We intended to post these journal images while we were actually away on the tour but doing actual work seemed to get in the way. Here’s something of a retrospective of our first few weeks on Harley-Davidson’s Discover More 2015 tour.
From France we travelled north into the Alps crisscrossing between Italy, Switzerland and France to take in the best roads we could find, even if that meant going back on ourselves. The way we had chaptered the story of the tour before we left our studio in London, we had planned for the Alps to be an opportunity for Luis to really test the bike, pushing it to its limits and seeing how it handled the inclines and corners of the mountains. What we didn’t really account for was how this would also test Luis’ endurance. After a couple of hours on the St Bernards pass the bike was in fine shape having handled the hairpins and chicanes expertly. Luis, on the other hand, while we were conducting a quick recce with our drone, was fast asleep on a picnic table. This was to be the first of many mid-morning, mid-afternoon, mid-late afternoon, and early-evening naps that Luis would take most days while we were away.
The next few days were spent fluctuating in altitude, which did nothing for a bout of sinusitis I was suffering from (think taking off in a plane, trying to equalise your ears and it feels like pins in your cochlea), crossing mountain pass after mountain pass and through extremely changeable weather. We visited an extremely touristy town which at first looked like a low budget film set that was meant to be a quintessential ski resort. It turned out to be Chamonix, just without any of the snow. Still tacky though.
Our Alpine adventure finished in Italy at the Dolomites. This also came with a rare 2 days in one place so we had a chance to relax a bit before a huge slog down to the Adriatic coast of Italy. The first proper stop in Italy was to be a town called Rodi Garganico, a small town perched on the end of a peninsula looking out towards Croatia. We were visiting one of the traditional fish restaurants called a ‘Trabucco’ – a structure that looks a cross between a fishing boat and a treehouse with wooden struts affixing it to the rocky cliff over the sea, casting a net directly beneath it. It serves only what it catches in the nets below the restaurant. This marked the beginning of some of the best food we ate while we were away. Italy, you win again.
Unfortunately, we had to leave this sublime cuisine behind and get a ferry from Bari to Bar, Montenegro. This crossing was, quite honestly, the worst ferry experience I’ve had. Even crossing from Jordan to Egypt was a more pleasant experience, and there wasn’t even a working toilet then. The staff in the restaurant despised everyone, or perhaps just us, and treated us like we’d insulted their mothers and spat in their faces. We had to tell the captain on them and he scolded them like naughty school kids. We didn’t eat that night. Nor did we sleep. The cabins were an electricians nightmare and rattled for the entire 9 hours.