Tuesday, 26 February 2008

1998 Guzzi Goes Home - Venice In A Day?

From where we were staying it was possible to purcase tickets to Venice from the local newsagents. All tickets for public transport have to be bought in advance and punched in a machine once aboard the vehicle. This was a double which meant that we first took a bus ride to a port and from there sailed over Laguna Véneta to St Mark’s Square.

On setting foot at the edge of St Mark’s Square, Ian decided to buy a “Venice in a day” guide. His idea was to see as much of Venice as he could, however, after half an hour of stopping at every corner to study the map his patience was wearing thin as so the guide ended up in his pocket for the rest of the day!

Once away from the tourist trail he began to enjoy exploring the back streets away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist trail. Turning a corner we came across a small courtyard with a café and a group of musicians playing, then a man with a sack truck came into sight singing away. He had a very strong voice that echoed off the buildings and that is the thing I enjoyed best about the day.

We did manage to fight our way across the Rialto Bridge as this was one big tourist trap and we also saw the Bridge of Sighs that runs between the palace and prison.

Around St Mark’s Square things are very expensive but once away from the main trails, as with any city, prices become lower. We also declined a gondola ride as this worked out at £60 for an hour! However we saw what must have been a honeymooning couple complete with a singer and a musician in one. The man looked pleased as punch but I’m not too sure about his partner. Have a look at their photo and make up your own mind. Perhaps My Way in Italian was not a good choice of song.

All three of us agreed that Venice could not be seen in a day and that we would have to return soon.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

1998 Guzzi Goes Home - R & R (Repair & Rain)

Travelling south next day we left the mountains behind us and went round the suburbs of Treviso before following the signs for Venice. Ian saw a road sign for a tourist information centre so he pulled in and we asked about a campsite near Venice itself. The lady in the centre advised us to head for Lido di Jésolo as there are some sites in that region.

Unfortunately the information centre was on a duel carriageway so we had to go all the way to the bus station in Venice before we could get any further. Ian then proceeded to travel in circles close to Marco Polo Airport for half an hour before getting on the correct road once again.

Eventually we reached Jésolo Pineta and booked ourselves in to the Villaggio Turistico Adriatico for a few days camping. It was siesta time when we arrived so we could not ride the Guzzi onto the site, but Ian could push it round if he wanted! The offer was declined and we walked around to the swimming pool ares where there was a bar and sat in the shade with a beer instead.

After siesta time the tent was pitched and othen off to the camp shop where a tube of superglue was bought and then back to the bar and Ian had another beer while gluing the rear light lens back together to the puzzlement of other people.

Guzzisue found the laundry area and washed some clothes, however there was no tumble dryer and over our stay the clothes were put out to dry after the morning rain and put back into the tent before the rain came back in the evening, every day! This was because the rain would go inland, reach the Dolomites and bounce back to us later in the day.

The next day was spent exploring the local area. Jésolo Pineta is a small fishing area where the nets are on rigging and placed into the water and then lifted back out. The catch is then sold in the adjacent market.

Walking the opposite way Ian and Guzziesue spent sometime in an amusement arcade enjoying one of their pastimes – pinball. They also spotted these two vechiles hiding in the corners.

This was a laid back day before the onslaught of Venice the next day.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

1998 Guzzi Goes Home - Guzzi Gets Home

We awoke to sunshine! After breakfast the Guzzi was loaded in double quick time and refulled. Fussen is right on the German – Austrian boarder so we stopped to change some Deutchmarcs into Schillings and get the road tax. This only cost a few Schillings but there is a heavy fine if caught on the wrong road without it. There are many different places where it can be bought from, including garages and shops.

Slow progress was made through Austria as we had to keep looking at the map to see where we were going to next. At one time Ian went in the wrong direction and ended up going through a tunnel that was long and full of exhaust fumes. When we got out Ian had to pull over for a few minutes to get his breath back and while he was doing this a policeman stopped by and checked to see if we had a tax disc!

Back on track we reached the Timmelsjoch Pass and stopped for a photo. We were to use this pass several times over the next few years. The Pass is a toll road that is closed over the winter period. While on this road we reached the Italian boarder and stopped for another photo shoot.

Slowly we made our way down to Bolzano Bozen where short of fuel we had to wait for the siesta to finish in order to get some Lira from the bank. Guzzisue went and got the money but she had to pass through a metal detector before gaining access to the bank.

On the road again Ian got slightly lost as the road signs were not to clear. He even tried asking a policeman to point us in the right direction, to no avail. We eventually get on the right track again and head off down to Predazzo, where we stop for a drink.

Refreshed we carry on when disaster strikes! Ian rides over a pot hole and the bag on the rear carrier bounces up, then down and shears off the rear light lens. Guzzisue sees this happen in the mirror, so Ian pulls over and she goes running down the road to pick up the pieces. Luck is on our side and one half of the lens so complete so Ian removes one of the rear bulbs and uses a piece of insulation tape to keep part of the lens in place, puts a clear plastic bag over the complete unit to keep out any water and keeps it in place with a cable tie.

