Travel Through Italy on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Italy on a Harley (6/11/98 - 15/11/98)
Distance 938 km (122057 km to 122995 km)

This is part of the fourth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  Germany or read our previous visit to Italy
 

6/11/98 It seems Italy is not the cheapest place for flights to Australia and we would have been better off staying in Germany and flying out of Frankfurt. But without that pre knowledge and wanting to be over the snow capped mountains to start the next trip in January to North Africa, we have to wear the added cost.

7/11/98 Travel agents here close Saturday so it's wait for the tickets and give the motorcycle a good clean and polish. It has not been polished this trip and with the salt spray from the storms in Brighton (UK) two weeks ago it is showing rust on some of the chrome. Glorious sunshine and 15 degrees, something we have not had for what seems like months.

8/11/98 We are still in Verona, camped in the grounds of a villa, now hostel and avoiding the draconian single sex dorms and lock out from 9 am to 5 pm with our own accommodation. Left alone for the day to wander the grounds and finish cleaning and getting our gear ready for 2 months storage. This time we are taking almost nothing back to Australia, except the old tent to exchange for a newer smaller version. All the camping gear stays as we have enjoyed the freedom of our own bed (albeit on the ground) and cooking our own food (single burner). Next trip will be a mixture of eastern and western, being North Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe. Cheaper hotels but with some opportunities for camping. We calculate the camping gear to be about 15 kg, tent, bed rolls, sleeping bags, sheets and cooking gear plus another 5 kg for essential basic foods. After 100 days camping this trip we think it's worth the weight but it is very bulky. We will see what it is like in the tighter and rougher traffic conditions of the next trip.

At Villa Francescatti, Verona 9/11/98 After a two day wait there are problems with our tickets, it seems the connection time is short and they cannot guarantee the connection. There are no other reasonably cheap flights for weeks, the cheaper ones were booked out 3-4 weeks in advance, so we have to take the risk of the connection ourselves. Although being held up in Tokyo for a couple of days would wipe out any savings on the cheaper ticket. We left Verona at lunch time heading for the small country of San Marino but only made it as far as Ravenna where with all the van parks closed for the season and nightfall arriving, we asked a Pincada (roadside eatery) if we could camp in his field. Camped next to a small lake in the middle of farmland near a busy road. Busy with trucks and busy with girls. It seems the section we had chosen for the night was the prostitute road, girls, almost all coloured illegal immigrants from Africa or Albania, patiently waiting on the road shoulder for some truckie or motorist to turn tricks. It's not the place you stop for a hitch-hiker unless you want to give them more than a lift.

10/11/98 Into San Marino, that 61 sq. km country, the world's oldest republic, sitting atop a 600 metre high mountain, surrounded by Italy, prints its own money and stamps and has its own army and exists almost only for tourists. Worth a couple of hours of our time to walk around the old walled city and admire the mountain top view before heading straight to Rome to finalize things for our November 15 flight home.

11/11/98 WeSt Peters Basilica was under renovation had visited northern Italy and Rome 4 years ago with the family and again stayed near the central railway station. Nothing has changed, the area throngs with shady looking characters straight out of the “Godfather” movie although now many have darker skins. To enter a bank here it's a security airlock, guard operated or by a hand print, or a metal detection airlock. All vehicles are alarmed and motorcycles chained to any immovable object. We risked the motorcycle in the street for one night under its cover. We had arranged to store the motorcycle with the local H-D workshop in the centre of Rome but when we arrived and the price asked was $US 400 for the two months, we declined. We were a little surprised as H-D Thailand and Greece had stored the motorcycle each for 6 months and at no charge using the motorcycle occasionally as a point of interest in the shop. But this is Italy. After some searching we found a garage out of the city for $US 100 which after the motorcycle had been prepared for storage increased to $US 120 because of taxes and extras. This is Italy. Run by an immigrant family and insisting on payment in advance we wonder if they or the bike will be there on our return. At least they didn't ask for the keys. While travelling all over Rome searching for garages to store the motorcycle, getting lost and weaving in and out of traffic snarls we passed the Vatican City and managing to get two wheels on Vatican land. Its also the smallest independent country in the world at 44 ha and a 4.07 km boundary, and funnily enough has the lowest birth rate of any country. I think it is the first country we have circumnavigated. Can now claim we have visited that country being last for this section and our 47th overall (according to the Rand McNally Atlas).

12/11/98 With tickets in hand, bike stored and the children back home warned of our imminent arrival (so they can clean the house) it's just wait around now for three days. Easily the worst part of the trip is the flight, and I don't know how people go overseas from Australia for a couple of week's holiday as the flight time would deter me. The second worst part of the trip is waiting for the flight.

13/11/98 Well I won't bore you with details of the flight so this is the end of trip four. I have been on the road now for 22 months (658 days of travel) and ridden 98,500 km since leaving Townsville. Kay has been with me for 12 months of that and about 55,000 km. The motorcycle has now covered 123,000 km and is running well but starting to use about a litre of oil every 3000 km (not bad when you consider the poor quality fuels around the Indian sub continent). We had minimum troubles with it this trip, the speedo driver being the most major repair in 21,500 km. Loved Western Europe but are looking forward to more challenging North Africa etc. Next trip.

You can either move onto planning the fifth section , or go to the first country of the next trip, Italy .
 

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