to meet, as her and her friends wanted to check out the meteor shower that the world was watching. I met her near a bus station as she pulled up in her mini car, as most have here in europe. Her two friends were in the car, a brother and sister from Madrid who are part spanish and part english, England that is!

We ended up stopping off at her families farm house to check it out as they were remodeling it and then made our way to eat dinner in a small town that was having a week long celebration. I wish I could remember the town name and celebration.

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You could imagine the caos this little town seemed to be under. None the less we parked and enjoyed a spanish specialty. A Bucket of rabbit meat and a bucket of goat. It sounds like a KFC but it definitely wasn’t. The restaurant was packed and it looked more like a country BBQ in the bayou then Spain. We washed it down with some sangria and the night was just kicking off.

We also had some of her other friends meet up with us. A couple who was to be married soon. Once we finished dinner and drinks we headed up into the mountains of Spain to find the darkest spot to catch a glimpse of the infamous, yet rare, meteor shower.

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Most if them spoke english so for a moment I was reminded of the best part of connecting with friends. Although I just met with them we were laughing and hanging out like we’ve known each other for a long time. Or maybe it was the sangria!? 🙂

The night ended pretty late as they dropped me off back in town where I was able to get a taxi back home. Madrid is a big town and for them to drive me would of meant they would probably have gotten home by sunup.

I also did do some sight seeing.

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Temple of Debod (200 B.C.) is an ancient Egyptian temple which was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid, Spain.

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The next day was leaving time. I decided I would head out to pamplona. Known for the running of the bulls, although that time has passed, I’ll just be staying one night before I head to san Sebastian.

The ride to Pamplona was uneventful there were some nice areas to ride through but nothing spectacular. When I made it to pamplona I had messaged my Air bnb host. She did not respond. I set it up the morning I left Madrid but it was an instant booking where you don’t have to wait for a response, just book and go. So after 6 hours she finally responds. I was already sitting in a restaurant in pamplona. She says, “I won’t be there until 11pm, can you wait until then?” Of course I said no. I immedialty asked for a refund and booked another one. An older spanish lady accepts my request and I ride 5 minutes to her place. Just for one night was all I needed, one where I could get some ample rest before riding to san sebastian. The older spanish ladies place turned out to be perfect.

I’ve used air bnb now almost a dozen times, and every circumstance has been great. This lady who wanted me to wait until 11pm never responded to the refund so I had to call Air bnb specifically. Either way I was irritated, but I’m off. San Sebastian here I come.

The ride to San sebastian was much better as you can start to see huge mountain sides and big vista’s. There were a few more bikers on the road as well. Now instead of waving, just s the bikers in Spain actually stick there legs out. One leg that is. It’s just a different salute then the good ol high five biker air wave in the states.

Getting into town was a breeze, getting around the town not so much. There was absolute mayhem ,as you could tell their way too many vacationers for this smallish town.

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None the less it was a beautiful setting and I tried to get to a restaurant that one of Andreas friend recommended but the parking became huge issue.

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Instead I found a nice little tapas bar, although now their called pinchas, but I still don’t know the difference. They’re served as an appetizer style but not anything different from what I had in Granada.

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San sebastian was short lived. I could not find a place, as it was waaaaaay to pricey and almost nothing was available, both from a camping situation and airbnb. After eating lunch I headed out and worked my way towards the border. My skin was burning from the sun and I had no sun screen on. So at one point I stopped in a store and asked for some sun screen. What I did not realize as i walked in is that I also had crossed into france. What?! No border control, no signs? I didn’t understand but none the less it was back to oui oui, instead of si si!

As I head to bordeaux France. I have a week before I meet up with my friend craig in Cardiff for a Rugby tournament. We discussed about a year ago he was going to be in wales, and I told him I was riding my motorcycle to Finland. Of course he knew for sure he would be in wales, and I didn’t know if I would be able to make it. As the trip planning got underway it worked out perfectly. This is the first time though I’m feeling rushed on the trip. I haven’t “had” to be anywhere in particular since I started.

Crossing into France the roads change and the green lush land is a welcoming site. Each country crossing is becoming so distinct and my curiosity is satisfied with every turn.  What town is this? Whats around the corner?

 

Valencia to Granada

Barcelona was hot, exciting and the neighborhood grew on me. There is plenty to do there and the food options were amazing. I’m excited to explore the rest of Spain as my next destination is Valenica.

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I got the camel from the parking garage and brought it closer to the flat. Packing and un-packing logistics change with every location. 6 flights of stairs to do on this one. Do I try to bring it all in one trip, fumbling and stumbling along the way? Or do I sweat my ass off going up multiple times. Checking and re-checking to make sure I didn’t drop anything or leave anything.

It takes me a couple hours to load, pack up and leave. Most mornings now I’m drenched before I do. The bike is the only cooling sanctuary I have and once i’m on it all the chaos is behind me. Just the unknown on the open road.

My navigation is working now, I went once again to the apple store and had them reset it. I toyed with the idea of getting a new one. Apple has the exchange program. Its a lot more money than I want to or need to spend. Im just hoping it doesn’t black out on me
again.

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The Camel is running great, still nothing to note as of yet, and since I’m covering a much longer distances again like in the states, I’m taking the highway for the second or third time in Europe. I’ve had the luxury of backroad riding most of the way but I’d prefer not being out in the heat for the next 9 hours navigating through what is mostly desert. Mixed in with your occasional rolling hills of vineyards.

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Along the way I kept thinking of how most of these countries have had roman influence and before that a middle eastern influence. I’m not just riding through spain.

Fuel is still not a problem gas stations are just about everywhere and Spain has them in areas that are at convenient. I stopped for lunch along the highway to get gas and food. The restaurant looked closed but as I walk in you can tell it was a place to cool off with all the patrons in it. I’m better with spanish but I still struggle to understand what I order. Or how to order. Instead of asking or trying to communicate I just point to something and hopes it’s good. Well…… It was good but I got rabbit with 3 sides and whole bottle of wine. Ha! what the hell i cant drink this! I tried to tell him to take it back but he said I can have a glass and leave the rest. The bottle was $3.99 and i gave it to the table next to me.

I made it into valencia and to the next air bnb. This one is outside city limits and right near the beach. Parking the camel and the ease of getting the gear off the bike and into the room was a must for the next booking.

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You always wonder, or at least I do what a place looks like when looking at the map. I’ve always been attached to the mystery, and curious about other cultures. I know what my days are like, but what about theirs? In the case of my host Isabel she is a teacher they take a month or so off in summer, and if I got it right  Mario the husband does landscaping! I think they make pretty good money renting out their 3 rooms for air bnb.

First thing I did was check out the downtown area and Valencia was a lot bigger then I thought. It’s known for its paella, so I kept looking for that.

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Walking around one of the first things I noticed was how clean everything looked and the fact that there is a park that runs through the middle of the city. It’s a great place to hangout or just to use as place to run or bike.

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There is plenty to do for families here and the city has a great mixture of new and old.  A sea park and this amazing museum (City of arts and sciences)

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I spent my time in town exploring the buildings but much less then the other cities I’ve been too. I’m a little burnt out on the old churches and quite frankly some of the monuments as a tourist can drag you down. Pay this, go here, stand there. There are some amazing sites but do you really have to pay another 5 euro to walk into another Church?

I spent my nights wandering the town as during the day it was too hot. My hosts were very gracious but the house was big enough I barely saw them.

If you study the maps of city you can’t quite tell how big or small they really are until you get there. If you look at this map, 5 was where I hung out. Around the city center, and the beach on the right was where I was heading after a nights out.

Map-of-Valencia-2011

I thought when I booked the air bnb I was close to the city center so one night as I walked home I was thinking it was close. Unfortunately at  2am there were a few cabs out and no people. As I walked I was looking for food and thinking I could do it. I kept walking, no food, and almost no cabs. It turned out to be a good 6 mile walk home :(! Made it in by 3ish.  Still on the upside it was great way to see the whole city.

The next couple days  were spent in town or at the beach.

Valencia’s beaches have some of the softest sand I’ve ever stepped on and these impressive castles were everywhere. Besides that the water was warm but not clear, and the scenery was mostly huge cranes and the site of a port. Not the most picturesque beach.

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The market was awesome with all the food and the building was couple hundred years old.

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(Rabbit in the paella is very popular)DSC_0652

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I found valencia to be a very nice, clean town, with plenty to do for young and old. I continue to scout places out and asking myself if  I could live there.  The answer is yes, but I’ve also said that about a lot of places I’ve visited.

