Through Europe to join a boat.May 25th, 2022

May 25th Wed
At long last, a trip without too many regulations. One passenger locator form uploaded to Eurotunnel and printed copy with me. The point…aim of the motorbiking to Greece…is an invitation to have a trip on a friend’s yacht for a week. So could not pass that up and nor could I resist travelling there by motorbike. So setting off immediately after a long booked dentist/hygienist appointment and with 7 .5 days to reach destination in Greece , here I am in Belgium already.
It had to be the Eurotunnel because P & O still not really up and running after their staff problems earlier in the year . Since I have units (shares) in P &O it is generally the cheapest option for me. But I am still waiting for compensation for cancelled ticket in February and until I get that back I am not using them. Eurotunnel is not great for bikes. We have to stay sitting on them because they wobble around a bit. No drinks and no food and no rest. There was one other bike!!
The weather was dry BUT it was pretty cold. Taking minimal warm clothing because it should be hot, I had it all on.! Starting at 17c it got colder , down to 13c, but as I turned inland towards Belgium it started to warm up to an amazing 18c. Great hopes for tomorrow. Early to bed tonight as very early up this morning. Had good meal in Central sq of Tournai. The nearest choices were Lebanese, Greek and Libyan ! Very cosmopolitan…I opted for busy Belgian off the Central Square.

May 26th Thurs
Is not that warm…17c…as I set off. Today is first real day of being away and I am going to push the miles across not so interesting Belgium, Luxembourg and some Germany. In the event I get to Leonburg  just short of Stuttgart. About 350 miles. It warmed up a bit…but sky remained pretty cloudy with moments of sunshine. Lunch found me in a rest stop in Germany. To my amazement a police car pulled up, with a car behind that they had pulled over. Behind that was an unmarked police car and finally a police van. The 3 young men in the car pulled over looked clean and normal and decent. They were frisked, their car checked over… nothing. A big police operation that seemingly produced nothing! The 3 young men drove off….all rather amusing.
Leonburg is very modern, my hotel a tower block. Right nearby is a modern park with a lake and plenty of wildlife. I had a drink in a lively bar. The bar and restaurant in the hotel are shut…staff  shortages.

Lovely water feature in park near hotel. And birdlife..

Leonburg. A lovely park in the centre with water obviously artificially created.
Greylag geese in Leonburg , Germany.

May 27th Fri
The sky was blue but not when I set off at 9am. Its still cloudy and still 14c! Bit more motorway to do as I try and put miles under the wheels at the beginning of this trip. But when I reach Menningen I tell Google maps no motorway and make a route to Villach in southern Austria. I won’t get there to night but that is the right direction.


The countryside is so green. Crops and grassland. Wonderful roads, smooth and perfect. Traffic pretty low on the whole unless its a main road. I took a break for a cuppa in the sunshine in a cafe. Sitting outside I found quite a few smokers….so rare in England now , especially at the next door table. Picnic later and now the sun is really shining! Its hot, hurrah! I tighten the chain on the bike…touch loose . However cannot book hotel as phone has no reception…bit odd.

Sunny Austria

Onwards with a couple of stops to check phone. Finally have to turn phone on and off and eventually it connects. Rather in haste think I will reach Lienz and whilst hotel is not in the town it seems the only affordable one. Petrol in Germany was super expensive at 2.10 euro. In Luxemburg and Austria it is more like 1.82 euros.
Beautiful Austria in the summer; so different to winter. I go over 3 passes, including Tauern …where there is a long tunnel costing 10 euros at the top… and a pass on a very narrow road, heavenly roads and like Germany busy on the main roads at times. Lots of bikers but no Brit that I have seen. Cows grazing wildflower meadows, barley and wheat fields all coming into ear. Why are there no thistles and nettles …? I walk by one such field in the evening and just no thistles….
I bit off more than I wished but reached my hotel. One other couple staying in this small place. My room is a bit of a garret and its not the greatest place. I am rather forced to eat early’ and pay by cash…no warning…so had a walk after I had eaten. Wandered in a circle round the village and stream.

