Monday 30 June 2008

Hello from Split!

Or Spalato as the Italians call it for reasons known only to them! I crossed from Rome to Pescara again avoiding the highway! Saved myself 13 Euros!!! This road was amazing though. I only wish I had my Hornet with me instead of the Transalp. I did about 160 miles in about 4 hours. Yes thats an average of 40mph. and this is why:

I teamed up with an Italian rider who knew the roads better and we took it in turns finding the best lines through corners and watching for oncoming traffic. It is far easier to follow than lead but leading is far more tiring as you have to move about on the bike more and pick lines with the best view of the road ahead. As you can see in the picture there are 3 hairpin corners within 1K of each other. It would not surprise me if there were quite a few biker deaths on that road each year!

Pescara is a really crappy town. It is a self styled beach town. The beaches are lovely but they are ruined by thousands of Italian tourists. You don't actually walk on the sand, just hop from sunbed to sunbed trying not to step on the people sitting on them. The road running from north to south along the town is basically: hotel, hotel, restaurant, hotel, bar, hotel, restaurant, petrol station, bar..... rinse and repeat for about 5 miles. Don't go unless you only like sunbathing and soggy pizza.

Still no way of uploading photos! You remember how long it took me with West Wales? I should be able to put some up tomorrow as someone is lending me her laptop. Did Barry's facebook page get setup btw?

Thursday 26 June 2008

From Pisa to Rome without tolls

Well they finally did it, they pissed me off charing me for tolls than for petrol so I decided to get from Pisa to Rome without using the toll roads. Did I get lost? yes! Did it take me twice as long as it would have using the toll roads? Yes! Were the roads full of potholes? Yes! Did I pay a single toll? HELL NO! The road I took was the SS1 and it is basically a costal road all the way south to Rome. I cant tell you how infuriating it is to travel for 6 hours in blistering heat with the cool seas of the med within a short jump. It is so hot that when I open my visor the wind hitting my face is hotter than if I keep the visor closed. Ive taken to riding without my jacket on, means I am getting an awesome tan on my arms and face. Might have to ride without the t-shirt to keep it even!

Arrived in Rome at about 4pm (without paying tolls) and found the hostel pretty quickly. Some guy gave me a free banana and kept on calling me champion. I think it was the only English word he knew. Everyone has been really friendly and helpful. Without GPS it is definately a good idea to ask directions. My map only shows motorways and "international" roads whatever they are.

Going to spend 3 days in Rome now before heading to Pescara and then crossing to Croatia.

ps. It is really scary arriving in a hostel by yourself. My immediate worry is that I wont meet anyone and I will spend the next few days sitting in silence. In times like that, when you are by yourself your mind really wanders. You start thinking stuff like "what if the whole trip is like this?" "can I cope with my own company for that long?" and then you hear someone speaking English and you introduce yourself. All those doubts disappear as you exchange stories and drink the night away!

A drink to random people and their random stories! If nothing else they are an excuse to get drunk but in reality they add to your story and you to theirs. There is great comradeship amongst travellers and it is something to savor!

Friday 20 June 2008

first blood has been drawn.

Pretty uneventfull riding so far, just motorway miles mostly and the odd A road where the motorway hasnt been built

It is offical. M first accident happend today. Thats right, a god damn papercut. It hurt too!

Cant upload pictures because this PC has now USB and the keyboard is all messed up too so sorry for any spelling mistakes! In Zuich at the moment after spending a cold night just outside Reims the weather here is amazing and I am camping right on Lake Zurich.

Having a bit of trouble getting my mobile to charge from the cigarette lighter socket I had installed. For some reason it outright refuses to work even though it only needs a direct 12v feed into it. Stupid phone. Both my batteries are dead now! Camera battery is running low too but that isnt quite so essential at the moment

Just spending time sitting bzy the lake reading and wondering around town. "fanzone" is here for Euro 2008 so half the roads are closed. Makes getting lost very easy but I have been up into the surrounding mountains for a blast on the bike without the panniers weighing it down and the roads are great and the views even better.

My hayfever seems to be going too although my eyes are watering alot but the sun dries them pretty damn quick. Dont know what the temperature is but it is pretty hot. Dunno how I will survive in India!

Tuesday 3 June 2008

One week to go!

First things first, can people please stop asking me where I am going. I was at a funeral the other day (RIP Chris) and everyone knew what I was doing and generally asked the same questons so here are the answers

Where are you going?
THERE ARE 195 COUNTRIES ON THIS PLANET AND I INTEND TO VISIT ALOT OF THEM. If I start listing them you're going to get bored after about 5!

so where are you going first?

ok so I like that people are interested or maybe they are just being polite but seriously after having answered these 2 questions about 20 times in one day I was a little bored!

aaaanyway, rant over, had my first set of vaccinations yesterday from a very nice nurse who scared the crap out of me by describing how the diseases I could get will kill me. (Detailed pictures of the Malaria virus bursting out of blood cells are not nice!) All my paperwork is basically sorted. Just waiting on some to come in the post now. Hopefully it will arrive before I leave.

I'm really ready to go now. The preparation stages for this trip are basically about preparing for the worst. Which means I have spent days looking at different ways I could die and different ways I could end up in jail. It is really depressing reading. Once I am on the road hopefully I will forget all this stuff.

A slightly worrying side note: riding back from London yesterday I had to stop every 50 miles because the seat was making my arse hurt!