At this point I’m hitting a groove in Spain. The people, the food are outstanding and all I here is that I’m going to love granada. The sounds of music food and history are in front of me. It’s hot here in spain in the 100’s and I’m heading inland where it’s hotter so I thought nothing better then a video to help you feel the groove I felt in Granada.

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What the video won’t show are the smaller moments of meeting people in tapas bars including a mother and daughter from the bay area. The daughter Roxanne studies at the Academy of art University and the mom Griselda is looking over there vacation place in granada. They live in the south bay. Ironically we have Brisbane in common, my aunt lives there and Griseldas other daughter works for a real estate company there. It is a small world.

In enjoyed hanging out and hearing stories from a retired Paratrooper. His wife and him were traveling around the world using the military planes flights. Its one of the perks of being able to retire as military personnel. He had me laughing most of the night.

There is a relaxed atmosphere and a seemingly care free attitude. The tapas are free by the way as long you drink! Sounded like a deal to me :).

Granada is famous for it’s free tapas and flamenco dancing. The siesta is a real thing especially when its a dry 100 degrees out. You wake up get breakfast head back into the flat where it’s cool, go back out for lunch, come back in where its cool, nap, and then head out around 8pm for those tapas. Of course that was my schedule. I could get used to that.

The Sierra Nevadas in Spain have fantastic hikes, with waterfalls and little swimming areas for when its hot. I caught an old man walking his goats up into the hills. He and the goats popped out of nowhere.

Now if I told you that this has all just been an amazing experience, it has, but being on your own and traveling like this there are periods I’d like to be home with my family and friends. It’s part of the challenge I suppose learning how to be independent from the comforts of the familiar. Its also part of the reason I chose to do this, the challenge!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” You’d like to think traveling can take all your worries away, but the truth is whatever problems or issues you  may have they’ll travel with you.

I stayed an extra 2 days in granada, one because I was hot, two because I didn’t want to pack anymore, and 3 there are free Tapas. After I woke up from Granada siesta the urge to get on the road again gave me quick swift kick in the ass. Madrid be ready, I’m coming!

 

 

 

Sardinia to Barcelona

Sitting and waiting for the ferry in Bonifacio created a setting that inspired thoughts of the past. I’ve ridden through some pretty historical towns, and somehow it hit me differently as I was looking  back at this coast line on our way out.

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There was a prehistoric look to the island and at moments of isolation,  I felt a tranquility that only comes from settings like this.

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The ferry to Sardinia is only 30 minutes and you can see both islands from the boat. As you get closer to Sardinia it’s dominated by sporadic rocks and a medieval look with smaller rolling hills.

As I got off the ferry, the only thing I have to navigate is my memory. For some reason I can remember a map, but can’t remember someones name I met 5 minutes ago. Whats your name again!? 🙂 Let me repeat that because I will forget it again in 5 minutes.

I have no destination just the idea that I have to get closer to Porto Torres! It’s the only port that will get me to Barcelona. There are campsites along the northern coast but not as many as there are on the east coast of Sardinia.

It didn’t take me long I found a spot, within 15 minutes of riding. It seemed reasonable at 19 euros. The campsite had a peaceful setting with all the amenities you could need.

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After riding the corse coasts I’m becoming used to beautiful blue waters and high cliff sides. There is a different feel though with Sardinia and it has to do with the Italians. I’ve stated before their more animated, but having exposure to the Mediterranean culture through my Arabic decent, I feel more comfortable with the emotionally charged Italians.

As I sat near the campsite restaurant there were a number of families and kids who were playing and hanging out. If your going to find a camping spot, randomly, look no further then if there families or not.

The beach was about a 15 minute walk, but I chose to take dirt path with the good ol iron Camel.  The waters were warm and crystal blue.

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I enjoyed the peace here, there weren’t as many crowds as northern corse, and everything was convenient at the campsite. I met a couple who spoke english that were living in switzerland, tanya and her husband with their two kids. I enjoyed dinner with them. Talking about the island, the people, traveling on motorcycles, and of the course the differences of living in Europe as apposed to the west. I’m trying to get more pics of the people I meet but it’s proving to be something I’m not innately used too.

The next day an italian guy advised me to visit Capo testa a small peninsula with hiking that has beautiful swim coves and white smooth rock formations.

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I chilled here for a couple of hours.

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I explored the rocky areas…….

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During my time on this Island I chose to keep the relaxation going. instead of trying to see everything. It was easy to do since leaving the mainland. No heavy traffic, lighter crowds and there was a pretty cool Archeological sites from the middle ages to the bronze ages. There was no one at this one in particular and I was able to explore freely.

(The Giants Tomb) An old burial site!

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I  reserved my Ferry ride to Barcelona at 6:30am and it’s going to be a 12 hour boat ride. Unfortunately my phone is still not working and I was getting concerned on how exactly I’d be able to make the ferry ride. It’s in Porto Torres which is an hour and half away.

So the night before after much deliberation I decided I would ride towards the Ferry even though I have no place to stay.  I have no alarm, and even if I went to bed early there is no way I’m waking up at 3am to get to the ferry by 5am. I would for sure miss it. You have to be there an hour and half early. So after dinner at the camp I head out during sunset.

Where would I sleep? Is there somewhere hidden and safe I can go? All these questions were going through my head. The one advantage I felt was the island itself has variety of terrain, I’m sure they’ll be a spot to accommodate those needs. Oh well!!!

As I rode on , I thought, there is no better place to be to do some wild camping.

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I rode into the night In what seemed like very desolate areas. Up through mountains and coast lines in some of the darkest roads I’ve been on. The lights on the Camel need to be re-configuredas they are meager at best, even the long lights aren’t so long. It took me a couple hours as I stopped frequently to look around, but I made it to Port torres in what seemed like more of middle eastern town then Italian. Then again maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me as it was midnight.

Once I realized where my departure area was I went right back out of town. I noticed some beaches along the way that seemed dead and hidden. I rode for 20 minutes or so, and did some loops around this beach just to see if there was anything suspicious, besides me of course:). I wasn’t sure what it was called and I can’t tell you exactly where it was.

There was a fisherman with his kid or grandkid but he is way on the other end of the beach. Hmmmmm… a fisherman at after midnight now that is dedication!

I unpacked my bags from the bike. Brought them down to the beach, stumbling along the away with full intention of making the tent up. At the last minute I decided if I need to make a quick getaway I don’t want to leave my home away from home. So I put the bags down, dug a small hole for myself behind some brush, put my head down and prepared to sleep. In my gear and all!!

The only way I had to check the time was by the sun and my computer, which I had with me. I had to be up at 4:30 so I could get to the port by 5am. Every hour I was waking up in a panic to see what time it was, and occasionally I thought I heard voices! But there was nothing but the sound of the waves and my mind playing games. Sure enough I woke up exactly at 4:32 to be exact. Quickly packed up and was off to the port.

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I got up in such a hurry I had to reconfigure everything once I got there. I tried to be conscious of the things I’d need after I park my bike, as I’m about take a 12 hour ferry ride to Barcelona.

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As we rode on this ferry you realize how much bigger it is then the last few I’ve been on and certainly by the madness of cars, you can tell it’s much needed.

I found a spot on the boat to sleep as I wasn’t exactly sharp at the moment but it only lasted an hour. I heard over the intercom the gym is open as well as the Day spa. Hmmmm!? I haven’t had proper work out since I was home and who couldn’t use a spa day.

I made my way to the gym and did the workout I prepared for everyone back home, in Italy. I don’t think my students have got that one yet. But if your one my students reading this ask the instructors, What workout did Mr Sinan prepare for us?

After the workout there was a proper Finnish Sauna on the boat. For those that know me, you could imagine how excited I was. I stayed in there, going in and out, for 2 1/2 hours. At one point one of the attendants spoke in spanish, like she was yelling at me, saying what seemed like, “It wasn’t good for me to sweat so much!” So I responded with, “Ole hiljaa, I know what I’m doing!  That was Finnish for be quiet. This is where I realized I’d have to start pulling out my 9th grade spanish to start communicating.

