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Bavaria, Germany; KM 62,000 September 12, 2009

Posted by marcusbest in Uncategorized.
the route

the route

The transition from Spain to France was unexpected. In northern Spain, and most of the parts of Spain I visited, ancient and modern architecture are thoughtfully and tastefully integrated. Small Basque villages nestled in the Pyrenees are truly picturesque, and even larger cities have unique charm and style. The French towns I passed through were more industrial, more commercial, more homogeneous. Of course, there were exceptions, and the region of Provence and the edge of the French Alps were ideal for driving a motorcycle. The highlight of France for me, however, was the long weekend I spent with a French family near Bezier: Arial, Laurence, and their son Juleven. I was part of their family for a typical weekend of hiking, swimming in the river, an afternoon on the beach, a lazy walking tour of Bezier, games of petanque (a French lawn game), and delicious home-cooked meals in the evening. When I remember France, I remember my peaceful weekend with them.

Pont de Gard, Provence

Pont du Gard, Roman Aquaduct, 1st Century AD; Provence

French Riviera

French Riviera

I have often heard that Italians drive like maniacs, but I have a slightly different opinion. The truly maniacal drivers can be found in Africa, particularly behind the wheels of public buses in mountainous regions or in major cities. They drive as if they’re in a rally race, in rally cars.

Once in Burundi, I approached a steep left-hand uphill curve. As I neared the apex, a massive top-heavy tour bus came screaming around the corner from the other direction. When the driver saw me and the approaching hairpin turn, he cut the wheel sharply to stay in his lane. The bus began to lean to the outside, further and further, and by the time it was next to me, it seemed as if it would tip over, and then rear tires lost traction and began to slide. The rear of the bus narrowly missed the back of my motorcycle as it skidded by. Afterward, I had to pull over for ten minutes and let the rush of adrenaline pass before continuing. This was a crazy driver.

In Italy, and also in Cairo, the movement of traffic may seem chaotic at first, but once you’re in it and moving through it, it makes sense. Negotiating the narrow streets, weaving around cars, requires full attention, and I think this kind of driving develops great skill. Watching Italians gracefully zip through traffic on their motorcycles convinced me that in general, they are skilled drivers. They may be aggressive and may ignore most of the street rules, but I don’t think they’re maniacs.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

St. Peter's Cathedral, Rome

St. Peter's Cathedral, Rome

By the time I reached Bavaria, the clattering in Jesse’s engine could no longer be ignored. I took her to a BMW mechanic, and he strongly recommended an immediate operation. With Jesse’s engine back together (new valves, seats, and guides), we’ll head west towards the Netherlands, then hopefully on to Scotland and Ireland before returning to the US.

German Alps, on the border with Austria

German Alps, on the border with Austria


1. angela Turner - September 13, 2009

Hi My name is Angela I am a brit living in Munich. Your website is great. I now have a week off and will be touring the Alps on my Motorbike BMW 800ST – I have a fireblade as well – but thats for short runs. Anyway I will certainly visit some of the places you have documented.


2. peter - September 21, 2009

hey marcus.. congrats on an epic journe!! . just at a bbq with charles amy kate sam and all… heard from charles about your return.. will be great to see you.. have a good german beer for me.. and a couple of pints in england… and i will get you one when you are back here.. safe travels back home. looking forward to all the photos.

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