Dear friends, it has been a while since the last blog, but I sit now in a comfortable chair, with a mug of tea at my side, having had ten hours of restful sleep. Richard has had less sleep because he accidentally stumbled upon 'a live sex show' last night. I know nothing more about it than that!
The last update glossed over how Richard kicked an innocent rider off his bike, on our way to Krakow. This was a long day's ride, but worth it. Krakow is beautiful, with a huge square surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants. There are lots of tourists and students, and the whole place has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere.
The following morning we met an Italian chap - Antonio - who owned a cafe here. Richard contributed a mini bottle of rum to Antonio's collection, and we chatted for a while. Antonio was quite vocal on the attractiveness of Polish women. He must be sixty plus - very Italian.
We had a day's rest here and so decided to be cultural and visit Aushwitz concentration camp. The weather was fittingly awful - cold and rainy. The coach trip to the camp lasts about seventy minutes, and during this time a black and white documentary film about the uncovering of the camp, is shown. This is not for the faint hearted, and before the end I plugged in my MP3 player and closed my eyes. We then reached the camp and were shown about by a competent guide, and saw all the various torture rooms, gas chambers and cells 'in person'. It is a sombre affair.
Our next stop was Berlin. We almost made this decision on the road. The German autobahns are so smooth and fast, that we abandoned our plans to acheive a paltry two hundred miles and went for four hundred and twenty instead. This was our highest mileage day. It requires some recalibration to pull out into the fast lane safely on a bike that cruises at eighty, when cars are coming past at about one hundred and fifty!
I forgot to mention the Polish / German border. This is because there is nothing to mention. We are back in Western Europe, and easy borders!
We established ourselves in our hotel in Berlin, and went out for dinner. We have taken some pains to eat local food where-ever we are, and sat down to our chicken korma and chicken tikka with some relish. Very soon after ordering I noticed that Richard was rather interested in something over my shoulder. This turned out to be two young ladies rather inappropriately dressed. Additionally, they appeared to have had cosmetic surgey as they would have made Pamela Anderson feel inadequate.
After dinner, as we strolled towards the bars and pubs, we were to meet quite a number of these damsels of the evening, easily identifiable by their ultra high boots, their afore-mentioned enhancements and their aggressive attitude. I cannot repeat one lady's response when I explained that I was happily married. Suffice it to say, that this would not be an issue.
A taxi driver subsequently confided in us that although these women suggest that for the princely sum of eighty Euros they will fullfil your yearnings, it is in fact a complete con. Phew! That was a close call!
The next day we visited Checkpoint Charlie, bits of the old wall, and took appropriate photographs. We then sat in a cafe for about three hours and watched the world go by. This was a real change for Richard, who finds it hard to relax. For me, sitting idle for hour after hour, doing absolutely nothing, was not too challenging!
We spent the afternoon mooching around the shops.
The next day consisted of another autobahn blast to Hanover. Here we met up with our good friend Mihir. He lives in Cologne and came to meet us so that he could ride with us for a while. We were very pleased to see him, and reflected our jolly mood, by drinking red wine and rum from 4 o'clock in the afternoon until about 1 o'clock in the morning.
The next day - with no hangovers at all - we rode as a trio to Cologne. Mihir rides a 1000 cc Ducatti Multistrada, and consequently stretched us to our highest speeds yet - a heady 109 mph! Richard had a go on Mihir's bike and found it firm, uncomfortable, and small. That'll be a sports bike then!
And now we're in Cologne, and I must find out what Richard and Mihir got up to last night.
So back to this live sex show....it started off in a reasonably tame manner. Saad had gone back to Mihir's flat to catch up on some sleep and Mihir and I tried to hook up with two of his friends by going to a small bar. We were on our first drink when a couple entered, kissing and groping each other and the girl's dress starts falling off her. She appears oblivious (and seems to enjoy it) as various parts of her anatomy are on show - strange lot these Germans.
Today will see us milling around a few bike shops, Saad has some shopping to do and generally taking in the Cologne air. We are back on the bikes tomorrow.
And so we are on our way back to Blighty. We have had to cut short the trip due to me having unexpected work type commitments and if we are honest, Russia (which was becoming by far the largest part of the trip) was not the "adventure" we were seeking. Long tedious riding only to get to grim industrial crappy cities where we were made to feel extremely unwelcome does not make a "trip of a lifetime". Going further east would have made this the rule rather than the exception. Even me popping back to the UK and then returning to Russia would have resulted in Kaz being impossible (you can only get a 2 entry visa for Russia)
So in summary:
We expect to have covered close to 5000 miles, driven through 9 countries, stayed in 14 cities, (I think) and had some real experiences that will stay with us forever, however, Kazakhstan will have to wait for next time.
London to Moscow and back on two Honda Transalps has proven how great these bikes are. They have been supremely comfortable, with strong reliable engines, handled the excessive amount of kit we have hauled (but not really used) around Europe's roughest roads and we have never once regretted our choice of steed.
We are really looking forward to seeing family and friends (and, no doubt, the largest mobile phone bills ever recorded) and are already planning our next trips overseas.
We have had a great time and thanks must go to all who have either supported us, ecouraged us or simply sat there as we rabitted on about the trip. Be warned however, we have 100's of photos !
If you are wondering whether to do a similar trip, the answer from us would be a huge YES.
Richard and Saad
FIXING THE CLUTCH CABLE
BORDER CROSSING INTO UKRAINE
2 WEEKS WITHOUT SHAVING - NOT PRETTY
MOTORWAY SERVICE STATION RUSSIA STYLE
HOOLIGANS - UKRAINE STYLE. NOTE FASHIONABLE TOPS
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