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Here’s where the tricky part comes in. There was no Wifi on the boat for some odd reason, and I don’t have any maps or any idea of where my air bnb is. I have to get to the wifi to check my email. I haven’t had it since the campsite in Sardinia. I thought no worries I got this. 😉

Yep….I don’t go this!!!! I wandered around going in circle after circle! I was 3 hours late to meet my airbnb host. I must have stopped half a dozen times, a few times finding spots with wifi, writing the directions on a napkin then putting those directions near where my navigation would go. I was a mess! especially after getting only  a few hours sleep the last 48 hours.

Sweating profusely, because its still 90 Degrees at 10:30pm, I finally reach my destination,in  an area littered with drunks and graffiti. Each one staring at me like some kind of alien. Who wouldn’t!? I look like a space man from the 70’s!!!!

The apartment is old, but the hosts girlfriend meets me with a smile even though I’m 3 hours late. I immediately take off my bags and leave my bike out in the madness of crazy drunks and homeless. She gives me all the info I need including where to park the bike for safety. Garage!? Ok no problem. When my motorcycle has become my lifeline you can’t take a chance.

I thought, what did I get myself into?!

As it turns out the next few days in this neighborhood would turn out to be a wonderful eclectic food haven, and Barcelona would be a whirlwind of brew hopping, site seeing, and fast moving vacationers taking me along for the ride.

The breweries were fantastic, I had no idea…….

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It’s not a restaurant as its says…more of brewery

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Moritz brewery….

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Brew dog….

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I know what your saying, “wow scott you did some amazing site seeing in barcelona!”

“Garage brewery”

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and, “why do you only take selfies of you with beer and not the sites?”

The fact is I did site see and in between I would also see sites of amazing little Breweries with tapas!  When you think about it, the sites that are well known, don’t need me in them,they speak for them selves. The beer on the other hand needs a little help to let you know Mmmmm…its good! That being said here is a token selfie at a well known site!!!

(Basilica of the Sagrada Familia)

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For the most part I left the bike in the garage until I was told, by home base, I have to go see the Montserrat.

It is well known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth. (Wikipedia)

The ride up was really nice…high desert land with huge cliff sides……

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I was able to burn a lot of that beer off by hiking many mountains sides, just to catch glimpses of the notable landmarks along the montseratt!

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I walked into the basilica and there was a wedding going on

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If you visit there is the black faced madonna in the monastery ,or the Lady of Montserrat/ Virgin of Montserrat! Multiple names believed to have carved out in jerusalem.

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The Basilica floor in Montserrat is modeled after the Vatican floor in Rome…….

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On the way back to barcelona, an hour ride, I took the back roads but ended up going through my first toll booth. Somehow I took a wrong exit and ended up paying $12 dollars. I think the highway charges you be either the mileage or time your on it. I hated losing that $12 for toll!

Traveling has been great but on my last day I needed to connect with home. I wanted a burger and I wanted speak english with out slowing my speech.

Speaking of that I did hangout with some air bnb roommates who spoke english. The girls were from liechtnestein. They spoke good english. As they were on their own holiday.

But where do you go to speak english? Non-other then the Hard rock cafe Barcelona.

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I spent a couple of hours there chatting a way with the bartender. She was from sweden, but both here parents were from, I think, Argentina. You can see that Barcelona truly is a melting pot. Of course like most conversations in Europe, I get asked the question Trump or Hilary!? I usually respond with should I have beer or wine?

The flat was in a lively part of Barcelona and on first impression I was a little concerned, but  as it turned out it was full of life, small cafes with great food. Good breweries that can probably go toe to toe with our locals brews, and people that don’t sleep.

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If it’s one major thing I’m learning through such travel is your senses are on high alert. When you  don’t have a travel partner and your moving on a whim. There is less distraction, your wide eyed and have to do some fast thinking.

Things are not as they seem from town to town country to country until I take that first bite, or strike up that first conversation with someone that has doesn’t speak a lick of english. Taking the time to appreciate each awkward or un-familiar moment opens up doors that were never there in the first place. South Spain here I come!!!!

 

 

 

Corsica

I’m excited to jump on a ferry and head to the island of corsica (corse). The town of pisa is only 30 minutes from the port. So once I made that stop. I headed straight for the ferry.

I woke up and didn’t eat anything, nor did I grab something from pisa, so I’m hangry! The ferry’s say I have to be there an hour and half early. Since I’ve never done this thats exactly what i’m going to do.  I pulled up following the signs and saw some vehicles parked, still I asked the attendant if this is the spot? In English! Then i said do you speak english? He just yelled at me a few different times in italian, each time saying louder something I couldn’t understand. So instead of continuing to listen I rode past him and parked behind these motorhomes.

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As I waited I grabbed something to eat and sure enough within a half hour we were being told move. So I’m glad I made it on time! There were what seemed like a hundreds of cars and motorhomes and only a few motorcycles, so with ease we were able to make it up front.

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As we pulled away ferries were coming in and out. These all carry vehicles. It’s definitely a great way to get around all the islands.

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It was a warm day, the water was a beautiful blue color and their were a few of these smaller inhabited islands along the way.

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Arriving to the port I was getting anxious. What is this island going to be like? It belongs to france, so i’ll have to go back to speaking french horribly! I did find out that Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the island.

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I found an airbnb, as once again it’s proving to be the cheapest way to go. The room was $23 and right on the beach. My navigation, which is now working again, ended up taking me about a 1/2 mile in the wrong direction.  So after finding the place I pulled up and met Evelyn and her son who was playing in the yard.

After showing me the room, Evelyn asked if I wanted to go kayaking in the ocean?….Yes absolutely!

I could not asked for a better way to arrive then to jump in to a cool sea, and kayak during sunset. On one end the sunrise, the other, the moon rising up bigger then I’ve seen in it in a long time. It was the perfect setting!

Here’s an introduction to their flag. Yes it’s on a bottle cap!

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The Flag of Corsica was adopted by General of the Nation Pasquale di Paoli in 1755 and was based on a traditional flag used previously. It portrays a Moor’s Head in black wearing a white bandana above his eyes on a white background. Previously, the bandana covered his eyes; Paoli wanted the bandana moved to above the eyes to symbolise the liberation of the Corsican people. (Wikipedia)

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If that doesn’t say rebel I don’t know what does! Evelyn gave me little insight as to what the island is like, and who “actually” runs it.  This is one of their beers, as 1735 was their liberation from genoa!

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There are two departments northern corsica and southern corsica and each side represents different parts of the island, “these” Folks, seem to call the shots. What she told me is they want to conserve the island. Which is evident of the fact that there are no nightclubs on the island. It is an island that is pretty much untouched from the party enthusiasts.

As a matter of fact on that very same beach I was on, their was a nightclub which had “mysteriously” burned down. I walked up to it to find the ceiling collapsed and the insides toasted!  Yep preserve the beauty of the island or…………………

I spent most of my afternoons and evenings on this beach. It was a quiet and long beach.  After I went and bought new shorts. It was time!!!

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I helped Evelyn and her son build a hut.

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One of the bests things about Airbnb is that if you stay in someones house with them, they can give you ideas of where to go. Evelyn said this was her favorite spot on the island.

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Can you see why? We had to drive up into the mountains about 20 minutes and then hike about 10 from the road to get there.

In order for her to show me this place she had to do what she has become an expert in, hitchhiking. She is no slouch to adventure traveling as she and her friend hitchhiked for 15 days through Europe. You can read her adventures here (Vagabond) if you speak italian.

So I waited at the gas station as she and her son flagged down some people in motorhomes. BAM! Ride!

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We made our way to the waterfall and she convinced them to join us so they did. Two families from switzerland follow a gypsy biker and hitchhiker. LOVE IT!!!

It was an awesome view and a cooling swim in the clearest of waters.

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I stayed for a few days and realized that even the simplest of interactions with people are highlighted when you travel alone. Before this last few days of staying with Evelyn and her son. From Venice through florence, I didn’t meet too many people. I can handle being on my own but I feed off other peoples energy so even just a simple hi and conversation with this family was nice in the restaurant I was eating. Their kids do skeet shooting for competition from what I gathered, and they travel for it. Corsica was just their vacation.

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I enjoyed the leisure time on the east side of Corsica. To tell you the truth I don’t even know what town I was in. In some ways I prefer that. All that mattered to me was it was with good people and that it was a kick back time. Isn’t that what truly matters the people around you.

On may last day Evelyn had some other guests show up. A french dad and his two daughters. We were able to hangout for a night and try to communicate. Always fun to meet strangers that are willing to engage in whatever conversation possible.

