Friday 2 August 2013

Minor updates

Made a few adjustments to the layout to fix the non-working latitude box on the right. I also removed the Facebook photo feed since it has mostly become pictures of what I've been eating in London.

For more adventures, check out these people who are currently touring the world (still):
I met up with them a week ago while they were in London finally. I was following them around the planet for a long time. They will be heading over to South America soon to keep travelling from there.

That sad mostly-made-of-welded-bits Vespa has made it back to Australia:

These two are on their way West, currently in Central Asia:

Anyone else I'm not really aware of...

I'm STILL going back through my photos and videos and editing them. Here's a proper JPEG version of my GPS tracks that I'm going to get printed out at A3 or larger:

And a couple more videos I put together:

If you own a GoPro you'll end up with a lot of video recording that start like this...

I put all the photos from this blog into one really fast video. Quicker slideshow for those with short attention spans.

For now though, it is keeping distracted with beer and Xbox while planning my next little adventure. which will be on an A380 to Australia...

Thursday 14 February 2013

It [has] been a while...

Been a while since I updated this. So the updates:

  • The map and summary are in the last post.
  • I have cool new job working at BSkyB now (for a third party).
  • I live in London now, sort of, I think I'm far enough out again that it's 'not quite London' according to some people.
  • Motorbike is still in storage, not sure what to do now. Going through the import process will be expensive, sending it home will be expensive. I will reunite with it in a month when I get a van to bring it to London (it's not insured or safe to ride anymore really).
  • Lost 6 months worth of photos and video at one point, got it back using the techniques described in my second most popular blog post
  • The most popular blog post continues to be How to get your indian visa in Kathmandu averaging about 50 hits a week.
  • Oddly popular is the Kota Gelanggi Caves post, I guess there still isn't that much info out there about it. Stumbled on that one accidentally.
  • Learned very quickly that you don't tell people in the UK that you took fifteen months off to travel halfway round the work on a motorbike, they'll hate you for it.
  • Finally got a computer that I can process videos on instead of my dying laptop which struggled with the task

So with the new computer I present new edited videos...

This one is unedited and straight from the gopro. It's the trip back down from Lete after I got altitude sickness and decided not to go further up into the mountains:

Overtaking craziness outside of Allahabad:

Entering Delhi shenanigans:

Leaving Delhi:

And the crazy insane one, leaving Allahabad:

So over the next few months I'll be going over the 20000 photos I've taken and the 300GB of gopro footage to edit together more photos and videos, I'll post them up here too. Eventually.

It's very tempting to sign up to the Mongol Rally for 2014. Especially after watching the Dakar this year. There are no plans for more crazy holidays just yet (South America, I'm looking at you)...

Friday 19 October 2012

Post trip awesome summary!

So I think that's the end of this trip... Even though it says London up there in the subtitle I haven't been there yet. I'm going on Sunday but on a train and there are no plans to take the bike there yet. I'm assuming I'd only have to take the bike if I get a job in London.

Here's the map:

[Edit December 2019: Google retired the service I was using to display the map. I've created another to replace it here]

And for what I've worked out from my GPS and costs:

  • 35774km of riding from Hugdesdale in Melbourne to Bacup in the UK.
  • 486 days from the day I set off (16th of June 2011) to the day I arrived here and started looking for work (12th of October 2012)
  • Travelled to 21 countries, one without the bike (Vietnam)
  • 26 border crossings, 5 of those without any Immigration or Customs formalities (within the EU)
  • 2187L of petrol, which makes the fuel economy about 6.11L/100km or 38mpg
  • Cheapest petrol was 35c/L in Iran, and the most expensive was just over the border in Turkey at $2.40/L. My trip average was $1.38/L
  • $7253 spent on food and drink
  • $8057 on accommodation
I've spent $40163 in total, including travel insurance, bike shipping, documentation, taxies, tickets, bike repairs, and the food and accommodation above. But I have also lost a lot with currency exchanges, so that figure is probably +/- 10%. This is much more than I budgeted, I had hoped to keep it below $20-30/day on average but it worked out close to $80/day.

The purchase of the bike and then all the modifications worked out to about $13500. Very reliable strong bike. I had a sprocket carrier bearing fail but it was still riding it. The other wheel bearings were in bad shape but got replaced soon after. Only the head stem bearings, chain and sprockets need replacing now, the carby needs some tuning and it needs a minor service, and a wash. Not bad for 35000km of neglect! I've only needed two sets of tyres for the entire trip, but I did wear out the last bit of a set I'd been using through Australia.

