Visa The Grand Tour på en större karta
The year 2011 I did a major journey. The original plan was to ride about 8000 kilometres alone on my Ducati Monster. From my home in Madrid up north to where I come from, Karlstad Sweden. Then south and west through Denmark, Germany and Holland crossing over to England. Attending the annual WIMA Rally and finally south back to Spain. I divided the trip into five legs:
1. Going north: It was planned to be 7 days of riding to get to the ferry in Kiel and sail to Gothenburg. This was when I first stayed at the Grande Chaume and met Annice and John. The journey was challenging and I had trouble with the bike, needed a new chain and sprocket, knew no French and had lost the feeling of my legs. I stayed an extra day there, made friends for life and the rest got sorted.
Riding in France was hot and sweaty, food was strange and it was an overall wonderful experience.
After spending so many summers riding in Germany the riding in the well-known surroundings of the Eifel mountains and the cities on the way to Kiel was lovely in a familiar way.
2. Seeing friends and family: I spent roughly 2 weeks in Gothenburg and Karlstad seeing family and friends.
This is where I come from, the end of the road, the house between the forest and the fields.
3. Heading out: A welcome change to my plans, my Estonian friend Anneli joined with me and we headed south together.
We met up with Swedish Annelie for a reunion, we spent amazing days in Japan together so it was nice to caught up.
We rode down through Sweden, Denmark, Germany and took the ferry from Hook of Holland.
4. Touring England and WIMA rally: I spent 10 days touring in England and Wales, including the GB WIMA Rally.
At the WIMA rally we stayed in Lancaster and it is indeed a very nice city and the access of nice roads to ride was great. We were lodged at the university grounds and benefited from the services there. Those who wanted could still camp.
After 5 days of games, riding and parties it was time to set off again. I was heading to Wales and it was a new country for me therefore extraordinarily exciting. Some people collect stickers to display the places they’ve been to. I collect stickers but hesitate to stick them to my bike, one day I want alu-boxes like this lady, and all my stickers would go on it.
Wales was lovely and despite some rain there were lots of bikers on the street. In England the roads had the word SLOW written on them, here instead it read ARAF. Since both in England and Wales traffic was fast, both cars and bikers it seems like the need for reminders were necessary.
After Wales I returned to England and rode south. I stayed in Bath and then headed for Portsmouth.
5. Returning home: The last night I spent in Portsmouth, a lovely town on the coast. Then boarded the ferry and entered Spain 24 hours later in Santander. After that all that was left was one long day of riding. It was lovely to cross the country like that, seeing how the countryside changed from green up north to yellow further in and brown closer to Madrid.