Evelyn was an awesome host, very sweet and welcoming. Her son was a cool kid just playing all day outside. Remember that? He had no TV, or video games. He liked to make potions. Water, with soda or whatever liquid he could find, and Evelyn spent her day cleaning up after him 🙂

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That being said the road was calling so I took off to the north west corner of corsica!

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I rode over the top of corsica and headed towards a national park on my way to the town of Calvi! I don’t know where I’m staying yet but the plan is to camp somewhere near a beach.

I rolled through tiny town after tiny town in what seemed like a high desert and almost camped at a national park. The campsites were full and I wasn’t feeling a couple of them, so I took off and decided to keep riding to Calvi. The national park had what seemed like amazing hikes, but I wasn’t prepared to do long hikes.  Oh well! I can put it on the list of hikes to do!

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As I rode into calve this was my view:

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As I got closer here is the town:

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I ended up finding a campsite and since it was getting dark, I had no choice but to fork out $50 to camp in the last campsite available. I found my way to calve with a map and I wasn’t about to keep riding around to find the cheapest campsite. So I stayed in the ‘village’ reluctantly. It was next to the beach, but I was irritated at all the prices.

It didn’t take me long, I decided I leave the next day and head south. The beaches were packed and nobody puts Scott in a corner 🙂

On my out of town I stopped at a church on the hill above town:

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Here’s the Corsica Army conspiring!

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You can see them up at the top. I think there talking about the south.

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As I made my way south I ventured off a few times up some dirt roads! Especially if I saw abandon buildings. On this particular one, I climbed pretty high then proceeded to drop the iron camel a few times! YEP! It felt like Moab again. I wish I would of taken pictures but in my own shame I picked the bike up quickly like someone was watching, not a soul was around! Until I hiked through the area and saw two military guys in a jeep smoking. Yeah I thought out in the middle of nowhere and I’m American, I’m out! I ninjud my way back down! I know NINJUD is not a word but I did!!!!!

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The ride was incredible with huge cliff sides, and rural mountain areas!

Yeah….. I interrupt my normal programming to give you a 2 minute video with a song that interprets my heart beat when I ride in areas like this:

Corsica has prehistoric feel to it and I can’t compare it to other places I’ve seen although I’m not trying, just enjoying it as much as possible.

I rode for 6 hours along these cliffs stopping here an there for picture….

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I rode until the sun was going down and until I saw signs for a campsite. I thought if I see one up in the mountains I’m stopping and the last thing i want is to be stuck in a corner.

I  found this one…..

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A nice view of the sea…

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and the town of Ajaccio, Napoleons home town! It is also the capital.

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It was half the cost of the last one, peaceful with a great pool bar and restaurant. I stayed only for a night but enjoyed a mojito for the first time. I don’t think I’ve had one in the last 5 years or so. It was quite refreshing.

That night I was awoken by what sounded like bombs, only to open my tent and see fireworks going off in the city below. I  must of been in a daze, I stood up, still in my tent with my head out, for what must of been 20 minutes, watching fireworks that seemed to be coming right at me. Or maybe it was the mojito!!!!!  Still it was a nice rest in the cool Corsica mountains.

I was told to go to Bonifacio which is the southern most city in Corsica. It’s also a port. I made arrangements with another ferry to get me to Sardinia. I decided I would skip southern france and head straight for Barcelona. Which means I have to take a 12 hour ferry from Sardinia to Spain. Hmmmm!?? Sardinia! Whats that like? I booked the tickets which is non-refundable for the next day and was off again.

I went down through the town of Ajaccio and it was a mad house. I had tentative plans to stop in Napoleons home, but it was closed until 2pm and my ferry was at 5pm.

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So as the ride went on there were more cliff sides with these towers, which, were there to spot any danger coming. They were created between 1530 and 1620 constructed by the republic of genoa.

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There were more small towns on the mountain sides…

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It doesn’t matter where you go on the island the rides are epic!

Getting into Bonifacio was no different, its a town tucked in between some canyons. This is the place I should have stayed as it seemed to have a very Mediterranean feel to it. This is not my photo but it gives you a great idea!

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I arrived 3 hours early so I ate lunch and wandered around the city on the cliffs.

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This view was from the cliff side…

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This was looking down. It was crazy as the buildings were set up right against the edge.

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The Marina housed probably some of the fanciest yachts I’ve seen!

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The pictures don’t tell you how big they actually were!

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Corsica was amazing. It had beautiful beaches, water, intrigue, mystery, and history! Like most places I visit they deserve more time then I give. This is the ride I choose, keep on keepin on!

The ferry has arrived and this time I charged my Gopro! So it’s back Si Si…..see you in Sardinia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy….. west to east and back again!

It was still humid but not as bad as yesterday, so after verona I decided to go Lake Garda. As you ride through italy’s countryside, I felt as if I was riding through my home town napa valley. Just a much bigger version. I hung out for a bit in another small lake side town Garda.

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My home base tour guide Craig said go visit a winery Zeni near by, they have a small free museum

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I enjoyed a nice free tasting and bought a couple bottles, one for me and one for my camp hosts

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As most days now I’m wiped out by 9ish so after a dinner I was out. Back to the good ol tent 🙂
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I decided before hand I would tour Mantua its a smaller historical town. As of 2007, Mantua’s centro storico (old town) and Sabbioneta were declared by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site. Mantua’s historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family has made it one of the main artistic, cultural, and especially musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole.

Below is the Sabbioneta used as a fortress and personal residence. Sabbioneta was founded by Vespasiano I Gonzaga in the late 16th century along the ancient Roman Via Vitelliana, on a sandy bank of the Po (whence the name, meaning “Sandy” in Italian).DSC_1040

I enjoy visiting these places most mainstream tourist don’t go, there is history in all towns. It just has to interest you. Back home I could listen to an old man on a porch, in small town middle america and learn a lot. Its just whatever interests you.

The architecture of the buildings were awesome.

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As a whole the Palazzo Ducale di Mantova (“Ducal Palace”) is a group of buildings built between the 14th and the 17th century mainly by the noble family of Gonzaga as their royal residence in the capital of their Duchy.

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With plenty of art and artifacts from different centuries

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You could tour the whole castle

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The gardens near the top of the castle

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Each room was decorated differently by the Gonzaga families over the years

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I spent most of my day wandering around Mantua

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It was a nice town with some great history and beautiful buildings, but it was hot and time to go.

I get an overview of the roads and decided to take alternate routes to get home, just so I get a feel for each area. Between the vineyards and farm land there was industrial companies thrown in the mix!

My last night in Manzambano, Ricardo and sonia recommended there neighborhood restaurant. It’s just a home with a garden, there own farm to table. Quattro Gatti! The food and view was awesome! Add this to the list for those who want fresh organic food.

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and I tried something on the menu thats been on most menus in the area but I felt bad eating it. Once was enough, it was nothing special.

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Ask me if you want to know, it my offend most 🙂

That night I said my goodbyes to Ricardo and Sonia. It would’ve of been nice to hangout, but I showed up during the week when they were busy. So we exchanged information and wine. I gave them my bottle from Zini and they gave me one of his hometown ( Barbera ) wines. Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety that, as of 2000, was the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano). It is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piemonte, Italy where it has been known from the thirteenth century.

Below is an 18th-century engraving of the city of Casal Monferrato in whose cathedral archive the earliest known planting of Barbera is documented.

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Yeah…..I think I’ll save this for the end of the trip 🙂

My first Camp in my garden was pleasant, I had my own bathroom/shower facility and it was just what I expected from the back roads of Italy. Ricardo and Sonia are actually starting a bed and breakfast. So if your making it this way they’ll have a spot for you. In their house. So you’ll be minus the donkey rooster wake up call :).

It’s ok buddy I forgive you….chow!

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After packing up, my destination is the watery town of Venice, I’m heading to ‘Camp jolly’ a camping area just outside of venice. As I got closer to Venice I could feel the cool air, and a much needed break from the heat. I skipped Venice on my last european trip and opted to stay in switzerland longer, so I was excited to check out it’s beauty, that vegas tries to replicate 🙂

It was pretty cheap to stay in the mobile homes at camp jolly and It’s a 15 min. bus ride away from Venice. That night I tried to hangout at the camps bar instead ended up people watching. Anytime I tried to communicate I was left with blank stares. I’m realizing english is not as prominent unless your in real tourists area. I lasted about 1/2 hour and was done. Oh well! Venice in the morning!

