May 26, 2010 GMT
26th May - Switzerland

Had a late start yesterday - 9.30am by the time we left the campsite. I had a bad nights sleep due to dogs barking, people talking and a thunderstorm. Luckily, Rich can sleep through pretty much anything so he is ok. By the time we stopped for coffee and breakfast I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day. This is the first time on this trip I have felt like this, all I wanted to do was go to sleep. Luckily, breakfast perked me up and we then had a lovely ride into the mountains. The sign said the pass was open but when we got there it was closed so we had to come all the way back again which set us back by over an hour. By 2pm we were quite behind schedule. Fab weather and great roads today though.

Arrived in Leichtenstein and it immediately chucked it down with rain.

Very black clouds ahead so decided to head for Switzerland. Stopped at a garage for coffee and decided we would still aim for our original destination of Basel despite being so far behind schedule.

We arrived just outside of Basel at about 7pm and encountered the worst weather we have had so far. Very very heavy rain and a thunderstorm. Rich didn't put his waterproofs on today and got absolutely drenched but was really good humoured (as always!). We stopped at 3 hotels and they were all booked up and mega expensive. I wasn't feeling so good humoured with it being so late in the day and so wet. We eventually found a pub with a room for 140 francs (85). The girl behind the bar was lovely and very helpful.

We were 4 floors up and by the time we had got everything upstairs we were both pretty tired.

Rich got changed while I went downstairs and ordered food. We were lucky to get a meal as it was now 8.45pm. I have discovered that food and wine tastes so much better after a day of riding! We both had a great sleep and were up at 6.45am. Had breakfast and about to head for France. [note from Rich: not sure if this is just Basel, or Switzerland in general, but prices seem very high. Look into staying just across the border in France or Germany]

Posted by Richard Tibbetts at 07:04 AM GMT
May 27, 2010 GMT
27th May - Luxembourg

Another rainy day today. Had a lovely ride through the hills in France up to a place called Nancy.

It rained on and off for most of the day and we only really stopped for food. We checked into a hotel in Luxembourg.

Have had a problem today with the KTM overheating. Rich, through process of elimination and a bit of phone advice from a friend in UK, thinks it is probably the thermostat. We are going to a KTM dealer in Brussells tomorrow to see if we can get it sorted.

Posted by Richard Tibbetts at 08:49 PM GMT
May 29, 2010 GMT
29th May - Netherlands

So much to write today! We had lot of rain again yesterday morning when we left Luxembourg. We got to the KTM dealer in Brussells at about 11 and it turned out to be just offices. However, the staff were really friendly and went out of their way to help us. One of the guys rang round the local dealers and found someone with one thermostat in stock just 15 minutes away. He printed us a map and off we went.

The garage was run by a lovely guy called Jean Marc. He was about to go out for lunch but was happy for us to use his garage as Rich was quite confident he could fit it himself. So Rich stripped the bike down and replaced the thermostat.

It took about 2 hours. It was beautiful sunshine so I sat and read my book and occasionally helped and told him how great he was ha ha. It does impress me though how Rich can just figure out problems and fix them. He had downloaded the manual for the bike onto my ipod the night before as he had never changed a thermostat. Altogether it cost us about 46 Euros.

So, off to Brugge! This was possibly the highlight of the trip for me. Having watched the brilliantly funny movie 'In Brugge' I was really excited to see a lot of the places from the movie. Rich wasn't as excited as me but this changed when we got there. The weather stayed sunny and warm for the rest of the day. Rode into the centre of Brugge at about 4pm. I suggested Rich park up and wait while I go and try to find a hotel. I had looked on the internet the day before and lots of places were fully booked. The cheapest one I had found was 62 Euros and that was pretty basic. Also, they all seemed to charge about 20 - 25 Euros for parking. So we were really lucky in that I walked for about 3 minutes down a side street and the first hotel I came to had one double room left due to a cancellation. And it was only 60 Euros including breakfast, and they had space in their garage for the bike free of charge. Although it was only 3 minutes from the centre it was a lovely quiet side street running alongside a canal.

It was run by two brothers who were both really friendly and nice.

Got showered and changed, rang my friend Tam in England as soooo excited to be here and knew she would be jealous as she is massive fan of the movie, and then went out to explore.

