Back in the UK (but not for long)
You know what people say," its not all sunshine and rainbows" well sometimes it is.
We always knew that we would have to return to the Uk at some point and stoke the dying embers of our old life but what we were not ready for was how we would feel.
Its a very odd situation when we have been the outsiders, the visitors, the travellers for 6 months to return to our past lives and it all be so much the same and so normal, with everyone getting on with there lives at a time of turmoil for our country ( Brexit).
We did not know what to expect and we are grateful to my father and his partner Kath for letting house sit for nearly 3 weeks rent free
but well we expected something more, we cannot say what or point in any particular direction, but at this time we feel a little lost, as if a child has had there favourite toy taken away from them, the sense of disconnect, missing and longing is not something that can be got rid of with a few drinks down the pub, its just plain odd, so if your traveling for an extended period of time be aware of the post trip crash and like any junkie looking for his next hit we are already planning and scheming, the worlds a big place and we would like to see all of it.
The trip back was an anti climax, Poland and Germany, whilst lovely countries with some good food and places to see, now seemed just a little too safe and secure, no real edge to them ( see that junkie thing again) but we made the best of it.
Krakow, is a nice city to visit but be aware if you have a meal or drink in the main square it is much more expensive than elsewhere
If you like the tourist thing its good and there are plenty of other attractions about, we had a good walk about, mostly in the rain and it was a nice way to spend a day.
We stayed in a nice campsite just outside the city centre, near an open air swimming pool, of course we met another bike traveler, who came over and we swapped stories, tips and tricks. It is always good to chat to like minded people.
We moved on from there to Poznan, we encountered some more cobbled back roads thanks to my satnav and some old issues started again on the big GSA , flashing warning lights etc no ABS, no real issues just annoying.
Poznan was nice
and the sun came out again and we got to see the billy goats on the clock tower
We even used public transport getting a very efficient train the 8 miles into Poznan and back for the princely sum of 4 euros return for 2, the UK rail system could learn a thing or two.
We also managed to find out where they all come from, its a little village on the Germany Poland border, they even put a sign pointing the way to them !!!
We managed to find some out of the way empty roads and a very large nature reserve, it was a bit cooler but worth the ride, crossing between Germany and Poland with no border controls made for a lovely days riding.
and another of the lake, this side Poland over there Germany !
Our final stop of this leg was Bremerhaven, booking .com mistake, however it has a very good nautical museum on the waterfront including the only complete world war 2 U boat still afloat, its now a museum and it was fascinating to crawl through it, still smelling the oils and diesel smell, it must have been scary to be underwater in one of these.
It in no way glorified war but was a reminder of what happens when we don't get along.
We enjoyed the museums and walking around the wreck of a 15th century wooden vessel that they had recovered from the muddy river bank, this is worth a look if your in the area.
We got the ferry back to the UK from Rotterdam and if you are getting the ferry please visit the PUB next to the terminal, say hi to John, he does some good food and serves good beer at a fraction of the ships prices, he might not be there much longer which would be a real shame, we recommend his bbq ribs, they are something else.
Now back in the UK we went from this
What did we learn?????????
Well we took far too much stuff, we sent 3 parcels back to the UK and left unwanted items in several Hotel rooms.
Bmw GS are generally reliable with minimal maintenance, we did over 18000 miles in 6 months visiting 26 countries.
Parts of Europe are very expensive, Norway, Germany, France, Italy and some are not Bulgaria, Romania and Albania.
Most people are friendly and most are trying to help you, even if you have got no clue what they are on about.
Border guards like Green cards and you having all the correct documents, it makes life easier for them and you.
You cannot rush border guards or crossings, they work at their own pace, like it or not your just going to have to wait.
A good tent, sleeping mats and sleeping bag are worth their weight in gold, cheap camping chairs are not; space saving is everything, a lightly packed bike is easier to handle, uses less fuel and is more enjoyable to ride.
The GS and GSA were always within 1 Litre of fuel at top ups no matter how they had been ridden.
Mainland Europe loves motorbikes, hotel staff, restaurant staff and others will not care how wet, dirty, smelly you are if you turn up on a bike they are used to it.
Me and Steph can get along with each other, living with each other 24 hours a day, helps when you love someone and they are also your best friend.
Your trip will cost more than you think, We worked out our trip came to nearly 80 euros per day for the 2 of us , over 196 days that adds up to 15680 euros, which is a lot, but that includes all fuel for 2 bikes, hotel, camping, ferries, replacement items and kit, (things will break, clothes will wear out )and food for 2, drinks and 2 big repair bills(new discs and pads for the GS and sensor repair for the GSA) and 3 sets of tyres (TK70).
If we got cold and wet we had an hotel room and if we wanted to eat out we did and we had trips out as well, we cannot maintain this amount of expenditure and could of saved with more wild camping, hostels and couch surfing/bunk a biker, but you live and learn.
You will take thousands of images that people at home will glaze over when you try to show them.
Our long term plan is still South America, but we have other Irons in the fire, the Stans and Magadan in Russia , thanks to the HUBB meeting in Romania, planning is ongoing, what else is there to do on a rainy day in West Yorkshire.
See you on the road.
Neil and Steph.