The things I know now:
  • Iran is cheap but a crazy hassle to get in to with a vehicle.
  • India isn't as cheap as I thought it would be. They don't let foreigners stay in the really cheap places, not that you'd want to.
  • Australia is a LOT more expensive than I thought it would be (but it has pies at Mt Larcom, so worth the expense).
  • The best region for food was from Singapore to Bangkok.
  • The worst food was breakfast in Iran, same old carrot jam, egg (sometimes) and stale flat bread every day.
  • The best landscapes were in Laos and Iran, but both were unexpected because I did very little research before going.
  • Don't visit Angkor Wat at the start of your trip, everything else will be compared to it.
  • Ha Long Bay is amazing, but spend a few days there.
  • Thailand has a lot of motorbikes ridden by old white guys with young Thai girls on the back.
  • You will spend a majority of your time in Nepal and India near a toilet.
  • There are mountains in Nepal, but if you want to see them don't take your motorbike, you'll have to go by foot.
  • Dubai is nice and shiny and has the biggest and fastest of everything, but never ever do any kind of business or freight there.
  • The French really don't own deodorant
  • Shellfish gives me really bad indigestion
  • The best hotels/guesthouses are the Noom Guesthouse in Lopburi, Thailand, and Buger Hof in Bamberg, Germany.

I've taken 21625 photos with all the various camera, and I have more than 200GB of video with the GoPro. I guess the next 6 months will be spent editing all of that...

Where to next?

Wednesday 10 October 2012

More around Crispenhofen, Trier, and Luxembourg

Here's a couple more photos from places Guenter and family took me around Crispenhofen.

Schöntal Abbey

The stairs inside one of the buildings there.

A holy water source on a hill near the abbey

The church next to the water source.

Looking over Ingelfingen, towards Kunzelsau

An old headstone used as a retaining wall now.

Grapes grown on this hills. Lots of different types, I think this was a Pinot Meunier, although it had the German name on the small sign with the owners name.
 After staying with Guenter for so long it was time to pack up and head west. I left on a very cold morning and headed towards Trier, Germany's oldest town. I hadn't really intended to look at much of the sites but I found a hotel right in the centre with secure parking and for only 49 euros (yes, that's cheap now...).

The Porta Negra, the oldest still standing Roman gate. And like all things I've seen, covered in scaffolding.

The cathedral of Trier


Inside the smaller building next to it.

Some of the buildings lining the streets, see if you can spot the McDonalds!
 After my brief stop in Trier I headed into Luxembourg.

Riding through forests like this...

Schiessentümpel Müllerthal

Badly stitched panorama from the other side.
I headed to Diekirch to wander around the war museum there. It had lots and lots of items from the war on display, mostly american. There was a section of vehicles and larger weapons, lots of old guns and ammunition, many uniforms. I also learnt about the V-3.

Vianden Castle

Inside the castle

More of inside.
Then since it was getting later in the afternoon I headed towards a small little village that was supposed to be a popular one for motorbikes.

The roads were good. But I found this on one corner. Nails and screws across the road.

Esch-sur-Sûre. I stayed at Hotel de la Sûre which had a big garage for motorbikes. And for only 30 euros a night! (I know, 'only')

An old tower in the town, and another on the hill. Which is what I walked up to to take the previous photo of.

Yesterday I rode through the rest of Luxembourg (not far) into Belgium along the terrible motorways and roadworks, and then out into France to Dunkirk where it's a bit cheaper to stay than Calais. Today I'm taking the Chunnel to where English is the main language and full English breakfasts are standard! But to find a cheaper place to stay...

Saturday 6 October 2012

Bamberg, Crispenhofen, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The view from my room in Berchresgaden. The Eagles Nest is on the top of that mountain in the middle.
After my expensive stay at Berchresgaden (the town in the valley next to the Eagles Nest) I headed to Bamberg. It was about 380km north on some smaller roads at first, and then onto the autobahns to cover the last part. There was some light rain for half of the day, but it wasn't too cold just yet, I had all my warm layers on and when I did stop at one point I was shivering, but once I got back on the bike I was good again.

I had researched some places to stay in Bamberg and found the cheapest to be a Backpackers place just north of the old centre at 27euros a night. I headed there first but found no one inside. A few other guests had turned up but no one knew where anyone was, the phone numbers they had listed didn't work either. I waited around for about half an hour until someone turned up (we weren't sure if they were another guest or not) and everyone started the process of checking in slowly. They asked me what I wanted (sort of obvious, I thought) and I asked for a room, but then they looked at me funny and asked if I had a reservation. Of course I didn't and then I found they were fully booked (the other guests made reservations). I waited around for so long for that! I asked if there were any other places around the same price and the answer, while still looking dumbfounded that I hadn't booked in this town, was that there were none. Right... It was a Saturday after all, but I can't remember the last town I'd been in where I actually had to book in advance.

I went across the street to a smaller hotel, asked the price, 35euros which was OK, and then asked if they had any rooms free, which was a no. I spent the next hour on this side of one of the rivers wandering round trying to find a vacant room and there was nothing below 79 euro and I wasn't going to pay that. I went to the other side of the river and found the prices to be in the 89euro+ range, but no vacancies. And then I started to worry a little that I may not find anywhere here and it was getting late. I headed back out of the city a little and saw a place with rooms for 25euro advertised, but above a row of sex shops so I'm guessing that one wasn't for your normal tourists. There was another one above a bowling alley for 20euro a night but it looked full. Eventually I found a McDonalds I could get online with and check to see if I could book via my usual websites, and there was nothing on any of the five sites I tried. I gave up looking for a hotel and headed towards the camping place out of town (but around 15euro to camp, and I didn't want to because the task here was to drink a lot of beer) and along the way I noticed another pub/hotel on the way. I went in and asked if they had a room, and they only had one four bed room left, but they'd give it to me for the single room price of 35euro! Success!