I’m not used to the bus thing

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When you’ve had the mobility I have, the lines and waiting get’s old quick, but venice is tight in parking and I can relax without worrying about the bike.

I arrived in venice with the feeling of peace as the water streets have that calming effect. So I walked all around venice snapping pictures.

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and hanging out in different areas where I heard music

I found a nice little cafe tucked away in a corner with good wine and open face sandwiches

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I opted not to do the Gondola’s. I thought they looked like a very nice way to see the water bi-ways.

There are certain things that should be shared with that special someone. I ‘ll leave certain things for another time!

I spent all afternoon in venice………..

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Saw a familiar name, first place I’ve seen in Europe…..

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I can’t help but think i would I’d get claustrophobic if I lived here. There are so many small back streets and you cant see through the buildings, I felt enclosed at times.

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Unless you go on the outskirts of the town.  I took a nice 30 minute nap here :)…..

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I spent two full days in venice. So the next day I sat around the pool the at jolly camp and decided I would spend the evening in Venice.

First thing I did was I walk around again and found a nice little bar with those Tapas/sandwiches,  but this time I enjoyed some local beer. I liked this little bar (Corner Pub), I would come back again.

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And I have to say I really like these beers (BIRRA MORETTI). Hey Moretti family your into beer too? I’ll have to see if there in the states.

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It turns out that the night I was in venice they were celebrating the Festa del Redentore. Its to celebrate in honor of those who suffered and died of the plague in 1576. Over 50,000 people  passed away. A couple I met who rode their motorcycle as well, said I have to stay until midnight! It’s the most beautiful display of fireworks in Venice.

I made my way down to the Piazza SanMarco the main square

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and hoards of people as you can see who were doing the same, at the last minute I had a change of heart. There were so many people there and if it is one of the most beautiful things to witness in Venice, again I thought it should be shared for the first time. Can’t do everything by myself.

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Venice was beautiful and after 2 days of wandering it was enough! I checked out a bunch of churches as well and took a ferry ride around venice. It turned out to be the right time as the sun was setting!

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Once I got back to the Parking garage, I decided to ride in this time, we weren’t aloud in for an hour. They had the police and military searching the building for bombs. It made me think about Nice and being in an isolated crowded area. Just like the one I walked out of tonight. You can’t be scared to enjoy life, but maybe it was a good thing I didn’t stay. Thankfully, as it turned out, Venices celebration went on without incident. I’ll just have to enjoy that moment on another day.

My next destination Florence.

I woke up ready to go. I’m getting up later and later everyday. I don’t have to wake up super early, so 830-9pm and I can get everything packed in a half hour. By 10-10:30 I’m out.

Getting to florence was a piece of cake. As I made my way I ended up riding behind this  group, along coast line for around 80 miles.

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It made me miss home and riding with a group, as I ride with my friends and family all the time. Making trips to reno street vibrations with joe and his mostly retired friends. Traveling around with my cousins as we D.A.R. our way into week long trips. Even just the day rides are great. It’s camaraderie, it’s the shared simple moments of riding that can only come from riding. So as I spent a long time behind them, the scenery and images were great but it would be that much sweeter if I had my family of riders cruising right with me.

The back country of Italy is trafficless. Just farms, vineyards and back road restaurants.

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I stopped at farm house restaruant this time and made the mistake of ordering seafood pasta for a family of ten. I just wanted to magically to start speaking or reading Italian in these moments. Wow was it good, but I probably shouldn’t have eaten the whole thing 🙂

I found an air bnb and the whole apartment to myself for $50 a night in florence. This would be my first apartment to myself, but I only decided to stay in florence for 2 nights and one full day. I wanted to get to the west coast of italy.

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It turns out my phone died, so instead of sight seeing I ended up spending the day trying to figure out how to get it fixed. Luckily there was an apple store and they fixed in 5 minutes. It has been going dark lately and I’m not sure why. I use it mostly for navigation and I guess I’ll have to keep referring back to the maps if it keeps happening.

I enjoyed Vanessas artsy flat, but unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of Florence. I actually was quite tired anyway. I didn’t have much desire to do sight seeing. So maybe it was a good thing to chill for a bit. I did see the the Florence cathedral, also known as the church of Santa Maria del Fiore, it’s the 4th largest in the world.

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I also found a beautiful spot for an overview shot of Florence!

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My plan has been to see northern Italy, hit the coast to the leaning tower of pisa and then head towards France.  I decided to throw a curve ball into the mix and go to the island of Corsica. There is a 4 hour ferry ride to get there and all I have to do is make it to Livorno. No problem!!!

I left after only a day. I haven’t had but a a few days of leisure time to relax. I know boo hoo! 🙂 So just chilling for a day was nice. So I rode to pisa towards the coast and with the phone now working it helped me get there faster. After of course the token pictures and checking out Pisa’s beauty.

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I headed to a ferry to get to the island of Corsica,. I thought now i’m really working my way into the unknown. I know nothing about the island, except for it’s ruled by France. Where is Corsica? Look it up I did and was intrigued. Ok heres a map.

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Yep Corsica here I come!!! Instead of SI, SI, its back to OUI OUI!

Italy….Lakeside to Countryside!

I left the camp thinking I won’t see mountains or terrain like this again on the trip! I’m sure there will be some like it, but nothing can compare to it…… right?

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There is a sense of attachment you get when you get comfortable with your surroundings and just when I’m comfortable in a country, I leave! It’s that sense of wonder that grabs me. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out new people and culture.

Packing and unpacking have become easier. The placement, the tie down, all is working the way I want it too. I just need it to not be moving around while I’m riding. I’ve also got it packed in a way, where I can lean back, put my legs up on the crash bars and recline! I don’t have picture 🙂

As I ride in new countries, the signs change, the color of peoples skin changes, and there driving habits are what they are. For example, Italy, much like their personalities, drive fast, and sometimes erratic. Mind you this is only a certain percentage. I’m certainly not saying Italians are erratic. Physically their gestures, with the hands, and their animated body movement reflects in their driving. At least thats my interpretation.

The street signs actually don’t mean much to me, stay within the lines of the LAW :), and manage the roundabouts. In switzerland you cannot travel around traffic. They are very strict there. In italy you go where you want, as long as you don’t cause an accident.
As I made my way down, I looked at the Navigation and it showed me traveling through a lake…hmmm, there must be a bridge! Nope! As soon I made it to the end of the road, it just said ferry! How Cool?! We don’t have drive on ferries where I come from. Once I navigated where to purchase a ticket , I made it on.

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I tried to record it on my Go-pro, but of course, my battery died just as I was entering the ferry….Nice work Sinan!!!!!

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Taking a ride on the ferry was nice, I can’t remember the name of the lake , but it was beautiful. Ahhhh..Of course Lago Maggiore, I just had to look back at google maps! This is about where I contemplated staying on the lake. I want to to camp, but where? There has to be something somewhere.

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After getting off I rode around the lake and saw a swimming sign, at the very least I’ll take a dip. So I stopped and found a little area with a cafe/pizzeria sign. So I sat and google mapped campsites. Didn’t actually swim, just researched!

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It turns out most of the campsites are around $50-$75….you know what…. forget it! I found a hotel in the main area of the port for $64. Perfect! An old hotel next to the water sounds good to me.

I arrived and walked in cautiously! I’ve been known to walk into a place with an owner mentality and it’s gotten me in trouble before. Those who i’ve known for years know what I’ m talking about:).
Like most hotels i’ve been to over seas, their older and smaller. Smaller stairways, smaller elevators, but in the case of this one it had its own garage. One that is similar to single family homes.

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My first night in italy and it was a beautiful small town ( Laveno-Mombello) with it’s own small marina.

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It’s definitely off the tourist path, if the preferred choice is too ferry here, instead of driving.
The next morning I anticipated leaving and then decided I’d stay one more night after not finding a place,and not really knowing where to go? I have italy at my fingertips. Point and click, where ever I want to go. So it is kind of tough.

I stayed in town and after researching where I was going to stay, I decided to head to the nearest beach!

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The only shorts I have right now are what Eric gave me back in Moab!  Camo! I have to buy new ones but have resisted shopping! Why do I only have one pair of shorts? Because I left the sack at home…. YUP!

I toured parts of the town and stumbled into this historic Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso (Italian: Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso) it’s a Roman Catholic monastery

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The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos (It’s a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly-laid, or wet lime plaster) are from the 19th century. It consists of three buildings: the southern convent, the convent and the main church. In 1914 it was declared a national monument.

