Touring with a motorcycle is a challenging experience. Physically and emotionally. It involves a combination of anxiety and exhilaration. It can be exhausting and liberating the same time. It is fun and adventurous. A motorcycle allows to connect with the world, to become one with the surrounding environment. You see everything, you smell everything, you feel everything. It is nothing like travelling by car or train. It is also much more affordable.
First day of the tour. We crossed the channel and by afternoon we were on Arras, a cultural, beautiful, cobbled medieval town in north France with a spectacular architecture. The Flemish Baroque façades of the brick buildings that are lined in the Grand Place are unique. Between the squares along the Grand Place there are lots of little beautiful cafés serving croissants and delicious tarte tropézienne. Arras is also the home town of one of the most influential figures of the French Revolution, Maximilien de Robespierre.
Second day of the tour. We moved further south, towards Dijon, the capital of Burgundy region. A medieval city, famous for its mustard and of course, the wine. Everything in Burgundy is about wine. Surrounded by farms and vineyards, Dijon has a sense of mystery. It’s perhaps its narrow streets or the gargoyles that are staring down from the Church of Notre-Dame.
Third day of the tour. We left Dijon and France driving towards Switzerland in the region of the three lakes, Biel, Neuchâtel and Murten. Our destination was the bilingual town of Biel/Bienne. An interesting linguistically divided city, where German and French are equally spoken. Sitting on the northeastern shores of Lake Biel is the metropolis of watchmaking and in the Omega museum you can learn all about watches. To arrive there, we crossed mountains and forests, valleys and beautiful villages populated more by cows rather than by people
Fourth day of the tour. Riding the Jura Mountains, in the north side of the Western Alps, in Switzerland. One of the most amazing and, at the same time, terrifying ridings we have ever done. Still, the scenery is grand and breathtaking. Dark green hills, majestic trees, beautiful medieval villages.
We stopped for a while at the beautiful old town of St. Ursanne at the river Doubs, a cute medieval small town full of lime trees. We then crossed the Black Forest towards Germany. Our forth destination is the town of Gengenbach, on the western edge of the Black Forest. We spent the night in a small hotel just outside the town.
Fifth day of the tour. Fifth day of riding and our muscles can tell the difference. Legs and butts were getting sore and the heatwave that hits north Europe did not help. First stop of the day was the city of Baden – Baden, the historical spa city in Germany. A beautiful city full of cafes and art shops. We then moved to Wissembourg, an old bilingual town in the borders between France and Germany and from there we got the road D3 towards Saarbucken. It’s an amazing route exactly at the borders. Hilly forests, sleepy villages, some part of France, others of Germany. After a while we could tell which village belongs to which country, but this a story for another time. Our destination this evening was Luxembourg City.
Sixth Day of the tour. We spent the morning in Luxembourg City, the busy, internationalised, tiny, capital city of Luxembourg. Due to heat wave and the noise, it was uncomfortable to walk around but we were able to see the remnants of the old fortress in the old town, to walk for a while under the arches and admire the impressive seventeenth century Notre Dame Cathedral.
We then drove towards Belgium, in the riverside citadel of Namur, the capital city of the Wallonia region. Namur, is a charming, lively city, citing at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre Rivers. Final destination this evening was Brussels where we had the opportunity to meet good friends.
Seventh Day of the tour. After a short stop in Ghent, we drove towards Bruges (Brugge in Dutch). If you are looking for a fairytale town, you will find it here, in West Flanders. Bruges is so serene and beautiful, you can just walk in its streets for hours, admiring its grace and style. I would like to see more of Bruges, to explore its art scene. I would like to see it again in the winter when everything is silent and icy and in the spring when the daffodils are blooming.
Bruges was the final destination of our road trip. The final day, is the return date. In the past 8 days, we crossed 5 countries. Our butts and legs are sore, we suffered from the extreme heat, we are tired, but we enjoyed it immensely. And, we are already thinking our next road trip.