To say we have been having the time our lives is an absolute understatement. Every day is an adventure and it is great to wake up not always knowing where we may be at the end of the day. It adds a certain kind of excited anticipation to each day.
We are regularly asked .. “What has been the hilight of your trip?” or… Which country have you liked the most? Our usual reply is simply that every country is unique in its own way and different to the next. It is the people that we meet along the way that make this journey so very memorable and special for us. We have been truly blessed by the wonderful people we have met. Their warmth and generosity of spirit in sharing not only their homes, their advice, friendship… and so much more, has made us the richer for having met them.
The last couple of months have gone by so quickly, and these two maps shows where we have been since travelling in Turkey.
We are now in London and fly out of Heathrow for home in just under 2 hours. Whilst we are excited to be seeing our family and friends again, we will miss being over the other side of the world, because we have had such an awesome time.
The bike was all scrubbed n dubbed prior to leaving it at Imorex (the shipping depot) last week. It, along with all our gear has already been loaded into the container for the voyage home, which will take around 6 weeks. Australian customs are pretty strict about the bikes being clean ……and rightly so. Every bike in the container has to be absolutely clean. It takes only one dirty bike for the whole container to be quarantined and everything cleaned, so we sure as heck don’t want our bike to be ‘the one’.
Overall the bike now has 102,885km on the clock, having racked up 71,400km on this trip…. Just call us ‘old iron buts’! We plan to calculate the distances travelled in flights, ferries etc when we get home too.. Should add up to quite a bit!
The 650 Suzuki Vstrom certainly is an honest and reliable bike and is now enjoying a well earned rest and sea voyage back home.
Some quick stats for the bike..
5 sets of tyres
2 sets of chains and sprockets
1 set of front brake pads
2 sets of rear brake pads
8 oil changes
9 bike washes
Averaged around 4.5litres per 100km for the trip.
John will do a more detailed blog on the bike when back home which will be very interesting. We shall also be doing blogs on the countries we have missed thus far, soooo As the saying goes… ‘Watch this space’.
For now, we leave you with some random pics of our wonderful adventure….
Scotland – the road to Applecross
Outside Macna with Stefan. Macna gave us both a new set of gear. They were keen to review our old gear after 12 months constant use
Looking very spiffy in our new Macna Gear – thanks Macna
France, Oradour-sur-Glane; Charles de Gaulle ordered this village to be left as is after the Nazis massacred 642 villagers, only 6 survived. they then ransacked, blew up and burned the village
Our ghost riders
Ypres – Menin Gate – John rubbing shoulders with the French general (shortie) who was also laying a wreath
A very special and proud moment for John to lay a wreath at Meniin Gate for his Grandfather and the men of the 3rd Pioneers
Ypres – Menin Gate – looking down over Ypres
Belgium – on the road again and looking mighty fine in our new Macna gear
Belgium – The highest point in Belgium These steps took us up to 700 mtr”s
The Alps – Belgium style !!
Luxembourg from the town wall
Germany – Nuremburg – the Nazi party parade ground – never completed
Warsaw – we took the bike right into the Old town square!
Poland – Warsaw – The Vstrom photobombing a wedding
Our bags may JUST make it to the end (6 weeks out)
Vilnius old town – the capital of Lithuania
Lithuania – old Soviet nuclear missile site during the cold war days – scary stuff
The Baltic Way sign posted
Crossing from Latvia into Lithuania
Old town of Tallin in Estonia
Tallin – the capital of Estonia. period costumes were everywhere
Bridge artwork in Porvoo Finland
Inside the magnificent Church of the Spilled Blood in St Petersburg
Russia – St Petersburg – Church of the Spilt Bloodhrch
Tallinn Old town was beautiful by night
Having fun in St Petersburg – Another KooWeeRup Motorcycle Club a long way from home
One of Finland’s many, many lakes
Russian border at the end of the Raate road in Finland. In this area the 105 day Winter War was fought in 1939
Finland – The Raate road – site of the 105 day winter war in 1939
Some artwork in a paddock in Finland
Finland – a nice campfire to have lunch by
Finland /Lapland -at Santa’s village on the Arctic circle
The end of the road near the North East corner of Norway in an old fishing village call Hamningberg
Norway – look no hands and no snow !!