May 28th Sat
Breakfast was included so had it! Weather had been sunny but now cloudy but dry. Set off and rode a lovely road down the valley and onwards towards Villach. Wondered about lack of cows and all these lovely untouched flower covered grassy meadows. A few horses and about 12 cows! As usual following Google maps and headed for Bled in Slovakia as I wanted to walk the gorge there near the castle. I thought I had seen the castle but it was another nearby which I visited with Clive in 2010. Looking up that diary I read that it was raining then as it now does today for me.
Heading over the Wurzen pass the cloud gets heavier and heavier until it rains. I thought it would stop but not so. At Bled I had for a cafe and not the walk. I was cold and wet. Sitting and warming up and drinking tea I was pondering what to do. I looked up the weather forecasts of towns to the south, seaside and inland. All very rainy and cold and for tomorrow as well. Not great. I did not have many clothes for prolonged cold and by cold it is 12/13c and wet. Motorbiking not wonderful in these conditions! So, give up exploring Slovakia and head south as soon as possible. Rapidly find an hotel, quite nice, for I will be cold and wet, get dressed in waterproofs, shuffle luggage to stay dry if possible and off I head to Karlovak in Croatia. Took normal roads which I was pleased with as it did not rain as much as I had dreaded. Cold yes, but had moments of no rain. So enjoyed to an extent the beautiful countryside.

My feet were steadily getting wetter in my waterproof…sic…boots. Second free pair from manufacturer!! Still no good…
Ended up leaving Slovakia on a tiny side road and a border crossing where there was a gate across the road.. were they going to let me through? They did without coming out of their box and on I went in Croatia on a tiny road thinking this would not be the spot to breakdown. All down to Google maps….
Hotel looked good, private parking and nice reception lady speaking excellent English. She told me that it has been super hot here for 2 weeks ending in this cold and wet today !!! Thanks..
One bonus …petrol in Slovakia was cheaper than anywhere…1.55 euros. Croatia I do not know about yet…and Croatia has its own money…Kuna.

May 29th Sun
Still raining, gentle but so cold.10c. So found another layer of clothing to put on….a windproof very light top that I carry on the motorbike always. I thus had 6 layers on..t shirt, fleece , sleeveless puffa jkt, the windproof top , motorbike jkt and waterproof jkt. Route set was to head to the coast just south of Split.

Rain pulsed, even had a bit of dry road, but then wet again. However the rain did begin to stop after about 1.5 hrs. The road was excellent, traffic building behind very slow cars but once past some lovely bends and biking. About noon in Knin, ( came here with Clive) I spotted other bikers at a cafe and stopped to cautiously take a layer off and begin to think I was through the worst. The temp had dropped to 8c in the national park but now had reached the dizzy height of about 13c.
Gradual continual improvement .Beautiful scenery, green shrubs, green trees, rolling hills and strange mountainous shapes on the horizon. Non productive land with wide open valleys.


A big landscape with little villages dotted around. Long periods of no traffic, sweeping road. Stop again to take more layers off including waterproofs. Phone charger had decided it had moisture in it so phone , which is my navigation was running down but here at this stop it got going. Temp was going up and had reached the 20’s. So much better.
Rounding a bend, there is the sea!!

My first sight of the sea near Brela.

Down , down to reach my hotel in Brela. Lovely walk along the sea and warm enough to be in shorts. BUT it is not quite sunny and forecast tomorrow is thunderstorms. Warm however.

May 30th Mon
Not raining and 22c. Encouraging! Have set a route to get to a town in Albania.

Last couple of days has been about 230 miles each day. This will be 220 miles. Once again sweeping roads and great countryside. Can now stop in warmth . It rains for about 5 mins while I am having a cafe stop. That was it for the day and now I really think I am through the bad weather. Have got the summer gloves out and taken off my fleece!
Its a day for borders. Out of Croatia and into Herzegovina. Croatia decided it wanted to see bike reg doc as I left but not on entry. Now its proper border stuff. Stamping in and out, bike papers…. Nothing re Covid…that seems forgotten. The views, roads and scenery were amazing in Herzegovina and again in Montenegro. The amazing roads with new surfaces put us to shame. EU money no doubt to which we paid and not received. Sweeping bends, little traffic ….
Reached Podgorica but was swept round the outside before I realised I was there. Was thinking of stopping there but have opted for Shkoder in Albania. Border was slow but passport and reg document was all they wanted. I could not believe the change from 12 years ago when Clive and I travelled the very same route. Then it was almost a dirt road, bumpy, full of traffic fighting its way along in what looked like stolen cars from Europe. It was dusty and scruffy but had petrol stations every few miles. Those petrol stations are still there laundering money said a person 12 years ago. Maybe they still are. But now the road is modern, wide , not full of traffic and all organised. Little modern houses and decent cars.

