Friday, 27 January 2012

Day six part two.

I should have taken more picture's. Rather than rely on the video. Or I'll have to up load some more video and put the link in here. From You Tube. I'm sure I have more pictures that I can find. Any we will move on. The approach in to Petra and the bridge.

As you can see it's something to stand and marvel at.

I can see why they built it. As the round trip by road would take at lest a day. I have no idea about the boat crossing and what happened to the boat ferry's.

One thing you see about Greece, is. There is a load of road building that has now come to a grinding halt. Fly over's half built, dual carriage way, just stop in the middle of no where. And pipe's that I can only guess at to move water around are all around you. The sooner they get their act together about the money problem the better. I can see if the Government plans right and the money they have, is spent wisely. It should all come together. It's great country let down by bad Government.

Any way once over the bridge it swing left following the sign's to Athens I know I'm not going to make it today. But I have a camp sight found on Goggle map's in my head. remember my sat nav's not working so I'm working all from memory when I did my ground work back in the UK before I started this trip.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Day six and in the land I am aiming for.

What a world of difference that crossing made. From a dark over cast rain wet Italy. Into a sun drench hot smooth tar mack road's of Greece. I was at this time in the north of the country. So it was still make my way south. Keep pushing south. The wet kit was well packed away. And with a light set of kit an open face helmet and a dark set of sun glasses. I was really looking and playing the part. To me this was going to be the best part of the trip. Remember I have no sat nav so I'm working the old fashion way of tank bag note's and a map tucked away in my back pack. The only problem I had was. Most of the road sign's have been sprayed painted over. Not with any kind notation or picture's. Just covered so you can't read them. I have no idea why they do that. Are they trying to say, If you don't know your way round Greece you should not be here. Go home we don't want you.

One of the boxes to tick on this trip was the crossing of the bridge at Petra. The bridge is a major construction marvel for Greece. If you have the time Goggle Petra and bridge and have a look. I end up crossing it three time's. There is a toll on the bridge. But for a bike it was round 3/4 euros. Car's where running at 20 euros plus. So I got a good deal.

                                      The bridge at Petra

Let's get back to getting off the ferry at Igoumenitsa. With the bike and route notes. It was off. I decide to ride the coast road rather that take the motorway down. What's the point of going all that way just to ride the motor way. The road I'm taking is the E 55 to Mesopotamo, and then on to Petra. An easy run to make in a day. And that's with stop's. One of the thing's I noticed was the next to total disregards to the wearing of crash helmet's. It law in Greece to wear one. But I never seen any one wearing one on anything of say 125 and below, That was all over Greece. In the city in the country, and in the capital. Even some of the big biker's rode with out one. Well not some more than half. But I had an idea if I tried it with a UK plate, they would be on to me like a tone of brick's, Making me lighter of a few hundred Euros. So I had mine on all the time. But I could be wrong. So if you are looking for a place to ride with the wind in your hair. This is the place.

I'm now stopping where ever I can just to see the place, In a few place's I am up loading video's to my net book. This for some strange reason I can get to charge on the system of multi plugging my charger up. So I'm thinking that the Tom Tom has sprung a leak. I try it a few more time to get a charge in to it, at different place's but to no avail. The E 55 to say is one of the better road's to ride, is right. But there are so many like this in Greece, France, Italy, and just about any country that is on the med coast line. It there fore pokes it head up in the top league of good biking road. You have the blue Med on one side, Usually cliff face on the other and smooth surfaces under rubber. With the add bonuses of as many coffee stop as you can manage. Word's can't tell you just how good it is. It's now I wish I had some picture's on my computer to show you.

The day's of Greece being a cheap place to go. Is on the wane or is altogether gone. Food is nearly a one and half or more costly than the UK. A loaf of bread is next to £2. And any pack up you wish to make for the next day may not be worth the effort. I found that eating out was just about as easy as getting it your self. So I worked my way round doing both. A bit of pack up and a bit of eating out.

I'll do the next bit about the bridge and the camp site on the way to the capital. In the mean time I'm going to have a look and see if i can find that picture disk.


The icing on the cake.

I'll miss out day four. and roll on to day five.

Day four was more as less the same as all the other day but with different shit.

