This is the beginning of the fifth section of our around
the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from the Fourth Section, Italy
23/1/99 On the road again after 48 hours since leaving home (drive Townsville - Cairns, overnight in Japan) we arrived at our accommodation in Rome. The Harley was still at Zaki Motors, a garage in the suburbs of Rome. With a quick charge to the battery, adjusting the brakes we were actually on the road again. A last minute purchase of a short wave radio, to hopefully assist in information gathering on some troubled areas we may be travelling to.
24/1/99 Well as usual it is increasingly more difficult cramming everything into the motorcycle. At start we are about 25 kg over the maximum allowable manufacturers limit. This may not be a problem in Europe but Africa? Armed with extra spares and oils, camping gear, warm and cool clothes we left Rome at 9 am in 3 degrees and sunshine. Having been to Naples, Herculaneum, Pompei and Mt Vesuvius four years earlier we headed straight down the autobahn to the Amalfi coast. Passing through Ravello where the grapes and lemons grow on almost vertical terraced cliffs and along the coast with villages crammed into every alcove climbing vertically from the Mediterranean. Stayed overnight in Amalfi.
25/1/99 Having not ridden for two months and wanting to get as far south to warmer climates we had an early breakfast of crusty bread, olives and cheese in the sunshine overlooking the ocean then drove 450 km down the centre of the boot to its toe and into Villa san Giovanni where we will ferry across to Sicily tomorrow. The free motorway wound its way through long valleys, snow capped mountains on either side, the country side becoming more agricultural the further south we went. Feeling the cold after leaving a Northern Australian mid summer for a southern Europe mid winter. Going from 30 degrees max to 15 degrees max and 24 degree minimums to 5 degree minimums. Our unheated budget room demands plenty of blankets at least till the blood thickens a little.
26/1/99 Just three days into the trip and we can't work out how we managed to survive previously without a short wave radio. News and views and always an English speaking channel. We will give away our old am/fm to someone in North Africa. In Mafia country, every corner has a Marlon Brando look alike with a well cut woollen trench coat covering a well rounded middle. Although the government has ordered and enacted a crack down on the local mafia there are still killings, like the five last week in Sicily. Caught the $US 7.00 ferry to Sicily and down the east coast to Catania. This is our jump off spot to Malta, but being winter, ferries are only twice weekly, no competition and prices are high. Still if you want to be in Northern Russia for the summer you have to be in Southern Italy in Winter.
27/1/99 Europe's largest volcano, Mt Etna, overlooks East Sicily, it has erupted on average every three years but the last time was in 1992. We rode to 2000 meters, above the snow line, but the peak at 3300 meters was unattainable in winter and spewed steam and smoke. The 1992 eruption had burst a hole in the eastern side of the mountain, with the lava taking trees, farms and some buildings with it. We headed down to the Taormina coast and watched the fishermen return with their catch, in brightly coloured boats.
28/1/99 A quick drive down to Siricusa for the day, a city
of Greek history and ruins. The island of Ortygia seems to represent the
deterioration of the island of Sicily. The once Magnificent stone buildings
now in a state of collapse now almost beyond economic repair. Where we have
been in Sicily so far, the island is in disrepair. Not fully part of the
EU Europe yet not as run down as North Africa. There seems to be no money
left over in the public or private budget for the niceties of gardens or
clean streets. Our ferry departed Catania for Malta at 8.30 pm, one and a
half hours late.
Move with us to Malta or
go to our next visit to Italy
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