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'03 Greg & Natasha on Suzuki DRBig: Europe

 

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Preparations

Poland/Germany/Switzerland

Italy
Sardinia/Corsica
Spain
Poland

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Idea and Preparations

Long motorcycle trips usually require extensive planning. Since this year’s trip took us to more civilized places our preparations were rather basic.

Visas

I did not need any visas for Western Europe. All we had to do is arrange Polish and European Union visas for Natasha which we organized in Toronto.

The bike:

Suzuki was in Kielce but it was not equipped and, after last year’s trip, it needed many parts. After checking the prices I decided to buy most of the needed parts in Poland. We packed all the necessary travel equipment and took it with us on the plane. In Kielce I bought chain, sprockets, rear tire, spark plugs, changed oil and filter, and performed a general check up on all the parts. Attaching luggage racks and the top bin was just a routine. 

The route:

It was supposed to be an easy road trip taking us from Poland to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Sardinia, Corsica, France, Spain and back through France and Germany to Poland. In all hopefully no more than 10000 kms. Suzi was already 15 years old and made so far 60000 kilometers, I had a feeling she would survive an easy trip.

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Poland/Germany/Switzerland

After spending 2 weeks in Russia visiting Natasha’s parents, relaxing, eating, drinking, fishing and basically doing nothing we were eager to jump on two wheels and hit the road. In Kielce it took me a whole day to get the bike ready. When I was finished I felt like I was about to go again East. The bike and all the gear were the same but we had no spare parts and I think less cloths. 

Day 1, Jul-26 - Kielce to Ukraine and back to Plazow (Poland)     491 kms

Leaving Kielce at around noon we managed to stop at a roadside “karczma” for a good Polish meal and got to the Ukrainian border at Zosin-Ustilug shortly after 3pm.

Roadside restaurant before Ukrainian border

Naturally there was no need to wait in line, which was very long, we just squeezed through and were right before the gates. Polish customs were very easy, no questions no hassle just a routine check and go. Ukrainian officials did not really bother us either. Except one lady who, despite showing her our insurance, insisted that we buy travel insurance from her for $20. We exchanged a few unpleasant words and at last refused to take advantage of her service. She just let us go.

The main purpose for entering Ukraine was to get a cheaper green card (international liability insurance for vehicles). Not far from the border there were some booths with agents selling such insurance. Unfortunately no one wanted to sell it to me. They would only sell it to Ukrainians. Oops, I guess I was wrong about this one.

Well, to try my luck again we headed south along the border through Novovolynsk for another crossing at Rava Ruska. There I was again unsuccessful to get the green card. Back in Poland without insurance. Customs officers did not ask about it anyway. It is not easy to find lodging at night, however, we were lucky. A security guard at a road-side motel let us use the garden to set up the tent.

It was interesting to see Ukraine again but in general it was a wasted day. We should have been in Wroclaw by now.                

Day 2, Jul-27 - Plazow to Wroclaw   550

In the morning we met the owner of the motel who did not want any money for the night and was more than happy to serve us breakfast in his restaurant.

An easy day of riding on mostly single-lane Polish roads through Rzeszow, Tarnow, Krakow and Katowice. There is a lot of construction going on especially after Gliwice where they are building a highway so sometimes the going was pretty slow.  

Tonight we crashed at my uncle’s apartment. He was so happy to see us. 

Day 3, Jul-28 - Wroclaw to Selb 492

A big day for Natasha. Today she entered Western Europe for the first time.

We left Wroclaw in rain but of course a real biker does not worry about getting wet. We just put our raingear on and we were fine. Border crossing Zgorzelec was quite easy but they did not let us go at once. We were pulled over for questioning and to check motorcycle papers. Everything was fine and they did not even ask about the green card. For curiosity I went to check the price of insurance and to my surprise it was only 25 Euro for a month. I took it for extra protection.

Going through Germany was interesting if not sometimes monotonous. It is nice to see pretty rolling hills, clean villages and green forests; however, if to take the highway the riding becomes a bit of a chore especially on a big and slow enduro bike.