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The weather was humid, so I toured around on the motorcycle. Just having the wind was refreshing but I felt like I needed to just chill out somewhere, even farther off the beaten path and I found an even smaller lake side town (Calde)

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I dig the vibe as this little restaurant and guest house hotel was playing some blues……and as it turns out the guy sitting down, in the picture below, behind the guy standing up, is the owner.  Can’t see him but I’m sure he would want it that way ;)! He plays with his band there and is treated as a sort of, godfather, around Calde. It was funny to watch as people would come up and kiss his hand, and everyone walking by would acknowledge him. I know because I sat here for 5 hours!

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No one spoke english except one of the waitresses, nadia, she lived in australia for a while and then came back home. I talked to her for a little a bit and I told her home town is beautiful and has a great vibe, she said, “As long as your not working!!” 🙂

I also had one of the best meals that I can remember, since starting on the trip. Fantastic food. A steak with polenta that I savored! I should of stayed in this hidden gem (Calde) longer.

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My last night in this area with a good meal, a good vibe, and I was ready for the rest of italy!

Here is the thing, I’m in a place where all I have to do is ask myself is what do I feel like doing? Big city sight seeing? Or small city sight seeing? So I opted for small, I want to feel the backroads of italy kind of place. So much so, I chose campinmygarden.com. A site where you can camp in peoples back yard. Anyone can host, within reason of course, and anyone can sign up to camp.

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I chose the first camp in my garden in Italy. Ricardo’s and Sonia’s in Monzambano! It’s a small town and if you ride too fast you’ll miss it. I did! My phone had died, and I was navigating what I could remember off the map. I couldn’t find it and was hot!!!! It took me a half an hour, and I finally found their place. It was in a residential area, of course, surrounded by small farm lands and vineyards.
As soon as I pull in first thing I see is an older italian lady sweeping her front porch. You know the type, and she was sweeping a concrete porch that looked as if it was poured hundred years ago. Sonia met me outside and immediately showed me where to camp.

 

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They have a small garden with roosters and a neighbor with a donkey:) It was a nice spot tucked behind some bushes.

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I thought perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Minus the extreme heat!
After setting up camp, I got the info on what to do and where to  go. All I wanted was a gallon of water a pizza and a beer……I have feeling the pizza is going to be my nemesis, Restaurante Pizzeria’s are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

Posting up in Monzambano is going to allow me to do few things tour two towns Verona, Mantua, and enjoy a simple backroad area most wouldn’t go to unless they knew someone.

The next morning I woke up in my own little Teepee Sauna, a donkey Heehawing and the roosters crowing. It was both annoying and something that just made me laugh every morning I woke up. They were in unison, the rooster would crow then the valley’s rooster would crow, then the donkey would sing. I should of recorded it. It didn’t actually bother me that much, I found it funny and part of the whole experience.

I decided I would tour Verona, Italy that morning,  although it was hot, I didn’t want to waste the day lounging around. Navigating to Verona was not as hard as you would think. Just remember the Numbers of the roads and the towns in between and you should be fine without a map.

As I rolled in the first thing I stumbled upon was the coliseum…

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I rode right up to it, right in the middle of town. The best part about a motorcycle in europe   is the ease in which you can move around. Park almost anywhere up close and get in an out  without a lot of hassle!

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I didn’t go in the lines were crazy but this one is preserved much better then Romes, so much so they still have events there as they were preparing for a festival of shows int he next couple weeks.Here is an image off the internet for those who are curious.

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I found most of the spots of interest including juliets balcony…..but my first stop there the lines were out of control, I hate lines!  DSC_0960

So I came back later and got a picture just like everyone else…

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Oh Juliet!!! Your Romeo is here! Ha! Hardly!

I dint know what this wall was but it looked old and a lot of the tours were stopping at  it so i took a picture…….

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I also toured Castelvecchio (Italian: “Old Castle”) it’s a castle in Verona, northern Italy. It is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages.

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I toured the Basilica di San Zeno (also known as San Zeno Maggiore or San Zenone) is a minor basilica of Verona, Northern Italy. Its fame rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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There is an even older church beneath this one Since 921, the crypt has housed the body of St. Zeno in a sarcophagus, his face covered by a silver mask.

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No-one was in this church below and it felt very eery with all the artifacts that date back to the 9th century!

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Verona was nice mix of history, but it was small enough to tour most main tourist attractions in half a day. As I was heading out and walking past the coliseum these two guys were walking past me with their scooters…

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We talked and they said they’ve been riding from Germany and are heading for the Eastern italian coast. It’s nice to chat with like minded adventurers as there trip might be a step further in adventure then mine. I’m not sure they get 50 miles before they need gas. Luckily these scooters have pedals. I have there names on my phone but since my phone is currently broke i’ll edit it in later :).

After a high five and pre-congratulations for our Awesome adventures, they said what I’ve said all along when people ask me, why I’m doing this? Why not!?

I have more of Italy to show you but for now I’ll leave it at that. I’m enjoying the energy of Italy and it’s people. Their infectious high strung personalities make me want to see everything, but I do have to sleep too!

Switzerland!

On the road again……..just can’t wait to get on the road again!

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A go to song when I’m about to head off. Whether I listen to good ol Willy or just sing it to myself…..its a fitting song.

The Iron Camel is holding up like I want it to and the roads in France are fantastic. My fellow bike riders can understand that once your back on the bike you can get real sense of calm and peace. Your back to your own thoughts and the curiosity of whats around the corner. It’s motorcycle therapy!

As I cruised through more farm land I could feel the shift in weather and the houses were starting look more swiss! No more rolling hills and I was climbing. I hit the top of the  mountain and could catch glimpses of Lake geneva.

I’ve been to switzerland before but only by train. So I am eager to hit what is called the mecca of motorcycle or any vehicle riding roads.

Do you get excited about water? Once I saw the lake It got me pumped. The sun, beach, and everyone is in a good mood, so It didn’t take me long to get down. 🙂

My headlight on the bike has been very dim, so before I left I found a BMW dealer in Geneva. So that would be my first stop. I got there by 12ish and every business closes for lunch from 12:00-1:30. So I guess lunch it is….IMG_1924

Right next door. 20 frank (22 dollars) seafood salad! Velcome to Svitzzerlands! With a drink it cost me about 30 franks. Beautiful weather though, and the people seem the same they still speaking french!

As I head on my destination for my next airbnb in Vevey, Switzerland. The east side of the lake. I took the long way along the lake and stopped in Evian. YES where they make evian water. I did not go check it out, there is plenty of water to see!!!

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As I rolled in on the south side of the lake and then into the city of Montreux the first thing I notice was massive mountains, blue water, and huge hotels……

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And the crowds were crazy….. it so happens I made it on there 50th annual jazz festival. This was one of their many free concerts on the water. Otherwise i would of needed to fork out 500 franks.

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The Montreux Jazz Festival (formerly Festival de Jazz Montreux and Festival International de Jazz Montreux) is a music festival held annually in early July in Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline. It is the second largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival.

So i stayed in Vevey, which is only  a ten minute train ride from Montreux, not a bad spot and it turns out this is the area Charley Chaplin chose to live the last 25 years of his life with his family.

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The view was just as grand, with some added twists.

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It’s supposed to be “a fork in the road” Vevey!

Exploring the cities was easy to do, the are trains going all the way around the lake, and the cities are tucked beneath massive mountains. Theres only a few ways to go!

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I had my first starbucks in Europe! I haven’t had real large cup of coffee since the coffee at Da vince’s coffee cart back home. Their large cup here….. was 7.40 about $8 american money. With a Mediterranean sandwich, and an orange juice it was 22 franks. Oh well I was warned about this :)! Beautiful mountains though!

So I hung out mostly around where the festival was going on. There was so much to see, the music on the lake, the scenery, side vendors and people watch. So of course what do you do when you go to a jazz festival….listen to a girl AC/DC band of course!

Lol…apparently I had a thumbs up in the video the whole time!

Loved the energy of the band and ended up meeting with some of them the next day. Their true AC/DC Fans. Love it! We have version girl band called ACDshe in the states, but I think these girls truly rocked it! You can check them out here: backinblackgirls.com

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The statue is of Freddie mercury:

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At the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1978, the singer recorded the album “Jazz” with Queen. He fell in love with Montreux and Lake Geneva and decided to settle here. He said, among other things, “If you want peace of soul, come to Montreux”. This is his view everyday!

