Friday, May 3, 2013

Postcards from Europe!

You know I've moved, right?  Not to another house, but across the country, 5000 km moved.

In the hustle and bustle of first selling/moving Brenda and Anna into my long time home in Silver Springs, we did the whole thing over again and here we are, on the lovely Island of Prince Edward.  Canada's smallest province (pop 138,000) and home of the country itself.  Yup, it was right here in 1867 that Canada was officially "born."

Every now and then I go through unpacked boxes, mostly looking for something in particular, other times just unpacking.  I cam across several notebooks the other day and have been sitting down to look them over.  Very interesting, emotional, nostalgic and informative.  Not just info, but state of mind.  You see, they are my 2nd trip to Europe in 2009.  I'd bought a bike there the year before and spent 5 months exploring from the hood to Berlin north and Greece, south.

These journals were a day to day account of my unplanned spring fling the following year.  Prior to the first trip, when I was single, I'd sold my business interest in Calgary, and was planning some major changes, the Euro trip kicking off my new life.  On my return I learned the sale of the biz was falling through and I quickly made the decision to rtn and ride the continent east to west.

I've written lots about that trip in blogs going back to '09, when I began the thing, so I won't re tell those stories, you can always scroll back.  What I will do today is quote some of my thoughts during that 2nd ride.  Maybe you'll find them as interesting as I did, maybe not...

In any case I'll include a short quote and maybe a pic or three.

"Crossed into Croatia at Letenye, rode the M7 for a very short distance veered off into Hodosan on twisty flat country roads to Cakovec, before crossing into the tiny country of Slovenia.  Rolling on and off in top gear, letting the engine pull, speeds vary 60-90kph.  Turned south to Lubjana, post card perfect little town of Vhrinka, rain threatening.  Climbed twisty roads among sprinkles towards Ajdovscina.  Rain getting heavier, skies darker each kilometer.  Found a little counry Inn for E20.  Rain came down in buckets for half an hour, would have soaked me clear through had I continued..."

"Incredible, twisting climb into Rovereto Italia.  It's Saturday, traffic has been intense.  Lot to take in.  Lots and lots of bikes, nakeds, streetfighters, super motos, sports.  They ride with no fear, crossing on solid lines around blind corners, faster than me by double maybe triple speeds.  Crazy stuff!  They all think they are Valentino (Rossi) How am I going to survive this?  Every day I get off the road, exhausted."

"Lago De Garda is like the Okanagan.  Crowds, even this early, are thick, traffic thicker.  Sailboats, sports cars, sidewalk cafes and topless women on the beaches.  Okay, maybe not quite Penticton.  Passed by Modena home to Ferrari, stomach bad from lunch. 


Off the motorway at SS64, Sasso Marconi.  Bologna nearby, like Milwauke, except instead of Harley's tons of Duc's!  Towns and villages, mountains, slow twisting ride.  Gotta get off, have a Coke. 

Parked next to a beautiful Ducati single, she's a 250.  Lots of local bikes, watching 'football'.  U-turned down a goat path to San Momme, pop 200.  Again, picture perfect.  Got a little family hotel, E35, lots of cats.  I'm 90km to Pisa."

"Warned by American service wives, that my T shirt could attract some dangerous and unwanted attention.  There is a major Nato base nearby.  Threats common.  I buy 'I love Italia' shirt from vendor, remove my 'I love NY' shirt and stow in trunk."

"Back at the Arcobaleno hotel.  Owner's Italian sports car out front, reminds me of my MGB back home.  Spent the day exploring Pisa, fabulous, too many hawkers though.  Wall to wall miniscule shops selling religious trinkets, baubles and of course,
T shirts.  Lucca far better, old city. Worth walking miles, have an ice cream, think, blend into the background.  Fab day, but wore me out.  In fact I am thinking that this entire trip has been tiring.  Hope I'm not getting sick.  Hope I'm not on the verge of another heart attack.  Realize I am missing something... home maybe?  Don't know."

"Finally things looking up!!!  I'm happier today by a bunch.  Three days in that little village, one whole day without even checking the bike.  Roads opened up, a little wider, better for me and Piroska.  Gorgeous gentle curves more suited to my age and Red's too!  Sweepers, just a little hang off, roll the joy stick on, curve to curve, across Tuscany.  From lunch in Follonica to Piombino and then the Moby Love to Elba where I will exile myself for a couple of days.  Sea gulls hanging in the breeze, towed along by the big ship with the cavernous hold, swallowing hundreds of us, like Jonah's whale.  Great little sea side resort in Viticcio, quiet, few tourists, breakfast and dinner included for E50 a night.  


I'm riding.  This is what I wanted to do.  Not work so hard on those tiny mountain twisties.  I must be getting old... I laugh to myself, so what. 


Look at me, look where I am, look at that sunset... doesn't get much better than this."

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