Written by Eddie & Lorraine Hornblow, forum members of our previous website, who spent three weeks of the summer of 2011 exploring many countries of Europe. The article is a diary of the trip in their ownwords.
Alcalali to Barcelona (Spain)
Nothing special but a nice ride missing the motorways. Stayed at an Ibis Hotel within walking distance of the cathedral, got a taxi to Las Ramblas. Spent a couple of hour's wandering along Las Ramblas watching the street entertainer's had a bite to eat and back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.
Barcelona to Millau (Spain / France)
Fantastic roads and part of the A75 into Millau was like the Calpe bends only 10 times longer Found our 2-star hotel in Millau, but everything about it you would think it was 4 stars.
Booked in and the owner told me to put the bike in his garage.
Next, a well earned shower and a walk into the village, which was only a couple of minutes, and what a lovely village.
Back to the hotel for dinner and I have to say one of the best meal's that we have had for a long time,18€ for 3 courses. Would like to go back at some time.
Millau to Dijon (France)
Before leaving Millau we took some pics of the bridge before riding over it, and yes it is high. Rather than riding directly to Dijon I headed to St. Etienne and then onto Dijon. It was really worthwhile crossing viaducts and riding down twisting road's through woodland's truly spectacular. Arrived Dijon and the sat nav took us right outside the Etap Hotel where we had booked in, excellent value for money.
There is a bus stop right outside the hotel so the next day we had a rest from the bike and took the bus into town. Again what a lovely town, we spent the day sightseeing, eating and drinking. After so much walking my bad leg started to play up, so a sit down was in order. As Lorraine was looking in a shop window I saw a couple of big metal bollards in the road, so I decided to sit on one. As I sat on one it disappeared into the ground and I found myself lying on the ground, much to the delight of Lorraine. Back to the hotel, shower and change out for a nice meal and bed.
Dijon to Wissen (France / Germany)
Again really nice ride, not too many straights but when we got closer to Wissen it really did start to get twisty. Going through forest's gorges before arriving at Bob's B & B for biker's. The house was originally a 16-century barn which Bob has converted into a house with lots of character as the little village that it is in. We have a couple of day's here so the next day we took a train into Colne, a 1-hour ride. It was the cleanest, quietest train that I have ever travelled on. Back to Bob's for a shower and of to a steak restaurant that Bob recommended. It was called The Old Bake House and what a steak I could not finish it.
Next day we took the bike for a one and a half hour ride to the Mohne Dam which is one of the dams that the RAF bombed. When you are standing on the water's edge you can imagine our brave our lads were flying at low level, while been fired upon and having to hold a precise course. On the way back to Bob's we stopped at a roadside cafe where I had schnitzel ( which was the size of the plate ) and chip's and Lorraine had burger and pasta cup of tea each 11.30€ and it was delicious.
Wissen to Hamburg (Germany)
Arrived Hamburg and stayed at an Etap again, clean and cheap. After a good night's sleep next morning we brought a ticket for 9.60€, this cover's up to 5 people and give's you 24-hour travel on the train, bus and water taxi. Took a boat trip around the port ( largest in Europe ) saw them unloading container ships, I did not realise how big these ships are. Had a good look around the city before returning to the Etap.
Hamburg to Odense (Germany / Denmark)
Short day riding 266 km, weather was a bit colder but good for riding had two 10 min showers. Arrived at the motel. Fab place and only 10 min walk to Hans Christian Anderson's house.
I have never seen so many beautiful looking blonde women. A really quaint village, worth a stop.
Odense to Copenhagen (Denmark)
Only 158 km today through fantastic scenery went over the longest bridge that I have ever seen, it goes across the sea, the sat nav showed a black line with a bike on it and blue all around. Found our hotel and waited for the arrival of Sharon, Johan, Greg and Maria. Managed to park the bike in front of the hotel in view of our room.
Next day we all took the sightseeing bus around Copenhagen.
Copenhagen to Gothenburg (Denmark / Sweden)
Johan, Sharon, Greg and Maria took the train to Malmo to pick up their hired bikes, Lorraine and I rode the Tiger to meet them at the bike shop. After what seemed forever they finally transferred their clothes from suitcases to panniers. Johan and Sharon on the Varadero 1000 and Greg and Maria on the VFR 1200. We did not stay in Gothenburg we stayed at Johan's cousins just outside Gothenburg.
