I am the original 'Uneasy Rider' .. not especially blessed with much natural motorcycling talent, nor am I a particularly courageous motorcycle rider.
Nevertheless I went 'Right Way Round' New Zealand (at least twice) followed by a wonderful ride around Australia.

Then it was up to southeast Asia, around Indo-China, across southern Central Asia to the Middle East, Asia Minor .. and finally into Europe.

Right Way Round - all the way home .. from New Zealand to England, 2-up on a Honda Transalp.


PROGRESS SO FAR - Distance covered across Western Europe: 6,411 km [3,984 miles] - as at Thursday, October-22nd, 2015

Monday 18 May 2015

Things That Make You Go Hmmm.

Monday, 18th May

I looked at the map a second time .. and then again for a third time; studied a couple of climate charts .. and made a reluctant decision: tomorrow, we won't be heading north as originally planned from MotoCamp, here the sleepy Bulgarian village of Idilevo (near the township of Sevlievo) .. where my trusty Honda has been hibernating for the last seven months in cold-storage.

The reason is blindingly simple: we have returned to northern central Bulgaria a little bit too early .. by around a 4-5 weeks by all accounts. How could I have overlooked this?

See, the original plan was to quickly prep the bike - oil+filter change, refill the radiator with coolant, etc - and then ride up to the nearby border, no more than 2½ hours (150 km) away, and onwards .. into Romania.

Into another former Soviet state where the remnants of communism now intermingle with newly unbridled capitalism; and where the irresistible forces of the EU collide with the passions of the Balkans. Our first night's sleepover - on the road (again) - will now not be spent in the city Bucharest.

Romania's capital city is now firmly off the itinerary, probably forever. A box on the list of wanna-see destinations, which sadly won't get ticked.

It was then supposed to be more great riding from Bucharest, 200 km in a north-westerly direction, up into the Carpathian Mountains, to negotiate the two highest roads in Romania; the Transfagarasan Highway and the Alpina Pass. These delights will now have to wait until the middle of next month (June), by which time the blanket of snow that still covers these two iconic Passes should have melted away.

Library pic

Get the Picture: The Transfagarasan Hwy (above), described by the former presenter of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson (remember him?) as .. 'THE greatest driving experience'.

Transfagarasan+Alpina .. I'll see you both another day. Sometime next month, I fancy .. just before the Summer Solstice, when the sun's midday zenith will be nearly at its furthest from the equator .. almost directly over the Tropic of Cancer, and close to its highest point in the Northern Hemisphere sky.


So I say "Bah!" to Bucherest, instead we will head down south towards the Mediterranean Sea .. and

.. during the course of the next week or so we'll travel over 1,300 km [800+ miles]. Along the way we will visit:
  1.  The Buzludzha Monument  - currently pictured in the header of this blog (above)
  2.  Sofia - capital city of Bulgaria
  3.  Skopje - capital city of Macedonia
  4.  Ohrid, Macedonia - referred to as a "Jerusalem (of the Balkans)"
  5.  The Monasteries at Meteora, Greece
  6.  The ancient metropolis of Athens, capital city of Greece, which in many ways is perhaps the birthplace and cradle of Western democratic civilization. 

I've just arranged to have a brand new custom-made seat constructed for the bike down in Athens; therefore I expect we'll spend at least 2-3 days exploring the city, where I'll pop along to one of the local tavernas in the hope of sharing a bottle of Ouzo with a local hero of mine .. the posturing, and very eloquant Greek Finance Minister, Mr Yanis Varoufakis, who's been riding motorcycles since he was 15.

I intend to join-in on a couple of anti-austerity protest riots if I get the chance .. where I'll stick a middle finger in the air at the Troika and other eurogroup officials; then make a decent stab at kicking-off the Greek exit ("grexit") from the single currency eurozone. It's about flippin' time .. isn't it?!

I'll post again when we're in Athens; right at the heart of the current economic crisis, probably in a little over week's time.

Meanwhile, enjoy a little piece of Greek People "Genius!" ...