We headed for Dresden and Karl-Marx-Stadt where we missed the exit to Munich. It was actually a nice detour since we had a chance to see a picturesque city of Zwickau.

Back on the highway and going through some nice hills we decided to stop for the night. Quite spontaneously we got off the autobahn and rode through the city of Selb. The rain finally  stopped. Very peaceful town with cute buildings and a picture perfect downtown. Too late to take pictures. A hotel clerk invited us to his establishment but we had to reject his 100Euro for a room offer. Nice guy, he was not offended. He explained where we could find a camping and even gave us a map of a region.

More rolling hills, beautiful farm houses and perfectly signposted roads. It was no problem finding the camping with a perfect lawn, a fish pond and a clean walking trail. For 8Euro it was very nice. At night it was a bit chilly but bearable.    

Day 4, Jul-29 - Selb to Au 702

Back on the highway and in no time we were in Munich. Very nice city, monumental architecture and clean streets, everything so organized. We stopped by some interesting gates and building and took some photos. A sunny day truly added to the relaxing atmosphere of the city. I hope to return to Munich and maybe spent a few days there. This time we were just passing through.

Munich, walking area

Time to do some mountain riding. South of Munich the Alps tower over the horizon.

To avoid the autobahn I took a shortcut through Wiessee and Achenpass.

Lake Achen, Austria

Beautiful towns and villages with typical German alpine architecture, no tall buildings, lots of flowers everywhere and lots of tourists, I think mostly Germans. We rode over the pass and did not even notice the Austrian border, well, there is no border. I think there was a sign “Austria” but I missed it.

Typical Alpine style house, Germany

Innsbruck lies in a valley with snow-cupped peaks surrounding it. The feeling is rather extraordinary; the mountains seem to swallow everything around them. We continued on a nice autobahn right to Feldkirch passing some stunning scenery and often loosing the sight of the mountains because of the numerous tunnels.

There is actually a border crossing between Austria and Lichtenstein but the officers did not even stop us. I slowed down to stop but they just waved us through, they seemed to be too busy talking to care about some bikers. To get to Swiss border we actually had to go through the center of Vaduz, very pretty town.

The Swiss border is only signposted but there is no customs booth. In general there is no change in scenery, towering mountains, nice autobahn and many tunnels continued till Au on the lake Zurich. Of course my sister and her family were super happy to see us.    

Day 5, Jul-30 – Au

Today we took an excursion to Zurich with my sister and her family. It was a wonderful day visiting some churches and walking around the city. Instead of the train, we took a boat back to Au. 

 Nice gates, Zurich Passenger ferry on Lake Zurich

Day 6, Jul-31 – Au

Trip to Luzerne by train.

I wanted to take a bike but my sister convinced us to relax and take the train since soon we were going to sit on the bike for a long time.

View from the top of Mannli Tower, Luzern, city wall Dixi street jazz, Luzern

Luzern is another clean and picturesque city with lots of tourists. We managed to: walk the old city wall from where we could experience some fascinating views; we saw a lion carved in the side of the cliff, a memory to the last Swiss war; we walked the lively city streets where variety of musicians showoff their talents; and we walked the old wooded bridge, which was actually rebuilt after a recent fire.

Day 7, Aug-1 – Au to Rheinfall and back 130

Switzerland Day.

We actually used Suzi to visit places.

First it was the falls on the Rhine River, apparently the biggest falls in Europe.

Boat excursion on the Rhine Possibly the biggest falls in Europe, Rhinefall Man playing the saw, with orchestra back up

Then we headed to Nack, a small town In Germany, to visit Ueli’s parents.

In the evening we enjoyed the fireworks over Lake Zurich from the balcony of my sister’s house. Quite an unforgettable experience.    

Day 8, Aug-2 – Au to Giswil and back to Au 150

Early wake up, quick packing, good bye to my sister and we were on our way to Interlaken. It seemed just like a routine ride until I had to shift down when the highway ended and we started going on a two-way road.

