The destination: BMW Motorrad Days 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
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:
I have posted some weeks ago the full story of our trip to Europe, with a focus on the Greek Mountains. That post had a lot of pictures of the trip, but not all of them.
In case you are interested in seeing the whole set of pictures (764 in total), you can see them at this Picasa album.
Additionally, I have edited two videos of the trip, from the 9 hours of videos and pictures that I have accumulated in the 16 days.
The first video is a full video, with 59 minutes, that shows quite well the views, the riding, and the experience we had there. Here it is.
The second one, a shorter version with 22 minutes only, also gives a view of the experience for those with less time (or less patience) to view the full video.
So I hope you enjoy the videos and the pictures.
Well, whoever is following these posts has surely noticed that I have been very quiet in the last two weeks. The reason for that was that, as you have seen in the last articles, I've been very busy enjoying a journey from Germany to Greece with my two ladies: my wife Lily, and Saphira, my new motorcycle.
This post is all about a journey log. I am trying to tell day-by-day what we did, how we felt and how it was, together with showing a little of the beauty of the places we passed by.
It all began in the last article, when I arrived to Germany to get Saphira from the dealer I bought it from, and traveled to Vienna in Austria to meet my wife. That was Saturday the 8th of August, I arrived after 700 Km of riding to the Park Inn Hotel in Vienna, and my wife was supposed to arrive at in the Austrian Airlines flight from Tel Aviv at 19:00. But the flight did not arrive. It was cancelled due to two broken toilets. People from Austrian Airlines in Tel Aviv told my wife to go back home that they would call her to reassign her to another flight in two hours, and she could be waiting until today, because nobody called. Since it was a Saturday in Israel, there was nobody to call as well.
Luckily, when the Universe is at your side, everything aligns to make things go right. That wasn't really an Austrian paid flight (what would lock me with Austrian), but an United mileage flight with a Star Alliance airline. So I called United in the US, explained the situation, and in 5 minutes they changed Lily's reservation to a flight by Aegean Airlines, leaving Israel at 4 am in the same night, and arriving Vienna at 10 am, after a connection in Athens. Using the reservation number, I already checked her in to the flight, and used Google Chrome's Cloudprint feature to print her boarding cards at our home printer, so she had them immediately. At 10 am Lily was landing in Vienna. Since we had planned a full day there, we only lost an evening and half day visiting the city. Our schedule, however, was not modified.
Some pictures of Vienna (as usually in this blog you can always click the picture to see its full version in big size).
Well, here I am after two days in a VERY HOT Germany.
I travelled in the night between Wednesday and Thursday (August 5th-6th), in a Turkish Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul and then Lufthansa from Istanbul to Frankfurt.
After arriving in Frankfurt, I travelled directly to Darmstadt and to MCD (Motorrad Center Darmstadt) to begin doing with them the paperwork that would allow me to drive the bike in Europe. First we did the temporary insurance and license plate for the bike, and with the two of them ready, we went to their transportation authority to have the license and certificate of property printed.
After that, to the customs office, in order to print the EUR.1 form for the export. There I had a first surprise (not a good one this time): it comes out that the itinerary for the trip that I planned to Greece could not be done. The fact was that Serbia and Macedonia are not part of the European Union, and I could not travel there and then return to the EU in Greece. So I needed to prepare an alternative trip plan that included only EU countries.
With that in mind, I finished the process with them, and then went to finish the whole thing there at MCD offices. After 3 hours from the moment we began, we shook hands, and the girl was mine.
Helio is a gadget and motorcycling blogger, holding the sites MobilityFreak and Burgman & Co., the home of the Israel Burgman Club.