20 September, 2006

Across the Alps 2900miles

After five very relaxing and productive days in the accommodating hospitality of Nicky and Andreas, the bike looks fantastic, and I'm over the Alps and into Italy. The Dolomites are spectacular (as predicted by Rolf in Switzerland) and this may well be where I'll spend the rest of my spare time motorcycling in the future.
This bike just gets better looking as it ages!

Signposting isn't an Italian strength, however. Every approach to any town much bigger than Cardenden follows the same pattern;
  1. Approach with confidence seeing a sign to the place beyond you want to get to.
  2. Lose signposting immediately you're within the city limits.
  3. Ride around hopelessly for an hour vainly seeking signs to anywhere on the map.
  4. Irritate locals to within inches of their lives by stopping suddenly at every junction, staring around at the few available signs and scratching your helmet.
  5. Eventually (if it has its hat on) use the sun and the time to head in a vague direction and hope that the road doesn't wind round (which it always does!).

Seen two accidents in the two hours I've been in Livorno (no injuries). Children standing in the footwells of step-throughs. Motorcyclists and moped riders riding with helmets undone and nothing in the way of protective clothing. One girl in an excellent leather jacket but with sandals on, so if she comes off she'll live, but have no feet! The trick, I suppose, is not to come off! Not always easy.

Now being delayed by wait for confirmation of availability of Libyan visa. What to do? Head south in the hope it comes and enjoy Italy? Stay put and not 'waste' fuel? Head over to Morocco now? Decisions, decisions.

And a slight pang of guilt that there are no tourists around. Why? Because they are all working and I'm not! It still, while I'm in Europe, feels like a fantastic extended holiday. That makes it seem a bit frivolous and so I'm looking forward to getting into Africa and it becoming more challenging. Must go and phone the man in London . . .


At 20/09/2006, 20:52, Anonymous Roy said...

From what I recall of North African bureaucracy, I'd wait for the visa (and make sure you have every conceivable vehicle document available in triplicate.......)

At 21/09/2006, 15:17, Blogger Mick said...

I'd love to but the man in London says it'll be waiting at the border along with my guide. He'll cost 50 Euros a day! I think I might come home and live on cheesie beanos in Bettyhill for two years! I could read a lot of books and admire the view.

At 21/09/2006, 19:45, Anonymous ulrike said...

Dear Mick, don't go to Bettyhill, stay in Italy instead! You can enjoy the view from your scruffy caravan for the rest of your life. If you're not just on holiday riding your bike up and down the Alps. Alan said he was in Bettyhill two weeks ago and it wasn't very nice! Rain, rain,rain.
Go for it, Africa or burst.
best of luck, Ulrike

At 22/09/2006, 10:35, Blogger alf said...

Looks a treat with the wire spoked wheels. Never thought I'd see you putting a screen on front though - will no doubt increaase your endurance.
PS - Are these the same pot racks as made by James Judd Esquire? Is that a Glenmorangie tin I see atop them? The 'extra tools' nae doot.

At 24/09/2006, 14:41, Anonymous Roy said...

Absolutely correct about the spoked wheels. It looks like a proper motorbike now!

At 28/09/2006, 13:36, Blogger Mick said...

I did deliberate for some time on the screen but I hqve done my time without. I can hear the motor and the iPod and it keeps the worst of the weather off. The Glenmorangie box keeps extra tools right enough and those are the 1988 Australian pot-racks. Been modified to fit the R65.


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