During my work in the humanitarian field and in previous travels I collected a diverse network of colleagues and friends all over the world. When I contacted Antonella – who used to be my colleague back in the days in Haiti – I was lucky to find her home in Italy.

 

She and her partner Roberto invited me to stay and celebrate new year’s eve together. Then she generously offered me her appartment in Tuscany to sit out the winter … and off I went to Gropina, an authentic little village up on a hill above the idyllic small town Loro Ciuffenna, with the keys in my pocket and a drawing on a napkin of how to get there. Entering the centuries-old building felt like coming home. It was home for a while – and now it’s time to move on.

 

I had the chance to live in Italy for a while, to experience daily life in a place where someone on a motorbike journey to Vladivostok would normally never end up – it was simply the best hibernation cave that I could have ever wished for! Although most people were surprised to see me leaving last autumn, I’m glad I didn’t fear the winter time but set off and took my chances. Most of all, I am incredibly gratefull for the mutual support among travellers and global citizens alike – the persons that make all the difference to my journey.


The best I can do for now is to give Antonella a place on my Super Supporters Wall and to wait for the day that I can offer my help, my support, my generous hospitality in return to other travellers or friends.


Winter has past, spring has arrived: time to move on.

With fully charged batteries I am ready to continue heading east. Tomorrow I’ll be taking the ferry from Italy to Croatia and from there I’ll head south through Montenegro and Albania into Greece where I’ll get some new rubber on the rear wheel. Fingers crossed for King Winter to be done with us for this season!

Representing Mosko Moto in Germany

When I started preparing my Honda CRF250L for traveling, I had the choice: to either build on a rack and continue with the saddle bags that I used in South America, or to mount the Mosko Moto Reckless 80 luggage system which doesn’t require a rack at all. I decided for the latter, saving on weight and keeping the bike small. It turned out to be one of the best decisions – being impressed by the quality and inventiveness of the Mosko Moto equipment, I showed my bags to fellow travellers at the Discover Overland weekend in the Netherlands just a few days before I took off. My enthusiasm was noticed and shared by Roel (MyTicketToRide), who told me that he was working on getting Mosko Moto material introduced in Europe. When he invited me to represent the company at the German motorbike fairs in Friedrichshafen and in Munich, I happily took on the chance to share my experiences with a broader audience. Timing was perfect: I was hibernating in Italy, waiting for the winter to pass. The only drawback was having to leave Harry behind … it was a weird and uncomfortable feeling to be separated for the first time, but there simply wasn’t another feasible option than taking the night-bus up to Germany. Read more

Hibernating in Tuscany

Although I planned to spend new year’s eve in my tent with Harry next to it, we opted for the better version: to celebrate with friends. Whereas Harry was accompanied by 2 old Moto Guzzi’s, I went to the beach with Antonella, Roberto and his 2 daughters while the clock was ticking away the last hours of 2017.

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My motto for 2018:

 

 

Take the opportunity as it comes along …

don’t take life too serious …

just hop on and enjoy the ride …

hold on tight and smile!

 

I wasn’t properly going to celebrate Christmas – until Antonio invited me and there would be no chance for his wife Raffaela accepting a decline of the invitation …

So there I was: enjoying Christmas dinner with a family that didn’t know, except for only 2 or 3 few-minutes’ chats. It didn’t matter. I was welcomed and I felt at home among the 12 persons’ company representing 3 generations (the 4th generation exists, but couldn’t join), holding roots in several countries.

All that tasty food, delicious drinks, jolly laughter and interesting conversations – not to mention Martina’s late-night singing performance. Mama Mia! This year’s Christmas eve was a very fulfilling one.

 

After another exquisite lunch on Christmas day we went ice-skating on the main square, as tradition prescribes. Result: sore feet, smiling faces and 1 pair of wet trousers (how that happened never became totally clear).

 

Simone, a friend of the family, insisted that I couldn’t leave without trying the Abruzzo specialty of ‘arrosticini’: skewers of grilled sheep meat, served with bread soaked in olive oil and home-made prosecco.

Grilling time and the quantity of salt, added at the exact right moment determine the perfection of the cook … Without any doubt, I happened to be catered by the absolute arrosticini-master of excellence … what an incredibly tasty meat that was! It truly reminded me of the Argentinian asado … and yes that is a big compliment to the chef!

A very, very big thank you once more to the entire family and the friends I met in Montesilvano!!!
Cold crossing

The ferry from Barcelona reached Civitavecchia after a fair 20 hours sail and 10 hours delay. Harry drove his first kilometres on Italian territory at a crispy 5 AM’s time – an exciting experience for the both of us. It took only a couple more hours to be properly introduced to the Italian driving style. No time for on-road day dreaming anymore … I’m handling traffic with the constant feeling that they’re trying to kill me here! I press the horn more often in one day now, as I did over the past months and that seems to be quite effective.

I enjoy to ‘do as the locals do’ and so I follow the advice of the guesthouse owner: visit the local thermal hot springs. A short ride brings me to an open-air collection of steaming baths in the middle of nowhere, looking out over the coastal town. What a warm welcome to Italy!

Soon I would discover that not all of Italy was that nice and warm at this time of year …

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