San Martino di Castrozza is reached late afternoon and we decide to stay there for the evening.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

1998 Guzzi Goes Home - Fairytale Castle & Rain

We awoke next morning to the gentle sound of rain. Not to be put off by this after breakfast we decided to go and visit Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.

Neuschwanstein is the castle that Walt Disney based his logo on. It was also used for the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and can also be seen in the film The Great Escape when Hendley (James Garner) and Blythe (Donald Pleasence) are flying towards the Swiss Alps. Much of the film was shot in the area around Fussen.

Throughout the summer 6,000 visitors visit the castle a day and the guided tours are in English and German. Other languages are available as audio tours. Our guide did well as it was her first tour and quite nervous. On a couple of occasions she did revert back into German but on the whole gave a good detailed description of the castle’s builder, King Ludwig II, and the decour of the rooms. One visitor did grumble about the guide’s lapse into her native tongue, but my friends gave her a tip and told her it would get easier. I wonder if she is still working there?

Two days were spent in and around Fussen and we had nothing but rain. There is only so much looking around shops and churches that a bear and man can stand, even Guzzisue got tired of this! On the second evening Guzzisue asked the question of where to go next, to which Ian replied “Venice” .

“But that’s miles away”, replied Guzzisue.

“No its not. Look”, Ian showed her the map. “It’s just up and over Austria and on the top part of Italy”.

So next morning….

Monday, 18 February 2008

1998 Guzzi Goes Home - Beginnings

When we went away on holiday this year it was very much undecided what we were going to do and where we were going to do it. All that we had planned was to take all the camping equipment and go to a small campsite in Bavaria that Guzzisue had used in the past.

The Saturday morning that we set off on started well enough and we got to Dover for the crossing without a hitch, then it was down and across France on the payage until we reached Verdun for the night. We had intended to use the Formula 1 cheap hotel but this was fully booked so we popped next door to the Prunellia and got the last remaining room.

In France there are several hotel chains that offer affordable accommodiation for the night, Formula 1 being the cheapest. Next to these there is often a Premier Class or Campanile. Another chain is Fast Hotel which I think are a new chain. Many of these chain hotels are often found just off the payage on the edge of industrial parks.

The reason that there were so few rooms was that there was a wedding taking place and it is quite possible that it was one of the guests that tried to kidnap me. It may have been due to the rain that had been falling that they decided to leave a frightened and worried Biker Ted on Ian’s bike seat until the morning.

Sunday carried on where Saturday stopped with lots of showers. These carried on all the way across France and into Germany and down into Fussen, where due to the weather another hotel was used.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Round Britain Rally

Ian and myself are starting to get a bit restless as we are waiting for the start of the Round Britain Rally which commences on Easter Sunday. Last year there was an official start, meeting at Littleport in Cambridgeshire by the William Harley Memorial. A group photo was taken by a local woman and it appears on the Round Britain Rally website. Ian is on the front row in blue.
The idea of the rally is that there is at least one site to visit in each county of Britain by motorcycle or three wheeler and take at least one picture with transport at the site or if that is not possible a nearby road sign as an example. The Round Britain control card must appear in all submitted photos. A site might be an ancient monument, bridge, sculpture or a plaque for example. An entrant may do as many or few as they desire with points being awarded as decided by the organisors. There is plenty of time for the rally as it starts on Easter Sunday and carries on until the end of October.
I will not be able to put on any photos of this years event until after the event has closed but until then here are a few past sites visited.

Baconsthorpe Manor House

Barry Sheene Memorial, Oliver's Mount Scarborough

Wheel Of Drams

Waggoner's Memorial

Footplate Sculpture

William Harley Memorial

Wooden Horse

The Erwood Gun

Sunday, 10 February 2008

360 degrees on a honda 90? 3 June 2007

Caught Out

Whilst Ian and Guzzisue were busy outside I was supposed to be starting on my next piece for the blog but they caught me watching their video of the Purple Helmets.
On the subject of the Purple Helmets check out the short clip of them above. With speeds of up to 100 miles per hour they do all types of stunts including this awesome backflip all on modified Honda 90s!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

January 2008 Force 10 Rally

On the first weekend of 2008 Ian and myself went down to the Force 10 Rally that was run by the Mayflower MCC down at the Green Man, Long Itchington. We went down just for the Saturday night and camped over till Sunday.

There was a competition given out when we first arrived and we only had a couple of hours to fill it in. With Roy’s help we managed to get 17 out of 20, not a bad effort if I say so myself.

Saturday evening consisted of catching up on gossip with several friends that Ian had not seen for a few months and drinking an amount of beer until mords became wuddled.

Sunday morning arrived with a touch of frost so we went for a walk up the village and took a few photos. I wonder if Guzziesue will incorporate the design of this glass window into something in the future?

