23.04 - Kurozwęki 2006 Spring Rally is over and we would like to thank our friends, who came to Kurozwęki. We leave this miraculous place and together with a group of our friends go to Częstochowa. One of our friends – Vitali – is a priest from Ukraine and he was one of the priests running the mass. Vitali was our host in Charkov in June last year. Over 2000 bikers came to Częstochowa.
At 3.30 p.m. we arrive at our home in Międzyrzecze Górne and are very warmly welcomed by our family.
We are back home, safe and sound. We did it!
To summarise our travel around the World, we covered 74800 km on a bike in 10 months and 20 days – 325 days. We averaged 230 km per day. The fully loaded bike with me and Małgosia weighted a half of a metric ton and consumed 6,25 l of gasoline per 100 km. We burned 4700 liters of gasoline to cover the distance. Except for minor damages, the bikes did great.
We used 4 front and 5 rear tyres and did not catch a flat once. Because of one of the heavily worn tyres we had to give up going to Urumi and Atacama deserts.
We flew 14 times and covered 44800 km in a plane, that's including our travel from USA to Poland in October last year. We also rode a train, once in Russia and second time in Peru – 900 km altogether. We also rode boats and ferries over a total distance of 2360. Other means of transportation included cars, busses, trams and a back of a camel. We visited 30 countries and crossed many rivers and lakes.
When it comes to travelling, we will have break for now, but will soon start planning our next voyage.
We hope you had fun reading the news and watching the photos. Thanks for reading!
22.04 – We are having wonderful time in Kurozwęki. Everything is going as planned. The sun is shining and it's really warm. Th trip was great.
21.04 – The beginning of Kurozweki 2006 Spring Rally. Tonight we are having a great dinner and a party, tomorrow we will see dungeons of the castle and a bison ranch and after lunch we will go for the trip I planned yesterday. On Saturday's evening we will have a bonfire and barbecue. On Sunday morning some of us are going to Częstochowa (the rest goes home), where we will take part in a service for bikers, held in a famous monastery on Jasna Góra. It's famous for the miraculous painting of Mother of God with Jesus.
20.04 - Kurozwęki – is a village with a palace from the 14th century. It has a wonderful atmosphere and we can „recharge our batteries”. We are preparing a motorcycle rally for our friends. Malgosia is preparing the accommodation and the menu and I plan a route for Saturday's trip all the partakers of the rally will go for on their bikes. The weather is still beautiful and the landscape turns green. The owner of the palace, Mr. Marcin Popiel welcomed us cordially and offered a special discount for our friends, who are coming here.
19.04 – A cruise through Poland: Wrocław (Breslau), Opole, Częstochowa, Jędrzejów. At 7.08 p.m. we close our tour of the World in Kurozwęki, where we started our travel. Our first impression is as if we left just yesterday. The weather is beautiful – we brought it.
18.04 – The weather forecast turns out to be true and we leave Dietzenbach near Frankfurt, we ride an auto-bahn next to Wirzburg, Bayroth, Hof, Drezden and Gorlitz (Zgorzelec) which is in Poland. We close the CDP Carnet in a polish customs office after two hours of waiting, because none of the officers knew how to do it. We and our bike have returned to our motherland, where we set out from on 6 June 2005. We stay at Prnijawor Motel just few miles before Bolesławiec.
17.04 – The holiday time of family meetings and peace is over. We had great time here, but kept watching weather forecasts. The weather is expected to improve. Warmer and no rain – that's good news!
13-16.04 – We are staying with my family, here, in Dietzenbach, until the end of Easter Holiday. Happy Easter!
12.04 – The time has come to leave Ludwigzburg and our hosts – Karin and Andzbert. The weather is really bad – rainy and very cold. We head for Frankfurt am Main. This is where we have a pre-agreed meeting with my dad, his cousin and the part of my family, which lives in Germany. Riding on an autobahn in rain today resembles riding through a car wash. The cold water gets everywhere amd the temperature is only 3C. Luckily, we do not have to ride like this very far and at our destination it's warm ans dry. We are warmly welcomed after a really long time since our last meeting.
We would like to wish you all the Happiest of Easters. May this Easter bring you love, peace and happiness.
08-11.04 – We are staying at Ludwigzburg castle. Erected in 1733 it initially served as game huntig base, but in time it grew and grew and today is a huge complex surrounded by gardens, parks and small palaces. Our host – Andzbert and his family are living in the castle, because of his profession. We are taking a rest and sightseeing the castle and the town. We also visit local shops selling motorcycle parts and accessories and buy some new things to replace the used ones we have. The weather is variable, but it is cold all the time. We are welcomed by our friends and enjoy their hospitality.
07.04 – In the morning, at 9.30 a.m. we leave Trento. It's cold, only 3C.We are heading for Brenner Pass and suffer even more bitter coldness with each covered kilometer. In the shadowed places there's ice on the road. After one surprise pass over one of those places and a slight slip of the rear wheel, we are taking it really easy and slow. On the pass the temperature is minus 4C. We are freezing and decide to stop in a bar and have some hot broth. Further is Austria (Innsbruck) and Germany (Ausburg, Stuttgart and finally Ludwigsburg). This is where we stop to pay a visit to Andzbert, one of our friends, who 10 months ago saw us leaving Kurozweki, at the beginning of our journey. The whole 600 km long stage today was dominated by coldness and great views of snow covered Alps. In the higher parts of Alps the skiing season is still on. In the evening we have a small feast prepared by our hosts.
06.04 – We are sightseeing Trento and waiting for the weather to change. We need good weather to cross the Alps through Brenner pass - 1374 m ASL.
05.04 – We move on, northwards, through lovely Tuscany – lovely landscapes, warmth and sunshine. We chosse side roads to see all the beautiful towns and villages on our way. We cross the Apennines and the border of Tuscany and Emilia Romania, going down the road no. S12 through Abertone Pass 1388 m ASL. This is where we are caught by full winter. Skiers are everywhere, snow is falling, but luckily it melts, not covering the road. A while later, when we descend to a vally, the snow turns into rain. The rest of the road to Trento passes in rain and coldness. We find a great hotel - Ostello della Gioventu "Giovanne Europa" www.goyaproject.org e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org tel.0461 263484, via Torre Vanga 9 – neat and clean – 40 Euro for a 2 bedded room with bathroom and breakfast, 130 km before the Brenner Pass. We also checked the weather forecast for tomorrow – bad news – snow and cold. We decide to stay until the forecast is favorable for us.
04 Apr. - We leave Rome and the Polish Pilgrim's House and take R-2 northwards, heading to Siena. Once in Tuscany, we visit Pienza (on UNESCO's list), Montepulcjano, Montalcino (famous for it's wine), St. Ginignano (a town, where people live in real towers) and, finally Certaldo (60 km after Siena), where we stop for the night in Latini hotel - www.ristorantelatini.com. We pay 50 Euro for a room (well, it's Tuscany after all). The weather today is really beautiful and the view were really marvelous. Tuscany is very beautiful, the landscapes are unique: hills, tall trees, pines, cypress trees, beautiful, fresh green grass and lots of flowers. We covered only 300 km today.
2-3 Apr. - We are sightseeing in Rome and have the best guide there is. We met a couple of great historians from Poland who are working with Vaticans archives, searching for information concerning the middle ages. In their free time the Polish historians are working as tour guides. It is a great opportunity for us to learn about Rome's history. Of course, we also took part in all official events held to commemorate John Paul II, including the most important one held on St. Peter's Square. The weather in Rome is excellent and it's really warm. We are happy to have come here.
01 Apr. - This is not April fool's – we are going to Vatican to pay our respect to one of the greatest Poles in history – John Paul II. Before we do it we pass through San Remo, but a really bad weather spoils the fun. Later we head towards Genoa and from there we take E-80 to Livorno, Civitavecchia and, finally, Rome. Having covered 680 km we stop in Polish Pilgrim's House on via Cassia. WE have been here two years ago, while taking part in 60th anniversary of Monte Cassino battle. We also met the pope at that time. A few days ago we were as close as 1200 km from home, according to our GPS and now we are 500 km further, but after such a long ride around the World it does not make too much of a difference.
31 Apr. - In the morning we continue our ride along Cote d'Azure, heading eastwards. On our way we pass through numerous small towns hosting many luxurious yachts. Everything seems to be waiting for the high season to begin. We like it better this way – quiet and calm. We stop in St. Tropez to see the harbor and the old town. We slowly continue towards the Italian border, visiting Cannes, Nice, Monaco with it's capital – Monte Carlo, where we visit the palace and the casino. After we cross the Italian border we stop in Ospedaletti, 7 km before San Remo in a family-run hotel. We have a nice and inexpensive, for Italian standards, supper and Małgosia has a chance to talk as much Italian as she likes. I'd like to summarize our voyage along the Mediterranean coast – if you like noise, commotion, luxury and show-off – this is the place for you; if you don't – do not go there. We also remembered that 2 April is the date of John Paul's II death and decide to go to Rome tomorrow.
30 Mar. - In the morning we have the last look at the fortress – an impressive and monumental view! We return to the Mediterranean shore and continue our ride along it. We cross through Montpellier, Marseilles and Tulon (this is where Cote d'Azure begins – all the time along sandy beaches). We stop 30 km before St. Tropez in Le Lavandou in a hotel located virtually on the beach. Everything is still snoozing before the high season, there's nothing to do here after 9 p.m. People here live in a different way compared to the Spaniards, who in fact start their evening at 9 p.m. The weather is fine and they say that in France it rains heavily.
29 Mar. - After four days in Barcelona we say goodbye to Jorge. We head northwards, trying to stay as close to the Mediterranean coast as possible. We ride along Costa Brava and later cross the French border. In Narbonne we turn towards the main land and ride to Carcassone – a city-fortress. The city lies on a hilltop, surrounded by monumental city walls. We take an evening walk around the city and sleep in a hotel hugging to the huge walls, which protected the city ages ago. We cover 480 km today.
28 Mar. – Another technical day. I change the oil (a little late, the last one's been done in Buenos Aires). We also manage to find some time to see the castle and its surroundings. From the castle hill there's a great view of the city and the harbor. We also meet Jorge today. He passed some sad news. After the last Sunday's bike race in Jerez seven bikers died in accidents while returning home. There's just not enough common sense and attention on the roads these days.
26-27 Mar. – We spend two days sightseeing this beautiful city, located at Mediterranean Sea. The monuments one should see while in Barcelona are: a cathedral from 14th century and all buildings designed by Gaudi including Sagrada Familia. The number of buildings in Barcelona designed by this artist is impressive and the buildings themselves are real pieces of art.
25 Mar. – We set out from Penafier and head eastwards along N122, through Soria to Zaragoza. From there we take N11 to Lleida and later A2 to Barcelona – 650 km. We have a good weather the whole day, although it's been cold until we cross a mountain pass (altitude 1200 meters ASL) – then it gets warm – 22C. We can have a good look at snow-covered mountains on both sides of the road. The views are great – spring wakes up flowers and trees, there's a village or small town on almost every hilltop. Tonight we have a real apartment just for ourselves, courtesy of a biker we met in Morocco – Jordi Monjo.
