Retired and galavanting
  • Day54


    July 4, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    I've been away since 12th May. Nearly 8 weeks and during that time I've traveled 4800 miles. I've been to France twice, Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Italy, Sicily twice, Malta, Sardinia, Corsica.
    I've been on 9 ferries three of which where overnight.
    I did the whole trip alone but never once got lonely. I met many interesting people and made new friends. It is easier to talk to people when you travel alone and came to enjoy the solitude. I was in contact with Mandy every day and took comfort in the fact that she kept busy with her work, her art and her horse and now that I'm back we will enjoy doing things together once again. Maybe another trip in the MG?
    I bought the bike with this trip and a much bigger one to Australia in mind and after 50+ days in the saddle the only thing wrong with the bike is the saddle it's too hard. Other than that the bike proved perfect as long as you keep within its limitations and don't take it over terrain which it's better suited to a lighter smaller bike. I only once had to turn around because the going got too tough. It returned 77 miles per UK gallon or 3.67 litres per 100 kilometres which is very good but I was never in a hurry so my speed was quiet slow most of the time. I put in around a quarter litre of oil and used two cans of chain spray. Taking a spray to clean the bugs off my visor was a good idea.
    The motorcycle jacket and trousers where very good but the boots leaked and lining came out of the gloves.
    Would I do it again. Yes.
    The photos are a selection from the adventure.
    Read more

    John Heslop

    Welcome back

    Jean Johnson

    Welcome home.

    John Sprot

    Looks like apart from the rain on the way down you had a good trip

    3 more comments
  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day52

    Saint Omer

    July 2, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    This is a lovely town less than an hour from Calais from where I will get the ferry back to England tomorrow morning.
    I had a long ride today which wasn't as nice as yesterday but it was ok. The weather was perfect and the roads where not busy.
    If you get the chance to visit Saint Omer I recommend it especially if you like churches as the cathedral here is lovely.
    Take a look at this to see all my photos of this place.
    I met a couple who staying at this hotel and are from Yorkshire riding a Triumph motorcycle. We had a meal together and a good chat. They catch the ferry to Hull tomorrow evening.
    So this is the last hotel and tomorrow I will be home in time for tea. It will feel strange I'm sure. I've got so used to this life on the road. It'll be nice to be home again. Apart from the obvious missing Mandy and Robert I said I'd really like a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich. Two things I haven't had in a long time.
    I will write one more post summing things up in a couple of days.
    Read more

    I’m going to miss my armchair travelling, I’ve so enjoyed it. Thankyou Peter. Fran x

    Angel From Belgium

    Almost home ;-) thanks for the beautifull sites !

  • Day51


    July 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Right now I'm on the outskirts of Chalons en Champagne which was a convenient stop on the way north. Tomorrow will be Saint Omer.
    What a difference today's ride was. I came out of the heat wave which is affecting most of Southern Europe and the temperature dropped by 15c over yesterday so for the first time in weeks I arrived at the end of my day not needing to jump in a shower or a pool or a river to cool down.
    I told the sat nav to avoid the toll roads as I'm not in a hurry and it brought me via long straight empty roads through forests and little villages so I'm going to do the same tomorrow which will be 5 hours riding.
    I'm a couple of miles out of town in one of those budget hotels business men use conveniently near the main road. It's surrounded by discount stores and there is a gypsy camp across the road. They have very nice and very clean caravans and I notice they are connecting into the street lamp supply for electric and down a man hole for water.
    I went for a walk to find a restaurant and decided on the one which had an acronym for a name which I presume means King French Cuisine. I chose chicken.
    As I was riding today I thought about the differences I've experienced in the adventure. The lowest temperature was at home on the first day when the screen of the bike froze as I took it out the garage next coldest was in Montenegro in the mountains when I started the day at 5c. The highest I've seen was 42c in Sardinia. I rode on a road which had snow 3 metres high each side in Austria and I had so much rain coming down the Balkan coast I abandoned my plan to go to Greece and caught a boat to Italy from Albania.
    I described today's accommodation. I've also stayed in four star hotels, three and two star. This is a two star. I've used Airbnb staying at people's houses. I stayed at a family house who invited me in when my hostel was closed. I've used four or five hostels and enjoyed them all. I slept in a chair on a ferry and in the restaurant of another ferry. I slept on Andrews settee for two nights.
    So it'll be nice to get back to a familiar bed and not have to pack and move on in the morning and not spend the evening planning the next days ride and finding somewhere to stay.
    I'm taking a night off from sight seeing as I'm out of town. Saint Omer will be nice, I remember it from staying there when Mandy and I traveled in the MG.
    Not brilliant photos today. I took one to try to show the straight and empty road. Just as I took it a car appeared on the horizon. I took another in a bar I stopped at for a coffee at lunch time. It had a 1930s BSA on a plinth in the restaurant area. It belongs to a friend of the bar owner. I also took a photo of the view from last night's hotel in Dijon just as the sun set over the railway station.
    Read more

    Nice road that one.Bill.