In 2004 work began to ensure the longevity of the village pond for the future. The water levels were beginning to fall, the banks eroding and silt accumulating to put the future of the pond in doubt, however with funding the pond is now just about back to its former glory.

Back on site there was time for a few more photos including this one of me on a 1946 Harley and Brian's decorated bike and time for a little more nattering to kill time so that the frost had time to disappear before we packed up the bike and headed off home.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

1997 Land Of The Midnight Sun - Homeward Bound

We boarded the ferry after breakfast and once again I was left to look after the motorcycle. Ian and Guzziesue put their leathers into the cabin and found a seat to pass the time away.

At Stravanger the ferry docked and several more bikers came on board on their way over to the Isle of Man for the Manx Trophy. Two members of the National Chop Club also came on board having left their rally early. It came out in conversation that one of the Chop Club’s relations used to do some parascending at the Stonehenge Festival in the 1980s, And Ian had actually been one of his customers. A small world indeed!

Next day we arrived back at Newcastle as the summer heatwave died and it was raining. My friends were thinking of going onto the Captain Cook motorcycle rally that was being held near Whitby, but due to the weather decided to go straight home.

In advertisments for cruises the last day at sea is classed as a day of reflection, so our reflection of our first trip abroad is as follows:

  • The tank bag that we borrowed needed to be replaced so a Baglux harness and tankbag were bought – expensive but still being used.
  • A4 zip bags for inside panniers keep all documents together and waterproof.
  • For overnight ferry crossings put a change of clothes into the tankbag along with a washbag. All other luggage can then be left on the bike as nobody is permitted onto the car deck once at sea.
  • Gloves left with the bike can be used to protect paintwork when bike is secured with straps.
  • When on the road make sure waterproofs are easily accessible.
  • Camping hutts readily available at end of August when we went as it was the end of the summer season. Sleeping bags required.
  • Most hutts equiped with all pots and pans but best to be prepared, we took small camping stove with pans.
  • Some hutts can sleep up to six people so this can make good cheap overnight accommodation.
  • Remember to drink lots of water if weather is hot and don’t do an Ian.
  • Stick to speed limits unless rich. As our adventure drew to an end there was a Japanese motorcyclist doing a world trip on his. He was last seen being taken away by the British customs department. I hope it didn't end there for him.

Monday, 4 February 2008

1997 Land Of The Midnight Sun - Bergen

After our breakfast it was time to explore a little and the first thing we did was to take a cable car ride up a mountain with panoramic views of Bergen. At the top we spent some time looking around and being looked at by the local sheep population.

As we were back in a large city for the first time for over a week a visit to the local shopping mall was required . On the top tier there was a bridge that went over the centre that had a transparent floor and several people would not walk across it.

Along the quay side there was a large fish market with live lobsters and eels. All the produce was looking so good that I had to be physically dragged away!

Just away from the waterfront Guzziesue found a shop selling Hardanger style lace. This is actually a type of needlework that is stitched in soft cotton on evenly woven linen in blocks of satin stitch between which threads are removed to give a lace like appearence.Guzziesue had been making bobbin lace for some time so she was quite interested in this, Ian was working in a lace factory during this period so it was more like a busman’s holiday for him.

In the evening we went to an Italian restaurant to dine. The waitress was so friendly that the owner thought that we knew her. She had only been in the job for a few days but was already tired of it. We were getting along so well that we were invited to a party later that evening but we had to decline the offer as we had to return to the hotel to pack and be up early next morning to board the ferry for our return home.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

1997 Land Of The Midnight Sun - Gerainger To Bergen

My Troll Friends have been reading my story and are upset that I have not mentioned them, so here is a recent photo of us all at home. And now back to my adventure.

For once we actually get an early start but not without incident. Guzzisue had decided to get up early and take some photos of the waterfall on the campsite, however she decided not to tell us that she had slipped over and hurt her back. Normally this would not have affected matters but today Ian stalled the bike on a steep hairpin bend coming off the campsite. I heard him ask Guzzisue to step off as he was struggling to keep the bike upright. This was the time she mentioned about her accident this morning and I can tell you the air turned a little blue!

Once we manage to get going we stop for several photo shoots and make good time travelling that we decide to head straight for Bergen, arriving at 5:30. We had to pay to get the motorcycle into Bergen, which was a little off putting as we would not be able to catch the ferry if we didn’t pay. Robbery.

We find a hotel near to the ferry terminal with an area round the back where we can park for our stay. Street parking is very limited and speaking to people later many had received parking tickets.

While I stayed in the hotel room watching satallite tv, my friends went in search of a meal and ended up at an expensive restaurant. They chose well as the next day people were queuing to have a meal there.

Having eaten Ian and Guzziesue then watched an Australian street entertainer who amassed a good size crowd for his act which involved using members of the audience to hold a rope tight enough for him to balance on and juggle firesticks.

Tomorrow we will have a good look round Bergen itself.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Trollstigen - Norway

I found this on youtube the other day. It reminded me of when we went up. Happy days indeed!