The second gear did not want to engage so I had to continue on third until the next town. I thought to continue but the road started climbing and I knew I would not make it far. I would have burned the clutch soon. There was little choice, I had to stop and inspect the problem.

We found some warehouse, I pushed the bike close to its walls to look less conspicuous. It is Switzerland, most of the vehicles are knew and they rarely break and if they do, people do not just fix machines on sidewalks, they call for assistance. Of course I was not ready to pay a couple hundred Franks for such service without knowing the problem. I laid Suzi on its side and disassembled the gear shifter mechanism, well, almost.

trying to fix the gear shifter in Giswil

I had one screw to go and really was unable to loosen it. Further down the street there was a bicycle shop. A busy but very friendly owner let me call my sister and offered his help but I had to rush because he was closing at 5pm, it was Saturday. Upon returning to the bike I put all the parts back in place, loaded the machine and pushed it a couple hundred meters to the bike shop. Natasha was assisting all the time.

At the shop we lied the bike again on its side and went through the same procedure until the questionable screw was loosened with a special tool. There was really nothing wrong with the shifter mechanism so I put it back together and started to jerk the lever up and down. Surprise !! The shifter somehow moved down.

Back on the road I tested the gears and they seemed to be ok except the fourth gear was hard to engage. No problem, I could work with that. Unfortunately it was already late; my sister already rebooked the hotel in Interlaken so we decided to go back to Au. We thanked the bike mechanic and left the town of Giswil.

We were so lucky this small failure happened in the middle of a civilized place, not somewhere in the Kazakh steppe. Back in Au we found out that Jacek, who was traveling through the Balkans, was calling and wanted to meet us. Well, he never showed up.

Day 9, Aug-3 - Au to Interlaken 120

Interlaken: second attempt. This time we passed Giswil without any incidents and continued to Brunig pass. More wonderful scenery followed. It seemed like everything was so pure, so clean, and almost sterile. Perfect road, super clean water in Lake Brienzer and everywhere lots of flowers, in windows and on street dividers. It was a slow and relaxing ride.

In Interlaken we quickly located the Victoria Jungfray hotel, probably the most expensive one in the city. It was quite bizarre to ride up to the front door along with some Porches and Ferraris, yet the doorman helped us with the same politeness. The stay was the courtesy of my sister, big thanks. I will not disclose the fee. We left Suzi in the garage, our luggage with the doorman and headed for the train station. The feature of the day was not only supposed to be the luxurious hotel,

Victoria Jungfrau Hotel in Interlaken

it was the train ride up to the highest train station in Europe, Jungfraujoch, 3475 meters above sea level. We had to change several trains, the higher we went the narrower the gauge of the tracks. From Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg the train was slowly climbing very steep hills, going through small tunnels and over miniature bridges.

Kleine Scheidegg transfer station, 2061m.

The gradient was so high that no regular train could climb such hills. Between the rails there was a toothed rail so the train’s big sprocket had something to grab onto. Very clever construction. Superb views, breathtaking scenery, there was no end to “ohs… and ahs…look there”.

In Kleine Scheidegg we changed the train again. This time it was fancier. The seats were soft and there was a TV screen showing the history of the construction of the train line and the different glaciers. The ride this time took about 45 minutes going entirely through a tunnel and stopping once at a viewing cave to give passengers a chance to look at a glacier.

Ewigschne ice field

At the top they built a complex comprising of a restaurants, alpine center and observatory. Most unusual was the ice palace, a complex of caves and tunnels dug in the glacier.

A sculpture inside the ice palace

We roamed around the observatory, stepped outside, took some pictures and headed back to the train.

Jungfrau ice field At the top Back in Kleine Scheidegg

More awesome views however it was a bit to crowdy to enjoy them. Back in the hotel we received our key card. The luggage was reeled on to the suite by a doorman. Nice, blue interior, large bathroom, TV, fridge, drinks, towels, robes, slippers and more. All the extras and a dinner were included.

Since I had no formal attire we did not know if we could enter the French-style restaurant. I found some white shirt and a tie but the Florida pants and sandals surely did not fit the situation. We had a table right by the piano player with whom we sort of interacted suggesting songs.