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Montreux also has one of the prettiest Swiss castles, that i’ve ever seen. Chillon Castle (French: Château de Chillon, pronounced Shee-yon). So after a Jazzy kinda of night I explored it the next morning!

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The Moat:DSC_0670

The Dungeon:

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The View from the Dungeon, not Bad! Not sure if its worse to have a view?

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One of the Celebration halls:

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The Fireplaces were all walk in:

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This is where they defended the castle from the front side:

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one of the breezeways:

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It looked well preserved:

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The views from inside the towers were amazing:

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outside front:

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moat:

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One more from outside:

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I took plenty of pictures and I’m fascinated with castles…as matter of fact my intention is to find one to stay in along the trip! Ok so one more!

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After a great weekend in Vevey, and Montreux I wanted to get farther into switzerland! I researched places, and one I’ve already been to, Interlaken! It was a great outdoors place but I’d rather see something different. So I chose Luzern, Switzerland. It seemed to have just right amount of old school touristy stuff.

On my way out of town, after wandering around the wrong cemetery for hours, A nice cemetery by the way , overlooking the lake……..

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I found Charlie Chaplins.

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He’s definitely honored here:

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On my way out view of the lake:

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Heading out and takin back roads knowing it will only take me 3 to 4 hours, leaves the opportunity to stop take pictures, videos, and still make it before sundown. Like heading over the hill and into luzern this:

The view coming down was again amazing no need to see a picture it wouldn’t do it justice. These though from ancient wall in luzern though:

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Musegg Wall Lucern:

A part of the rampart walls built in 1386; the wall is still almost entirely intact. Four towers are open to the public: Schirmer, Zyt, Wacht and Männli. The oldest city clock, built by Hans Luter in 1535, is in the Zyt tower. This clock is allowed to chime every hour one minute before all the other city clocks.

I walked all four, because why wouldn’t you!

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View from tower city of luzern:

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You have to keep in mind the era circa 1500’s

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This bell goes off 1 minute before all others in town:

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Went on a hike, I was almost bamboozled into seeing 4 mountains in 2 days! Which would mean I would go up and come down. So after sleeping on it…..I chose to do only one!

Mount Pilatus (German: Pilatus) is a mountain overlooking Lucerne in central Switzerland. The area is composed of several summits of which the highest (2,128 m) is named Tomlishorn. I chose just this Pilatus.

To get there there was the good ol cable car…..DSC_0734

You went above the clouds..and hiked even higher!

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There  were great walk through caves:

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And for those who truly want to sacrifice to get too church:

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To get down I took the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, from Alpnachstad, operating from May to November (depending on snow conditions).

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The loop finished with a boat ride on Lake Lucerne
(Vierwaldstättersee) Can you pronounce that?

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On the boat trip back  to luzern I heard a familiar language, Finnish!  Two girls were speaking it next to me, I haven’t even heard english since paris, so it was nice to hear something familiar.  We chatted for a bit and we ended up having dinner back in town. They spoke english which was also nice to speak without speaking too slowly!

This is the hostel I stayed  at….for 70 euro’s a night, I had a private room, but the walls were paper thin, and people were slamming doors all night, and shared bathroom!

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Truly swizerland is for those who are a little more then well off, and if your not, for a whole family, you might want do it in shorter trips.

Hung out at the lake for bit….beautiful and clean!

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Chapel Bridge and Water Tower mark the upper end of the medieval bridgehead city of Lucerne where the waters of Lake Lucerne flow into River Reuss. Originally Chapel Bridge and Water Tower were parts of the oldest medieval city ramparts of Lucerne.

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There were WAY more tourists in Luzern and I took a few more pics but i won’t bore you. Luzern had just the right mix of outdoor, history, and nightlife! Switzerland by the is very clean and efficient and I like that. You get what you pay for!

My next destination is Zermatt (Home of the matterhorn),  which I learned is a ride in disneyland. Funny I learned that overseas, I’ve never been. From what I know about the direction, I’m about to hit some of the best roads you can ride.

I’m headed for Grimsel pass…… The Grimsel Pass (German: Grimselpass) is a mountain pass in Switzerland, crossing the Bernese Alps at an elevation of 2,164 metres (7,100 ft)

Getting up there the views did not disappoint:

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If you like twisties when you ride:

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I have never seen a road like this and it made me LOL in excitement! I have some footage of me riding down it but I’ll save it for another time.

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I did do some research and they filmed one of the bond movies up furka pass, which is just up the hill from grimsel pass, in the 1964 movie goldfinger. Loved those movies…

So then I did my own small version of a chase!

and cheese balled it by trying to replicate a similar picture to this;

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The amount of pictures I took was ridiculous. You can’t say it enough switzerland takes your breath away! I may have stopped breathing! Haha but no pictures don’t do it justice and if they did it takes someone dedicated to the craft of photography.

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Heading towards zermat was a huge rush, and the BMW handled the roads beautifully. I started to begin to trust it a little more. Getting more and more comfortable with its ground clearance. My harley doesn’t have ground clearance. So hitting these amazing corners and leaning into them felt good. The roads here are impeccable. I don’t recall if even saw a pot hole!

I made it to my campsite…. Camping Attermenzen it was called, in a small town Randa!

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A beautiful place set at the base of Zermatt and the matterhorn!

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The camping there is nice, just make sure you have cash, if you want anything from their restaurant or market!

The next morning I was set to get to the matterhorn an iconic mountain in disneyland :)…..no the real matterhorn is here in Zermatt. I’ve been in contact with some friends and fellow kick boxers monique and her daughter Amanda. They’ve been a 6 week world journey as well. They have family in switzerland and had been there for about a week . So we were able to work out meeting in zermatt.

So I normally  get on my bike to explore towns first, then on foot! Its a fast way to understand the main roads and back streets to get my bearings. Riding up to zermatt requires you riding through a small village Tasch!

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I did not know you cannot go pass this town into zermatt with your own vehicle. But I tried :)…..so I took a one lane road into zermatt, with helicopters hauling construction material right above my head, I arrived into the main area with my big huge motorcycle and crowds of people staring at me. The taxi drivers screaming at me! After realizing it wasn’t the welcoming committee I stopped and asked a driver what’s wrong?

He said I can be fined 4oo or 500 franks for driving a  vehicle here! OH WOW! ok! I’ll turn around then :)! Apparently unless you work and live there, there are no tourist vehicles allowed. IF you did work there, the town is made for very small vehicles anyway!

Taxis, police, work trucks, all mini size!

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So I turned around went back into Tasch, found a parking garage, near the train station to get you into zermatt. A random lady informed me that I could certainly find a spot outside. It’s way to expensive to park in there!? NOPE! Mostly private parking  outside unless I wanted to pay.  I don’t know the area so I decided to take it back to the camp and walk back to the train station. Which was about 20 minute walk.

I got off the train looked around a bit and then heard my name being called! Apparently they were on the same train! Ha! The timing was perfect!

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Monique parents were there as well! We spent the afternoon trying to figure out how far you can actually go up!?  Lol…..its part of traveling one step forward three steps back!

Here was our first glimpse of the matterhorn!

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Its up there and definitely stands out!

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Of course there is a cable car.

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and the views….

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As you get higher the snow got thicker, and the helicopters were delivering construction material to the top just about all day!

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Once you get there you can feel the lack of oxygen, move to quickly and you’ll head will feel funny!

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If you feel like skiing in summer it looked like a few hills for those die hards were still running!

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Look real close at you’ll see people hiking higher!!!!

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You can walk through a glacier bar, or ice bar as they called it!

I fully expected to see a bar down here, but mostly sculptures! It was definitely cold!

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It was cool and a little weird too! They had music playing through out the caves! It didn’t need it in my opinion.

We explored for little longer and then made our decent, this was at the edge of the world about enter the cable car!

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It seemed like we were not in this world it was so high!

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After dinner they were able to drive me back to my camp. I decided that night I would move on. Switzerland is expensive, as i said before, and a german couple i met camping who were traveling by back pack said they’re heading for italy too “Itzz zeaper down zere” they said.

Traveling with some home town friends was nice, to share experiences, and speak normally! Going to places where most don’t speak english is a fun challenge but it can also be isolating!

For now I’m out and thanks again Moretti family for the shared experience. Grandma even bought be a flask, as she heard me say it would be nice to have  night cap on cold night once in while :)…it was very sweet!

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Paris to Arbois, France!

Red eye, red eye, ready!