24 Mar. – In coldness and rain, we leave this area of Atlantic currents' influence, where massive, dark clouds virtually roll over the soaked ground leaving it even more wet. We ride from Farima along N113 to Tomar and then along N110 to A23 highway, which leads north-eastwards to Guarda. From here we take E80 to Valladolid in Spain. From Valladolid, eastwards, along N122 towards Soria. Having covered 612 km we stop in a motel in Panafier, Valladolid province, which is famous for its excellent red wine - "Protos del Ribera Duero”, www.riberexpo.com . A beautiful castle from 10th century towers above the town and houses an exhibition of old tools and equipment used for wine production. It did not rain today, although heavy clouds rolled across the sky at the speed of an airplane. At least they rolled significantly higher than yesterday letting us admire the views. To tell the truth, we should ride from town to town and see everything. Today we crossed 70.000th kilometer of our voyage and the bike has travelled 120000 km since it left production line in 2000.
23 Mar. – The weather today is really outrageous. An arctic cold wind and rain, the umbrellas are useless, we decide not to go out today. Fatima is a place, where Mother of God revealed herself to three children looking after sheep on 13 May 1917. There’s been much debate over this revelation, until the next revelation, this time to 70 thousand people. Late in the evening we finally make it to the sanctuary located in a white church, which is also a catholic center of Portugal. John Paul II visited this place thrice, in 1982, 1991 and in 2000.
22 Mar. – In the morning we leave Lisbon and head westwards, along the Rio Tajo. The road leads to the westernmost spot of Europe, GPS N 38 46,850' WO 09 29,866'. We take some photos here and admire the views from a high cliff. From here we head to Sintra – a summer residence of Portuguese royalty. We have a look at a architectural masterpiece, like from a fairy-tale, erected by the muslim in the time of their rule in Portugal and rebuilt in 14th and 15th centuries by the king Manuel I. He could afford that thanks to Vasco Da Gama and the import of pepper. The locals say: „To see the World and not to see Sintra is to see nothing at all”. Suddenly, heavy clouds cover the sky and it starts raining. Later we head for Fatima, where we stop in a pilgrim’s house run by Polish monks. We are warmly welcomed by father Francis and brother Paul (a room costs 25 Euro). The weather is really bad. The last time it snowed here was in 1983 and it has already snowed several times this winter. We are grounded and wait for the weather to improve.
21 Mar. – We are continuing our sightseeing tour of Lisbon, a city with a population of one million citizens, while the whole population of Portugal is 10 million. We start by visiting Georges Castele, a castle, which history dates back to Roman times – 2nd century. From the hill, upon which the castle was built, there’s a wonderful view of the city. The center has been re erected after a feral earthquake on All Saints Day in 1755, when 40 thousand out of 270 thousand citizens died. On our way from the castle we visit a cathedral built in 1150 to commemorate freeing of the city from the Muslim rule. Next we go to the western part of the city called Belem. This is where Vasco Da Gama set out from to sail to India in 1497 and returned to, welcomed by the king – Manuel I. It was the king who had sworn to build a cathedral, should Da Gama return safely. The cathedral is also the burial place of the famous seaman. The cathedral is one of the most famous gothic style buildings in Europe. In a monastical part of the cathedral, there’s a maritime museum (entry fee – 3 Euro). Next to the museum there’s a cultural center, where we could admire paintings of the famous painter – Frida Cahlo (1907-1954). We also visited fair grounds of Expo 1998, located 7 km from the center, right next to one of the ends of a 17 km long bridge, spanning two banks of Rio Tajo. The city transportation system is very good and a one day ticket, entitling to riding busses, trams and the subway is only 3,70 Euro.
20 Mar. – We move out northwards, along N-120 from a quiet town of Lagos. This is where the first slaves were sold in Portugal. The views are really nice, because the road leads along the Atlantic coast. We pass many towns and villages. In sines we change roads and continue on N-261 and N-253 to get to a town of Troia, located on a long, sandy peninsula. We board a ferry, cross a river called Sado and arrive in Satubal. From Satubal we take A10 road, which leads to Lisbon. The west road into the city gives quite a view from the bridge over Rio Tajo. The cold and rainy weather gave us a rough treatment. This time we quickly find a reasonable hotel - "Pensao Sevilha", Praca da Alegria 11, 2 floor, tel. 21 346 9579 – it’s in the very center of the city, in an old building, so the rooms are qite spacious. The standard could have been high 20 years ago, but it’s clean and a police station is located one floor below, so the bike is safe. In the evening we go sightseeing.
19 Mar. – Greetings from Lagos in Portugal – we are over the Atlantic Ocean. In the morning, after 4 days in Seville, despite the rain, we decide to leave the city. We ride westwards, along E-1. It rains heavily all the way to Portugese border. On the other side of the border the rain stops and the sun begins to shine. We dry ourselves and continue along A22 to Lagos. It's an old, small and quiet town, nothing like the noise of Seville. We do not have to be a part of the huge tourism industry anymore. We rent a room in a really good motel „Marsol” www.motelmarsol.web.pt – (all you need for 33 Euros).
17,18 Mar. - We don't have much choice and have to stay in Seville for the third day. It is raining heavily and it's cold – only 13C.
16 Mar. – We leave Gibraltar and head towards Seville. We pay 5.30 Euros for the motorway. Once in the city we try to find a suitable hotel and it takes over 2 hours. All other hotels are very expensive and offer nothing special, when it comes to comfort and cleanliness. The town if full of construction sites and a view of an old building next to a modern one is common. A cathedral from 1195 is really worth seeing, so is the old town surrounded by walls, but apart from that the city is not interesting. The city is tourism-oriented, so everyone should be cautious not to get cheated in restaurants.
15 Mar. - In the morning we leave the small town of Szefszawan. In our opinion it's the most beautiful and quiet town we saw in Morocco. We head North to Sebta (the Spaniards call it Ceuta), 100 km along the Rif Mountains. On the outskirts of Ceuta there's a border crossing between Morocco and Spain. We have a look at the city from the seat of our bike. The town lies on a peninsula, connected to the main land by a narrow strip of ground. We buy ferry tickets (25 Euro for a person or a bike). At 3.30 p.m. we are back in Europe, having covered 67360 km so far, over 9 months! We spent the whole month in Africa. We disembark in Algecibas and immediately head for Gibraltar, which belongs to the UK. The most famous rock of Gibraltar is a must-see. It rises 436 meters above the strait and gives a wonderful view of the surroundings. There are wild monkeys living here, making a nuisance of themselves, getting in the way. We sto pfor the night in La Lined de la Concepcion. We are back in Europe and the remaining part of our voyage will not be as exotic as until today, so the following news will not be as detailed and specific. We will let you know, however, where we are. We are planning on getting home on 20 April.
14 Mar. - We leave Rabat in the morning and head North, towards Tanger. 100 km later, we turn East and after 250 km we reach a town of Szefszawan in Rif Mountains. Our friends we met in Fez told us to see this place. Since the town has been under Spanish protectorate since 1912, it looks different from towns we have seen in Morocco so far. Clear mountain air, quiet and friendly people, the town itself is clean and tidy. The town is full of old monuments (including a citadel, a market and a mosque). All houses are painted white and the streets – blue. This place is really worth seeing!
13 Mar. - We spent the day sightseeing in Rabat. The old town is not as spectacular as in Fez or Marrakech. Among many visited monuments we run across a wonderful citadel from 12th century, right at the mouth of Bu Regreg River. The inside of the citadel is made out of beautiful, narrow streets and houses, all of them white and blue. There are also some beautiful gardens. We also saw a mausoleum of Machomed V, Hassan's Tower and the Royal Palace. Tomorrow we set out towards Europe. We already traveled over 5000 km in Africa and the total is 67 thousand kilometers.
12 Mar. - In the morning we say goodbye to our friends we met yesterday and move towards Rabat. On the way we stop to see Volubilis – well preserved ruins from the times of the Roman Empire. There are many ornamental mosaics, some of them 2000 years old, looking as if they were built just now. We continue through Meknes and reach Rabat – the present capital city of Morocco.
11 Mar. - We are on a sightseeing tour in Fez. The city counts 1,5 million citizens and is a former capital city of Morocco. It is still a cultural center of this Muslim country. Yesterday evening we went to a restaurant, where we watched local folk dances and performances. We also managed to order wine, which turned out to be really good. After seeing all that we decided, that we prefer Brazilian samba or Argentinean tango. Today we move to see the oldest part of town, which is on UNESCO's list of most valuable monuments. It dates back to 10th century. There are over 9400 narrow, windy streets here and all of them are full of people, there's much commotion, haggling – to make a long story short, this town is full of life. A little later we hear someone speaking Polish and they say: „Look! Bikers from Poland!”. We turn and see our friends, who are on a voyage across Morocco in their Land Rover. We spend the rest of the day together.
10 Mar. - The temperature in the morning is only 5 degrees. We wait until 11 a.m., when the temperature rises to 9 degrees. There's much snow lying around, sometimes 1,5 meters thick. Houses of the local villages are made of stone and are covered with grass. Through Azron and Ifrane we reach Fez and find a nice hotel (20 Euros for a 2 bedded room with a bathroom) - Hotel Errabie Fez"Av. My Rachid 1 (Ex. Rte de Sofrou),Rue de Tanger tel. (21255) 640100. In the evening we go sightseeing.
09 Mar. - At noon we leave Merzugi and head North, towards Fez, along the road no. P21, which was built along Ziz River. Again we admire beautiful views: first red-hued rocky desert, then a large canyon and finally a mild slope leading to one of Atlas' passes. The temperature on the other side is much lower. 15 km after Mideelt we stop in a hotel - "Timnay Inter Cultures", e-mail: email@example.com – 16 Euros for a two bedded room. The place is located on a plateau between High and Middle Atlas, 1500 meters ASL. The air is crystal clear.
08 Mar. - From Erfoud we head to Merzuga via Rissani. Near Merzuga, there's the only sand desert in Morroco – huge wandering sand dunes. We stay at "Auberge Le petit Prince" http://www.hotellepetitprince.tk a place worth stopping at. We but a camel trip to see the dunes. The cost is 50 Euros per person and includes a camel ride, a camping in the desert, a supper and a breakfast. The dunes change color depending on the angle of sun rays – creating some of the most beautiful views! Riding a camel for two hours is a pain in the lower back. We eat the supper in the dim starlight, listen to our guides playing traditional Arab music and spend the night in a tent – you can actually hear the silence! The morning is cool and fresh and the sky is deep blue. Back to the hotel and off towards Fez!
07 Mar. - The morning is beautiful but cold. We head for Ouarzazote, which is Morroco's movie-making center. From Ouarzazote we head to Erfoud. The road lies on the Southern side of snow covered Atlas Mountains, surrounded by rocky desert. On our way we stop in some interesting towns, like Skura and El-Keloa M'Guna, which is famous for it's dagger manufactures., citadels and fortresses. We can also admire canyons in which Dades and Todra rivers flow. This is where we meet tourists from Poland, who have come here to climb in the mountains. We enter a valley of Todra river and pass villages located among palm trees. 10 km further the valley narrows to a 10 meters wide canyon, which is 300 meters deep! Incredible! We stop for the night in Erfoud, in an oriental and exotic hotel, 30 Euros for a night, including breakfast. ("Kazbah Tizimi" - www.kazbahtizimi.com). There are cheaper hotels, but I strongly discourage from staying there. We are only 30 km from Algerian border.
