Left Pisa 13/03/06 to Tarquinia which is a medi-evil walled city. Very windy- this is called 'The Montana' and lasts either 1 or 3 days. It was day 2 when we got there. Normally I am not keen on high winds on the back of the Bike but she felt very stable and comfortable.
Colin has been very pleased with the very last 'mod' that he did before leaving UK. That was to fit handle bar muffs. They have been very succesful. I'm OK with the heated jacket and gloves.
From Pisa to Tarquinia, we diverted of the Autosrada to do the coastal route but it was'nt worth it, as it was very Industrial. Colin had been concerned about negotiating the ring roads around Rome and Naples but it turned out to be easy. Naples was worse than Rome, as it turned out.
Went on to Pompeii and intended to have 2 days off. The first day Pompeii was shut- due to a strike for more money. After meetings it was stated that it would open at 10.30am. This came and went and the next rumour was that it would open at 1 pm. There were loads of tourists waiting and we decided to hop on the train to Herculanium, so as not to waste time. This also opened at 1pm and we had a good look around.
Next day Pompeii was open at 8.30 am and we got in for 10 euro each. We thought it was busy but the Guide told us that there were 2000 tourists there that day and in summer they have 12,000. Loads of stray dogs around who will attatch themselves to the groups of people going around.
A fascinating place but in retrospect we need not have done both sites. Sadly, Vesuvius was 'shut' also , due to ice on the road. It is ominous in the background of the beautiful, bustling new town of Pompeii.
Drivers in Italy are manic but courteous to other road users. Petrol is 1.25 Euro. Drinks in cafes slightly cheaper than UK. Alot of police around and we were parked in a pull off one day and a blue light screeched in behind us, stopped and Policeman said' are you OK" , 'Fine' was the reply and he said' have a good trip' and was gone.
Beware of the Autosrada payments- some you get a ticket and pay at the end of the section and some you just pay a statuary toll by throwing the money in the bin.
I am reliably informed the the girls in Italy are ravishing !
Then on to Bari and the night feery for Greece on The Bluestar line. The ticket girl asked shyly' how old are you?' and we got Concessionary fares weithout asking for them. We were able to board early and were shown to our cabin on deck 8. (now that's a first ). We were assured that there would be' no roll' but we tied the bike down as best we could.
Colin spent a happy hour watching the lorry drivers reversing in a small space , in order to reverse on. One would be backing in whilst another lorry turned around- hardly space for a cigarette paper between them. Pedestrians and cars also in the same area. Health and Safety eat your heart out.
It was a 10 hour crossing and we had a very polite phone call at 5am to ensure we were awake. Now we are on Greek time which is 2 hours ahead of UK. Total mileage so far is 1,937.
Disembarkedat 6.30 am at Igoumenitsa and we were short of fuel. Managed to find some in the Port area and we were on th Autostrada immediately. It was a good job that Colin had done this as we then did'nt see any petrol stations or pull off's for miles. This turned out to be 139 miles of very demanding driving. At first it was dark, the roads wet and as we climbed into the mountains, it was low cloud with visibility of 50/ 100 feet , in places. Loose shale on the road, hair pin bends with sheer drops. We climbed to the Katalan pass and reached 14,000 feet. The snow line was here and on the roadside was 3 metres deep, although the roads were clear due to the 3 Snow plough/ blower stations that were there.
We reached the other side and the temperature was 13 degrees- positively balmy. On to Meteora where there are some fantastic rock formations made by wave action millions of years ago.
Then on to Thessolonika, the second largest city in Greece. Totally different terrain here , flat and marshy. All the shops seem to stay open here and there are loads of bikes and scooters. Drivers smoking as they are driving, no crash helmets and the pillion reading the paper .
Food is cheap here, petrol is 0.93 euro and rolling tobacco is 50 grams for 3 Euro. We managed to get new tyres and Colin was impressed at the care taken. About the same price as UK. The guy said it was a good job we had them changed in Thessolonika as in Istanbul the wait would be 3/5 days. He had not seen Ultraseal before or the tyre pressure caps.
Everyone has been so helpful- some speak good English. All the roadsigns are in Greek first , followed by a sign in English. The taxi drivers will pick up more than one fare at a time.
Now in Alexandroupholi and next stop will be Turkey tomorrow. More to come.
Posted by Dee Masters at March 21, 2006 02:54 PM GMT
Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.
"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."
"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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
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!
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 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.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.
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 © 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!