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:
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:
June 19th. Two years of waiting since our last motorcycle tour in France and Italy have finally come to an end. Lily and me are again on our way to the Ben Gurion Airport, from where we will take our flight to Barcelona.
At the airport, we meet our friends and partners to the adventure: Shmil and Louiza, who were together with us in our previous trip in France and Italy, Eitan and Anat, who were with me four years ago in a tour in Austria, Arik and Rachel, who are old acquaintances, but with whom I am travelling for the first time.
Our first stop is in Barcelona, where we will spend our first afternoon and night, and to where we will return at the end of the trip.
The first evening in Barcelona was mainly for arrangements and rest from the flight. We bought local SIM cards, Arik visited the Harley Davidson store in Barcelona to order some parts to take back with him to Israel, we set the schedule for the next day during a dinner at the Rambla, and went to enjoy a good night of sleep, important after waking up at 5AM in the beginning of the day.
In the next morning, at 9:00, we left the hotel with all our things, in order to receive the rental motorcycles: three BMW R1200RT and one BMW R1200GS for Eitan, who is too tall for the RT. It took time until we managed to finish installing all the equipment in the motorcycles and organizing our luggage in the side and top boxes - it is a really obscure science, in which a box which looks completely full now may look empty in two days, so the secret is to bring the "two days" to now and take advantage of every spot in which something can be put.
At the end, at the time of 12:30, we were ready to go. First destination: Blanes, in the Costa Brava.
There weekends ago I had the chance to make a visit to Portobelo, in Panama.
The first thing that caught my eye was still related to the way. After the radius of 50 Km from Panama City one feels he has entered a different country, much less evolved than the Panama in which we were before. The wide roads disappeared, we get to a narrow road, with some rustic houses around it, and a lot of waste leaks in the road.
As you approach Portobelo, the rustic houses become mixed with vacation condominiums for the rich. You ride the road with the seashore at your side, and enjoy many kilometers of beautiful beaches. And at the end, you arrive to Portobelo.
First thing you see is the fortress, or what is left of it...
From the beginning of this year, I have been travelling a lot to Panama, and while I was expecting some regular Central American small republic, I have found a stunning country, with a lot of life, a lot of business, a lot of fun, and mainly, natural beauty that is not easy to find anywhere else.
In the image above, you can see a panoramic view of the Pacific Coast at Panama City's shore.
Panama has it all: a capital, Panama City, which is the center of government and business, a very active lifestyle, a completely American culture (though they all speak Spanish - and in most cases Spanish-only), malls based on the American model, and with prices which can be compared to prices in the US, excellent restaurants, shiny hotels with great service, and much more. And - how can we forget - the Canal, which guarantees to this fast-growing country an income of millions of dollars per day.
The Panama Canal, and a large cargo ship going through it. The characteristic of the canal is in the fact that there is a height difference between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans in this area, and the canal compensates this difference by using closed floodgates in order to lift or lower the ships according to the direction they are going.
Helio Diamant is a technology and motorcycling blogger. He owned the site MobilityFreak.co.il. (formerly pocketpcfreak.com) from 2001 to 2023 and the site Burgman & Co., the home of the Israel Burgman Club between 2010 and 2014. From 2019 to 2020 he wrote for the Israeli Moto Magazine. Nowadays he posts about lifestyle and motorcycle trips here, and about technology at LinkedIn.com.