Brugge is a gorgeous city. In fact, I think it is the nicest city I have ever visited. Amazing buildings, lovely canals, lots of chocolate shops and little cafes and a wonderful atmosphere. Loads of little side streets and every corner seems to bring something new and lovely to look at.

We wondered around until 11pm. We ate in the square with a view of the bell tower which looks gorgeous lit up at night. Got up early on Saturday (today), had breakfast and went out. We found a lovely tea room where we had an amazing hot chocolate. We were brought a big steaming mug of milk, some mini whisks and a cup of dark chocolate chips to stir into it. Fun to make and absolutely delicious. Then we walked to the top of the belfry - 366 steps.

Kept laughing about the movie. Every time we saw a erm, large person, we would say in an Irish accent to each other "you don't want to go up there" and it got funnier each time. You will have to watch the movie if you don't know what I am talking about. Very easy climb and just 8 Euros each. I thought it was going to be hard but we are pretty fit and hardly broke a sweat which felt good when lots of people that we passed coming back down were huffing and puffing.

Got heaps of photos today. Wondered round a few shops then headed back to the hotel to pick up our stuff. The guys at the hotel had let us leave our bike gear in their lounge for the morning which was really nice of them since we only stayed the one night.

Left for the ferry port at 12.30, arrived at 3 and sat in the pub for a while. Now standing outside the ferry port in the rain (again) I am usually sad at the end of a holiday but am not this time as I know we are going to be doing lots more of these. This is the most fun holiday I have ever had and we are going to start planning the next one when we get back.

Posted by Richard Tibbetts at 01:46 AM GMT
June 09, 2010 GMT
Link to photos

if you want view all of our photos (around 280 snaps) then please go to:

Hotmail Photo Album

Posted by Richard Tibbetts at 09:03 PM GMT
June 12, 2010 GMT

One of the things I really want to provide here is a breakdown of how much this trip cost us, and where the money went. So often people seem reluctant to state this, and yet it is one of the most common questions of would be travelers. Obviously these prices are only valid for the time we were there, and everyone's trip will be different, but hopefully it'll give an indication or act as a guide.

Germany - Ahnatal (camping) - 9.40 euro (7.99)
Czech Republic - Prague, Ibis - 3534 Koruny (106.02)
Poland - Hotel Silvia - 260 Zloty (54.60)
Slovakia - Daymont Pension - 35 euro (29.75)
Hungary - Erd (camping) - 20 euro (17)
Austria - Graz (camping) - 20 euro (17)
Austria - Chalet Kammleitn - 0 (stayed with family)
Austria - Innsbruck (camping) - 24.50 euro (20.82)
Switzerland - Hotel Restaurant Blume - 140 swiss Francs (84)
Luxembourg Hoetl Etap - 59 euro (50.15)
Brugge - Hoetl Ensor - 60 euro (51)

Total for accomodation = 438.34

Fuel costs
I won't bore you with the details of when we filled up, but to summarise:
- we travelled 5,250km (3,262 miles)
- we used 320.92 litres (70.59 gallons) of fuel
- this cost us 357.84
- the most expensive fuel was 1.35/litre in the Netherlands
- the cheapest fuel was 97p/litre in Austria and Luxembourg
- the average was 1.10/litre

Please note the quality (RON) of the fuel used was different depending on what was available. We tried to stay away from using 98RON fuel, so as to keep the cost down. Almost everywhere we used 95RON. In some countries there was 87RON fuel available, and this would have reduced our cost (but also potentially the life of the bike!)

Fuel economy
- 16.36 km/litre
- 46.21 mpg (miles per UK gallon)

- cash = 800
- credit card - 1106
- total spent = 1906

- Petrol = 357
- Accommodation = 438
- Other = 1111

'Other' includes food, souvenirs, emergency clothes purchases, bike repair!, etc.

We used Stena for the ferry between Harwich and Hook of Holland. We used Tesco clubcard points to pay for this, so we consider this as free. Included in our 'free' ticket was transport for the bike and a two berth cabin. Both ferries we used travelled overnight, so we didn't lose any traveling time or have to pay for other accommodation.

Posted by Richard Tibbetts at 11:30 AM GMT

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