06 Mar. - We leave Marrakech and head South, again towards the Atlas Mountains. We cross Tizi-n-Tiszka pass and then towards Ouarzazote. It's cold – only 10C, but the views are beautiful. On the pass a very cold wind blows and there is a lot of snow lying on the sides of the road. On the other side of the mountain range we are welcomed by warm weather and we can admire a great view of the desert. We pass next to villages hugging to mountain slopes. 30 km before Ouarzazote we leave the road and visit a town of Ait-Benhoddou – one of the most beautiful Arab citadels in Morocco. Over 20 movies have been made here, including „The Gladiator”. We rent a room in a hotel and go to have a better look at the town. The snow melting in the mountains, creeks and small rivers make it impossible to get to the citadel otherwise than on the back of a mule or a camel. There is enough hotels to choose from, because the season has not started yet. Prices vary and one can get something reasonable for 10 Euros a person for a bed & breakfast. It quickly gets dark and cold in the desert, so we decide to go to sleep early. Alcohol is still unavailable.
05 Mar. - In the morning we leave Agadir and take a road no. P32 to head East, towards Taroudant. We go sightseeing the old town and the market from the back of our bike. The old town is surrounded by ancient walls. The town is a very interesting place. A little later we continue East and after 120 km we turn North and head towards the mountains surrounding Marrakech. We cross the mountains by climbing to Tizi-n-Test pass. The road is really bad here – it's very narrow and poorly maintained. 10 km before the pass, the road turns into a dirt road. About 2000 meters ASL we climb above the line of clouds and have a wonderful view at snow-covered mountains raising from thick clouds. Next is an almost 140 km long descent to Marrakech. It is much warmer here, there are blossoming trees and flowers here. In the city we meet a biker from Norway – Aasmund – and decide to find a hotel together. This is where we have our first road accident – a car hit one of the luggage-cases and topples our bike and us! Before I managed to get up, he escaped. Noone got hurt. The bike is OK. Next lights – another, small accident – a couple of Arabs riding a moped runs into our bike. They fall – we don't. Again, noone got hurt. Soon after that we find a hotel - "Residence Meublee Gomassine Hotel" 71, Bd. Mohamed Zerktouni – gueliz, tel. 044 433086; 30 Euro for a 2 bedded room. There's a garage for the bikes. Next we and Aasmund go to the local market – suki. It's a huge square, roughly 500 by 500 meters filled with people selling things. The smell of this place, the music – it's hard to descrbe the atmosphere of this place. We spend the evening trying to lose all the peddlers making nuisance of themselves. Marrakech is a very specific place – perhaps one of the most interesting in the world. The only thing to avoid is roads – drivers are reckless here!
03 Mar. - In the morning we look at the map and it turns out, that we passed Canary Islands yesterday! We start the day sightseeing Tizmit's old town, surrounded by 6 km -long city walls. Along the wall, there is a market, called „suki” - an interesting trip! Next we ride towards the mountains, to Tafraoute. The way to a mountain pass was in a rather dull weather – grey, sad and cloudy. On the other side of the pass, however, a landscape of rare beauty. Trees, green grass, flowers and Arabian architecture! We admire wonderful views all the way to Agadir, where we stay for the night. The town if full of tourists, traveling in their camper vans.
02 Mar. – We continue North-East, along the Atlantic coast. It's cold and it rains occasionally and the cold wind blows from over the ocean. The temperature is only 13 degrees. 60 km past Laayoune we left West Sahara and entered Morocco. We visit a fuel station and the fuel turns out to be twice as expensive as in West Sahara. All the way to Tan-Tan we ride in a flat, open desert and small particles of sand, driven by strong wind are a real nuisance. The dust gets everywhere. After Tam-Tam, the desert turns into a rocky one and the landscape is more hilly now. 80 km before Tinzit we enter Atlas Mountains. We stop for the night in Tinzit, having covered 550 km today. It gets dark at 6 p.m. here. We decided to take the risk and buy local food. We have „Tadzyn” a local stew made of camel. We also managed to order beer and wine, which we have not able to do before. We crossed 65 000 km line today. We traveled so far, yet we are closer to home every day.
1 Mar. – In the morning we leave Dakhla and continue North-East, along the Atlantic coast. The road is awfully monotonous – flat, sandy desert, with scarce vegetation. A strong wind blows from the North, covering the road with sand. It resembles Patagonia and the furious blows of wind from the passing trucks. It is similar here, except for the sand, which was absent in Argentina. The farther North, the colder – it's 17C now. After 540 km we reach Laayoune (Al-Ajun) and find a reasonable hotel with a garage - Hotel Jodessa -Blvd de Mekka 223.
28 Feb. – We set out towards Dakhla – 300 km away. We stop in a hotel here, because the next one is another hotel is in Laayoune – 520 km further. We can also use Internet here to write more news from the road. The town is located on the end of 40 km long peninsula, founded 150 years ago by the Spaniards. The city is more civilized and cleaner than the rest of the towns we have seen so far. There are quite a few hotels here. 35 km before Dakhla, there's a camping site, full of camper vans from Europe.
27 Feb. – We get up early, after a sleepless night, because a man we shared the room with snored so loudly, that we couldn't sleep! We move North towards Nouadhibou, equipped with 40 liters of fuel, water and canned food. The road to West Sahara's border is, surprisingly, a strip of asphalt in an excellent condition. 5 hours later we cross the border without any charges or problems. The only interesting thing is a belt of desert between the borders – nothing but rocks and sand devoid of anything! 80 km further, in Morocco, having covered 560 km we stop at the first gas station with a hotel (15 Euros for a 2 bedded room). The next hotel is 300 km away, in Dakhla. This is where we meet tourists from Poland. Michał and Artur are driving their Mercedes all over the Sahara desert. They stopped here to fix the engine of their car. We borrow a Morroco guide book from them. Tourism in the Sahara is something really big. There are many off-raod cars from all over Europe here! We spend the evening in the company of Michał and Artur and a couple from Slovenia, who are conquering the Sahara in their 24 years old Citroen 2CV. All we saw in the desert today was sand, camels and Touaregs – a tribe living in the desert. The temperature during the day is OK, but it gets really cold at night.
26 Feb. – Sunday – we say farewell to our hosts and leave towards Mauritania's border in Rosso. Never in my life have I seen so many corrupted officials on a border crossing. It takes 5 hours to clear all the formalities and we have to spend 45 Euros in bribes (well, some of it might have actually been some legal charges, but I do not know which). We continue towards the capital of Mauritania – Nouakchott (total for today – 320 km). The price of the fuel is roughly 80 Euro cents a liter. We reach Nouakchott after dark and meet a biker from Israel – Adam, who spent last 6 months riding all around Africa (starting in RSA) on his Honda Africa Twin. He takes us to a traveller's station - "Auberge Sahara", where he stays at the moment. We like this place – an atmosphere of travel, many interesting people! (www.auberge_sahara.com) The auberge is located at the entry to the city from the direction of Nouadhibou. The price is only 7 Euros a bed. We spend some time talking to many travelers and even receive a present from two Finnish traverlers – Anttie and Tomi - a 10 liter fuel canister. There is no gas station for the next 550 km!
25 Feb. – We planned to set out today, but our hosts insisted on our staying one more day. Marysia and Amadeo wanted to talk Polish as much as they could (Amadeo studied in Poland). Their children speak Polish very well! It was very nice to stay one more day in such a nice company and go for a long walk on nearby beaches. Tomorrow we continue – this time for sure.
24 Feb. –Yesterday evening we had a party, organized by Marysia and her husband – Amadeo. Our hosts are very friendly and hospitable. Today we go to Djoudj National Park, which lies at the mouth of Senegal River, 70 km from Saint Louis. We ride a motorboat and have an opportunity to see vast numbers of birds, rhinoceros, crocodiles and other animals – wonderful! We are amazed by the number of tourists visiting Senegal, especially French. On our way back we meet two caravans from Italy. We learn, taht they are coming from Mauritania and that we will have problem finding a gas station – there isn’t any for over 500 km. We are 100 km from the border and tomorrow we are continuing our travel.
23 Feb. – After saying goodbye to all the staff of the Embassy of Poland, we leave Dakar. There are no directions, my GPS does not work, but the Ambassador had his driver show us the way out of the city. The roads are awfully crowded, they stink and are awfully dirty. Not far from the city we go to see "Lac Rose" – a pink lake. Very intriguing. The farther we get from the city the more empty the road becomes. On our way we can see some villages with typical buildings made of straw, covered with a straw roof. After 320 km we reach Saint Louis. We visit a friend of ours – Marysia, who has been living with her husband and children in Senegal for years (her husband comes from Senegal). In the evening we go sightseeing and the town turns out to be an old, colonial-era town.
22 Feb. – We bought insurance for the bike – 15 Euro. It required here and the police check the insurance. We had to buy the insurance for the whole month – there ore no shorter periods. We also went sightseeing and made a trip to a nearby island of Goree. The island is located at the entry to Dakar’s harbor. It’s history dates back to 15th century and involves shipments of slaves to America. There are also ruins of forts, which guarded the entry to the harbor. The island and it’s buildings are on UNESCO’s list of most valuable monuments in the World. After we return from the island, we go to the Embassy of Poland to meet the Ambasador, who tells us some very interesting stories from his vast experience.
21 Feb. – We spend the whole day sightseeing in Dakar. The city is populated by 2 million people, which is 20% of the whole Senegal’s population. Tomorrow we set out for Mauritania. The weather is fine - 24-26C.
19, 20 Feb. – Our adventure with Madrid did not end well, because at the airport it turned out, that the plane is „over flight” and we will not fly do Dakar today. After our intervention Iberia airlines changed our reservation to a nearest flight to Dakar via Cassablanca. At 5 a.m. we are in Dakar, completely exhausted. Taxi drivers fought, which one of them will take us. After our arrival to the hotel the driver demands twice the agreed charge and gets 12 Euros instead 20 (we agreed 10). At 9 a.m. I arrive at the Embassy of Poland and receive a warm welcome. I get a car and a driver to help me get the bike from the harbor. The whole procedure takes until next day (21 Feb.) and costs 150 Euros. I assemble the bike right next to the harbor warehouse and leave. I ride to a gas station and fill her up. The fuel costs almost one Euro for a liter of gas. Everything is expensive here. The hotel costs 62 Euros (breakfast not included) - Al Afifa hotel, Rue Jules Ferry, B.P.3676, Dakar, tel. (0 221) 8899090 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ). We spend both evenings in Consul’s house learning a lot about Senegal and Africa.
19 Feb. – We are soon leaving Madrid. The bike should have arrived in Dakar yesterday. We did not expect that it will take so much time and we don't really know, when we will be able to set out from Dakar. This is by far the most complicated and expensive part of traveling. In front of us, there is Senegal, Mauritania with sands of Sahara, West Sahara and Morocco (about 4 000 km). This is what we've already planned. We will see about the rest, when we cross the strait of Gibraltar. Last greetings from Madrid; at 2 p.m. we are leaving for the airport.