One of the thing's that had happened on day four was we where not going to make the crossing in to Greece that day, as it was to far to the port. So it was another over night stop. Half way to me was the best idea.  Now got that out the way.

     The room's we stayed in on our unexpected stop in Italy

                                   Day five.

Started well and we where more or less over half way down Italy in the start of June. And I could see the rain cloud's rolling in. You know, them great big waves of black cloud's that cut the sunlight out. The wind was picking up and it was getting cold. This was wet kit day with-out a dote. So the next place was a stop. Out with the kit. Make sure every thing was packed down tight or extra tight. And it was push on south in to the teeth of the storm. And did it come down. In stair rod. Mile after mile of stair rod rain. Colder and colder it was getting. And what was not dry was wet. We must have had about five hour's of this. And our speed had dropped just so we could see where we where going. Slow progress was had by one and all. More stop's where on the card's. Just to get out of the rain and and a rest bite away into some place warm and dry. Then Richard come up the the idea that it was all my fault that it was raining. How he came to this even to day I have no idea. I kind of lost it at this point. Showing him that I did not have a direct line to the man up stair's and even if I had, I was in the rain as well as he was. And did he really think I some how had a hand in the weather. I think then, he knew, that I knew, there was something wrong with Richard. The man's not playing life with a full deck. It was at this moment that he told me he was not going on to Athens's and would be going back once we got to the port. Richard said he would ride the rest of the way down and see me on the ferry. I was always playing with the idea in my head that he would change his mind. At lest he had started to get his act together and play as a team in helping me out to the port. Because by now my sat nav was as flat as a flat thing in a flat place.

                           Me waiting to get on the ferry

One bike one person on a ten hour crossing was under 30 Euros. Less than the Chanel crossing. To me that was good money. And Richard. He rode back the length of Italy to get his 25 euro blow blow job. It was not until latter that I worked that one out. Little did he know that all along the road side in Greece there where the same lady's. So if he had made the crossing, he would have got his 25 Euro blow job, and a holiday as well. So leaving Bari at about ten at night. With a ten hour crossing. It was time to look for a place to get my head down. And the ferry was going to spit me out in a place called Igoumenitsa, ( your right I did have to look that place up ) Round sparrow fart in the morning time.


Part two of day three

The second part of the day was riding down the Riva of Italy. Making our way south all the time. Dead easy just keep the sea on your right and you are going in the right direction. Rolling through one big holiday resort after another, and it's getting late. Looking for a place to kip down for the night. Richard decides to ask in one of the big hotel's along the sea front. I'm telling him, it's going to cost at least £100 a night. No way says Richard. So off he walks. I stay with the bike's have a smoke knowing it's a waste of time. Richard comes back saying I'm right. He's called in two and got the same answer. £100 a night. One want another 25 euros each just to park the bike's up. So now it was on the card's that it's going to be a camp site.

Now it's all up to me to find one. After a little talk it's follow me. I'm making my way out of town, and see a sign saying camp site. No direction no distance, zip. So I stop. and good luck is on my side. At that moment a lad is coming out of a side entrance pushing a small twist and go, So I ask about the camp site. The lad can speak good English. The out-come of this is follow me and I'll take you there. Five min's latter was are out side the camp site, booking our self in. The chap who runs it tells us that by getting a big pitch we will pay less then getting two small one. So that's what we do. Or that what I do. Richard, in the mean time is making his way to the pitch. I'm signing us in and paying the rent. Out with the tent's and getting our self set up for the night.

Richard is off to get something to eat, I'm coming along latter.

                               In the restaurant.

Richard is tucking in to his meal. I join him and order mine. So Richard is ahead of me in the eating race. A beer, and he's off saying he's getting an early night. OK I think. then I find out when I come to pay. That Richard has walked off with out paying for his meal. I end up paying for both, making sure I get a ticked for his half. The next day I'm at word's with Richard. About the meal and the site payment. You own me 30 euros. What says he, why do I have to pay that. I'm dumb struck. Richard that's the way of life. I think the penny had drop just about the min after he had said it. It was at that moment the light bulb moment came to me. That it was not me, this chap was going to be a first rate prick.

Day three. And the ride down Italy.

