THE UNEXPECTED AND THE ODD !!!!
Travel they say broadens the mind, lets you see and experience things that perhaps you wouldn't otherwise, tell you what it teaches you some patience.
We decided to go to Greece for some sun, days of rain on a bike are not nice at all.
Greece did not disappoint with some very hot temperatures and some wonderful sights,
It is a country that is slowly getting itself back together, you can see where money has been saved, but the people were warm and welcoming for the most part and there is much of the country we did not see.
We decided to get a ferry from Patras to Venice as it saved time and money. We stayed in a hotel on the port front and after our past troubles getting hold of ferry tickets we were all set for another round of this desk is closed, however getting the tickets was easy and simple.
We walked around Patras in the heat as our ferry was supposed to sail at midnight.
Steph has this nightmare of us missing ferries and as such we always have to arrive long before sailing, little did we know how long we would have to wait.
We got all checked in , this was a simple process to be told the ferry was running late and it would not get into port until after midnight, great news.
We binged watched several episodes of a TV series to pass the time and watched ,well after midnight as the ferry steamed into port.
Loading and unloading was a very interesting affair taking approx 2 hours, bikes were tied to railings and we got to our cabin at around 0230 am.
We had a glass of wine and went to sleep.
The sailing was supposed to take 31 hours, so we settled down and enjoyed islands passing by and a very very flat calm sailing, it was quite enjoyable in a you cant go anywhere kind of way.
We met a lovely French couple who had been touring Greece on an RT1200, they were friendly and engaging, hi Veronique et Philippe. We spoke about our relative trips and we hope that our paths cross again soon.
During our sailing there was a medical emergency and our ship had to divert to drop off a passenger for medical attention ( we hope they are okay)
This put our already late ferry well behind and a 7am arrival time in Venice turned into a 1430 arrival time.
Disembarking was just as confusing and disorganised as boarding but we managed to get off safely.
We hit the motorways out of Italy, typical mad drivers and we got stung for several tolls and got stuck in miles of roadworks ( see where patience comes in) but we made it to one of our favourite places Slovenia.
We rode roads we had first ridden over 6 years ago, when Slovenia was a bit rougher and not quite so polished, you can see what the tourist money has done and Bovec didn't have the same feel that we had felt before. We don't agree with paying for showers on campsites, when the shower timer is set at 4 mins,it should be included in the price and the campsite in Slovenia charged extra for everything, electric, fridge space, washing machine and drier, phone, tablet charging, extra for 2 bikes even though we only take up the space of one car and the wifi was hit and miss ( the field in Albania had brilliant wifi as does this one in Lithuania)
We have stayed on sites where all of the above were included and we would rather pay one price than start adding on when the original price was not that cheap.
Still we love Slovenia
Steph got to overcome one of her biggest fears the mighty Mangart, high road, built as an access road for a gun emplacement that was never built this small goat track type road hugs the mountain on the way up, it is a test of rider, Steph did it but she really hates heights and edges, we couldn't get to the very top as it was still covered in snow ( top picture) but we got as close as we could.
We moved onto Kranjska Gora as thunderstorms were forecast.We did a bit of the tourist thing and settled in for the storm in a hotel room with a covered balcony after we had found a discount store to replace some items of clothing, which we had hoped would last longer than 3 months.
The storms was spectacular and went on for many hours.
After a good nights sleep we went to Villach in Austria to get the oil and filters changed by Megabike.
We dropped the bikes off and returned a couple of hours later to be informed that the discs and pads on Stephs bike were shot and it needed new all round.
They ordered and fitted for us the next day, top work all round, but at a cost with the extra day in the hotel there was no change from 1200 euros ( ouch budget blown)
From Villach we went into Germany via the Grossknockler high alpine road, it was very busy and not sure it was worth 26 euros each but it was nice to see in the sunshine as our last visit all views were blocked by fog.
We stayed in a old hotel in Passau, again another thunderstorm curtailed camping and booking came to our rescue before we got wet through, Hotel Dreiflussehof is worth a stay, underground parking and a good restaurant on site.
We moved onto the Czech Republic. We had read an interesting article about the Bohemian area and decided to stay in a campsite by a river.
It was empty when we turned up but what we did not understand was that rafters from the river would stop and camp so the first night was fire pits, dueling banjos, folk songs and teenagers until 0130, all good natured but loud.
The second day was older folk who went skinny dipping as we were cooking tea and repeated this for us at breakfast, not sure we needed aged 60 plus nakedness with our food, but now we understood where Bohemia comes from, whatever goes.
We spent an afternoon riding round on some empty roads and generally enjoyed our stay, including a trip to the church of bones, which we cannot really describe, it needs to be seen.
Poland was up next with stops in Jelenia Gora, Konin and Elk.
Poland was cheap with warm welcoming people, good food and good places to stop, it cannot be described as a biking paradise with lots and lots of long straight roads surrounded by high trees, the driving is, lets all overtake together and led to some interesting situations.
We would happily return to Poland but not perhaps by motorcycle, though we may of missed the best bits.
We rode onto Lithuania and to a camp site down a dirt road, with no signs saying it was there
We arrived for the mid summers celebration and no one really slept last night it was loud, tonight will be much of the same.
We walked the mile and half ( bikers not hikers) for supplies and it was a small pretty place with a nice park.
The site is by a lake in a wonderful rustic setting, tonight promises big bonfires and drinking which is all part of the Lithuanian tradition.
Country number 20, more is still to come, patience most defiantly required.