13-18 Feb. – Greetings from the capital city of Spain – Madrid. We did not exactly plan on even going to Madrid during our travel, but we like it nonetheless. As soon as we get to the city, we are trying to obtain visa to Mauritania. We received the address of the Embassy of Mauritania from one of my business partners. It will take one week to get the visas. We will also need something calle „introductory note”, which is issued by the Embassy of Poland. I manage to get their concession – if I bring the note today before 1.00 p.m., we will have the visas in our passports by friday. It's 10.45, so I start to race against time. The distance between the two embassies is large and I am forced to run for the last two kilometers. Thanks to the Consul's kindness I have the notes in my within 10 minutes. Then I run again and at 12.53 I am at the Embassy of Mauritania. I pay 40 Euro for each of us and we will pick them up on Friday. We spend the rest of the day sightseeing. The atmosphere of this place is wonderful, we can relax and admire the architecture at the same time. The must-see places are: „Museo Hamon" – a ham museum, where you can taste some fine hams and sausages, the botanic garden and the park, "Museo Nacional del Prado" (entry fee only 6 Euros) where we admire paintings of the famous: El Greco, Goya, Rubens, Velazquez, Titian. We also visited Toledo, 70 km from Madrid – 25 minutes on a train, a wonderful city surrounded by a wall, placed on a hilltop, with a cathedral from 13th century. The weather if fine, a little cold, though. On Sunday, 19th February at 4 p.m. we have a flight to Dakar.
12 Feb. - After morning's meeting, which takes place every Sunday, after the mass, father Jan takes us to the airport. After 10 hours of flight and taking over our ship en-route to Dakar, somewhere on the Atlantic ocean, we safely land in Madrid, on 13 February, 5 a.m. local time (the same time zone as Poland). We take a subway (very well arranged) and reach the old town and rent a hotel room for 40 Euros (that is not expensive for Madrid's standards). It is warm, it's clean – generally OK "Hostal Almanzor" Carrera San Jeronimo 11 tel. 91 4293801, www.hostal-almanzor.com, Greetings from warm Madrid – the temperature in the morning was only 3 degrees, but now, at 3.30 p.m, it's 16 degrees!
11 Feb. - Today it rains all day, so it is not as hot as usual. In the evening, during carnival show on Ipanema beach, we say farewell to all the friends we met here. This is how our adventure with this city ends.
10 Feb. - In the morning I collect all the documents, which will allow me to receive the bike in Senegal. The ship „Brasil” set sail yesterday and will arrive in Dakar on 18 February. The most important thing is that I have 3 copies of b/l, which entitle me to collect the bike. In the afternoon we pay a visit to the Polish Consulate to thank the Consul for keeping our bike and say goodbye to the Consulate's employees. Our stay there is longer than we planned, because of a rainstorm, which caused a mayor flood in the city. In the evening we go to the old entertainment district called Lapa. It is full of nice cafes and discos, all of them located in old buildings.
09 Feb. - In the morning we go to the beach and later we climb A Hill of Santa Tereza – an old part of town. To get there we take an old tram from the beginning of 20th century. This part of town is full of old, beautiful houses and has a very romantic atmosphere. One can also see favelas – the slums – which are located on nearby hills. The authorities strongly discourage tourists from going there, because of safety reasons. In the evening we and the priest, whom we visited on Sunday, are having churrasco – a barbecue beef – delicious. The priest – father Jan – has been living in Brazil for 40 years and has seen the whole country. We hear very interesting stories.
08 Feb. - After talking to a representative of a shipping company, it turns out, that all the documents required to ship the bike are OK and that it will sail to Dakar tomorrow. If so, we decide to go and buy plane tickets we booked earlier. Unfortunately, Spanish airlines – Iberia – cancelled our reservation and notified the office which booked the tickets, not us! It also turns out, that we will have to fly to Madrid on 12 February and the flight to Dakar is on 19 February (th bike arrives on 18 Feb.). This option is 1530$ per person. We spend the rest of the day sightseeing (the cathedral, presidential palace, theater, etc.)
07 Feb. - We are taking care of all the formalities concerning the shipment of our bikr from the early morning. The costs we have to pay to ship the bike are: documents 170$, wooden crate 400$, transport from the carpenter shop to the harbor, plus loading and unloading 150$, some kind of charge for Brazilian customs 100$, shipment 750$, charge for the issue of B/L 65$. This is not all, because we will have to cover some costs in Senegal as well. The total is now 1635$! In the afternoon we are invited for a trip by one of the people we met in the Polish House. We crossed the bay and went to a city of Niteroi, we watched a famous flying saucer (they say it's a wonder of architecture), old forts guarding the seaway to the bay. In the evening we went to Copacabana i Ipanema beaches. It was great!
06 Feb. - In the morning we ride our BMW for the last time on the American continent. We take the bike from the Polish consulate to a carpenter shop, where we packed the bike into a wooden crate. It went quite smoothly, but the enormous heat was not helping. In the evening we went for a walk on Copacabana beach and had the caipirinha drink. We were accompanied by two young travellers from Poland – two girls spending all the money they make on travels! Great!
05 Feb. – In the morning, after Sunday's mass celebrated by father Jan Sobieraj, whom we met in the Polish House yesterday, all the members of the parish have a social meeting. We are very warmly welcomed by the Polish community. The parish is located not one kilometer from our hotel! Again we meet very interesting people. In the evening we go to the "Sambodromo" where the last rehearsals of the final contest of samba schools take place. The entry is free of charge and the place is awfully crowded. We finally manage to find a good viewing spot and have an opportunity to see one of the most famous shows in the world. The auditorium is 800 meters long! We finish the day drinking delicious fruit juices.
04 Feb. -We start the day by reaching the top of Corcovado, the most famous place in Rio – a 38 meters tall monument of Christ standing on the top of the 710 meters tall mountain - "monumento do Cristo Redentor – Corcovado". The monument has been placed there in 1931. Theres a special car going to the mountain top. The monument itself and the view from the mountain are breathtaking. We can admire Flamengo and Copacabana beaches, Maracana stadium, 13-kilometer long bridge Ponte Rio Niteroi and all districts of Rio. At 5 p.m. we visit Polish House, where we meet one of famous polish movie directors. We spend wonderful time there. After the meeting we are taken to a samba school - "Academicas do Salgueiro" to see a show and a rehearsal of the parade which will take place at "Sambodromo". The show is simply incredible. Those people fall into some kind of trance, while dancing samba. We leave the samba school late at night and go for a well earned rest.
2,3 Feb. - We are struggling with Brazilian beurocracy to ship the bike. It turns out, that we have to change the formal status of the bike from our baggage to a commodity. Only then will we be able to ship it. It takes a special procedure to change the status. Most probably, we will be able to ship the bike on 10 Feb. The only thing we have left to do is wait and go sightseeing. We made a small trip yesterday, but the clouds were lying on the ground and we did not see anything. Today the weather is fine and we have a good look at the city. We also changed the hotel to a one next to the beach (Hotel Barao do Flamengo, Rua Barao de Flamengo 36 tel 0055 21 2558 2585 - 40$ for a two bedded room with a bathroom). Late in the evening we take a cable car on top of one of the mountains surrounding Rio - "Pao de Acucar", which means "Sugar Loaf" – which is a great viewpoint. From the height of 395 meters a.s.l. we admire the sunset and a while later – Rio at night. We take the last cable car down – at 8 p.m.
01 Feb. - In the morning we leave Parraty and the lovely Dom Angelo hotel (www.paraty.com.br/posadadoportao15) and at 3 p.m. we visit Polish consulate in Rio de Janeiro, having seen 60 km long suburbs. Although the consulate is closed now, the Consul welcomes us and offers a safe place to park our bike. The Consul also helps us find a very reasonable hotel. OUr journey in both Americas (48 thousand kilometers) is over now and all we have to do is to ship the bike to Senegal, board the plane and see Africa. We have covered 62030 km altogether. We are very happy, that we were able to reach Rio safely. Tomorrow we will attempt to arrange the shipment of the bike.
30 Jan. - We continue eastwards, along the road no. SP-55. The coast around Sao Paolo is nothing else, but slums – depressing. People asked about the way reach out their hands for cigarettes and money. The road winds along the mountainous shore. There are many small islands here. This is also where the richest people have their residences. After 400 km we stop in a historical town of Parraty, 270 km from Rio de Janeiro. We rent an apartment overlooking the ocean and a wonderful garden – beautiful!
31 Jan. – Parraty – a wonderful, old, colonial town, founded in 1531 by a Portugese, Sao Roque. Nice old town houses and nice atmosphere. Today we go and see the city and go to the beach. It's hot, humid and it rains from time to time – a typical tropical weather. We already covered 61800 km since we left home and soon we will finish our journey in Americas. Soon we will ship or bike to Africa. We only have 270 km left to Rio.
29 Jan. - We finally set out for Rio de Janeiro. At first we ride along road no. BR-101 to Curitiba, and then we change to BR-116 towards Sao Paulo. Brazil is most urbanized along the coast, but the architecture is rather dull. The roads are a nightmare. There are two lanes, but the roads are awfully crowded, especially by huge trucks. The drivers are not paying any attention to others, driving like some lunatics. In the mountains, between Curitiba and Sao Paolo (300 km), we saw 4 trucks lying on their sides – this is by far the worst we have seen on the road since we left home. The landscape is monotonous, plant life – tropical and very green. 100 km before Sao Paolo we change to SP 55 and continue close to the Atlantic shore. After 700 km we stop in Itanhaem (an expensive and boring town). Brazil is full of contradictions, both rich and poor. Wealthy people like to show off. Except for Florianopolis we are so far disappointed with Brazil. The biggest problem is the language. We don't know Portuguese and no one speaks another language. We use gestures and draw pictures.
28 Jan. - We still are having a rest on a sunny beach, drinking "cajpirinha", the most popular local drink, made of vodka, sugar lime and ice – delicious! The price of vodka here is shockingly low – roughly 2 dollars a liter.
26,27 Jan. - For the last two days we were having a rest in Florianopolis, which is what we think a paradise looks like. Palm trees, warm water in the ocean (about 30 degrees), not too hot, slight wind and deep blue sky. We rode a little today. We visited an island of Santa Catarina. We also met two owners of a sports business (bikes, rafting and surfing) Ilberto (a Brasilian) and Sandro (an Italy-born Swiss). They helped us to call and settle some issues concerning transportation of our bike to Senegal. I already feel it is not going to be easy. Everyone takes their time here. It can even take two weeks – we have to be in Rio earlier than we planned.
25 Jan. – We continue eastwards, along road no. 277 and in Curtiba we make left turn and continue along road no. 101, which leads to Florianopolis. We haven’t planned this part of the road, but many people encouraged us to see this most beautiful part of Atlantic coast of Brazil. Florianopolis turns out to be a very beautiful and modern city. Part of the city is located on the continent, while part of it lies on Ilha de Santa Caterina – St. Katherine’s Island. We find a place to stay in the northern part of the island. Thanks to Ignacy from San Martin de los Andes (whom we visited two months ago) we have a great apartment just next to the beach. We are going to stay here for a couple of days. All we have left to do in South America is to reach Rio de Janeiro and ship the bike to Dakar! The fixed sealing is holding well. The only thing is that the bike is completely covered in red dirt and it looks as if it were all rusty.
