BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Friday, 28 September 2012

Bristol, then we fly to Rome.


First up, I hate this programme. I've just spent two hours re-entering this blog because the whole lot disappeared into cyber space. Yes, I'm grumpy. Now that that is out of the way...

It's been a while since I've updated the blog. Sorry. We've been at sea on our cruise and the satellite web access was very pricey. Uploading the blog was prohibitively expensive. I'll play catch up ad post as many blogs as quickly as I can over the next few weeks.

So, bringing you up to speed. We have just finished a twenty day cruise of the Mediterranean on the Noordam. More on that later. We are now in Kiev, Ukraine and will be conducting a bit of family history research if we can.

Last time we spoke Suzanne and I were in Bristol where some low life stole our tent from our bike while it was parked outside our hotel. HBF travel insurance (underwritten by CGU Insurance) refuse to pay for our tent so we're abut $800 out of pocket as a result. Apparently our luggage isn't covered while it's on the bike (there's a surprise). Imaging buying travel insurance to travel around Europe on a motorcycle and thinking that your gear was covered while it was on the bike. How stupid are we? I will be contacting HBF and asking them to explain how I should carry all my gear when I visit the toilet along the road somewhere. We have three large aluminium cases full of stuff, along with three large bags full of camping gear, our tank bag, and our riding gear, all weighing about 100 kilograms. I obviously can't leave it on the bike as it's not covered by their crap insurance. OK, rant over.


Our wonderful friend Claire picked up our cases from the hotel in Bristol, and picked up Suzanne as well. Our plan was to drop off our bike and gear at Claire's house, spend the night, and fly out to Rome the next moring to meet our cruise. It was really nice to catch up with Claire, Chris, Fergus, and Oscar, as well as Reggie and Fern the two Border Terriers again. We are so lucky to have a family like this as friends. Thanks guys. We had a lovely dinner then hit the hay as we had an early start the next morning.


After Suzanne put Claire's washing machine through a marathon of washing we had a full set of clean clothes, and our riding gear was clean as well. This is the first wash our riding gear has had this trip and we were just a little smelly. In fact homeless people were avoiding us as we walked down the street. We smelt good again. The bike was safely tucked away in Chris's garage with instructions that Chris was welcome to use it if he wanted to. Suzanne had enough clothes to wear on our cruise. All was ready for our departure.

Suzanne's clothes shopping in Bristol.

Can you guess which shop was her favourite?

Claire came to the fore again and drove us to the airport in the morning. It was strange sitting in a car after so long on the bike. It was also strange driving down near deserted country lanes to get to a very busy Bristol Airport. After a quick drink it was on the plane and off to Rome.

Before we knew it we were standing in the arrival lounge at in Rome. We needed to get into the city centre. A taxi was thirty eight euro, the bus was four euro each. We're getting better at saving money now, so onto the bus we went. After a very nice, one hour coach trip into Rome we were dropped at the main railway station. From there it was a ten minute walk to our hotel.

After settling into our pleasant room we headed out for a look around. First impression? Rome is dirty. Well, dirty doesn't cover it. As far as I'm concerned, stepping over human excrement as you cross the road in a capital city isn't something I want to do, and we had to do it many times. OK, there are some nice buildings there, and the history is fantastic, but I'd rather sit at home and read a book thanks. I'm looking forward to visiting little county villages on the bike and giving Italy a chance to redeem itself.

We found a nice little restaurant with footpath dining and had a very expensive dinner. On our walk around after dinner we discovered a real gem.

Every wall in the shop was like this. Then there were shelves and cabinets in the middle areas as well. Heaven.

This is the best bottle shop (off license for my UK friends) in the world. It was run by a crazy old guy who was a bundle of laughs. I spent ages in there just checking out the floor to ceiling shelves full of all sorts of drinks. If he didn't have it, you didn't want it.

The shop opened in 1880 and has been in the family for generations. The owner showed us photos of his grandfather outside the shop. Unfortunately his kids aren't interested in taking over the shop so it will probably disappear in the not to distant future. Very sad. We bought two bottles of wine and a bottle of Limoncello to take back to the hotel. The old guy was very switched on and asked if we were going to drink them tonight. When we said yes, he pulled the corks, trimmed them with a very sharp knife and pushed them half way back in. That way we could pull the corks in our hotel room. He finished off by giving us two plastic wine glasses. A great salesman, and switched on as well. I really enjoyed being there.


Today was our final shopping day. I needed a couple of shirts and ties for the formal nights on the ship so off we went. I didn't want to spend a fortune as I'll probably give them away after the cruise as I won't need them again, and I can't carry the on the bike anyway. After a few hours we found a little shop manned by a gay Filipino guy. He was great, or should I say "fabulous"? He picked my shirt size straight away, then produced a huge range of ties to choose from. Easy, job done, back to the hotel.

Dinner time arrived and we had a good feed at the hotel for about half the price of the previous night. I felt a bit like I was ten years old again as we waited to meet up with my sister at the hotel. I used to get very excited when I was a kid and she came to visit, and I felt exactly the same tonight. It's only been a few months since I've seen her, but I was excited just the same.

Lilly and Ron arrived around nine and had another couple of friends with them who were also going on the cruise. I was a little concerned because spending three weeks with someone you don't know on a ship could be a harrowing experience. Luckily Bob and Nina were fantastic people. I really enjoyed our time with them, but I don't know if they felt the same way. More about that in a later blog : )

So our team was complete and ready to hit the high seas the next day. Yo, ho, ho...

No comments:

Post a Comment