That's has been the hardest day of looking for accommodation I've had on this trip.

My home for three nights. Excellent food and beer in the pub too, and a bus right outside to the centre. The lady running the place was extremely helpful too, rivalling the helpfulness of the Noom guesthouse in Lopburi, Thailand! I'm coming back to this town and I'm staying here again.
So I was in Bamberg for one reason, and that was the beer.

Klosterbräu Schwarzbier

Schlenkerla Marzen, straight from the wooden barrel (Excellent!)

Mahrs Bräu

Brauerei Spezial

Before they brew the beer here they smoke the malt before brewing it and it gives it a taste like bacon or sausages or bacon sausages. Possibly the best invention ever. I was able to get it in bottles in Melbourne so I had to come get it from the source! But I was about two weeks early to get the Urbock from Schlenkerla, that was my favourite in the bottle but they only start serving it for winter. Well now I just have to come back...

There were of course other things in Bamberg, like really awesome food (check the facebook photos), but there were some buildings too.

A typical street in the old city.

The town hall built over the river.

Some more buildings along the river.

Strange art in places...

A building built in an Italian style apparently.

An old building.

To keep the window shutters open most buildings had these.

The side of the town hall.

Old houses along the river.

A car show/rally that happened to be parked in the central square.

Placing locks on the bridge, some people overdo it though. Also handcuffs.

More buildings along the water.

The main church, and like all religious buildings everywhere I've been lately , covered in scaffolding. 

The side door to the church.

Schlenkerla. It was 2.50 euro for a beer, but you could also buy bottles for 1.20euro each...
The that drunken adventure I headed west to Crispenhofen to stay with a German family Drew and I had met in Turkey. It wasn't far so I decided to take some back roads along the way, but first I had headed south to Nuremberg to visit the Heine Gericke or Louis motorcycle shops to repair my heated grips. These shops have every motorcycle thing you would want in them!

Replacing the bad control module for the heated grips.
Outside of Nuremberg I got off the Autobarn and ended up in a small town. I had accidentally entered the main city area and I didn't want to be there so I was navigating the one way streets out. I stopped at a corner to check which was the best way out of there and then just moved off when I heard a yelling behind me. I stopped and it was another Australian who had run down the street to catch up and talk because he noticed the AUS sticker on my bike!

Dave and Brett are from Brisbane and have had their bikes overseas for 7 years! They go back to work but come back over every holidays to ride around a little bit more. This year they were renting a nice house in this small town from friends so they could make repairs and service the bikes in preparation for their trip into Iceland and North America next year. They had started this with a 7 month trip from the UK to Korea, and then went back the other direction and since then have been travelling all around this part of the planet every time they get holidays. It was the first time they'd seen another Australian bike overseas which is why Brett had run after me in the middle of the town!

My bike, with two bikes from Queensland, all the way over here in Germany!
We talked travel stories for a little bit but then they had to go and finish packing as they were heading out the next day to their next storage spot and then going back to Brisbane in a few days.

After this brief stop I started heading west again towards Crispenhofen. I had hoped to stay on the smaller roads but the GPS kept directing me back to the autobahn, and it was getting later in the day so I stopped fighting it and just took the faster road!

And now I'm staying with Gunter, Karen, Jan and Vera on their small farm in a small village! They say that everything is far (5km+) and they live in the countryside (a bigger town is just over the hill in the next valley), it's very strange to hear that as an Australian...

Watching the cows get fed.
The day after I got here was the Reunification Day when the wall came down in Berlin. I hadn't realised this, but since the family had the day off they took me out to Rothernberg for some sightseeing.

A wooden bridge on the outer wall of the city.

Beer and armour! 

One of the four towers in the centre section of the town.

A street in the centre.

A giant nutcracker outside of one of the Christmas shops in the town.  There were lots of handmade tree ornaments in this  shop. So many. So shiny. So many Christmas things.

Armour and weapons used to defend the town.

To the Dungeons.

The town above the river.

Side of the church.

Inside the church. It costs 2 euros to go further into it.

Another of the inner towers, this side from the outer wall.

The wall which you can walk along. When the town needed defending the residents by each section of wall would defend their part.

From the wall, a view up to the church in the middle.

A fountain.

I see that evil teddy bear staring at me....
While I've been here I've done some work to my bike, changing bearings, fixing up a few other little things. But while I was changing the bearings all the lifting of the rear wheel hurt my back, so now I'm resting it! I've started applying for jobs while here. No good responses yet, but I'm picking carefully as most jobs look like they pay very poorly compared to Australia.

Tomorrow or the next day I'll get going again and make my slow way towards the UK. It's not far from here, but there's a bit to see in between here and Calais.

And now an air-raid siren is going off...