October 05, 2007 GMT
All good things...

Ahhh, the delights of a villa in the Tuscan countryside, friends, food, wine, beer, a pool, a BBQ, and of course a wedding. A week was spent enjoying the high life and the wedding was beautiful in its simplicity and the 7 course meal that followed was out of this world, so congratulations to Ben and Jane!

Ben and Janes wedding.JPG
JB as 'official' photographer here....

We waved off our friends before the long race back to Blighty, trying to cover the distance in only a few days. Through Parma (very disappointingly no huge 'ham' cardboard cutout at the town - one for the council I think). Mistakenly rode through the centre of Milan and up what I can only assume is their equivalent of Oxford Street on a Saturday evening (arghhh) to Lake Maggiore, very beautiful and again, some of the best riding. We sat by the shores of the lake having a breakfast pastry whilst the ritzy locals looked upon our trangia brews and scruffy attire pityingly...

Took the fabulous Route 33 into Switzerland - you've gotta love the Swiss, their roads, their choc, their cows, nazi gold (thanks Green Wing!), blissful riding and in cold (yet oddly warm) sunshine.

Rode for a while with an Italian on a BMW who showed us some tops routes, so we went up the Furka pass (2431m) to Interlaken and a swift view of the Eiger.

Through Belgium and a stop in Chimay for one of the best beers you will ever taste (Chimay reserve at 9%). IM found that a vole had started making a nest in her lid as we packed up our gear one very soggy morning, so cue much merriment from JB and pics of the wee fellow jumping in and out of our gear.

the vole.JPG

Our last night was spent near Calais and it was so cold and wet that the evening was spent sitting in the gents loo as it had walls and a roof and the thermarest's had worryingly developed a "bulge" fault, so time to head home we felt.... bye bye euroland, hello Blighty.

So this is it! Thank you for reading, we hope you enjoyed it... thanks to Ben C for the Pie-rats logo and to Steve (Anvil) Trout for the bike side stand mod.
And if anyone needs an Arts Administrator/Office Manager, then Imogen is your girl, driving and aikido lessons from James.... all donations happily received!

home again jiggady jig.JPG

Total miles: 19,043
Countries: 27 1/2 (Republika Srpska being the half): France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Andorra, Monaco, (Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily), Italy, San Marino, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovenia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium
Total days: 187
Bike Repairs: new inner tube, new tyres x 2, new chain and sprockets, oil change x 3, headlight bulbs x 2, oil and air filters change x 1
Punctures: 5
Bike drops: 18
Mosquito bites: 86948347783847673485676384
Items missed: Harveys beer, flaming hot monster munch, baked beans
Beer list: 32 (I'll email you Big Bob!)
'Hombres' poos outside: by IM - 13; by JB - a paltry 1 (wuss)
Most indispensible items: double silk liner (wusses, again), mozzie bite 'clicker' and Ortleib folding washing bowl
Items ditched: 10L water bag, 3 t-shirts, rubbish cotton pants x 3, socks x3, long-sleeved shirt x1, techno top (too horrible and had 'piled' - IM), trainers (IM)

Equipment list (take a deep breath):
Thermarest mattresses and chair converters x2
Softie 9 (Hawk) sleeping bag, Coleman liteweight summer sleeping bag
Inflatable pillow (but finally died!)
Vango Spirit 200 lite tent
plastic groundsheet
2 trek towels, 1 small hand towel and flannel
Panniers: soft Bagster (fell apart in France, gaffa tape to the rescue), Touratech Vega topbox, Bagster tank bag
Bike stuff: puncture repair kit, bike pump, tools incl tyre levers, spanners etc, spare clutch cable, throttle cable x2, bulb kit, AT bike manual (thankfully unused)
1st aid kit: incl painkillers, antiseptics, various medical unguents, crepe bandage, triangular bandage, 'toilet issues' pills, charcoal pills, hayfever and sting relief items, a sterile set with needles, tiger balm, plasters, 'Captain' TCP
Bottle sterilser tabs for 2 Camelback waterbottles
Cooking items: Trangia stove, 2 thermo mugs, wooden spoon, sharp knife, cutlery set (now missing knives), plastic baggies

Aerobie (health and fitness!)
Battery charger
Books: Lonely Planet "Europe on a Shoestring" and Turkish phrase book (our only guide books); Bill Bryson's "Short History"; White Fang; Ben Hur (last 2 purchased in Croatia); Collins Bird Guide; Collins Butterfly Guide (!); Helm - "Where to Watch Birds in Britain and Europe"
Candles and lighters, flint lighter
Copies of bike docs, insurance docs, passports etc
Gaffa tape
Mini Ganesh (for good luck)
Mini screwdrivers for spectacle mendage
Mosquito net and spray (pah)
MP3 players and mini speakers
Pack of cards
Pass-the-Pigs game
Penknives x 2
Phone charger (and mobile)
Mini scrubbing brush
Sewing kit
Sink plug
Sponge bag incl: moisturiser, deo, soap, shampoo 2-in-1, spf lip protector and suncream and talc (IM luxury item!)
Thermarest repair kit (used twice)
Torches x3
Washing line

Posted by Imogen Mitchell at October 05, 2007 03:04 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!