Well, COVID19 is still around, and making unsure any plans to do long trips abroad. So, we keep planning short trips, to places where we are sure that the situation won't change regarding Israeli ruling in the short time.
This time it was Aqaba, in Jordan.
This post will be a little different than others in this blog.
Usually I tell trip stories, day by day, to bring the feeling of the development of the trip. But this was a different year. And just as the year, this was a different trip. This time we postponed the experience of a motorcycle trip somewhere else, and exchanged it for a long weekend in Belgrade, one of the only destinations open to Israelis at these pandemic times, and for which Israel did not require a 14-day isolation upon return.
Our decision to go to Belgrade was spontaneous, nearly 1 week before the trip, when we saw a good deal to that destination. We consulted our friends Louiza and Shmil, and they decided to come with us.
I have gone through a difficult period in the last two months, which have happily finished now with my new adventure.
On the last November 16th (2019), after a great 3-day long weekend in Eilat, while coming home, actually while arriving home (we were two blocks from home), we were involved in a traffic accident that left my motorcycle unusable. A lady, who for her reasons (distraction, or just not being concerned about respecting the law) decided to do a left turn when the traffic light for her was red and green for me, left me with no option but to hit her in the back right side of the car.
The whole front of the motorcycle had been destroyed, the fix would be so expensive for the insurance that my options were to sell the broken motorcycle to a workshop for parts and get the remaining from the insurance, or to have it categorized as Total Loss.
So, in any case, for me, Sapphira was dead.
As usual with these situations, the story develops to a new adventure, that I describe with words and pictures in the continuation of this post.
It is only five days since we returned to Cyprus, and I find myself again in the airport, ready for another adventure.
The destination: BMW Motorrad Days 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
I took a flight to Zurich, and from there to Frankfurt, followed by a train to Darmstadt, where I would meet my good old adventures partner Shmil, and we would receive our rental bikes from our long-time friends Achim and Manfred from MCD – Motorrad Center Darmstadt.
Well, we are already at 2019 vacation time, and this time we decided to do something smaller... instead of a long 14-day vacation in which we move places almost every day, a smaller 8-day 7-night vacation in which we stay all the time in the same hotel.
The perfect place found for being the center of this trip was Paphos, in Cyprus.
Yesterday (Saturday 20/Apr/2019) I had the pleasure and the honor to accompany for a full day, together with my friend Shmil Afias, the world traveler Armin Thalhofer, from Germany, who is doing the first long stop (5 to 10 days) of his trip around the world here in Israel.
From right to left: Shmil Afias, Armin Thalhofer, and myself (photo: Helio Diamant)
In the last years I had the pleasure to meet some people that are doing very special travels in motorcycles, and it is always a pleasure to do so.
OK, so that time in the year arrived again.
As June began, my heart began to run faster. I was at that time in a business trip to Brazil, and I knew that from the moment I was supposed to arrive back home it was a question of two weeks for June 28th to arrive and with it my summer vacation.
This time we had a very interesting destination – or destinations, would be the right way to say it: Slovenia and Croatia.
Hotels were already set since February (and so the motorcycle rental), flying tickets were in place, and so it was only a question of doing the last adjustments in the itinerary, to represent the last discoveries of interesting places to visit, and move all the maps into the GPS.
In terms of friends, Shmil and Louiza were back with us for this trip, but unfortunately Eitan and Anat could not come. So, just like in 2017, this year we would be at a 2-couple configuration as well. Best trips are always done with best friends, so we were bound to a treat.
This was supposed to be our itinerary:
As June was going by, the vibrations of the upcoming trip began hitting harder and harder on me. It was already two years from the iconic last trip, in which I bought my BMW R1200RT in Germany and took it around Europe to Greece in order to ship it on a ferry from Lavrio to Israel.
I had been working since December 2016 on an itinerary for a tour in Romania, and after some interactions with Maria Danescu, our provider for the motorcycles from Romania Motorcycle Tours, it seemed to be ready.
Shmil and Louiza, our usual partners on tours since 2012, were not available this year. Shmil had just bought a motorcycle in Germany, like I did in 2015, and was up to other adventures, getting to the NordKapp in Norway. So, until May it seemed that Lilly and me would do the trip alone, but in May I was suddenly contacted by Eitan and Anat, who were with us in the Pyrenees in 2014 and in Greece in 2015, asking to join. So we were in 4, two motorcycles, and expecting a lot of fun.
Doing international trips in motorcycles is somehow like a drug - after you begin doing it, you can't stop. Stay two much time without doing it and you will surely get some kind of abstinence crisis. And I was surely already at this phase. Israel is a very small country, how many times can one visit the same places?
D Day arrived, and that was the 30th of June. We met Eitan and Anat at the airport, but travelled in different flights. Reason is that I used my mileage from Star Alliance, so there weren't direct flights available. We did a flight with Austrian, via Vienna, while Anat and Eitan travelled with El Al directly to Bucharest.
I invite you to read this article on the trip, to click the picture galleries to see the pictures in full size, and to see the video at the end of the article.
Well, I knew already at the beginning of the year that this was going to be a different year in terms of vacations; the girls had asked "no motorcycling boot-camp this year", and since they had been schleping after their husbands for the last 3 years in a row, they had well deserved this break.
So I decided to plan something relaxing, like spending 9 days in two greek islands, let's say, Santorini and Mykonos. Those were two islands that I've always wanted to visit, and this was the opportunity. I went from plan to execution already in March - United Airlines website to use part of my frequent flier miles for the flights, Booking.com for the hotels, and there it was, the vacation was on its way.
Then our good friends from other trips, Shmil and Louiza, decided to participate as well. We welcomed them happilly, this is a couple that we always like to travel with. At the last moment (around 3 weeks before we go on our way), a third couple, Amnon and Etti, asked to join us and were received in the group. Due to price differences, they took the flight to Santorini with Shmil and Louiza one day before us, and set to return half a day after Lily and me did.
The day came, and here we were ready to travel to Santorini.
(the view at the Athens airport)
This blog entry works as a trip log; I expect it to provide you not only with the opportunity to participate in our experience, but also some information about Santorini and Mykonos should you ever decide to visit there - and it is definitely worth the visit.
We have just gone through the Purim festivity here in Israel, an opportunity to take a long weekend vacation, get on the motorcycle with some friends, and get crazy.
This year we decided to go for a vacation at the North of Israel. Actually Lily and me were invited by our friends Shmil and Louiza to join them in a long weekend at the Upper Galilee.
We left in the morning of March 24th, heading North to the roads that take us to Carmiel, and from there to Mount Adir and to Zefat (Safed), ending our day in Metulla in the very North of the Upper Galilee.
Our first stop was just for some coffee, in Karmiel. There we managed to take this picture:
Helio is a gadget and motorcycling blogger, holding the sites MobilityFreak and Burgman & Co., the home of the Israel Burgman Club.