Took the red eye and slept a few hours, I think! The darkness of the plane instantly went to blind you in the eyes as people open there shades to their window seat.

Ok! I’m awake and after retrieving the luggage I called for a taxi to take me to the air canada cargo. I gave him the address but he still had a hard time finding it, as I would have alone. Trusty navigation to the rescue, I had to help him! After a 45 minute cab ride which should of taken 15 minutes we found the area.

Followed by paper work, paper work, go here, do that, figure this out. This is what they came out with! I like that it’s secure 🙂

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After another 45 min of getting the bike ready to ride, the first thing I had to do was find a gas station. It’s supposed to have only a quarter tank left, but I think I left it with much less. So I used  a map  (Navmii) that I downloaded for France, and said 6.6 miles. Cool I think it will do that. I hope it will do that!!!!

Some how I was in LALA land because I didn’t even realize i had hit foreign soil, or didn’t really hit me until I hit the traffic! Holy cow….motorcycles everywhere crisscrossing through lanes like there were none! I wasn’t afraid of the cars it was the bikes.

I wasn’t quite adjusted to the speed yet but after riding through, what felt like, the death river of cars and bikes I found my destination! Another Airbnb. The cost $57 a night for a room. Awesome!

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I waited about an hour because i got there early. My host Chantal said 5pm. Yet again I felt like a side show waiting! It’s not just here, every where people stare and i get it, it’s not everyday you see a guy in what looks like a space suit, hauling luggage on a bike.

Chantal speaks no english, but her roommate Emma does. It didn’t matter she gave me all the keys I needed, showed me around and she was off to what i think what she said was a dance recital.

The apartment was nice on the top floor and from one side had a view of the Sacré-Cœur (Sacred heart of Paris) It’s a roman catholic church. FullSizeRender 5

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On the other side this:

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After getting settled in and wandering the streets for a bit and snapping some pictures……

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When i got back to the apartment, Emma told me I made it on a good night. Chantal was having her friends  who play Brazilian type drumming over for a party. I spent the night hanging with those folks, and enjoyed getting to know them. A few spoke english, which helped in them being able to give me pointers in french and about paris.

I realized by now spending my days traveling to these places have been great, but what makes it better are the people I meet. I get so caught up in being in the moment I forget that it would be nice to take a picture with them.

I have three full days in paris, at least thats the way I set it up. Soooo….friday night one of the folks from the party told me a great way to get around are the rental bikes all around the city.  There free for the first half hour and then 1.70 Euro for every hour after. This aside from a scooter seems like the fastest and best way to see the city. I rode them all weekend!

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I used the subway as well….very easy to use! Just put the colors together 🙂

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Most of these  places I visited may not need a caption, but if you were me and you didn’t know too much about france!?

The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars! The names are of those who fought are carved into the arch!

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The Eiffel tower of course….as I rode i stumbled upon it so to speak!

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I did see at night as well!

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I know it’s sounds really lame…but these are places some people study a lifetime about. I haven’t been of them, but I can appreciate the architecture, art and a vibe of a place. There seemed to be a museum around every block in Paris, but of course this one spoke to me as I was riding around. It turns out this is the one that houses the Mona Lisa!

The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world”

So I entered! 🙂 the LOUVRE Museuem!

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The architecture was amazing! DSC_0469

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There were some amazing sculptors, I call this the first selfie!

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This one a more famous one of course! The Venus de Milo sculpture was created sometime between 100 and 130 B.C. it is believed to depict Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

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I call this get out of the way it’s big enough so you don’t have to stand five feet in front of it picture!

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and of course the more famous…Mona Lisa! oh and stop pushing me you can see it from a distance as well….Zoom in!!! 

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The notre dame cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. So I looked at the map and this was in walking distance, so I ditched the bike at one of the many bike stations. It was truly something out of this world! The detail was incredible!

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So did I go in? No I’d prefer to come back another day, someday, and leave my curiosity at it’s peak! All of things i saw with the exception of the museum, i preferred to say i’ll be back. The truth is you can’t see it all!  I haven’t  seen all of Califronia yet. So I’ll keep my imagination running and cash in on another day!

On my last day I did some more wandering and snapping photos…..DSC_0386

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Also watched some Fooootball….Me and the bartender lady from Italy were secretly cheering on Ireland in this french dominated scene!

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Paris has some amazing things to see and is quite electric. The more big cities I see, I begin to go through a sort of withdrawal like after someone shushes you in the ol library scene. BE quite, take a breath, calm down! How can you in  big city? It’s meant make you feel alive. I needed a place that was slower or maybe it was because I was moving to fast myself.

Through out the 3 days of wandering and site seeing I would at some point find myself back here at Belushies Bar…a hostel in the The 19th arrondissement of Paris, it is one of the 20 arrondissements of the capital city of France. It will help you navigate back to your spot once you get use to this.

There were travelers from everywhere and it was quite peaceful most of the time.

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I finished my last night in paris having escargot for the first time….just like oysters in my opinion! I enjoyed them, i’ll eat them again.

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I had a ton more pictures but just like my trip it was quick, and I had to choose what to do carefully. It was time to move on or so I felt.That night I chose my next destination!

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I chose Arbois because I wanted a town that was small but still with something to see. The reviews said lots of hiking, caves, and waterfalls. Yep sounds good to me! Not to mention the proximity to Switzerland, which would be my next country. On my way out the next day I took one last cruise towards the Eiffel for a photo op…and was out

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The Ride was fantastic going towards Arbois. From here on out i’m going to try and take backroads, 250 miles to Arbois, is almost still about 150 miles shorter then what I would commonly do in the states. NO problem!

Lots of rollin hills, vineyards, and what seemed to be endless old deserted french towns.

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and each one had churches that were picturesquely old!

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I realized one of the towns I was going to pass was dijon, France! I had the brilliant idea to have Dijon Mustard in Dijon! I’m complicated i tell you:). Anyway upon entering the city I tried to have my buddy craig look up some places for me to eat that would potentially be worth the trip, from his computer back in P town! It works quite nicely. I send him a text via voice text of course, and he sends me the link for the map to different locations. Well for some reason I had hell of a time trying to locate this one, and no restaurant seems to be open in the middle of the week. Our restaurants in America DO NOT close, in france they barely open. So after wandering for an hour int the heat, I said forget it. The next place that l find I’ll stop. Now for some reason I was absolutely drained and irritated.

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I wanted to capture the frustration in the pic, but really this is my biggest issue so far!? I thought dude get  grip your riding your motorcycle in france. Needless to say I had a coffee and didn’t even eat because all they had were croissants! Didn’t want another croissant! There I go whining again.

After wasting my time looping in circles….It took me another hour to get to arbois, I showed up in the city square where the airbnb was located. A beautiful square it was.

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I met my Airbnb host Ines and even though we couldn’t commuincate without using google translate, she was fantastic. She made me feel right at home!

Now this town is very sleepy compared to paris, but I think it’s exactly what i needed…Sleep! This was a romantic sort of town, one with all the couples and me! But to me it was more about that and the wine then the outdoors.

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The Cuisance River passes through the town, which has some pretty streets lined with ancient houses.

So what else did i do then sleep? This town does have quite of bit things to see.

I visited Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) house, inventor of the rabies vaccine, returned to Arbois throughout his life and his house has been perfectly preserved. From the billiards room to the laboratory, you can experience his home life and of whom, from what i gathered is quite the genius!

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I  hiked to a waterfall

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Visited the local caves…. The Grotte des Planches is found around a few miles from Arbois. It’s a younger cave formed by water. It’s an “active” cave, where still water is flowing through, forming the rock.

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Took some twisty roads…….DSC_0509

Saw an overview of the town…DSC_0507

Arbois was a peaceful beautiful town!

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and it felt like just what i needed! I’m in a weird funk! I think the jet lag, riding and moving from place to place is catching up with me, but, the scenery change and the culture changes are keeping on my toes.

So the last night I had some local cuisine at la finette…recommended by InesIMG_1899

Although for some reason I went with the chicken……AHEM!!! Table for one at this romantic restaurant please!

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There are so many small moments that pass me by as ride like the wind going from town to town. As I head into the next country svvitzerland, i hope I’ll take more notes on those small moments.

After a meal like that, there was a huge salad prior and some amazing ice cream after. I waddled back the apartment and it didn’t take long for me to pass out and start dreaming about Cheese, Alps, cows with bells and the loan I’ll have to take out for when I get to switzerland.

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