Albania, rather unreal and deserted.

The hotel is very friendly but a bit run down…I go out to eat and sitting having a glass of wine there is a sudden very loud crash bang. A lamp post had crashed to the ground in the pavemented road just near me. Very lucky no one hurt as plenty of people were strolling by. Its concreted end had given up!! Very quickly a repairman came along with his lorry. It was 9pm!

My hotel is right in the middle of town along with several others. However it would appear that a few locals have hung in to their houses right amongst the hotels. One owns chickens. The Cockerell crowed at all hours during the night!! There was also a dog fight somewhere. And guests here on Goldwings decided to leave at 6.15am after talking outside loudly before leaving. So…whilst bed comfortable not a brilliant nights sleep!!

May 31st Tues
Good breakfast and nice friendly staff at the hotel. My waiter at the restaurant last night had been very helpful and friendly too.
Off at usual time to do a mileage much the same as yesterday…maybe a little less. Head for a lovely place called Bilishit. I may go further and get into Greece. Some parts of the route have traffic but on the whole there is not much. Good roads, some very new, the only drag on getting along smoothly are the traffic police. Got to keep an eye out. I get the impression that they are not interested in me or foreign bikers in general. I am the only UK bike I have seen, all the other bikers, and there are lots…are German, Polish, Austrian, Hungarian, and Italian. No foreign vehicles apart from a few Italian campervans .
I do not stop much. I have no Albanian money. They will take Euros and when I did finally stop they were quite happy to do so. Cash rules though…
Its hot and sunny..sheer delight. On we go and progress being good I opt for a night in Greece. The road near to the border was infested by police. I decided to stay behind a local van as he was pretty good at spotting them. The border was not too bad…passport and reg document though Greece only wanted passport. I only went on another half hour to Kastoria, a town on the edge of a freshwater lake. I had booked into a “biker friendly” spot. The owner was there waiting for me to pitch up, showed me where to park on the pavement and then told me to go and chat with some germans drinking at a table by the water before taking anything to my room. Very nice and relaxing. I ended up eating with them. They had seen no Brits either…

Albanian folly

June 1st Wed
The Germans, who included one man who was born in Melborne and was half Greek and half German and spoke English, German and Greek, said I must come for breakfast with them. They were hopeless with their bikes helping each other back down a bit of a slope. I coped easily ! In the end we all ended up at a cafe day the road in a rather chaotic fashion. They all tucked into sweet pastries and coffee . They did not need the sweet pastries!! I went on my way…
The route was to head to Parga on the coast, a south westerly direction across northern Greece.

The road was amazing. Up and down, bend after bend, no traffic and at one point no villages bar one for about 75 miles. I over took one vehicle. It was me, the bike and the bends. Weather was brilliant to the point of being too hot at times. Had to get petrol….luckily before the bit with no villages…it was expensive at 2.3 euros.
Did not stop much, could not find a cafe. But suddenly there was one and had a very good cup of tea. Onwards and more bends till it was down to Parga’s narrow and steep streets and my “appartment” . Got the bike inside the terrace. I have now done about 2000 miles. Just 50 or so to go to Prevesa tomorrow. So it was finally off to have a swim having got luggage into my tiny apartment. It is a glorified bedroom with mini kitchen area, mini bathroom with a basin you could not use unless you kneel on the loo lid, and a mini balcony. Swimming was lovely. Great beach…full of set out deckchairs… and clear water. I walked over the hill to Parga proper to eat. Its mini streets are full of tourists. Real tourist spot. I found some Brits on holiday.!!

June 2nd Thurs
A relaxing morning round the pool! I had packed and got out of my room by about 10.30 and loaded the bike which was inside the grounds and on a patio area. Affectively waiting for Rupert and co to take off from Stansted and arrive. They were delayed an hour and a half. About 2.30pm I set off for Prevesa, an hour away. The hotel people had been very friendly and not minded me hanging about.
Reached where I thought I should be in Prevesa. Hung about in a cafe there watching my bike. Eventually they land and after a while/phone calls we manage to meet up by the boat. Drop off luggage and then follow taxi driver to his home where my bike is going to be for a week. Back to boat with taxi man. Settle in to port rear cabin. A tiny hole!

