Journey across Europe on two wheels

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6 months to journey through Europe on a motorcycle, from Ireland to Russia, and back or wherever the winds blow.

Submitted: July 13, 2018

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Submitted: July 13, 2018



"Are you sad?", "Are you excited?" "Do you feel anything?" These were some of the questions friends and family repeatedly ask me in the past few weeks prior to flying out on this motorcycling journey through Europe. They would tell me I didn't display any emotion, I didn't seem excited, nervous, anxious, or anything. They were right, to an extent; I've always been nervous to travel, but I didn't feel the excitement and thrill of the adventure to come yet, not even by packing, planning, and saying good bye.

It's just that I hadn't fully realized what I had gotten myself into. The morning of April 11th, however, as I waited to board my flight from San Diego, California, I received the following email from Martin, an Irishman meeting me when I land in Cork.

"When you land in Cork, put Motofeirme into Google maps. Free wifi at airport.

Get the bus towards Kinsale and get off in Belgooly. It's the last stop before Kinsale.

The Huntsman bar there has good food and wifi. Give the lady my number, 8688946635.

I can come collect you there."

After reading this email, a glimpse of what was actively happening came to mind. I became excited instantly, the adventure was in course!

After a layover in Detroit, another in Amsterdam, and 20 or so hours, I finally reached the airport in Cork, Ireland. Immigration stamped my passport and my first thought upon walking out of the airport was "Shoot, it's cold!" and walked back into the airport for a hot beverage while I waited for the bus and follow Martin's directions.

Martin met me at the Huntsman bar and drove us to his farm, a huge property, 10 acres I believe he said, with a couple of barns were he had all sorts of farming machines, tractors, and a few motorcycles, among them, my Honda Transalp I bought 6 months ago and he's been storing.

In the following couple of days, I test drove the bike through the countryside of Cork. All roads are windy, narrow, and go through hill after hill of grass prairies. The roads are small, so much that they had me wondering how two vehicles are supposed to fit the width, they barely do. I had to remember to remain on the left side of the road, too.

I had been exhausted and hungry these days, but riding through this countryside was relaxing and pleasant. I'm confident many motorcyclists will agree, when one is on top of the bike, especially through scenery like Ireland's, everything that happened before starting that engine and anything that will happen after ending that ride, ceases to matter, it does not hold weight.

One of the nights, Martin took me to the center of Kinsale, a picturesque town near his farm. It was Friday night and there were several bars open. Martin said there's a challenge to have a beer at each one of the 30+ bars in Kinsale. He described the area by saying, "This is the Gaslamp of Kinsale". Martin is familiar with San Diego, where the Gaslamp quarter is where all the bars and night clubs are in downtown. We had a couple of KPA's (Kinsale Pale Ale) at the Tap. There were no more than 10 or 15 people in there. Coming from San Diego, I found it difficult to believe that 10 or 15 people keep this bar open, but the population of Kinsale is a mere fraction when compared to San Diego.

The low number of people in this bar was a plus. It was a small place, with low lighting, and a mellow atmosphere. I was having a great time sharing stories with Martin. The bartender, however, seemed overwhelmed, and excused herself by saying "I'm tired and pregnant", which is an awesome excuse, or should I say, it was a "grand" excuse, as many Irishmen say.

While working on the bike, I heard Martin speaking over the phone to another potential traveler. Martin explained the accommodation at Motofeirme as "it's meant to be a little bit better than sleeping in a tent". That description is right on, or may be debatable to some. Martin never promised a 5 star hotel, he offered a sheltered room next to his barn with very basic needs. I slept in my sleeping bag over one of the mattresses and had no complaints. I want to believe that most motorcycle travelers would not have an issue either.

The originally thought route for this 6 month adventure across Europe was to take the northern countries on my way to Russia, and the lower countries on the way back to Ireland. If I thought it was cold in Cork, although the lady at the Huntsman laughed at me when I said this, it was certainly colder in the northern countries. For this reason, Martin suggested I take the southern countries first. No objection. I am now aboard the Pont Avant, by Brittany Ferries, that will take my bike and I to Roscoff, France.

Before leaving home, I was the most nervous about traveling solo. It's going to take me some time to get accustomed to it. Certainly there are moments I would like to share with company, but it hasn't been bad, at least these first few days. It's like waking up early in the mornings, I would prefer to stay in bed, and make excuses to do so, but I just need to get up, without giving it much thought and, once I do so, it's not bad at all, I'm actually glad I did.

Note: Originally posted on L.Moreno's travel blog:

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