24 Jan. – In the morning, this time along with the bike, we set out towards Brazilian border. This time it takes a little longer to clear all customs formalities. Including 4 sheet long questionnaire, it took until noon. We enter Foz do Iguacu and change the money to Brazilian Real 1$=2,3 Real. After that we head East, along road no. 277, towards Curitiba. Having covered 500 km we stop in Irati. The road is really good, but it keeps raining and raining. Luckily it is not so humid anymore, like it was next to the waterfalls. The fuel is more expensive than in Argentina. It costs over one dollar per liter. Today we crossed a mark of 60 thousand kilometers covered during our voyage.
A short summary of our stay in Argentina. It’s a biker’s paradise. When it comes to cheap fuel, motorways free for bikes, great views, huge distances, excellent food and wine – it is all in Argentina. Also, a very important thing is that Argentina is not overly expensive.
23 Jan. – Today we go and see the highest waterfalls in the World - Cataratas del Iguazu. Hotel’s employee takes us in a car to Iguazu River, where we admire the waterfalls and later he takes us to Argentinean side, where we stay until the park ("Parque Nacional Iguazu") is closed. This is by far the most beautiful view we have seen during our travel. We agree with a local saying: „Argentina owns the waterfalls, but Brasil has the best view of them”. The best thing to see on the Argentinean side is Garganta del Diabolo – Devils Throat. In the evening we have a dinner in in a nice restaurant, listening to some nice music. This is our farewell-with-Argentina dinner, because tomorrow we leave this country. We are certain, however, that we will return here some day, because there’s still much for us to see in Argentina.
22 Jan. – Greetings from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. We set out along road no. 12 along the Parana river. On our way from the waterfalls we visit Santo Pipo, where Polish priest – father Artur is a head of a local parish (this town is populated by immigrants from Switzerland). Later we also stop in a village of Wanda, where descendants of Polish immigrants live. There is also a mine of semi-precious stones – we decide to have a look. On our way we are caught into two rainstorms, but we luckily manage to stop under the roof of local police station. After 240 km we reach Puerto Iguazu and take some pictures at the spot, where three countries’ borders meet: Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Tomorrow we will see Cataractas Iguazu – Iguazu waterfalls. The fixed sealing is holding for now.
21 Jan. – Greetings from Gubernador Roca over Parana River, on the border of Paraguay. We call BMW service in Buenos Aires and we get the size of the broken sealing - 110x85x10mm. It turns out, that next to the church there’s a small shop selling car parts and we find a sealing, which after small changes will replace the broken one. After an hour the leak is repaired and we will have to see if it will hold. A while later we meet a priest from a nearby town – father Artur from Poland, who has come here with father Jakub. We all make a trip to the capital city of this region – Posadas and have a great steak dinner with fabulous Argentinean wine. After dinner we take some pictures at the bridge spanning Argentinean and Paraguayan banks of the Parana River. There’s a monument of John Paul II standing on the waterfront. On our way back we are caught in a really bad rainstorm. We accept the kind hospitality of father Jakub and stay for another night.
20 Jan. – We eat breakfast, say goodbye and leave Azar and our friendly, Polish hosts. Unfortunately we have a malfunction of sealing in the differential mechanism. The oil leaks slowly, but we have to repair it, because the oil drops on the rear brake disc and we have to rely on the front brake only. We head for Pasadas – the capital city of Misjones region and then, along the road no 12, to San Ignacio. This is where we visit ruins of Jesuit monastery. The Jesuits have educated local Indians, but Spanish king has declared the order canceled. Since then the buildings have slowly subdued to the effects of the passing time. There were about 30 such towns built around Jesuit monasteries. The ruins, although in bad condition, bring images of how wonderful and rich they were 300 years ago. After visiting the ruins we head to Gubernador Roca, where Polish priest welcomes us – father Jakub, who has come here 3 years ago. We are also invited to a meeting with local Polonia. It turns out that 30% of 15 000 citizens of this town are descendants of Polish immigrants, who have come here on the break of XIX and XX century. The problem is as in all the other Polonia towns – few people speak Polish.
19 Jan. – In the morning we set out northwards, along the road no. 14. In Santo Tomo we change to road no. 94 and head for Apostoles. Between Azara and Apostoles there’s a famous tea plantation, owned by a grandson of the founder. We meet the owner – Diego Wdowiak, who, despite Polish name doesn’t speak Polish. Next to the plantation there’s a museum. We get to see an old wooden chest, which carried the immigrants’ possessions, when they arrived at the beginning of XX century. A while later a huge rainstorm comes and we have to call father Jerzy in Maciaszkow, who helps us to get a place to sleep in nearby town of Azara. Our hosts are the Raczkowski family – Mrs. Roza and her son, Ludwik. We have a nice conversation and learn, that around 3 thousand locals have Polish roots. We also visit a Polish club. Distance traveled so far – 59200 km.
18 Jan. – Greetings from Paso de los Libres, Argentina, right at Brazilian border. In the morning we leave Montevideo (temperature – 19C) in beautiful weather. We put some warm clothes on and ride North along the road no. 1 and later no. 3 to Poysandu. If it had not been for different species of trees, I would think that we are in Poland. In Poysandu we cross Uruguay River and, at the same time, Argentinean border. After crossing the border we continue North. Having covered 810 km, we stop for the night in Paso de los Libres, right at the Brazilian border. So far the roads in Argentina were fine, but the last part of our journey is awful. The road is in a really bad condition and crowded with huge trucks. Tomorrow we head for Misjones, where the famous Cataratas de Iguazu – Iguazu waterfalls are.
17 Jan. – Today we visit famous Uruguayan sea resorts: Piriapolis and Punta del Este. We rode 150 km just to get here and see, what these two towns have to offer. Both towns are located on a peninsula, where La Plata River falls into ocean. La Plata is the widest river in the World. The width here exceeds 200 km, while in Montevideo it is 150 km wide. The area is heavily urbanized, mostly with hotels and luxury residences, full of rich snobs, millionaires and celebrities. Punta is also a surfer’s paradise. In marina we saw many yachts owned by the richest people in America, but not only America. We do not like this place – too crowdy, too loud and too stiff. On the other hand, the views are wonderful, especially, that the weather is really good. We missed one time zone and learned only now, that we are CET+3 hours. The fuel is also very expensive here – 1,35$ a liter. Late in the evening we return to our hotel in Montevideo.
16 Jan. – Greetings from another South American capital city – Montevideo! Luckily it’s not raining anymore, but it’s still cold for this time of the year (only 20 degrees). Yesterday, we managed to see all of this wonderful town, which is listed on UNESCO’s list of most valuable monuments of history. We saw wonderful town houses, squares – everything situated among thickly growing trees and bushes. Despite the rain everything looked great. The history of Colonia del Sacramento begins, when black slaves were sold on local markets. At present many tourists visit this city. Today, having covered 200 km on a really good road, we reach Montevideo, a 1,5 million city. Assisted by a few policemen on motorcycles, we find a nice hotel, right in the center of the city (17$ for a 2 bedded room, a nearby garage (Hotel Crillon ul. Andes 1318, tel. 902 01 95 do 97, fax. 902 08 49). We spend the rest of the day sightseeing. We have a great asado and wine for dinner.
15 Jan. – Greetings from Colonia del Sacramento! Initially, we did not plan to visit Uruguay, but now, being so close, we decided to spend a few days here. We get up at 6 a.m. and it’s raining cats and dogs. We say goodbye to father Jerzy and father Herculan and thank for their hospitality and kindness. We reach the ferry in a pouring rain, the streets looking like mountain rivers. At 8 a.m. Buenos Aires looks like at sunset! Normally, we wouldn’t ride in such a rain, but we have already bought the tickets and we just have to go. We cover 30 km in one hour. The ferry is delayed and we set out with a two-hour delay. We reach the other shore of La Plata River, and stay in Colonia del Sacramento, because the rain is too heavy.
14 Jan. – In the morning we take a taxi to get to BMW service. The bike has been serviced and washed – we couldn’t recognize it! Everything has been done conscientiously – excellent! We were lucky, because the alternator belt has been so worn, that it threatened to break any time! Because we plan to leave Buenos Aires, father Ksawery and Ines (an employee in the Polish embassy) have arrived to say goodbye We leave the center, enter the suburbs and head for Maciaszkowo in North-Western part of the city. The name comes from the name of father Justynian Maciaszek, a Franciscan founder of Polish Catholic Center, 49 years ago. The Center includes Polish school, a chapel and an elderly house for Poles run by nuns. We also learn a lot about Poles, who migrated to Argentina and are offered a place to sleep. We also receive news from Marek Michel, who has reached Buenos Aires, but still has problems with his bike. Tomorrow, first thing in the morning, we will go to the ferry harbor and head for Uruguay, across the La Plata river, which is 70 km wide here.
13 Jan. – We start by acquiring visas to Senegal, for 35$ per person and ferry tickets to Uruguay – 65$ for the bike and us. We also booked a plane ticket to Dakar via Madrid for 15 February – 1500$ per person. Despite the fact, that today is 13th day of the month AND Friday, we manage to do everything right! In the afternoon we go to the suburbs of Buenos Aires and meet Mr. Bogusław Horak, a soldier during the Second World War, who has fought on Monte Cassino. We have a wonderful history lesson. In the evening we go to see tango show in San Telmo – it is great!
12 Jan. - Buenos Aires. It’s raining cats and dogs. We decide to handle all the formalities concerning the shipment of our bike to Africa. In the afternoon we meet father Ksawery and Ryszard Kruszewski – a traveler and kayak lover – he circumnavigated Cape Horn in his kayak! We have a great time talking and sightseeing northern part of the city. We also visited the yacht club, where Ryszard keeps his kayaks. He also owns a small manufacture of kayaks and from time to time guides Polish tourists in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. We finish the day in a restaurant, having a steak dinner, great wine and watching a tango show.
11 Jan. – More greetings from a wonderful capital city of Argentina - Buenos Aires! We start the day by visiting the Polish embassy, where we are warmly welcomed by Ambassador of Poland – Stanislaw Paszczyk and Andrzej Czub – a consul. In a nice atmosphere we have a talk and learn a lot about Poles in Argentina. The consul helps us to get a visa to Senegal, by contacting French embassy, which issues visas to Senegal – we will have them tomorrow. We also sign the guestbook. Later we decide to go and see Cmentario de la Recoleta – a cemetery, where Evita Peron is buried. The cemetery is full of very beautiful monuments. We also pay a visit to Grimaldi – a ferry line we want to use to ship our bike to Africa (J. E. Turnery Cia, Reconquista 574, tel. (54-11)4312 6891 do 8, e-mail email@example.com). We book the shipment on 9 February from Rio de Janeiro to Dakar. We also book tickets for a plane to Dakar. Unfortunately, Grimaldi does not take passengers from South America. This means that our bike will have to be packed in a wooden box. In the evening we are invited to a nice restaurant in Puerto Mader, where we have asado (a few kinds of barbecue meat). We are having great time until late at night, drinking Argentinean wine. We also received news from the BMW service, that our bike is almost ready and there were no complications.
