Well, we are at Day 7 of our Road of Bones Trip and so far we have covered a great deal of terrain from London, England to Timisoara, Romania (after today). Everyone is in good spirits as we will be leaving the vast highways behind and will be entering more sub standard roadways with more scenic twisties and sweepers. The group consists of eight riders beginning with Mick McDonald, tour guide leader and owner of Compass Expeditions, Mick, Murray, Joe (Australian riders), Patrick (Colorado, USA), Isaac (San Diego, USA), George (Scotland) and Jacquie (Ontario, Canada). Patrick and Joe are riding two up with their spouses Lauren and Carmen as well as Jason (the support vehicle driver) who is also from Canada, however living in the UK.
On Day 1, which was Saturday, June 12th, we left the infamous Ace Cafe after a HUGE breakfast and a wonderful sendoff by fellow Compass Expedition Employees and Bikers. We were escorted out of London on our way to Dover, England by several riders taking pictures of our entire group beginning what will be for most, the biggest adventure of our lives. We arrived at the Ferry in Dover where we grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch before arriving in Calais, France. Once in Calais, we headed toward Rouen, France after re-fuelling and getting a few supplies for the bikes (chain link oil etc).
The ride through France was spectacular; rolling hills with plush green grass and trees against the English Channel in the background. The beauty of France’s farmlands as we passed over viaducts was breathtaking as we headed to Rouen, France. Once in Rouen, we parked our bikes for the night in front of Hotel Le Cardinal; a quaint hotel with a little outdoor patio in front for our first night of over 100 days remaining. Next, Rouen to Flavigny France……..
Day 2, Sunday June 13th, 2010 we headed off to Flavigny after a nice continental breakfast. Once again the scenery was beautiful as we travelled the highway to our next destination. Just prior to Flavigny we stopped at a small town whose old building were from a time past; all the buildings were made of old stone and cobblestone roadways as we crossed a stone bridge that had a flowing waterfall below. Flavigny was an ancient town that one can just not say enough about. It is from a time past in which all the homes and buildings are made of stone and has a stunning view looking over a horizon of farmland in the distant. Mary, our host, served a traditional beef bourguignon complimented by a skewer of tomato and cheese appetizer with salad, local wine from the area and a three desert finale which included creme brulee (one of France’s originals). The hospitality was second to none. Obviously there was a lot of thought put into our accommodations from Mick McDonald as the entire group feasted and slept amongst the local residents of Flavigny France. Job well done Mick and Compass Expeditions……..
Leaving Flavigny, Monday, June 14th (Day 3) was difficult as it is such a beautiful mideaval town however the road was once again before us and as most bikers will tell ya moving forward on two wheels is the best way to travel and another destination was ahead of us. We must apologize for the lateness of these entries onto our blog and the lack of pictures however internet connections as well as usage of computers has been a challenge more complicated than the road trip. However, we will endeavor and keep writing until we are able to send you some of our beautiful pictures. On our travels towards Switzerland we left the highway and began our pass through the winding rounds and started seeing some of the more picturesque views of the lakes and waterfalls as we were making our way up into higher altitudes. Once again, BREATHTAKING!!!!! We stayed at Hotel Shuetzen which sat in front of of the most grand and stunning views of waterfalls and mountains. In the morning the cows were escorted through town ring their cowbells which was the most beautiful sounds. Next, Switzerland to Austria
Arrived in Austria Tues afternoon, June 15th and 16th (Day4 & 5) and observed many castles on mountainside. As we came into Austria we ducked in and out of Germany once and back into Austria as well as passing through Lichtenstein (a country of it’s own). Even though we arrived fairly late, the city doesn’t get dark until after 10pm at night. This is the land of Mozart. This time in Salzburg was our 2 day layover where people were able to catch up with their laundry, sight see and head to the old city leading to the magnificent palace that sat on top of the mountain overlooking the entire city. Many pictures were taken of all the magnificent views as the mountainous terrain was spectacular and many medieval buildings as well. Sightseeing through Salzburg some people of the group were able to capture the beautiful cathedral churches on film, smell some of the aromas of freshly baked streudal enticing one to stop and take a taste in the local pastry shops. We stayed at the Best Western Hotel which was once again an excellent choice made by Compass Expeditions. Next, Hungary bound……….
So, Day 6 (Thursday, June 17th) were off again and our destination is Budapest, Hungary. Today will be a long day of highway riding, approx. 560 kms worth of riding, and we will be stopping at a little boat shed for a picnic lunch by the fields of a wheat crop. Jason, the support vehicle driver and bike mechanic, has been awesome in accommodating us with our picnic lunches as well as providing maintenance to the bikes. Our lunches have been a feast of local cheeses and fruit with croissants and freshly baked breads. We all leave well satisfied. Preparing to stop at the border into Hungary with our passports, we were surprised to find that the border crossing wasn’t manned so it was clear sailing. Weather improved from overcast skies and spitting rain to a warm and sunny day. Once arriving in Budapest we all have agreed that this so far has been the best city for its beauty as the Danube separates what was once two cities, Buda and Pest. Buda was the administration side with the grand Parliament House that overlooks the Danube and Pest was the industrial and trade centre. With fireworks over the Danube at night as we ate at one of the local cafes and experienced an array of pastries from one of the oldest pastry shops in the world (where Veronica McDonald’s grandfather once worked) an experience that brought the taste buds alive. So, now we are heading for Timisoara, Romania which we have heard it will lead us to Dracula’s Castle so we’ll keep you with us and informed once we get there…. hopefully as we are at the mercy of internet connections.
Posted by Jacquieby