The boat, Tyflis.11

We shop and then go out to eat…

June 3rd Fri
We set off after various sorties for urgent things…gas bottle, charging lead for mobile, bread etc. We head south , through a bridge that is opened hourly for shipping, and on between islands, to Porto Spilia on Meganisi. We sailed a bit under jib. Swim!!

The bridge between Lefkas and mainland.Greece.

June 4th Sat
Late start and then a motor as wind in wrong direction to Ithaca and place called Frikes. Windy on mooring against a wall. But wind dies in the evening. Each evening we have been trotting along the harbour and eating out.. It has been pretty hot. Other boats are moored in this place but not many. …less than 10.

Frikes, Greece…boat on farside.

June 5th Sun
Each day it is Jonty and I who are wanting exercise. We walk and explore and swim. Today we walk/scramble up to one of the three windmills here. Then I am the first to jump off the boat to swim. There is a jellyfish!! Jonty finally gets in and we both swim across the harbour and back. We repeat in the afternoon. The other ladies do finally get in the water at the back of the boat. There is a swim ladder down. But they are virtually incapable of getting back up the ladder…Lis finally does with help. Sharman can not. Eventually we find she can get out at the end of the Quay.. with more help and encouragement. She is too heavy to be lifted out…apparently!

Weather a bit up and down but better than back home where it it wet and cold. It is very warm!

June 6th Mon
Leave Frikes and motor and sail to Kalamos. Another nice spot. Another lovely evening eating out.

Restaurant in Kalamos, Greece

June 7th Tues
Off we go to Sivota. We sail a decent bit. Berths are busy and in demand. Rupert wanted to go to Ndri but no space. We are on the island of Lefkas. I came to Lefkas with Emma to the town of Vassiliki when Emma was about 16 I guess. …about 20 years ago. I windsurfed and Emma sunbathed. Many restaurants on the quay and we hired a scootor !.
The weather is not entirely settled but so very pleasant nevertheless. Eat at 12Gods as berthed on 12gods pontoon.

Sivota, Greece.!

June 8th Wed
Sadly we do not move. So much trouble with full berths and we have to catch a taxi tomorrow to leave the boat. So we go to a beach on the far side of this bay. Its okay. Lis manages to walk to the beach and swim. Laze..

June 9th Thurs
I am to leave the boat today with Charman , Jonty and Lis. They fly home and I motorbike. Rupert stays and a friend of his is coming out. The weather is unsettled and thunderstorms are forecast for the mainland. I catch the taxi back to Prevesa with the others. Much too early for me who finally got a ferry booked from Igoumenitsa to Bari…but only leaving at midnight. Expensive but should give me a simpler run home. This time I need to go a bit quicker. Petrol prices have been going up and up and I have been looking at prices on the Internet. I think Italy is a tiny bit cheaper than Greece.
So , taxi comes. It is the wife of Costa. My bike is in their garage. As she drives she asks me if I stayed at hotel Andrea’s Kanali in Parga. Yes, …it is run by her father!! What a small world. So I saw her brother there and father. It seems I came up in conversation…English lady on a motorbike!
I am reacquainted with my bike and set off for Igoumenitsa .It is not far but I do not want to be caught in a thunderstorm particularly. It is going to be boring wherever I dally. It is not sunny. Sit around in cafe and then go to the port where I hang around again before driving into the actual port. It is full of lorries, a very few cars and quite a lot of motorbikes wandering around amongst the lorries which is remarkably dangerous. No one way system, we can go anywhere. No security and no directions as to where our boat will be, hence all the foreign motorbikes wandering around amongst the lorries searching for a queue to join. I was told quay 10. In the event it was 12 where I eventually found a bunch of bikes, behind lorries. I am the only female rider and the only Brit. Lightning is in the sky to our right and a few drops of rain fall. So far dry and we do get on the boat before any rain. Its night time so dark
Straight to my cabin, make a cup of tea on my failing gas cooker and bed.

June 10th Fri
Surprisingly the motorbikes were all fine on this ferry…not tied down..20 in a row. It had been lashing with rain as we came into Bari but when we finally got off it had stopped. Lots of floodwater on the roads in town as I picked my way to a petrol station. Vaguely cheaper than Greece. Then it is off to the motorway for a motorway day. The weather is overcast with showers. Wind sideways on so showers coming across. I get the tail end of 2 and a heavy blast for about 5 mins from number 3. After that the rain outlook looks better but it gets even windier. The sea looks very wild to my right as I head on up Italy.