Another late start. 10 am seen us on the road. I have my first problem in the way that Italian plug's are not the same as French so I'm have trouble charging up my sat nav. Even with an adaptor from the hotel swapping French plug's over to Italian one's don't work. I have my UK plug plugged in to the French Adaptor, and that plugged in to the Italian one. But there is no charge getting to the sat nav. So I'm now relying on Richard's sat nav to get us where we need to be. Little did I know that no amount of talking, will get him to change the sat nav's time to local time. So where ever we go I'm a little lost to when we will arrive. It was latter on that I found that not only was it set to UK time. It was set to the wrong time even for UK.

                                   The hotel in Italy

That morning over breakfast. Richard was talking about changing the route that was posted before we left to something total new. Not what I had in mind. Richard wanted to see more of Italy than just ride through. So my idea was let's get to Athens. and come back through Italy. Then we can see as much as you want. As we will have load's of time on our hand's. That did not go down well. So it was off to Pisa. To see the tower and get round the town and see what we can see. At this stage I must say that I have on-board video. And I down load it all to a net book at the end of the day. So what happened at Pisa I have all on video.

                  The death nail of the trip

On the way in to Pisa we pass a set of what you can call professional lady's selling their service's in a lay by next to the road. I've seen that kind of thing before. So it was not new to me. Keep that in mind. To Richard he could not believe it was happening. Rolling on to walking round the tower at Pisa. I brought  a few thing's to bring back. We purchased a coffee and a snack at one of the many open air cafe's. Richard was on about the lady's of the night was had passed, Well in this case lady's of the day. We where going back out that way so no problem. Remember I have the video running. and it's got sound. When we get there not know to me, Richard is hand signalling to them, how much is a blow job. 25 euros. Richard says he's going to get one. I'm saying I'm not going to hang around and watch him get a blow job, So says I, I'll ride up the road and stop at the next stopping point and wait. No not for Richard he want me to stay and watch. No way mate. I'm off. So at that I start to make my way round the parking bay to get out. Richard is not a happy bunny, But follows me any way. If you can ride in silence for the next 100 or so mile's we did. The next coffee stop. Richard is all into it was a joke and to forget about it. Which I did. The thing is Richard didn't.

          I can't remember where this place it. but it was nice

Day two, The tunnel at Mont Blanc or Route Napoleon?

As we where now about 40 mils' south of Dion. Our strike in to Italy could go either way. Over the mountain's and through the tunnel, or down south to Lyon on to Gap, then down route Napoleon on to the French Rivera. Ride round the coast in to Italy. I was easy, both sounded good.

This is where we should have eaten breakfast if we had any thing to eat

 Come morning we are out side with our coffee to talk about the we where going to get in to Italy. When I said about  the food we brought the day before. We get our breakfast with that have a few cup's of coffee and talk about the rest of the day. Where's the food Richard. you packed it away. I binned it. What you did what. I binned it. looked off to me. He had the bread. I had the filling. When did you do that. I don't know. the bread was brought yesterday, It's less than 24 hour's old. After a bit of twooing and frowing. I worked out he had binned it at Dijon when I went in to book the hotel. about two hour's after we had brought it. This man has a serious getting on with people problem. No point is arguing about it the deed was done. No breakfast. Let's get back to to the crossing in to Italy I say. We are not sure about the tunnel and any cost in using it. As against the Rivera way. So I ask a French man there about the tunnel. It's free for bike's. Not happy with that I go off and find another French man who says the same. The tunnel is free for bike's. We talk. I'm saying that it's going to be a lot of up hill and it's going to be cold. The other way going south is just a couple of road's and we will be Napoleon. I'm hoping for the south route. No Richard want to go over the mountain's. Sat nav set and we are ready to roll. Richard now drop's anther bomb shell. In saying that he's not keen in going all the way. This is day two of a three week trip, and he's talk of going home. I don't know if he want me to get angry or what. but I'm just looking at it as one day at a time. Let's get this day over and then we can work on the next.

The day turns out not too bad. The weather picks up, the sun is out and the road's are good. We are making good time. Not counting the late start. I want to be on the road some time after 8 am. We don't start until 10. Half the morning gone. Zip up John. Just be glad you are moving.

                   A few mile's before we hit the mountains.

