Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Staying Local 2008 - I Smell A Rat

We had plans. Never before had we been to the southwest of France. Never ridden through The Pyrenees, criss-crossing the Spanish boarder. This year was going to be no exception. Two weeks before our departure Guzzisue came down with a virus and not wanting to keep it to herself, passed it onto Ian the week before we left. Feeling tired and weak, my fellow travellers decided that staying local would be a better option. Staying local insured that we were never more than 450 miles from home, as the proverbial crow flew, still giving us many new locations to visit.

Disaster was averted on Friday, when loading up the Guzzi. Ian managed to break a strap on the Baglux harness. Panic was setting in when he went to a local cobbler who could send the harness off for repairs. It would be returned within six days! A customer in the shop recommended Timpson’s in Arnold, approximately three miles away. With nothing to lose, Ian headed Timpsonwards.

‘Leave it with me for twenty minutes’, said the very nice man behind the counter, so he did.

Twenty minutes later and one harness had been repaired. The cost? Just some change into the charity tin.

Guzzi packed, Guzzisue managing to leave work early, we were heading for Dover by18:30, arriving at the hotel by 22:00. Our indoor picnic of biscuits, chocolate and service station sandwiches helped us to sleep.

Next morning we were woken by the sounds of other residents departing for the early ferry. We decided to follow their lead and made our way down to the port terminal, only to find a long queue. Ferry times had been altered due to a damaged ship; therefore two into one will go! The saving grace was that it was September and not the height of summer. We joined a group of bikes waiting to board, on their way down to the Alps.

A good advantage for crossing the Channel on a motorcycle is that we are first onto the ferry and first into the restaurant, where a ‘Full English’ was on the menu. Breakfasted, it was time to stretch our legs and have a walk around the ferry. This year saw a new innovation – 7 Minute Massage.

Arriving in Calais we picked up the signs for Dunkerque and headed off through the Low Lands. Belgium came and went without us noticing, Holland would have been the same, except that Ian took a wrong turn, confusing the Dutch word for exit as the next place we were aiming for. A quick about turn and we were back on the correct road and heading for our destination in Germany.

Upon reaching the town we were staying for a couple of nights, signs like this were very helpful.

Hotel found, Guzzi unpacked, into town for a meal and drink. Our first impressions of the town were that for Saturday night, things were very quiet. Perhaps we were in the wrong part of town. The weather forecast for Sunday is promising, but a chance of rain on Monday. We are on a new adventure, so who cares?