    Andrea Knowles

    51 days if traveling is quite a feat ( especially at your age). You've had a year's worth of seasons & what an adventure

    Jean Johnson

    Trust you to find a place with a bike.

  • Day50

    Dijon via Beaune motor museum

    June 30, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    A short ride today as Mandy suggested I popped in to see the motor museum we didn't visit when we came through Beaune in the MG. It was a good suggestion as the museum was huge and I think I was one of very few visitors today. To hot I suspect. I took many photos of the hundreds of motorcycles, fiat abarth cars, fire engines, fighter aircraft, tractors, and the château. You can see all 200 of them if you click this link
    Then back on the bike to Dijon which isn't far but by then the heat was stifling. I had a quick rest then came out in the heat to explore. I knew I was close to the centre and the cathedral. Before I entered the cathedral I could hear there was a mass in progress so at first I just peeked inside then set my camera for no flash and went in and down the side of what was a very full church. The mass must have been a special one because there were around fifty priests at the front with standing room only everywhere. Of course it was all in French but I was mesmerised by it all especially when the organ started and everyone started singing. I found it quiet moving. When I came out I noticed at the side a police van with several men dressed in riot gear watching everyone.
    Then I walked into what is a beautiful old city, ending up at the museum of art where I took more photos you can see on this link
    I was told Dijon is lovely and I agree. Even the trams are pretty.
    Read more

    John Heslop

    Went on a bmw bike test day my son took one like yours and I had the 750 gs a good day

  • Day49

    Màcon France

    June 29, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Before I tell you about Màcon I remembered that when I was leaving the hotel in the mountains of Corsica I noticed what I think was a scorpion on the sleeve of jacket as I was checking out. I flicked it off then checked inside my helmet very carefully!
    The ride from Toulon started at 6am as the ferry docked at 05.30, I had slept on a narrow bench in the ships restaurant as there were no cabins available. It was 29c and I decided to take the easy option for once and use the toll roads because the only other option to get as far as Màcon added nearly four hours to the journey. So I was on the main road from Marseilles to Paris and it was very busy with inevitable hold ups which in 35c was not much fun filtering between the rows of stopped cars. At one point I was tired and hot so I stopped at a rest area and fell asleep on a bench for over half an hour. I felt so much better after that.
    I want expecting Màcon to be interesting as I chose it because of it being a suitable distance from Toulon. It has a broad River, a smart church and what looked like a Turkish community. I watched a Turkish wedding pour out of a church with lots of drum music followed by a hundred or more guests. Later I went for a walk and I heard music coming from not far away so I walked to it and found it was a street party for a pizza restaurant which was celebrating 25 years. I asked if it was a private party and was welcomed to join so my ten minute walk ended up taking five and a half hours and me returning to my hotel having had many starters, then pork with potatoes then desserts and lots of different wines. I met a Dutch couple who had also heard the live band. They are in Màcon because thier car had broken down. So we spent an enjoyable evening chatting and eating and drinking.
    Next morning I ride to Beaune to a museum then Dijon to a hotel.
    Read more

  • Day48

    Best ride ever

    June 28, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    I'm writing this sitting on the ferry waiting to sail to Toulon. I have my name on the waiting list for a cabin, I said I'm happy to share with a jolly femme failing that I'll find a seat somewhere.
    Last night I planned a ride that would take me north then across to the coast then down to the ferry terminal to catch this get to Toulon Southern France. It's an 11 hour crossing. The ride was around 200km but would take over 5 hours so I knew it would be twisty. It was incredible. The road was really good quality with very little traffic. The scenery was breath taking with so many spectacular views I had to stop myself from taking photos of them all and just enjoy the ride.
    You can see all my photos of Corsica by clicking on this link
    I arrive in Toulon at 7am which is before it gets hot so I'll try to make good progress north and plan to stop around lunch time.
    Read more

    Jean Johnson

    It does look.beautiful.

  • Day46

    Zonza in the Corsican mountains.