10 Jan. – Greetings from wonderful Buenos Aires! Luckily the yesterday’s heat has been cooled by a monstrous storm and today’s 28C is very nice. We rent a room in a hotel in the oldest and most beautiful part of the city – San Telmo. This part of the city if full of tango, antiques, old houses, cafes and restaurants. Our hotel is not too expensive, but very clean and tidy (Hotel Los Tres Reyes, Brazil 425, www.tresreyeshotel.com.ar, tel. 4300 9456). We meet Poles living here, friends of Ignacy from San Martin de los Andes – Małgorzata Bak and Ryszard Wygachniewicz are our guides and help us to handle all the matters concerning our travel. The city is very neat and well designed, combining old and modern buildings in a harmonious way. We also visit Polish House and talk to many interesting people. The last meeting today is with father Ksawery, a very friendly and energetic priest. We spend the evening in a restaurant, eating steaks and drinking wine.
9 Jan. – In the morning we return to the Polish Center for Youth and meet yet another group of young scouts from Polish families. After yesterday’s rain and in today’s sunlight (it’s 42 degrees), the humidity is killing us! We ride to a BMW service station (Cordasko Motohaus SA, BMW Motorrad Dealer - Marcelo Sole) to place an order for a general maintenance of the whole bike, because apart from change of oil and oil filter, nothing has been done for 43500 km! There’s a lot to do: change of every oil in the bike, full maintenance of the engine, change of all filters, alternator belt and both tires. The total price is 560$, which, I must admit is not a lot for this amount of work and parts. We agree, that the bike will be ready in 3 days and leave. It’s too hot to go and see the city. Maybe it will be a little cooler tomorrow.
8 Jan. – Greetings from yet another South American capital city – Buenos Aires! In the morning we meet a group of Polish Scouts I wrote about yesterday. They came here straight from San Martin de los Andes. We talk with scout’s commander – Helena and learn, that the children do not speak Polish language very well. They understand Polish, but are reluctant to speak it. At 1 p.m. we leave for Buenos Aires and after 590 km we enter the city in pouring rain. We find a part of the city called Burzaco, where Polish Center for Youth is. We talk with the residents and see many Polish children coming and going to various camps. We finish the day at 3 a.m., accompanied by Edyta and Darek, who were in the last wave of immigrants from Poland – they invite us to stay overnight. We are also somewhat disturbed by news of thieves and bandits roaming the city streets. Our impression of the suburbs is really bad. This is different Argentina.
6-7 Jan. – Greeting from over the Atlantic Ocean! We are in Claromeco, 650 km from Buenos Aires. We are having a rest and relaxation in this typical Argentinean tourist town. The interesting fact is that there are no foreign tourists here! You will not find this town in any guidebooks. We have an opportunity to see how Argentineans spend their holidays. The weather yesterday was very sunny, and today it’s a little cloudy, so we can heal our sunburns.
5 Jan. – We leave Bahia Blanca and ride towards Buenos Aires along the same road – no. 3. After 170 km, in Tres Arroyos, we change roads and ride another 80 km to Claromeco, a seaside tourist town. This is where Polish Scouts will camp in a few days. The scouts are children of Polish immigrants from Buenos Aires. Our hosts from San Martin de los Andes – Ignacy and Olga’s child is one of the scouts. We paln to stay here until Sunday, waiting for the scouts.
4 Jan. – In the morning we set out along the road no. 3 and cover 820 km to a town of Bahia Blanca, which is only 690 km from Buenos Aires. We have no adventures today. Argentinean Patagonia is huge, vast and the distances are enormous. The only thing that changes here is the wind. While passing one of the huge trucks roaming this land, the blow of the wind is so strong, that we have to hold on to the bike. The temperatures also change, right now it’s around 34 degrees.
3 Jan. – After yesterday’s marathon ride and numerous blasts of wind, it turn out, that the windshield is broken. Luckily, we find a shop which gives us a piece of steel and some bolts and I fixed it. A while later we set out from Trelew and head for Puerto Madrin, along the road no. 3. In Puerto Madrin we get some information on how to visit Penisula Valdes National Park and head there. After we get to the park, we rent a small room in a private house, because everything else is full. The park houses many species of birds and the bay, which is a part of the park is full of sea lions and whales. This is probably the last opportunity we have to see arctic animals, which live in cold polar waters. We also rent a catamaran to cruise around the bay. In the evening we eat a nice dinner with bikers from Australia, whom we met on the road. They have been traveling all over South America for over half a year now.
2 Jan. – Greetings from Trelew, Chubut province in Argentina! After saying goodbye to Marek Michel we set out at 11 a.m. His bike will be repaired, but Kawasaki turns out to be made of poor quality components. We ride along road no. 3 which runs along Atlantic coast, which is called here Argentinean Sea. The spaces here are enormous. We encounter a human residence once every 400 km. Due to this fact and the fact that there was no petrol on two consecutive stations, we run out of fuel. The weather is getting better, the temperature varies from 12 to 25 degrees, depending how far from the ocean we are. The wind keeps blowing.
1 Jan. – After a traditional Argentinean feast (including a really nice Argentinean steak and roast lamb), it’s time to leave. At 11.30 a.m. we set out on road no. 5 towards Rio Gallegos and later along the road no. 3 towards Buenos Aires. Having covered 630 km we stop in Puerto San Julian, where Marek’s bike broke. We meet him and learn that all the necessary parts are on their way and there’s a chance, that an expenditure of 1500$ will have him on the road in 3 days. The first day of New Year is rather cold and windy, but sunny.
31 Dec. – Today we learn that Marek’s bike has broken down. The main bearing of the crankshaft has fallen apart and the piston has damaged the cylinder. Also there’s a problem with the camshaft drive. It sounds really bad. We also go to see the Parque Nacional los Glaciares, where we see an incredible Perito Moren o glacier. It comes down from the mountains and enters Lago Argetino lake. In winter the waters of the lake are divided in two by the glacier. The face of the glacier is 80 meters high. We thank God for letting us see all these wonders we encountered along the way. Best of wishes for 2006!.
30 Dec. – We spend the day sightseeing this small town full of tourists. Despite the fact, that all the hotels are full, we changed the hotel to a more suitable one for spending New Year’s Eve. We also inquiried about visiting Parque Nacional los Glaciares – the main reason people come to El Calafate.
29 Dec. – Greetings from El Calafate! We spend the day sightseeing the famous Parque Nacional Torres del Paine – Towers of Bread National Park. We reach the park by riding along the road no. 9. The weather is fine, the sky is blue, the Sun shines and there’s mild wind. The park turns out to be yet another wonder of nature. The colors, the landscape – everything is just wonderful here. We cover 120 km in the park admiring the views of The Bread Towers – strangely shaped mountains, which look just like towers made of bread. We return to Argentinean border, to a small crossing, where our arrival interrupts a ping-pong game played by the customs officers. 5 minuters later we are on the other side of the border. We try to find a suitable place to sleep, but we are able to find something acceptable only in El Calafate, after we reach the city at midnight. We have a great steak supper. We find a hotel at 2 a.m. and call it a day. We covered 520 km, out of which 400 on dirt roads. The dirt roads here are really well maintained and it’s safe to keep 60 – 80 kph all the time. The problem is the mud, which sometimes makes it hard to ride. It must be a real horror to ride on dirt roads during one of those storms. Argentina is a heaven for motorized tourists. The fuel is really very cheap – just above 35 cents for a liter.
28 Dec. - It's time to leave Ushuaia – the city of travelers. We say goodbye to father Alojzy and take the road no. 3, the one we got here. On our way we visit a monastery in Rio Grande. The monastery houses a small museum, which shows the history of missionaries of this place. A little later we pass the Chilean border and take dirt road no. 257 to Puerto Espenes (200 km) to cross the Strait of Magellan on a ferry. Then we take road no. 255 westwards along the strait and later road no. 9 to Puerto Natales. Today we cover 800 km in all possible weather conditions. We ride 12 hours, almost without stopping – there was no place to stay for the night. We returned, because we had to change plans – the meeting of travelers is held on Christmas time, not New Year!
27 Dec. – Today we visit Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. The weather is really nice – the sun is shining and the wind stopped. Everyone takes a sort of a tram to move around the park, but we decide to ride on our bike. Right at the end of the road is a sign saying, that the distance to Alaska is 17848 km. We covered 38552 km. We take some pictures of this place remembering the ones we took in Alaska. We return admiring wonderful views. Tomorrow we leave Ushuaia, but we fell in love with the incredible atmosphere of this place and think that we will return here to this „Traveler’s Center of the World”.
26 Dec. – This day is still holiday in Poland, but here it is a normal day. We bought tickets for catamaran cruise on Beagle Canal. We set out in rain for a 6 hours long cruise. We sail next to Chilean military base in Puerto Willams and head for numerous islands, on which we can have a look at sea lions, penguins and many more different animals. Luckily, the sky clears and we return to harbor in a nice sunset. I do not know a place where the weather would change as quickly as here. The clouds are racing across the sky and the wind blows mercilessly. We finish the day having a nice dinner in a restaurant and after we return to the hotel, we are welcomed by our hosts with a glass of lemon liquor. Here’s the address ot this nice hotel: "Capri Hospodaje”, via. San Martin 720, www.hotelcapriushuaia.com.ar, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
25 Dec. – Christmas Day – we go sightseeing and in the evening we say goodbye to the crew of “Bona Terra” and Marek Michel. We traveled together through Central America and met many times while in South America. Right now Marek is returning home, while we continue our voyage. We sincerely hope he will return home safely. Ushuaia’s atmosphere is very nice, there are travelers everywhere and there are more coming. Recently two couples arrived on their BMW R1150GS bikes. We stay to meet as many people as we can. Yesterday another two bikes arrived from Brazil. The mountains are covered with snow, the temperature varies from 10 to 14 degrees and it’s constantly blowing – the overall impression is that it will start snowing any minute!. Best wishes from the southernmost city of the World (well, Puerto Williams is a little more to the South, but it’s a Chilean military base, so it does not count).
24 Dec. – Today is one of the most important days of the year for many of us. This year we spend Christmas in Usuhuaia, a pleasant city located over Canal Beagle. All of the hotels are full of travelers from all over the World. In the morning we get invited for a cup of tea by local priest – father Alojzy Gryszko - a Pole, who also invited the crew of the yacht I mentioned yesterday. It’s called “Bona Terra”. We discuss the menu of tonight’s Christmas Supper, which will be held on “Bona Terra’s” deck. The atmosphere during the supper is great, we never thought it would be so nice. We even had a visit from a Santa Claus from Finland! At 8 p.m., exactly at midnight in Poland, we took part in a service held by father Alojzy. The Christmas Supper finished at 3 a.m. We would like to thank the captain of the yacht – Janusz – for a wonderful evening!
23 Dec. – Greetings from Ushuaia, the southernmost city of Argentina. We reach the city at 8 p.m. and covered 38500 km from our arrival in Alaska. The total distance we covered since we left home is 52500 km. Today, at 8 a.m. we board a ferry from Punta Arenas to Porwenir, on the other side of Strait of Magellan. After 2,5 hours we reach the other side of the strait and take a dirt road along the shore of a bay called Bahia Inutil. 170 km further we reach Argentinean border and another 1,5 hours later we are in Argentina. We take road no. 3 ant cover another 330 km towards Ushuaia. The last part leads through the mountains and the temperature drops. As soon as we get off the bike, we head for a cafe, where we meet a couple of travelers: a man from Finland and a woman from Colombia, who invite us for dinner. After a little party we set out to find an accommodation. We manage to find one at 1.30 a.m. – a nice room in a clean and tidy hotel. This is where we will spend Christmas this year. We will have the Christmas Supper on a yacht from Poland, which arrived here yesterday. Malgosia is making fish as I write this message. There’s also a Polish priest here! A local camping field houses 25 bikes and their riders. The majority comes from Germany, but there are also Portugese, Italians, an American, a Canadian and some more.