The five course meal was rather extravagant and the small portions were served on big plates, ala French style. Exquisite service with mates dressed in long dresses and servers in tuxedos. The wine list was shocking, ranging from F50 to F1000. We took the cheap one. It was sort of “once in a life time experience” and well worth it, why not.

Back in the room the misery started, I was already sneezing and feeling very hot. I hoped to sweat it out by the morning.

Day 10, Aug-4 Interlaken to camping on Lake Iseo, Italy 497

In the morning we decided to take advantage of the extras that were included in the hotel stay that was the sauna and the swimming pool. Actually it was a good idea for me because of my cold. I skipped the swimming part but at least I looked at the interior of the swimming area, it was truly luxurious: large swimming area, variety of depths, columns protruding from water, colorful tiles, lots of plants and glass roof, awesome. We walked around the many guest rooms and admired the interiors.

We left around noon saying good bye to the friendly doormen, direction St. Bernard’s pass.

With the hotel’s doormen

More breathtaking scenery, we both agreed that Switzerland is magical and people living here are from some fairy tale.

Swiss autobhan

The climb up the pass was pretty steep but Suzi made it, no problem. We were way above the tree line and all we could see is more ragged mountains and some green hills.

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Italy

There is a border crossing to Italy but once again Italian officials just waved us through, cool.

St. Bernard pass St. Bernard, opposite view St. Bernard, lake on the Italian side

Few pictures and we began our descent to Aosta. Interestingly the scenery changed to more rough and dry, and the constructions became poorer, less taken care of. The temperature also rose.

Due to my nose congestion I experienced severe pain during the descent, my ears wanted to pop out but they couldn’t. The pain passed after we reached lower elevation.

From Aosta we took the expensive “autostrada”. In a way it is the only way to move from place to place since most local roads are often congested and there is no end to the many small towns and villages. Since it was getting dark we knew we would not make it to Venice today.

Lake Iseo was full of camping places but most of them were full. Unbelievable but real, August is the vacation time of Italians and also high season. We were lucky, one of the campgrounds had two last small spots available but for a shocking 28 Euro. That night we felt our vacation really started, it was because of the weather. Hot and dry night, I knew I was going to recover fast.

Mountain Lake Iseo

Day 11, Aug-5 Lake Iseo to Camping Fusina (near Venice) 206

A quick hop on “autostrada” to another camping and we were ready to explore Venice. It was a day of blind exploration. We decided to walk around the city and not to look at the map. I think we explored the northern and western part of the city.

Fruit vendor, Venice Grand Canal Renaissance architecture

In the evening we were completely lost but somehow with help of other tourists we made it to the boat terminal on time. A half-hour ride and we were back at the camping. Completely exhausted, we crashed.

Day 12, Aug-6 Day in Venice

Another boat ride to Venice. This time we decided to see the main attractions: St. Marc’s square, Ducal Palace and a walk around the core of the city. The city has wonderful architecture and a very unique feel. Peaceful squares are often occupied by locals who do not really mingle with the tourists.

We ended the day with a romantic gondola ride through a maze of narrow canals, passing numerous arched bridges and admiring the stunning architecture of the sinking city. Due to the high temperature it was not a very relaxing day, but of course the rewards were greater than one can imagine.

Piazza San Marco Watermelon break Princess Natasha Gondoliere

Day 13, Aug-7 Camping Fusina to Camping International Marina Di Piza 375

Back on the road by 10 a.m. Because of the high cost of the “autostrada” I decided to take a more scenic route through the Apennines.

A mountain village, Apenino mts.

It seemed like life in some of the mountain villages stopped, they were so peaceful. Back on the plains the busy Italian lifestyle was evident. From Florence to Piza the towns were not far apart and the driving was very slow.

This time we only rode through Piza. A friendly motorcyclist guided us to the nearest camping which was situated right close to the sea shore. Sometimes it is difficult to find the right directions on the local roads, the signs are not clear or easily confused with the “autostrada” directions. The camping was almost full, the clients rather international and the area very relaxing: lots of tall bending pine trees and permanent shade. The only discomfort was the paid hot showers, a sign of Italian poverty.