    June 26, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    Last night I stayed at a resort hotel in the northern hills of Sardinia. The views were amazing as it overlooked a huge lake with a dam at the end and compared to tonight's accommodation it was quite good. More about that later.
    Today and for the next few days it is more about the journey than the destination insomuch as the roads through the mountains are a motorcyclists dream come true with amazing views around every bend. Mind you really have to concentrate as there are no barriers and a lot of steep drops. I stopped at one bend to take a photo and walked to the very edge and looked down. There were three cars about half way down stuck in trees. They looked like they had been there a while.
    I chose Zonza because it is up in the mountains and a couple of hours ride from the ferry. I thought it might be a bit cooler at 850 meters above sea level which it is compared to the 37c at the beautiful port of Bonifacio which reminded me of coming into Valletta harbour Malta. I chose my hotel because it was the cheapest I could find in the area at 61 euros. I've stayed in four star hotels for less. I should have spent more and found a room with a fan as it is still around 32c here. What can I say about this hotel. I have a balcony which looks out on the busy main street and is above the noisy restaurant and I have my own shower (which is in the bedroom).
    I've thought of something nice about it. The toilet which is also in the bedroom has a soft close lid.
    I think this town must be a motorcyclists place to stay as there are quite a few here. I got talking to a couple who flew from Idaho USA and rented bikes similar to mine in southern France and will be here a couple of weeks. A group of French bikers from Leon are staying at the hotel and one of them told me which ferry to book to avoid the strike so when I leave I will be going to Toulon rather than my intended Marseilles and a day earlier as it is not every day. He also helped me adjust the chain on my bike as it is a two man job.
    Read more

    Peter Sprot

    Bonifacio port is beautiful.

    Peter Sprot

    My hotel is half way up the hill. The bike are around the back

    Peter Sprot

    Lago del Liscia Northern Sardinia

  • Day45


    June 25, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    It was 32c and rising as I left the hostel MuMa and it rose to 39 as I traveled inland. Nuoro has a couple of interesting claims to fame. One is that just around the corner from my bed and breakfast lived the first female Italian Nobel prize winner for literature Grazia Deledda. The other is that there are over 1000 people in this town who are over the age of 100. Maybe this is something to do with it having a huge hospital.
    This northern town is quiet pretty on a hill side with mountains on one side and rolling hills all around. There are a good supply of restaurants bars and cafes with reasonable prices.
    Read more

    Peter Sprot

    I'm the one on the right.

    Peter Sprot

    The hospital

    Jean Johnson

    Plenty of room in there but looking somewhat like a fortress.

    Jean Johnson

    That trip of yours is having an interesting affect. If you can manage a smile there will be work for you in December.

  • Day44

    The island of Sant' Antioco, Sardinia

    June 24, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    Before I tell you about this lovely little Island tell me say something about the ride from Marsala to the ferry port of Palermo in the north of Sicily.
    It was 39c for most of the ride so I have stopped wearing the motorcycle boots and trousers preferring jeans and trainers to help cool me a bit and it works. My jacket was open enough to let air flow. As I rode for nearly two hours I noticed another bike behind me. He didn't overtake and followed me all the way to the port. It turned out he's on the same ferry and had also ridden through the Balkans starting in Germany. We got on well and stayed together on the ferry only saying goodbye as we set off. While waiting to get off the ferry I got talking to a group of English bikers who had freighted their bikes to Pisa in Italy.
    This Island I'm on now is of the south west coast of Sardinia and is connected by a land bridge. It took just over an hour to ride around and it has lovely beaches, hills, cliffs, two towns and good roads. The standard of the roads are better here than Sicily and the driving is much calmer. My first impression of Sardinia is I like it a lot and will return.
    This hostel is called Muma and it is also a museum. It is more like a hotel as I have my own air conditioned room. It costs more than hostels normally do but it is worth the difference. No other bikes here today. The staff helped decide where to go tomorrow and which route to take. I walked around town finding the old church which was closed for renovation so I walked a bit further to the old fort which was also closed. This evening I walked to the recommended restaurant which was closed but several others where open so I found the fish I wanted.
    Read more

    Peter Sprot

    On the ferry with Joel in front.

    Peter Sprot

    As we arrived in the harbour this was what we saw.

    Peter Sprot

    Not very busy beaches. Towel on my seat to keep it cool.

    2 more comments
  • Day42

    More from Marsala

    June 22, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Last night I joined the Maltese motorcyclists who are staying at the same hotel. We had a really nice meal and a good laugh. This morning at breakfast there were five Italian motorcyclists, the two Maltese and me. I was invited to join the Italians who were going on a ride into the hills. It was nice to be asked but I declined as I want to relax here and explore a bit more of Marsala until it is time to go to Palermo. I found a couple more churches one of which had a huge crack being the altar going up and across the ceiling.Read more

    Peter Sprot

    Maserati hurse

    Jean Johnson

    I like the happy bikers picture. Also enjoyed the tour.


Join us:

FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android