20-22 Dec. – Greetings from Strait of Magellan, from the town of Punta Arenas. It’s bitter cold and windy, the weather resembles winter in Poland. On 22 Dec. at 9 a.m. we disembarked from „Valparadizo” ferry and once again stepped on Chilean soil in Puerto Natales. After 250 km in barren landscape and cold weather we reached the southernmost Chilean city - Punta Arenas, which owes it’s development to sheep herding. The living conditions on the ferry are at least nice. Good accommodation, great food and marvelous views. All the time we sailed along fjords, islands, rocks, snow-covered mountains, narrow passes and incredible glaciers. On the way, the ferry stopped in Puerto Eden, where native Indians make their living by catching crustaceans. We also stopped near a place, where a glacier called "Glaciar Pio XI" enters the sea. This is where icebergs are created, when huge chunks of ice break away from the glacier – a wonderful view. According to the GPS Ushuaia is 250 km away – in straight line, the distance along the road is twice that. Tomorrow – 23 Dec – we are going to Ushuaia.
Also, we would like to take this opportunity and wish Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all those, who read news from our travel. May the coming days be full of friendship and love to you.
19 Dec. – In the morning we change reservation for the tickets and at 2 p.m. we board the ferry to Puerto Natales. I assume I won’t have an access to the Internet, so I will write more news after we arrive.
18 Dec. – In the morning we say goodbye to our friends. Unfortunately we have to leave. We make a promise to see each other again soon, perhaps in Poland or maybe here, in Argentina. We thank for everything and leave. We travel along road no. 234, southwards, among numerous lakes. The nature here is really pure. The nearest industry is hundreds of kilometers away. Later we change to road no. 231 and head towards Chile. The formalities at the border take 20 minutes – a civilized country! Across the border, in Pujehue we take a bath in a thermal spring. At 8 p.m., after covering 370 km , we are in Puerto Montt and rent a room in a hotel just next to the harbor.
17 Dec. – We are taking a trip to San Martin de los Andes. It is a small, beautiful town, resembling small Swiss and Austrian towns in the Alps. For lunch we have the fish we caught – it’s really tasty. In the evening we take part in a farewell party. The main course is a huge and delicious steak (0,5 kg!), which is only $5,30.
16 Dec. – Today we decide to go to Lanin National Park. An 80 km-long gravel road leads to the park, along many lakes hidden among the mountains. Wonderful nature and landscapes. After a few hours we reach Epulafquen lake and a thermal spring lying next to it. The thermal spring turns out to be a geyser, around which a concrete construction was erected. The hot water is directed to a grass field nearby, so we decide not to take a bath. We take a different route back, around Lanin volcano. In the evening we pay a visit to Zbigniew „Tatus” Fularski, whom we met yesterday and receive another interesting history lesson.
15 Dec. – We feel like spending the day a little different today, so we change a vehicle. We start a motorboat „American Jet” with 40 horsepower engine and go fishing on Lago Lolog lake. The lake lies among snow-covered mountains, 12 km from San Martin de los Andes. Despite the snow lying in the mountains, the water is quite warm – 18 degrees and the surroundings of the lake look like in summer. The color of the water combined with the rich plant life around the lake make a wonderful view. We cruise for 5 hours, because the lake is quite long – 40 kilometers. The first time some big fish bites the lure off, but the second time we catch a 50 cm long salmon – great fun! After we get back we have a truly Argentinian dinner – asado. It’s a combination of different kinds of meat, grilled in a special way. We also have a special guest for dinner. His name is Zbigniew Fularski, known as „Tatus” (in English „Daddy”). He is a Pole, who fought Germans in Poland during Second World War. After the war he escaped communist regime and settled in Argentina. He is a walking history book of immigration from Poland to Argentina. We have a great history lesson. Also, Mr. Fularski owns a small chocolate candy factory which is called „Mamusia” (in English „Mommy”), after his wife, who unfortunately, passed away some time ago. We ate 1 kg of the candy – delicious! The interesting thing is, that the candy is sold only here, and it sells really great. My business partner – Andrzej called us today – another nice event of this fine day.
14 Dec. – I would like to return to yesterday’s evening. The party lasted until 2 a.m. It was great – together with our hosts and friends we talked about the time when we met, 8 years ago and my plans to travel to Argentina. My plans are fulfilled! San Martin de los Andes is a nice small town, overlooking Lago Lacar lake, which lies 660 meters ASL. It’s a great place to make numerous trips from. There are many National Parks nearby and Lanin National Park is the most beautiful. It’s also a great skiing base in winter. Today we make a trip to the West shore of Lago Lacar lake and then along Cha Chin river to Cha Chin waterfalls. The views are breathtaking! I would also like to point out, that the people we met in Santiago, Jorge and Roberto, were by far the most hospitable people we ever met. We felt just like at our own home and as if we’ve known them for years!
13 Dec. – Greetings from a beautiful town of San Martin de los Andes in Argentina. We are guests of our friend Ignacy and his wife Olga. We leave Temuco at 10 a.m. and change roads, from Panamericana to road no. 199, and head to Pucon. En route we have a small adventure – fuel pump’s fuse was broken and I had to change it. The climate is just like in Poland, so we have to use extra rain protection. The only thing different from Poland is Villarica volcano (2840 m ASL). Later we change to a dirt road and reach Argentinian border. The crossing is located in a National Park, which houses Lanin volcano (3717 m ASL) and Araucaria trees, which are quite a view. It takes only 20 minutes to clear all formalities (no charges) and we are in Argentina. After another 60 km on dirt road we reach our friend’s house and his hotel. We are warmly welcomed by our hosts. This place is really nice! Located next to Lago Lacar lake. Here’s the address: San Martin de los Andes, via. Los Nortos 188, tel 0054 2972 420607, www.aparthoteldelpellin.com.ar.
12 Dec. – In the morning we say goodbye to Roberto and his wife. During our stay here we felt really at home, thanks to our host’s hospitality. Such people make the most beautiful moments of our voyage. We bought tickets for a ferry from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales. The cost is 355$ a person and 70$ for the bike. They say the trip is wonderful: fiords, glaciers, ice bergs and polar animals! At 12.30 p.m. we leave Santiago de Chile and travel along the road no. 5 (Panamericana) southwards. After 700 km we stop in Temuco. The climate and landscape is just like home – in Poland! Great!
11 Dec. – Today Roberto takes us for a trip around the city and its surroundings. The city is really very clean, tidy and neat. I wish that Warsaw was such a nice city. The roads are wide and there are no potholes. Ignacy Domeyko, whom I mentioned yesterday was also a fighter for Araukana Indian rights. Tomorrow morning we are going to buy ferry tickets to San Martin de los Andes, Argentina. We are going to visit our friend Ignacy (not Domeyko – Domeyko is dead), whom I met in China during one of my business trips to China. After the visit we are coming back to Chile and continue southwards. We plan to sped the Christmas on the ferry and New Year’s Eve in Ushuaia.
10 Dec. – Today we are not doing anything. The dinner yesterday was simply excellent. Malgosia made a cooking masterpiece. The whole Roberto’s family loved it. Late morning Roberto took us to see the old town. it turns out, that except for post-office, firehouse, St. Francis church and the cathedral, there are no old buildings here. This is because Santiago lies in a region with high seismic activity. The last earthquake in 1985 (8 Richter scale) leveled many buildings. We also visited a house of Ignacy Domeyko – a Pole who contributed to Chile’s development. He created basis of copper, silver and gold mining here.
9 Dec – A technical day: laundry, change of oil in a local BMW service station and, what's most important, Malgosia and Roberto are making dinner! I will let you know of the results of their cooking. Besides, the entire Roberto's family is coming for this dinner! Malgosia makes a traditional Polish dish - ground meat with rice, wrapped in cabbage leaves. I don’t do as well as she does. First, I have to ride through the jammed city to get to the service station. Second, they tell me, that they will change oil and oil filter, but not before 7 p.m. When I ask them, they say they will not sell me oil without changing. I have to use my press pass to buy engine oil! Third, I learn, that the tire Marcin ordered by e-mail (Metzeler Enduro 4) is going to cost me 510$. I tell them, that I paid 300$ for both tires for the bike in Las Vegas. I wait 2 hours, pay for the oil and leave. Two blocks away I run across a sign: „Metzeler”. It turns out, that there’s a Metzeler factory here! I buy Metzeler Enduro 3 for 90$. I return just in time to eat the dinner. Tomorrow we will decide the route to Ushuaia.
8 Dec. – Greetings from Santiago de Chile! Each kilometer we cover today brigs us closer to moderate climate. On our way we visit two famous tourism cities: Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. We don’t like places like these – too rich-oriented, while we like calm and quiet places. We decide not to stay and go to Santiago. We reach capital city of Chile at 8.30 p.m. and have some difficulties finding a suitable hotel. Some are just too expensive, while those cheaper ones do not have a good place to leave the bike. We finally find a nice hostel, run by Roberto, an Italian, who turns out to be a very friendly and hospitable person. We wind up in a restaurant, having a nice dinner and a bottle of an excellent Chilean wine. Roberto and Gosia spoke Italian all the time, and I took part in the conversation speaking English. It is a nice place to stay, inexpensive and located in the center of the city. The address: "Gala Hotel", via. Santa Monika 23547, Santiago-Centro, tel.671 59 26. The city itself is very European-like and is beautifully located – surrounded by mountains, with a mild climate.
7 Dec. – We are 520 km further South, in an old colonial town of La Serena, founded in 1544. The first kilometers of today’s journey lead along Pacific coast with beautiful views, but after 80 km the road goes into the desert, which is not as beautiful. The desert, in the beginning completely devoid of any life forms, slowly started to show some plants, like grass, bushes and cactus. The further South we went, the more plant life we encountered. We think, that we will reach Santiago tomorrow. We will also soon cover 50 000 km of our journey. We are OK. and the weather is great!
6 Dec. – Greetings from Chanaral, somewhere in Chile on Pacific coast, 980 km away from Santiago de Chile. After morning inspection of the rear tire, it turns out, that it is completely worn out on the sides and there is a danger, that it will burst anytime soon. The middle of the tire is still OK. Yesterday’s 640 km almost killed the tire. We set out frightened, because the nearest big city is 200 km away. We reach Antofagasta and meet a friendly biker who shows us to all motorcycle service stations in the city, but we cannot find a suitable tire! Luckily, at the last service station, we find a 17 inch tire. It’s a little narrow (120 instead of 150), but I decide to buy and put it on the wheel. At 2 p.m. we are back on the road, heading to Santiago. After 620 km we stop in Chanaral, with 980 km to go to Santiago. Today’s road is nothing but desert and the landscape is rather monotonous, nevertheless beautiful. The weather is great, there’s some wind, but it’s really nothing compared to what we had to struggle against 2,5 years ago on Baltic coast. That wind almost blew us from the road!