On the way to Mike's, it started to rain and did it rain we all got soaked. We found Mike's house bang in the middle of a forest. Mike has a huge garage with heating so we all stripped off in the garage and jumped into the sauna. After the sauna and dressed in dry clothes we had a great BBQ with Mike and his lovely family, they have a boy and a girl who are both top motocrossers. Above the garage mike has what he call's THE LOFT, we had 6 mattresses on the floor to sleep on and can Johan snore. Next morning we had breakfast supplied by Mike and his wife but cooked by Johan and as the sun was shining we ate breakfast outside. Then it's off to Oslo.
Gothenburg to Oslo (Sweden / Norway)
The scenery and roads on the way to Oslo just got better and better and the sun shone all the time. Johan had booked a 2-star Pension in the middle of Oslo for us, and I must say he did us proud, it was really great. We unpacked showered and went out for dinner and a beer then back to the hotel and bed. Next morning we all met up for breakfast before taking the sightseeing bus around Oslo. We visited the Kon Tiki and the Viking Ship museums, both very interesting. On our return back to the hotel we took the water taxi and a tram.
Oslo to Gudvangen Fjordtell (Norway)
Well, the roads just get better and better snaking along fjords, we went through what I believe to be the longest tunnel in the world at 24.5 km. We arrived at Gudvangen Fjord ( the owners are friends of Johan and Sharon’s ) to find one of the best settings I have seen.
The cabins that we stayed in had glass panels in the roof and when you laid on the bed you could see waterfalls running down the cliffs (p1020030), Lorraine said it made a change to looking at a ceiling. The owners said that one of the waterfalls was the longest in the world. On the other side of the fjord there is a Viking camp, we tried to leave Johan here but they would not let him in.
Next day the owners arrange a picnic for us all. We had to follow their car up this tiny twisty mountain road until we could not go any higher where we stopped. Fur rugs were put down and the food laid out and what a feast. It was quite surreal sitting on the top of a mountain in shirt sleeves but with snow drifts all around.
After we had had our fill the owners drove their car back the same way that we had come, but we carried on down the mountain on our bikes. Again a spectacular ride, we ended up at a ferry stop where we boarded for a two and a half hour boat trip back to Gudvangen but not before Lorraine made friends with 3 Norwegian lads.
Next day we all rode into Bergan about one and a half hours. I used to go to Bergan for work so I thought that I would try and find the family that I had not seen for 17 years. As luck would have it Asbjorn lives on an Island just off of Bergan only one Asbjorn Soltvedt, it had to be him, in the phone book. So I phoned him and it was, he asked all of us to his house for dinner. The really strange thing is all of his children are now married with their own children, where have the years gone.
Gudvangen to Oslo (Norway)
We took a more scenic route back to Oslo, if you have not ridden in Norway you do not know what you are missing, stopping for lunch and coffees. We stayed the night at the pension again. Booked in, shower food and drink and off to bed.
Oslo to Johan’s Cousins (Norway / Sweden)
Back to the loft, sauna, bbq and a few drinks before all turning in ready for the next day.
Johan’s Cousins to Helsingborg (Sweden)
After breakfast again cooked by Johan it was a farewell to a wonderful family on to Anderstrop race circuit unfortunately it was closed we thought that we could buy a t-shirt. From Anderstrop we headed to Helsingborg which is where Johan grew up. And what a lovely place, got to go back. Following Johan as he shows us his old school etc. and of course the full size statue of a moose.
Johan, Sharon, Greg and Maria were staying the night here before taking their hired bikes back the next day. Lorraine and I rode down to Helsingborg port and caught the midnight ferry to Rostock north Germany.
From here we rode through Germany, Luxemburg, France and back to Spain and home. Nothing special about the ride home other then as we were travelling aprox.140 km/h the roof rack including the luggage came of the car in front of us. Lucky for us the road was quite and we were able to miss it.
If what we were told is true, we rode over the tallest bridge, rode through the longest tunnel, sailed on the narrowest fjord also on the largest fjord and saw the longest waterfall.
This was one fantastic trip and I would like to say a big thank you to Johan Sharon, Greg and Maria for their company and all the laughs we had together, a huge thanks to Johan’s cousin and family for their hospitality truly fantastic and of course to my wife Lorraine for putting up with me for all those miles.
8600 kms not bad for a couple of pensioners.
Now to plan the Long Way Down, anyone want to join us.