We spent the rest of the evening drinking wine and eating some noodles.

Day 14, Aug-8 Excursion to Piza 49

Piza used to be a major port but in time its importance diminished. Today the city is a collection of older style buildings with the only major attraction being the Square of Miracles with its famous leaning tower. What a wonderful idea to travel on motorcycle, especially in Italy the country of traffic congestions and twice as many cars as citizens. We could park our Suzi right before the city gates. We walked around the square and admired the Renaissance architecture.

Piza tower Cathedral at Campo Dei Miracoli, Piza

The other half of the day we decided to use for swimming, sun tanning and just relaxing on the beach with pretty much international crowd.

Day 15, Aug-9 Marina Di Piza to Camping Porticciolo in Bracciano 332

Wonderful sunny day gave us a bit of a boost in the morning but after a while the high temperature tired even us, tough bikers. It was really scorching in the sun. We followed the coast through Livorno to Civitavecchia. We wanted to camp before Rome so it would be close to Civitavecchia to take a ferry later to Sardinia. We checked all the available camping grounds but there was no vacancy. Remember! If you ever go to Italy try to avoid the high season, August.

Our last chance was Lake Bracciano some 30 kilometers inland. Nice mountainous area around the lake seemed perfect for a vacation spot. Camping Porticciolo was almost full but I guess we were lucky this time. We spent the evening eating pizza, drinking wine and socializing with young Dutch tourists, they were so curious.    

Day 16, Aug-10 Excursion to Rome 144

Rome is some 40 kilometers away but on the motorbike it is a short hop. Since I lived in Rome long time ago and visited the eternal city on several occasions it was quite easy to quickly show Natasha around and take her to all the hot spots. We did some riding but we also walked a lot.

Altare Dela Patria, Rome Coliseum This moped will one day grow into the sidewalk Forum Romanum St. Peter’s Basilica

It was a very long and exciting day. We came back to the camping completely beat.

Day 17, Aug-11 Camping Porticciolo in Bracciano to Civitaveccia  41 (ferry to Cagliari)

Since the ferry to Sardinia did not leave until late evening hours we could enjoy the first part of the day on the beach. Wonderful warm water and it was not salty. It was so difficult to pack our gear in the middle of the day, I think the temperature was way over 40C. At the Civitavecchia ferry terminal the boat to Cagliari was already docked.

Ready to board, ferry to Cagliari, Civitaveccia

With optimism I went to the ticket window only to find out that there is no more space available but I could wait and right before the departure there could be some room for a bike. I did not worry because usually on big boats they find some extra room.

In general the whole loading procedure was pretty messy and was dealt with lots shouting and exaggerated gesticulation. A few minutes before departure I was allowed to buy the tickets, great, we would board the big boat. We had the basic floor tickets so we claimed a prime real-estate under the stairs. After a few minutes every place in the corridor was occupied. People just spread their blankets on the floor and tried to sleep. It did not seem the ship staff minded this kind of arrangement. The trip to Cagliari took 12 hours, it was ok.

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Sardinia/Corsica

 

Day 18, Aug-12 Cagliari to Camping Costa Verde 290

At night we did not experience any incidents other than constantly smoking Italians. We sailed along the island for a couple of morning hours before docking in Cagliari. The city did not seem to bear any special places of interest so we bought some food in “Standa”, a chain of grocery stores, and headed south. We followed the coast line on a minor road since the main road was pretty congested.

Nuraghe tower, Sardegna

Some sea side resorts were hidden in the woods to avoid the scorching sun. The mountainous west coast was more interesting and less populated. Interesting observation: Italians have a very long siesta from 1pm till 5pm. It is most likely to escape the heat.

