Thursday, 9 October 2014

All good things come to an end.

Well... there hasn't been much chance for blogging over the last few days and not always a reliable internet either. And also not much chance for photos since arriving back in England.

We left Paris on Friday and rode to Calais, got the ferry to Dover and caught up with Janelle's old mate Loui in Hastings for a couple of days, and then Paul and Alan in Brighton.

The weather has been switching between atrocious and bearable except for last Sunday which was just perfect.

In the last 4 days we've visited a real life castle (Bodiam) hung out in a health club, been almost blown off the road, soaked to the skin... and today, after 5 weeks, completed the loop back in Royston and  sadly, reluctantly, gave the bike back to Paul and the crew at Open Road Rentals.

We now have normal suitcases again. Different clothes to wear and all our bike gear is packed away. We have the next 2 nights in a guest house near Notting Hill. In 48 hours we'll be on a plane heading for Dubia, then home.

So tomorrow Ill try to find some faster internet so I can upload the last 3 or 4 days worth of fun.  For now, let me just say that we travelled 6403 kms and spent just over 95 hours actually on the bike. We averaged 68kph and hit 191kph on an autobahn near Berlin and 214 kph on Nurburgring. We visited 8 countries, stayed in  26 different places, jumped off a mountain in Switzerland, climbed the Eiffel Tower, raced the awesome Nordschleife, and got ourselves engaged along the way.... in Venice... as you do.

What a trip. So many stories, so much to tell. So very much.

So I'll try to get as much on here in the next few days as possible. Till then... it's late, we're tired and a little emotional too if we're honest. So it's goodnight from London... for now at least.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Paris: By motorcycle.

I figured after conquering all those mountains, I honestly couldn't let a little thing like Paris traffic scare us away.

But you don't need to take my word for it. Here's the whole sordid detail in wonderful High Definition.

It's in 3 video's cause that's how Go Pro makes it. Editing it together is just not on option on the road sorry.

So while the whole thing is an education in craziness, you may want to skip to the real fun bit.  The Arc de Triomph.  If you go to vid 2 and start at 9 min 60, you'll get us turning onto Champs Elysses (and you'll miss me saying a naughty word) and the run down to the Arc. An honorable mention at 7 min 10 where you can catch a glimpse of the top of the Tower just before we turn right over the river (and almost skittle an american tourist)

But wait, there's more... as a free bonus, Janelle also filmed it on the camcorder.  So you have 2 points of view.  The camcorder gets our voices more clearly, and can swing around a little more.

Anyway, enjoy, or cringe, or cry. Whatever you need.

Here a 40 minute ride along the Seine and across Paris, in all it's ugly glory.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Large on board videos.

We've managed to upload a whole lot of the longer movies.

So sit back, chill out, put on some music if the continuous Ducati engine gets too boring, as we present for your viewing pleasure, some of Europe's most beautiful, and most scary roads.

Lets start with Stelvio Pass.  Here is the descent in 2 separate vids.  The first starts with the camera facing backwards, and we turn it around at 9 minutes 10. But make sure you watch at 11 minutes 30, where some roadworks gave me the opportunity to remove the Go Pro and hang it over the edge for a few seconds.

And now the climb to LÁlp Huez with Janelle filming on the camcorder.  We only went to the village, not the peak, as time was getting away and we still had a long ride to Grenoble.

Ok, next, again in 2 parts is the ride to the top of the world. La Bonnette at 2702 meters. The highest paved road in Europe (that isnt a dead end) and the 3rd highest overall.  This is where the landscape became a moonscape and we were higher than everything we could see.  Truly awe inspiring.

And here is the descent from Col d'Liseran. The 4th highest.

And leaving the prettiest till last.  We rode to the very north of Switzerland, then across in a south-west direction avoiding the main roads completely.

The morning we left Appenzell it was drizzling, but just simply beautiful.  This is the Switzerland most of us dont see.  High rolling hills instead of snow capped mountains.  I'm sure there was some blond chick called Heidi yodelling at the cows somewhere in this vid.  Anyway... see for yourself.

Paris: The tower and the lock

Well. Didn't blog last night. The hotel in Nemours doesn't bear thinking about.  You know... one of those places where there are 20 tradies vans parked outside, and the start rating goes up because a girl stayed there... who wasn't paid for. Needless to say... no wifi to speak of.

Anyway, this morning we made the short hop into Paris and have treated ourselves to... ready for this... 2 nights in an Executive Suite at the Novotel (Paris - Charenton).  Just lovely.  Can you believe the mini bar is complimentary!

So there were 2 things we wanted to get done today.  Visit the tower again, and track down the little love lock that we left on Pont des Arts bridge last year. We did both, and climbed the tower, yes I mean using the stairs, to the second level.

Now... here's my 3 stage cure for vertigo. 1) Ride a motorcycle over Grossglockner Pass in Austria. 2) Ride over a dozen or so other passes in Italy and Switzerland including Stelvio, Susten, Grimsel and La Bonnette. 3) Jump off the side of a bloody big mountain at Zermatt suspended only by a parasail and a swiss guy who you hope knows what he's doing.  Now if you do all that, I promise you, climbing this Eiffel Tower thingy they have here is a easy peasy.  You can even go right up the the wire mesh to take photos and not have the slightest problem. Dead set.

Then, we used up the last of our leg muscles by waking back along the river to Pont des Arts where we found our lock we put there a year ago.  Was actually quite a special moment really.  And to cap it off, I hassled a pommie busker into letting me play his guitar... actually on the bridge.  Not quite sure what the asian couple having their wedding snaps taken at the same time thought of it all... but hey... that's Paris.  It is what it is. 

And just to demonstrate just how anything can happen in this place. We chilled out on the grass for a little while, as you do, and just near us were a young couple with some juggling balls and a ukelele.  Out of nowhere  he pulled out some music, she sat down and in their best attempt at english started playing a song.  I managed to film a little. You can just make it out in the vid (turn the volume up) but I have to include it.  Can you believe Midnight Oil's - Beds are Burning.  Seriously.  Brought the biggest smiles to our face.  I thanked him as we left.

So for you're enjoyment this morning I have attached lots of happy snaps. Some of the long haul to Nemours yesterday (partly in the rain) and also todays little hop.  And also our wanderings up the tower and along the Seine River.

You know, for all it's faults, Paris really is a lovely way to spend a few days.  But for us, it's a little more than us.  It's the little bit of relaxation before the run back to England, catching up with our dear friends, and then the ride back to Royston to return the best motorcycle I have even ridden.  More on that later, as she really does deserve a little mention all to herself.

So... here's some more of our ride from the last 2 days, and this afternoon in Paris.