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Bandoran, Ireland; mile 41,470 (KM 66,740) October 13, 2009

Posted by marcusbest in Uncategorized.
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Hermann Lanz tractor; Aulendorf, Germany

near Bodensee, southern Germany

Ralph and his father restored this beauty, and Ralph gave me and Elias a tour of the countryside around Aulendorf at 10 miles per hour. I enjoyed pulling up to the local bar on a vintage tractor. A few months earlier, I had hiked up the Lion’s Head overlooking Cape Town with Ralph and Elias. I enjoy seeing friends on multiple continents.

Elias and daughter Lilly

Elias and daughter Lilly

In Cape Town, Elias graciously let me borrow his guitar, and I promised to bring it back to him in Germany. It was much needed company for a lonely traveler, and simply having it strapped on top of my luggage opened a few doors for me. At one nervous border crossing, between Burkina Faso and Mali, an immigration officer told me the commander wanted to have a word with me. I was led behind a makeshift border post where the young, shirtless “commander” sat on a cot smoking a cigarette and playing his rattly guitar. He had seen that I carried a guitar, and wanted to swap songs before I got back on the road. The guitar always got a warmer reception than the camera.

Historic stilted village; Lake Constance, Germany

Historic stilted village; Lake Constance, Germany

on the operating table

on the operating table

A week at a specialist BMW 2-valve shop in Holland had Jesse in great shape again. Mat Beekers at BMW Boxer Toko had a lot to teach me about my motorbike, and I wish I could’ve stayed as an apprentice for longer. His shop was the stuff of dreams- crates overflowing with old BMW parts, a garage packed with airhead G/Ses, engines and transmissions lined up on shelves, and guys with knowledge completely foreign to most official BMW mechanics. Thanks to Matt and Petra and all the guys at BMW Boxer Toko!

my old friend, Bram

my old friend, Bram

Years ago, I met Bram on Plaza Viejo in Havana. We got along instantly and traveled together in Cuba for a couple weeks. He probably thought he’d never see me again, but there I was, five years later, knocking on his door. Spending time with him and his fiance Barbara was one of the highlights of my stay in Europe. I wouldn’t have even gone to Antwerp if not to see Bram, and it’s a great city, full of life and history.

Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp, Belgium

Micha, Anna, and family; Yaonde, Cameroon

Micha, Anna, and family; Yaonde, Cameroon

I met Michel, Anna, and their three children in Cameroon months ago. They invited me to stay with them in Devon, and I feel like I got to see some of the best parts of England during my stay. Micha and I hiked in the rolling hills of Dartmoor and the rocky northern coast of Devon. It’s easy to see why many English funnel down to this area for vacation.

Michel, the northern coast of Devon, England

Michel, the northern coast of Devon, England

low tide, north coast of Devon, England

low tide, north coast of Devon, England

The Royal Mile; Edinburgh, Scotland

The Royal Mile; Edinburgh, Scotland

I could live in Edinburgh. The past intertwines seamlessly with the present. The sometimes dark and bloody history of the city adds mystique to the cobbled streets and dark alleyways, but you’re never far from the warmth of a crowded pub, often with musicians crammed into a corner in the back.

Scottish highlands; Isle of Skye

Scottish highlands; Isle of Skye

To be in the highlands on a motorcycle brought back the feeling of freedom that open spaces bring. I was reminded of Mongolia, the winding roads of Kyrgyzstan, and the barren vistas of Namibia. It’s hard to imagine that this road can’t go on forever. . . or can it?

2,000 year old stone house, Scottish highlands

2,000 year old stone house, Scottish highlands

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

In general, the hospitality that I’ve experienced all over the world has been greater than I ever would’ve imagined. All over Europe, people have been exceptionally open and accommodating. I am always glad to hear of similar experiences among Europeans who have traveled in the US. Often, when hearing of the scope of my trip, people give me discounts or waive entrance fees. The friendly Irish lads running The Ranch Caravan Park in Maybole, Scotland even let me pitch my tent for free, waiving the normal 10 pound fee.

I rode off the ferry to Ireland under blue skies and a warm sun. I’ll weave my way around the perimeter of the island, spending most of my remaining time in the southwest: Dingle, Kerry, Cork county. Then to Dublin, and a ferry back to England and on to Manchester, from where it is cheapest to fly Jesse and myself to New York. I bought my plane ticket this morning, and it’s the first concrete affirmation that my trip is actually, and quickly, coming to an end.

Stone Circle of Beltany, Ireland

Stone Circle of Beltany, Ireland

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Comments»

1. Barbara Satterwhite - October 14, 2009

Hi Marcus,

Glad to read/see your latest journal entry and know where you’re currently located. The pics are incredible, as has been the case throughout your journey from my perspective. Yes, it’s the folks along the route who make the journey so memorable, isn’t it?!

Enjoy the sights/sites in Western Europe during this final leg of your unique journey.

Love you,
Barbara

2. Kay Buscemi - October 15, 2009

Marcus,

Most likely you do not remember me…I am Barbara’s friend of many years. She has shared with me many aspects of your journey….I have enjoyed reading of your trip as well as looking at your wonderful photos!

I know that you have made an imprint on this earth through this trip around the world.

Be safe coming home….you may have a book in this, you know!

Kay Buscemi

3. Amy - November 7, 2009

Amore,
Can’t wait to see you! Have a cold one waiting….
XOXOXO


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