Passo Biderdi

The towns are almost deserted, even gas stations are closed, however, no need to worry, they have a system: most of the gas stations have automated service where you have to put a bill into the machine and then gas up. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Since there is no road that follows closely the west coast, to get to the sea we had to take one of the branches. With the help of some locals we finally found our destination, Costa Verde. The camping was curiously situated on the side of a steep hill from which we could see the coast and the sunset. A rather ragged beach was not too inviting but I still took a plunge. What a relieve.      

Day 19, Aug-13 Camping Costa Verde to Valladoria camping la Foce 256

We countinued following the west coast passing through many towns and villages full of mostly Italian vacationers. The whole west coast is mountainous what makes the ride rather slow yet interesting.

Beach on the west coast

Oristano, Alghero to Porto Torres and we were on the northern coast. This was supposed to be the prime tourist area with lagunas and wide white beaches. Past Castelsardo, a picturesque coastal town with a magnificent castle, we found two campings with greately elevated prices(32Euro). Camping LaFoce ended up to be quite a friendly place with good facilities, swimming pool and an entertainment place. It was very hilarious to watch Italian vacationers square dance to the new hit song “Chiwawa”. We couldn’t stop laughing.     

Day 20, Aug-14 Camping la Foce to St.Teresa (ferry to Bonifaccio) to Camping Propriano, Corsica 132

The morning started with a visit to the white sand beach. To get there we had to take a small ferry boat over the Laguna.

Access to the beach only by a shuttle boat, north Sardegna

A few hours of swimming, basking in the sun and people watching was enough.

Relaxing in the sea

We headed to St. Teresa where we took a two hour ferry to Corsica.

Ferry to Corsica, St. Teresa

Bonifaccio with its mountaintop castle and a narrow inlet is a natural fortress and port.

Port Bonifaccio, Corsica

Since we followed the west coast the views, just like on Sardinia, continued to be stunning if not more spectacular. Tonight we stopped at the camping near Propriano where we enjoyed the company of friendly young Italian couple touring Corsica on an old but restored 125cc Vespa scooter.         

Day 21, Aug-15 Camping Propriano to Bastia (ferry to Nice) to around Marseille (parking on highway) 550

On Corsica the road almost completely hugged the coast. The ride through Ajaccio, Cargese, Girolata to Calvi was at times even dangerous.

Ajaccio Ragged coast line, Porto Following the coast line to Calvi

Although paved, the serpentine road was often so narrow two cars could not get through. We made it to Bastia just before dawn. The ferry to Marseille was about to leave and in effect we did not make it. We managed to catch another connection to the main land on a high speed hydrofoil. At 1am after only four hours at sea we were in Nice.

There was no way we could find any reasonable accommodation at this hour so, we found the paid highway to Marseille and kept on driving. Europe is a civilized place. On the speedway every few kilometers there are parking places with good facilities. Tonight we slept for free on such a parking near Marseille without the tent, no problems.

Day 22, Aug-16 Marseille (parking) to camping Roca Grossa 467

We woke up screaming and shaking off ants. I think overnight we attracted a variety of bugs especially ants. Nice, the parking had a toilet and sinks, we could wash. Few more kilometers on the paid highway and we exited. Traffic congestion is pretty heavy on regular roads but it was better than paying even higher tolls than in Italy. The towns and villages on the way to Spain weren’t spectacular or charming. Sometimes they even reminded me of North America with large supermarkets and big parking lots. Beziers, Narbonne, Perpignan and we were at the Spanish border, well really not a border anymore, just a sign “Espagna”.

Finally in Spain

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Spain

We arrived to camping Roca Grossa, a kind of historical place (I have been there three times already), in the early evening so we had enough time to set up the camp and even explore the rocky beach. Spain seemed to be more relaxed place and definitely cheaper. Spaniards seemed much friendlier towards the tourists too.

Day 23, Aug-17 Barcelona 145

We were supposed to go to Barcelona in the morning but a natural phenomenon occurred, rain. A heavy morning downpour kept us in the tent for at least two hours. It seemed like we were in a tropical country. Sunday in Barcelona did not seem too busy. We arrived at the mouth of Las Ramblas, parked the bike (locked it securely), and went to explore Barcelona.  

