Day 60 - Final Thoughts

Sunday 24th August 2014

And so we are home again after 60 days on the road. The only concrete evidence the new stickers on the panniers, badly worn tyres and an increased milometer reading.
 
Stickers


And more stickers

It's a week on now; a week of processing an overwhelming set of mental images and thoughts. Here are my final reflections.
Stats+++++++

12,622 kilometres (7,843 miles).15 countries (we reached but didn't cross the Ukraine border).
£850 spent on fuel. £2000 spent on accommodation, food, beer, souvenirs etc.
Cheapest fuel £0.92 per litre in Livorgno, Italy.
Cheapest accommodation £15 B&B in Romania.
One set of Dunlop Roadsmart 2 tyres. Lasted well, although the front was triangular at the end from so much time spent on the edge.

 
Triangular front tyre

Thanks to++++++++

Rainbow BMW of Rotherham for bike servicing. She never missed a beat guys, big and strong from 0 to 2,700+ metres above sea level.
Andy of A18 Motorcycle Tyres.
Ros and John Gowers at Gasthof Hochalmspitze in the beautiful Malta Valley in Austria for providing a 'home from home' for us.
My mum, daughter Teresa and son Jake for all the supportive messages that reminded me I still have a home to go back to. I'm sure the same goes for Mick and his family.
Oh, and not forgetting Lidl supermarkets that are exactly the same from UK to Romania!

People you meet along the way++++++++

It's always good to meet up with old friends and acquaintances on these trips.
On the first weekend we attended the Twinpower party in Belgium and met up with a lot of my Buelligan mates from the UK, Belgium and Holland. A great bunch of folks who know how to party.
Next came Ed, the big guy from the High Chapparal in Luxembourg, who delivers the best spare ribs in the world.
Then we had a great weekend in Fladungen with the MFU crowd.
It was lovely to see Ros & John, and Wilf again and to meet Naomi, new recruit to the team at Gasthof Hochalmspitze this year. They put up with every kind of crap with cheerful resilience.

And then there are the new people, met for the first time this trip, Like Maad. We met Maad at a roadside cafe in Hungary, on his way home to London after visiting the Transalpina and Transfagarasan in Romania. Got some useful tips from Maad.

Peter Szabo, a lovely guy from Hungary who helped us out at the BMW dealership at Lake Balaton and took a great interest in out trip. He took his bike over the Transalpina and Fagarasan roads in Romania a week or two later, and remains in email correspondence with me. I hope to see him in the UK one day.
Axel. Urs, and the two Michaels, the four German GS riders we met at Lake Bicaz. Michael H has remained in touch and has invited me over to stay at his house when I am next in Bavaria.
 
The Bastard Riders of Bavaria

Les and Amy, somewhere in Transylvania, who spotted our UK plates at a cafe and came over for a chat.

And all the fantastically generous people we met. Special mention should go to Gabor the mechanic at BMW Motorrad in Hungary who insisted on fixing Mick's front brake problem and wouldn't take a penny for his pains.

Then there was the old guy at the hotel on Transfagarasan who cooked us up a meal from his own food supplies because the (new) hotel didn't have a restaurant service open yet. We didn't have any language in common and didn't know this was the case until the next day when we chatted to an English-speaking couple who were the only other guests at the hotel.
And finally Klaus, the owner of the Kalte Kuchl biker haven who guided us on a wonderful ride through the Steirmark hills and mountains.
 
Klaus from Kalte Kuchl

The best bit++++++++

A lot of friends have asked me what was the most memorable part of the trip. Without a doubt it has to be the stupendous Transfagarasan Highway in Romania. for once Clarkson and Co. got it right.

Like most works of art it is completely pointless on a practical level. But Oh Lord, what a wonder we have here. So I will sign off with a few more shots of this astonishing road.

 
The amazing north climb up the Transfagarasan

Mick - "I made it !"
Dave - "And so did I !"

Footnote++++++++

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. If perchance this leaves you looking for more of the same, then in 10 days time I'm off to do it all over again, this time with Charly and Karl-Heinz of the MFU.
 
Charly and Karl-Heinz
We're off to see if we can find Noah's Ark on the slopes of mount Ararat on the borders where Turkey, Iran and Armenia meet. So watch this site for "Turkey Bimble 2014" folks.

Mount Ararat is calling

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