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Another tour, another blog

Yes, we're at it again!

Two years ago my fiancé and I set off on an amazing 3 month motorbike adventure trough Europe on a Yamaha XJR1300: Motorcycle Adventure Tour '11

A few months ago, we watched a documentary on Iceland and we both agreed that we must go there on the bike. Unbeknown to us a seed had been planted and soon the touring-bug was in full bloom! So, we thought 'Why not?' and started to plan Motorcycle Adventure Tour - Part 2

In 10 days time we will set off on a 4 month tour through Northern and North-Eastern Europe on a Moto Guzzi Stelvio. We'll have a week and half to casually meander from London to Hirtshals in Denmark, where we'll be hopping on the ferry to Iceland for 3 weeks. On the way back we'll be stopping off at the Faroe Islands for a few days before hitting Scandinavia for several weeks, travelling up to the Arctic Circle via the Norwegian Fjords. The trip shall continue through Russia (St. Petersburg), the Baltic states, Belarus (assuming we can sort out a visa en-route) and Ukraine. Depending on time, we'll either start heading back to Britain through Central Europe or ride down to the Black Sea and make our way back from there. Exciting stuff!

As last time, we'll be travelling two-up and camping most of the time. We'll be using some of our old kit, but have invested in quite a lot of new gear which is better suited to the extreme weather conditions we're expecting to encounter.

We will be updating our blog regularly but this will, of course, be dependant on internet access and available time. If you are keen to follow our shenanigans, you can subscribe to our blog (you will be notified when new entries are uploaded) or just check in when you like. Please be aware that neither of us are avid writers/photographers so please don't expect a blogging-masterpiece, just a simple and honest narration of our adventures. Oh, and please feel free to share your thoughts, suggestions or support using the comment box!


Posted by The Minion 05:53 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Bike kit - The Minion











Posted by The Minion 09:39 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

A wet start

rain 7 °C

So, we got off okay Tuesday morning after a last minute rush to get the flat cleared and closed the door for good. It was now official: for the coming 4 months we shall be 'of no fixed address'.

We got to the Eurotunnel on time but were unfortunately left waiting in the rain for a while as our train had been cancelled last minute due to a defect. As usual, the trip to France was smooth once we got on a working train. We hit the road with a plan to head towards the Belgian Ardennes via B-roads, hoping to find a nice camping spot along the way. Unfortunately things didn't quite go to plan thanks to heavy rain and a complete lack of campsites en route! We spent longer in the saddle than hoped but eventually made it to a nice campsite in Auby sur Semois. By this time we were hungry, cold, tired, and very wet. We set ourselves to autopilot and set up our tent before cooking a well deserved meal on our awesome Trangia stove.

By this time we realized were shit out of luck as there was a giant rain cloud above most of Europe with reports of record low temperatures. On the upside, we slept well thanks to our quality tent and fabulous down sleeping bags.

Luckily Wednesday was pretty much dry, despite the constant looming clouds. We had an easy day: supply shopping, exploring the area, and, of course, a braai.

This morning we weren't so fortunate as we woke up to on and off showers as well as a significant drop in temperature. Combined with our need to rearrange some of our stuff, we decided to book ourselves into a b&b for the evening.

We're not quite sure where we'll end up tomorrow as well have to see how bad the weather is. We hope to stop off in Givet, Dinant and Namur for some photo's.

That's all for now, the true adventure is yet to come, this is just the warm up!




Posted by The Minion 11:41 Archived in Belgium Comments (1)

To Namur via Fumay, Givet and Dinant

Ride along the Meuse river from France into Belgium

overcast 3 °C

So we set off from our bnb in Girondelle, France at about half nine this morning, it was very misty and cold, around three degrees for most of the morning. The owner kindly let us put the bike in the garage overnight. We chose the back roads and meandered up along the river via some small villages, which would usually have a citadel on top of the ridge and a church or two in the town centre below.
Another town, Givet, with a similar setup...
There were some really old chateau's from the 1600's along the river and even today they look grandiose, they don't build them like that anymore.
Although it has been pretty cold today at least there has been no rain, plus the gizmos on the Guzzi made my hands toasty, heated grips are a godsend :-)
Here is one of the back roads:
Anyways we made it to our destination, Namur, checked into the casino hotel, parked the bike on the pavement outside the main entrance, nice! Too cold to camp, plus it was supposed to be raining...sure we will have enough of that in Iceland. Next we headed up the hill behind the hotel to the citadel. Wow this thing is massive and still impresses today, in fact the entire town is dominated by it and the rivers that run on either side of it.
Difficult to show the scale with photos. Lastly here is the dimly lit passage to our room. We are now enjoying some well earned beers as Belgium make the best. The to try our luck at the casino and failing that we will consume chocolate in large quantities as apparently it is on par with the beers?

Posted by XJR1300 08:59 Archived in Belgium Comments (2)

North along the coast

Holland, Germany

all seasons in one day 16 °C



So on Saturday the 25th we headed to Odiliapeel in the south of Holland to surprise the van der Schans family at their get together. We had a great time with plenty of beers, braai and games. Thank you very much. We spent the night in the old nunnery and after a big family breakfast all went our separate ways, with us heading to Legden in Germany...we ended up there because there was a decent hotel nearby, which we ended up getting our room and breakfast free :-) on the way we saw many windmills and a castle.
Next day we headed up to the north coast of Germany next to Holland, we stayed right on the Norddeich, which is literally north dyke. The weather was slightly better now as it had been raining the day before, so we setup tent at around four meters below sea level then headed up to the dyke to check out the North sea...rather muddy and the tide was far out, I have never seen a beach like this...where are the waves? Anyways we had a stroll amongst the sheep and had a beer then went to bed with a randy bull trying to mate with the cows behind us!
Next day we headed off towards Cuxhaven further along the coast next to the river Elbe. The rides had been uneventful as the land is very flat and there are just green fields of livestock, we stuck to the back roads as the weather started clearing up, then just as we got to our destination there was a thick mist on the coast. We setup camp at one of the many campsites and went exploring...another dyke. The was also a fort and a thing called the Kugelbake, which was made of wood about 20 meters high but we could not figure out what is was. Again we strolled the beach and looked out to the small islands not far off, also many ships headed up and down the river. Must take some skill to pilot them as the tides are huge here with a massive difference when the tide is out, you could walk out for a mile or more. The weather took a turn for the worse so we headed to bed after bouncing some nice beers.
More rain the next morning and we packed up in it and set off, north towards Denmark. We got a ferry across the Elbe river. We then drive up towards Romo in Denmark in driving winds and rain. We were wrapped up warm and watertight so it didnt slow us up too much.
Guess we have done just over 2000 km now and the bike has not skipped a beat, although one of the spot lights rattled loose and the tank bank broke, but managed to fix the both with some zip ties.
Will attach a few photos below and let Jennifer fill you in on the next day or two








Posted by XJR1300 10:31 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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