Not looking quite so wild here!!

Wonder how much the toll will be? I wonder if they work out I am a motorbike. I suspect I get charged as much as a car. I do between 400 and 450 miles and it costs 49.5 euros. But a good day to get places as the weather not great. The countryside around is full of fields growing all sorts of crops but I notice really quite a lot of abandoned old and what had to be beautiful buildings. You can still see lovely arches and curves in the ruins. At around 4pm things improve , skies turn blue and temperature rises to 30c. It had been pleasant in the 20s !. I finally opt for Castelfranco near Modena for my night ‘s stop. It is far nicer than the map led me to believe. Very lively in the evening with a group playing in the half pedestrianised street outside my window. I went to sleep to the band still playing! Apparently normal for friday nights. It is nice to stay in town centres !!

Partying in the street.


June 11th Sat
Set off at 8.30am. Its a beautiful blue sky day. Get petrol and then get confronted by a road closed by police…accident. I think this cost me 1/2 an hour as I circled around. Google maps no good in this instance as it tries to take you back to the same spot!! Eventually get going in the right direction. Its motorway for a while. Whilst the coastal motorway of yesterday was quite interesting with bends, tunnels and viaducts this bit of motorway from Bologna to Milan is deadly dull. Straight and flat and pretty busy. Dull! But then so would be the country roads. Its a dull part of Italy!
But finally reach the Swiss border. Have decided not to pay the 40 euro fee for motorway and do Switzerland via normal roads. I have before crossed the border on a minor road and then hop on the motorway and hop off again before exiting. But I have read about people getting caught and heavily fined on the spot. So thought I should be good. It took ages to do the miles. Lots of traffic all doing minus 10% of the speed limit. Endless crawling through villages. It was Saturday and a lovely day so everyone was out and about. Many farmers were hard at work though , busy haymaking. Every bit of haymaking kit was at work. Switzerland is very beautiful as we all know and at this time of the year it really is. Lovely lake sides, lovely mountains. I went over the San Gottardo pass. 2106m?

Full of cyclists pedalling slowly up. There were cyclists all over the country. Hard work!! Plenty of motorcyclists too. One lake, the one with Lucerne at one end , had masses of windsurfers and kite boarders on it , enjoying the funnelling of the wind down this valley. Great sight.

I pushed on to Germany. Tried looking up hotels in Switzerland and they all seemed very expensive . It was a tiring day with all the traffic and heat…30c plus. Mileage was about 370. Reached a strange hotel with a lovely room and balcony run a bit like an air B&B. Next door was a huge supermarket where I bought a bit an instant meal and drink and sat on my balcony exhausted.!


June 12th Sun
Much better choice of roads! Lovely weather again and I was rested. I have broken the back of the homeward journey and today was much more relaxing. Set a course for Nancy. Soon into France and a mixture of dual carriageway and normal roads. No tolls today. Then Nancy to Sedan. Great roads. Not too much traffic and no camera worries. I was actually overtaken by two English bikes today. The first and only ones I saw all trip. Bought a bit of oil for the bike…its done so well. End up in Charlesvillle Mezieres just a touch further on than Sedan. Pretty square in the middle bit like Salamanca in Spain. Good evening. I am staying in a rather weird hotel in an old building. I get an appartment for 4 !! Bike in the street…!

Charleville Mezieres
Dining under the arches..Charleville Mezieres

June 13th Mon

I booked a ferry last night for today. It is the last stretch. Much  colder this morning , 15c but I set off with just a t shirt under the motorbike jacket. I gradually get colder..and finally stop to put on more clothes. Regret leaving the lovely temperatures behind but the forecast for England is for hot temperatures this weekend.  Mixture of road and dual carriageway, no tolls  and I reach Calais earlier than I thought I would. Catch earlier ferry…DFDS by the way as P & O still only running a few. Ferries are cheaper than tunnel and a nice rest for me. I had not eaten at all so tucked into a meal. It was pretty good fish but expensive.

One other coincidence  struck before I reached home. I stopped for a cup of tea at Barton Mills and there bumped into a young biker who was there when I stopped at the beginning of my trip. So I was greeted by a comparative stranger saying ” how was Greece?” ! I am back home….Miles about 3,600. Suzuki was faultless. Now to prepare for my next trip…to Norway.