The ride up to the tunnel, and the tunnel it's self is quite impressive. Then we get there and find it's 50 euros each on the bike as a toll. Richard is not a happy bunny. Come to that neither am I. So we are in to how it happened. All I could say is that he had the same information as I had it the hotel. When I pointed out it was his idea to go across the mountain's all of a sudden he's saying so it all his fault. I try to point out it's no one's fault, we just got duff information. So we payed and crossed. Buy then the time was ticking down. As it was look for a place to camp and then move on the next day. O no Richard want a hotel, I'm thinking why have we brought all this camping kit if we are just going to use hotel's. Any way it was a hotel for the night. And that night was a whole new ball game.

                                           The ride in

                                  The ride out

That's the road we are going to travel on. We are now in Italy,


Day one. Or the trip starts to unravel.

Up early next morning to catch the 7 AM crossing. I like the ferry as it giver's you time out. Some seat's it's only an hour to cross. hot drink, You get the idea. O Richard that's a tenner you owe me for last night's accommodation. O yes' he says, I can see he thought I was going to pay for his night stay. Which was the start of thing's to come. I have a load of picture's but when I'm looking for them I now find out I've down loaded them all on to disk's. As I'll have to get round to one day up loading a few when I find the disk. On the crossing out comes the story about Richard is now saying that he's going to travel all the way to Athens and then make his ind up what he's going to do next after that. I point out that I'm easy as Athens is the end of the line. So the return journey is easy. The bike is all loaded up with camping kit and we both have sat nav's, a gift to any one travelling. Map's will get you from one place to another. But a sat nav will get you out of a city on to the right road to the next place. To me a sat nav to bike travelling is as important as petrol is to biking. I have a Tom Tom rider with the power mount to charge the sat nav as you travel, Well tom tom. My charger unit don't work. Latter I find out that it's pushing out power at the right place. But the sat nav is not charging. Luck I have brought leads to charge from the mains. And plug adaptor's for Europe. Now it's a case of every stop. Cup of coffee or just a rest break. it's looking for a charger point. Even if I get ten min's charge in it, it will help.

Toll road's in France are a killer. If you work out how much the tolls are. A good way of saying it is it work's out that the price of petrol has doubled, how to I get to that. If you travel about a gallon's worth of petrol on the tolls, that will be about the amount you will pay in tolls. So sat nav's set to non toll road's. And the non toll road's are quick and easy to use. The first day is a long haul day. Get the mileage out the way, get south, get in to the sun, Richard knows this. So I'm thinking that we only stop for petrol and have a break at the same time. So a tank full will take you 200 mile's. Good time for a break. Going down one of the main dual carriage way's in France. Richard comes up along side and waves for us to stop. We pull over. he then tells me that something has fell off the back of the bike a few mile's back. So I say as you where behind me why did you not stop and pick it up. I would have seen you stop in my mirror's and would have stopped straight away. OO I thought I would just tell you, It turned out to be a fluffy lion that I was carrying. On the idea of taking picture's with it on our way round. The importance of it was not great. So kind of put it down to just my bad luck. The next fuel stop, Is petrol and a hot drink and a bite to eat. The weather has not been good to us so far. not rain but dark over cast and looking every moment as if the wet kit will need to be put on. We talk about it. My idea is that we press on with out the wet kit as the more we get south, the better chance's is that the weather will get better. I'm thinking to my self, the last time I was out went to Hungary on the same road's 17 day's of rain, out of 21+ day trip, can't happen twice.  It was at this time we restocked up with food for a pack up. Just in case.

             Me and Richard out side the hotel in France

 I'll move this on a bit now. We get to Dijon and instead of a camp, we are going for a over night in a F1. the cost's are about the same for one room share by two, as against two tent pitch in a camp site. the up side is we get a roof over our head's and a hot shower.Dijon F1 is full, And some how this is my fault. Richard if you are reading this kind of tell me how you came about that. There was a bike meet in the town and every cheap hotel was full. The manager told us of another F1 40 mils' down the road. So with the sat nav's locked in by the manager at the Dijon hotel. And the good chap rang through and booked the room's. We paid by card. And hour later we where there tucked up in a warm place and allot further down France than I expected. Thing are looking good. Or so I thought.

                  A stopping point in the way down in France