Barcelona’s own, Dali Sagrada Familia, still under construction

In the evening we had a delicious dinner at the Roca Grossa trattoria-style restaurant.  

Day 24, Aug-18 At the camping

A day to sort of wrap up our vacation by again relaxing on the beach and enjoying the sun.

Rocky beach at Roca Grossa

It was also the time to service Suzi before we headed back to Poland: oil change, small adjustments, etc…. otherwise everything worked well. The 4th gear was at times hard to engage but the shifting process did not deteriorate.

Day 25, Aug-19 Roca Grossa to Poligny (Jura) 774

Camping Roca Grossa, time to leave

Time to leave sunny (a bit rainy) Spain. Just like most of the travelers we also wanted to make our return fast and painless. We could do that by taking the expensive French toll “Autoroute”. Gerona, Perpignan, Montpellier, Avignon, Lyon and we finished a peaceful day of riding in a small time of French Jura region, Poligny. This part of France does not receive lots of tourists though the small picturesque mountains seemed very welcoming and worth visiting.

At the camping we met some Dutch bikers with whom we shared few stories. In town the number of eateries was limited so we had to sit in a nice place where the waiter/owner was showing us his snobbish attitude. Well, that was their general attitude towards non French speaking people, I guess. Anyway, at least the food was good.     

Day 26, Aug-20 Poligny to Bischof-sheim 664

After Besancon we headed towards German border. At Mulhouse, again, there was no customs, only a sign “Germany”. On one of the gas stations I decided to call my friend Chris, who lives in Wurzburg. He wasn’t home but his wife told me I could reach him on his cell phone. Great, I spoke to Chris who gave me direction to the place he was going to stay overnight. He was bicycling with his friend in some hills of central Germany around Fulda.

We continued on the autobahn to Frankfurt. It was pretty much a straight section where we witnessed effects of speeding accident.

Accident on German autobahn

The whole highway was backed up for miles but of course for a bike it is not a problem. Slowly, riding between cars we made our way to the scene of accident. There was a helicopter parked in the middle of the road probably picking up one of the victims, a motorcyclist. Without a delay we were waved through by the German “Polizei”.

Frankfurt has so many different exits that we got lost making almost a full circle around the city. Indeed, the area Chris was bicycling through was very pleasant: beautiful farmland, rolling hills and fresh air. We met at the edge of the city, exchanged hugs and headed to some location to leave our stuff.

Chris arranged with one of the locals to put us all up in a private home. Excellent conditions, clean rooms and pretty cheap. We ended the day in the only restaurant in that village eating German schnitzel and speckle, and drinking local beer. It was great to see Chris again.

Day 27, Aug-21 Bischof-sheim to Wroclaw 622

We said good bye to Chris and hit the road. Dresden to Gorlitz and we were back at the same Polish border crossing in Zgorzelec.

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Poland

No problems with the customs, they just checked our papers and let us go. A “quick” hop on the “fascinating” Polish roads and by the evening we were back in Wroclaw drinking beer with my uncle and my cousin. 

Day 28, Aug-22 Wroclaw 68

A relaxing day in the city and visiting a friend

Bridge in Wroclaw, Poland View on the city from the cathedral’s tower Boat Excursion on Odra River, going through a lock Wroclaw Cathedral

Day 29, Aug-23 Wroclaw 50

Another relaxing day visiting some of the attractions in Wroclaw.

Day 30, Aug-24 Wroclaw to Kielce 350

A peaceful day of riding through Polish countryside admiring fields and woods.

We safely arrived to Kielce making it yet another successful motorcycle trip to add to our list.

Last thoughts. 

This trip was definitely a leisurely type and that is why I decided to give DRBig one more chance. I am happy the bike made it without a major problem, I think at 68000 km. it deserved to retire.

Europe is a civilized place and that takes away the spirit of adventure but, not every trip has to be taken to the extremes. We certainly enjoyed traveling through civilized places for a change. Although for me it was partly a trip of revisiting known places I still managed to see something new. I am happy that Natasha had a chance to see the beauty of Western Europe. This one was for you, Natasha.   

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