Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Riding onto the African Continent

Whats been happening since Venice? Well it starts with a very long four days on an Italian Ferry. I knew I should have had a descent book at hand! The service is popular with overlanding people like us, reason being that it provides a direct link from Europe to Egypt cutting out Tunisia and Libya (saves time money and Libyan hassles) getting you to the real africa quicker. So we were not alone on the ferry, meeting some south africans, two travelling south by landrover and three others on bikes. No doubt we'll see more of them throughout the trip.

So off the ferry at Alexandria and down to Customs where we received the first stamping in our Carnets (equivalent to a passport for the bike). We paid for insurance, egyption plates and who knows what else! Five hours later after a long, confusing and drawn out process we were riding the streets of Alexandria, dodging people, taxis, Horses and 'you name it'. Egyption traffic best described as vaguely organised chaos! Eventually after a few laps of the streets and not much help from the GPS mapping, we recruited a taxi to escort us to a hotel. Along the way we encountered an Egyption Airforce F16 pilot (as you do) by the name of 'Miky'. Miky was able to help us negotiate a hotel, secure the bikes for the night, and then took us out to eat, saving the day and making our first evening in Egypt much more enjoyable. Thanks Miky!

Day one riding in Africa! Alexadria to Cairo. An easy 120 mile stretch of motorway, and a not so easy thirty something degree heat. After a two to three hour stint in the saddle we arrive at the Giza Pyramids, impressive as always. Tomorrow we have a full day in Cairo, trying to organise Visas for Ethiopia and Sudan. Lets hope it goes smoothly!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dover to Venice

Its been two weeks of solo travel and reaquanting myself with the idea of not having a home to go to each night. I think I'm now back into the groove and a bit more relaxed than when I first hit the ferry in Dover. Somehow I've managed five nights of free camping, mainly in France, trying to keep to my modest budget. The camp fees add up pretty quickly, and there's really no need to have facilities every night.

So far the route has been across France passing through Geneva and onto Chamonix Mt Blanc. I've visited Cyril and some crazy Frenchies in Avignon. Cheers for a good night out! Pretty bloody beauty indeed! Then I was 'beached as!' for a couple of days down at the Mediterranean sea. From there I've been following the coast all the way around to Pisa, soaking up the Mediterranean breeze and trying to learn how to not sweat like crazy in my riding gear. From there its been across Italy passing through Florence and onto Venice.

So now Its Venice for a couple of nights with Assi and the last chance to soak up some western comforts before heading off to Egypt. Words and Photographs don't do this place justice! You have to come here and see it for yourself. Our ferry leaves in a few days. Four days later we pull up in Alexandria, Egypt. It'l be a good chance to get to know Neil and Ted a little better, before we all turn very smelly and need to keep our distance from each other. Also a good opportunity to discuss some of the finer trip details a bit more! This is where the real adventure kicks off!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tomorrow's D-day!

All the months of planning and thinking are finally at an end. Time to get on the bike and actually ride! After a month of working seven day weeks, I've finally had the time to pack and organize everything I'll need to take for 4 months of overlanding. Might seem a little last minute but today I finally loaded everything onto the bike for the first time (see the pictures below). Space is certainly at a premium, and it all adds up to a lot more weight than I imagined. Still the bike seems to be handling ohk. I'm pretty sure I'll become well versed in packing the bike over the next few weeks.

Day 1 will be Dover to Calais France, camping somewhere for the night. From here I'll have two weeks of solo travel across France and Italy before meeting Assi in Venice for a hotel retreat (Last bit of luxury for probably quite a while)!  Then its onto another ferry for 4 days (Venice to Alexandria in Egypt via Syria). I'll be meeting up with Craig, Ed and Neil for the ferry journey. Stay tuned for updates!