Finland/Lapland – we were lucky to stumble on the annual reindeer roundup
Nordkapp as the sun was setting Nordkapp is as far north as you can go by road in Norway
midnight at Nordkapp – and it is still light
Finland / Lapland – reindeer antlers to fit the Vstrom
Finland – dried fish heads for sale – quite macabre
Magical clouds near Lodingen spilling over the mountains into the sea in Norway
Passing through the Arctic Circle in Norway
Stunning waterways in Bergin , Norway. We were lucky to have no rain!
Møre og Romsdal County – awesome bike roads in Norway
Norway – beautiful statue of fisherman’s wife looking out to sea, waiting for his return
Section of the Atlantic Way – Norway’s west coast – a most impressive bridge
One of Norway’s many magnificent Fjords. looking down over Geiranger
Norway – Bergin
Norway – Bergin waterfront
Norway – always on duty
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Norway – what to do when it is absolutely pissing down with rain…. stop for a BIG ice-cream
Norway has so many magnificent waterfalls
Norway – soo many great roads and the tunnel system is amazing
Not everyday is sunny in Norway….
Norway – grass roofed huts for insulation but hard to mow..
Copenhagen gardens – funky mirrors
Proposed Olympic ski jump in Oslo, Norway- now that’s b;body BIG
Copenhagen – the bike always attracts many people who are keen to sit on it
Outside Princess Mary’s ‘house’ in Capenhagen. Unfortunately she was not home
Czech Republic – Ceskykrumlov from above
Great artworks in Bratislava
Now that’s just a great pic –
Romania, Transylvania – Trans Fagarasan road – a bikers dream and according to Top Gears – The Worlds Best Drivers Road
The roads bikers dream of in Romania
Czech Republic – Ready to face the rapids !! Ceskykrumlov
Sunflowers a plenty in Eastern Europe
Norway – that’s a rock tunnel!
Now that’s a spit roast
Bosnia – near Mostar bridge – This poor little girl was left begging in the hot sun – she was crying and seeking a little shelter from the pole
The thinks one finds in Serbia
Bosnia – famous Mostar bridge where men jump off for money
Bosnia – stunning blue
Bosnia – water falls near Medugoje – enjoying a cool drink after a swim
Bosnia – water falls near Medugoje – waterfall from the inside
Bosnia – water falls near Medugoje
Croatia – Dubrovnik
Croatia – Dubrovnik – on set of a new movie
testing the underwater camera at Dubrovnik
Kosovo – Village of Brod – The whole village came out to welcome us – so very friendly
Kosovo – Village of Brod – this guy wanted to take John for a ride over the mountains
Kosovo – Village of Brod – this guy was so proud of his saddle making, he took us inside for a closer look
Romania – donkeys work very, very hard
Beautiful village of Lin on Lake Ohrid in Albania
Beautiful butterfly at one of the Commonwealth War grave cemeteries on the Somme in France
The words on this headstone are so very poignant. “I fought and died in the great war to end all wars. Have I died in vain”
Wooly Bully Scotlands Highland cattle
A lovely white sandy Scottish beach
Normandy – one of many bunkers that still remain
High in mountains of Serbia – just stunning
France, Oradour-sur-Glane: the church into which women and children were herded and the church set fire – only 1 lady escaped
A bunch a happy campers in Greece, just over Turkish border. There were another 4 in the cabin
We visited many memorial to Aussie diggers. It made us feel so very proud, yet sad that so many gave their lives for us. We can never thank the enough
Scotland – Tobermory – birthplace of my great x 3 grandfather, who was given a ‘free passage’ to Australia fro stealing 15 guineas.. lucky he did or I would not be here!
Scotland – there is so much plastic washed up on many beaches in Europe
Very skinny street at Mont Saint Michel
Australian statue ‘Cobbers’ in France, makes a sombre silhouette in the evening sky
France, Oradour-sur-Glane: the grey skies a stark contrast
Ladies catching the afternoon sun in the village Lin in Albania