5 Dec. – Greetings from Tocopilla, Chile! Today, we leave a little later, because when we crossed Chile’s border, we also changed time zones and the time here is CET –4hrs. We start down the Panamericana, southwards. The landscape is nothing but desert (sandy and rocky) – all shades of yellow, brown and gray. We struggle against numerous ascents (1000 meters) and descends. The views are really beautiful and the weather is great – 22 degrees. Since the distances between gas stations are really huge, we run out of fuel on one occasion. A helpful restaurant owner helped us. When we got to Pozo Almonte, we changed road to no. 16 and head for Inquique to continue along road no. 1 and Pacific coast. In Patache we decide to go and see a dry lake – impressing view! We get back to the coast and ride to Tocipilla, admiring a wonderful sunset. Because we are on Southern hemisphere, the day is much longer now and it’s still light at 8.30 p.m. We can’t get used to chilean currency, because 1$=513 Pesos. 95 octane gasoline costs 530 pesos.
4 Dec. – Greetings from Arica in Chile! Early in the morning we leave La Paz and after inquiring about road conditions, we give up the idea of going to the dried lake. It would require us to ride 800 km on a dirt road and would cost 3 days. We travel along Peru border, through the mountains to Arica. What we seen along the road is really hard to describe. The views are by far the most beautiful we have seen so far. Lakes, peaks covered with snow, all shades of green – magnificent! The border with Chile is also a border of a national park. After an hour we cross to Chile without any charges and continue admiring the landscape. Chile is different from the countries of Central and South America we have seen so far. It is very European-like. Civilized and tidy. After a month and a half, we have an opportunity to eat a real European dinner, accompanied by excellent local wine. The prices are more European-like as well. The hotel room costs 30$. From our home in Bielsko-Biala, we covered 48 000 km!
3 Dec. – Greetings from La Paz, Bolivia! We did not plan to visit this country, but so many people told us to see Bolivia, that we decided to change plans.
In the morning we leave Puno and ride along Titicaca lake’s shore towards Bolivian border. Once again we admire the landscape of the lake. In Pomata we stop to see a wonderful church from XVI century. 190 km further we are at Bolivian border. Half an hours later we enter Bolivia (no charges). The road to La Paz is very good. After 120 km we reach the city, descending from a 4000 meters ASL plateau to a 3600 meters ASL valley. Two volcanoes tower over the city. We stop at Continental hotel (only 17$ for a two bedded room and a garage for the bike). It turns out, that there’s not much to be seen in this city, besides in the afternoon it starts raining (they say it is a regular afternoon rainfall), so we head back to the hotel. Tomorrow, we are going to a dried lake - "Solar de Uyuni". We have different information about road conditions there. We also know that the temperatures can be extreme. We’ll see.
2 Dec. – In the morning we say goodbye to our hosts and at 8 a.m. we board the boat. The rudder is jury-rigged and we leave for Taqulle island. One hour later we are on the island. The sky clears and the weather is beautiful, which makes the view even more beautiful. The only other lake I can compare Titicaca with is Baikal. We eat our lunch made of fish on the island. The produce fabric, clothes, hats, belts, etc. sell it in a shop and divide the money equally among themselves at a big stone table. The interesting thing is that the clothes describe social status. We leave the island and after 3 hours of peaceful cruise we are back in Puno. Unforgettable experiences!
Marek did not go to the Titicaca. He left a message, that he is heading for Bolivia.
1 Dec. – At 8.30 in the morning we leave on a motorboat from Puno. After 40 minutes we reach a place, where on numerous (20) floating islands made of reed live the Uru Indians. Everything is made of reed here: houses, boats and the island itself is made of many layers of reed – one can actually feel the water underneath! After 2 hours of learning the way of life of the Indians, we leave. When we reach the mouth of the bay where the Uru live, we are hit by a storm. The waves almost topple the boat. The captain closes to the shore, but he sails right into some underwater rocks which virtually rip the rudder off! This is where the extreme part of the day begins. Huge waves and we cannot maneuver. Gosia is terrified. Only by miracle are we able to reach a small harbor. Local fisherman helps captain to repair the rudder, while we take a tour of the hamlet. This is where we learn the way of life of these people! Once the boat is repaired, we board it and live through another horror. So does the captain. We can see the fear in his eyes as he steers the boat. After 5 hours we finally reach Anatani island. We are assigned to an Indian family and learn about their life. These people have been living here 500 years before the Inca empire. Tourists started to visit them only 6 years ago. The children run about bare footed, the adults grow some crops and produce their own fabric for clothes – very colorful and really beautiful! We also visit two pre-Inca temples built on two peaks: Pachamama and Pachatata. We take part in a fiesta, wearing local traditional clothes. We go to sleep early.
30 Nov. – Bitten by the flies, with blisters on our hands, we are riding from Cusco, along road no. 3S towards Titicaca lake. We climbed a mountain pass 4335 meters ASL. After that is a plateau over 4000 meters ASL. The views are magnificent, and the temperature is really acceptable – 14-17 degrees. We cover 400 km and stop in Puno, just at Titicaca lake shore. The lake lies 3820 meters ASL and is the largest lake in South America. We rent a room in an Italian hotel Ferrocarril. We plan to stay here until 3 Dec., because we bought a tour on the lake. It includes visiting Uru Indians, who have been living on floating islands made of reed, visiting Amantani island, where we will stay overnight at an Indian family’s house and visiting Taquile island, where we will see some Inca ruins.
29 Nov. – Today we get up early, at 5 a.m. and at 6.16, our train leaves for Machu Picchu. After 4 hours of going backwards and forwards, climbing and descending, our train arrives at a small train station. From there a small bus takes us to Machu Picchu. This place is incredible. A city built on a mountain top, so far away from any civilization, that it has been discovered only in 1911. The architecture and engineering of Inca civilization was really highly developed. We met a couple of tourists from Poland, who were so nice, that they lent us their guidebook and took 2 CD’s full of photos back to Poland. We also got bitten by some small flies. At 8.20 p.m. we are back in Cusco.
28 Nov. – We are sightseeing Cusco. This is no quiet town, but a frequented tourism city! Wherever we go, we are attacked by hordes of shop owners, shoe cleaners and the like. We do not feel too well here. The city itself is interesting. Built of brown stone the Spaniards got from ravaged Inca temples. The most interesting thing is Incas stonework. The stones are so even, that it is impossible to put an edge of a knife between two stones! We visited all major churches. The entrance fees are much higher than anywhere else in Peru. We bought train tickets to Machu Picchu. We depart at 6 a.m. and return at 8.30 p.m. The cost is 102$ per person and we have to queue for 1,5 hours. This place is too much of tourist industry and there’s too little Indian atmosphere.
We met tourists from New Zealand – Brad and Melissa, who are riding from Alaska to Argentina. Their webpage address is: www.oneworld-twowheeis.com.
27 Nov. – Greetings from Cusco! As we planned yesterday, at 6 o’clock we set out for Cusco, after a sleepless night, because there has been a folk music festival right under our hotel! Thanks to this, we are now experts when it comes to Indian folk music – a nightmare!!! We have to struggle with the mountains from the beginning, it’s cold – only 2 degrees and after 30 km we reach a mountain pass – 4520 meters ASL – a record so far! It’s so cold, that Marek decides to stay, his bike doesn’t have a windshield nor heated handgrips. Malgosia gets terribly cold, but after 100 km we descend to a valley and have to take some of our clothes off – 34 degrees! We exercise clothing and unclothing three times. Finally, at 4.30 p.m. we reach Cusco and have a problem finding a hotel with a garage. After 3 hours we leave the bike on a guarded parking lot. We haven’t met Marek so far. The city is quite big. We covered 520 km in Andes today!
26 Nov. – Greetings from Puquio, 3300 above sea level, deep in Andes Mountains. At 8 a.m. we’re on an airfield, board a small Cessna and for 40 minutes we have an opportunity to see the drawings of Nasca civilization, made 900 BC. No one can give a logical explanation for existence of the drawings. After the flight we go deep in the desert and see graves and tombs of mummified Nasca people. In the end we visit a pottery manufactory, which is also a museum, where Indians produce pottery by old ways and mineral processing plant (also a museum) where Indians used to retrieve gold from different minerals. After seeing all this, we mount the bike and leave Panamericana, to get to Cusco. The road climbs and after 100 km we reach a mountain pass 4150 meters above sea level – a plateau called Galeria Pampas. On our way we pass next to the highest sand dune in the World – it’s over 2000 meters high. The views are breathtaking! The temperature drops to 10 degrees and the sky is deep blue. We get to a small mountain town and find a hotel. In this area it’s best to make a reservation earlier, because there are not too many tourist here and distances between towns are big. The distance from Cusco is about 520 km, all of it between 3500 and 4000 meters ASL (above sea level). They say it takes about 15 hours to get to Cusco. The road is incredibly windy and in a really bad condition. Tomorrow, we set out at 6 a.m. Maybe we will be able to get to Cusco.
Since it is the only hotel in town, Marek joined us.
25 Nov. – We get up early, because a bus for Parakas leaves at 7 a.m. From Parakas we are taken on a motorboat and cruise to the National Park. The views of all those animals were really nice! We get back and ride to Nasca, to take the airplane tour and see the drawings. On our way to Nasca we have an opportunity to see the drawings from a short distance. Each line is about 30 cm wide and 10 cm deep. We had a hotel reservation and we are really satisfied with the standard – nice, clean and not too expensive. Tomorrow, we will see the drawings from the air.
We covered 47000 km from our home. The bike is doing fine, except for the broken ABS. The tires we changed in Las Vegas have traveled 15000 km and are really worn on the sides. This is because of Central America’s windy roads. The centers of the tires are roughly 50% used up. The brake pads are OK.
The fuel in Peru is expensive – 14 Sol a gallon, which is roughly 4,30$. The road safety is quite a phenomenon in Peru. Everyone is driving 30-40 kph and few people pay attention to “yield” and “stop” signs. The speed, however allows to avoid collision. The hotels are cheap and have a good standard. The food is bad! Our stomachs were in bad condition, but we are better now. The best thing to do is to buy canned food.
24 Nov. – It turns out, that after yesterday’s evening excursion, there’s not much for us to see in Lima. Leaving the center is dangerous - theft and robbery are common here. As soon as we leave the center, a policeman approaches us and tells us to hide our camera under a jacket. We also meet a group of students from Poland. One of them lost his backpack. He lost his wallet and passport. We pick up our clothes from the laundry-cleaner’s and visit the remaining monuments – St. Peter’s church and Dominican monastery. Generally, all monuments are in prime condition. At 2 p.m. we set out to Pisco, to Parakas National Park. We cover 250 km in 3 hours and rent a room in a nice hotel “Villa Manuelita”, in the center of the town. We also buy a ticket for tomorrow’s ride to local islands to watch sea lions, penguins and other birds (only 10$ per person). We also buy a ticket for an airplane tour over Nasca, to see the world-famous huge drawings on the ground, tombs, mummies and a traditional pottery manufactory (70$ per person).
23 Nov. – Greetings from Lima. We reached yet another South American capital city! In the morning we say farewell to our host, a retired sailor, who has seen the whole World. We move southwards along Pacific coast. The landscape is nothing but desert. From time to time we pass a harbor city and the smell is simply killing us. A smell of latrine combined with a rotten fish. On our way, in Paramonga, we stop to see ruins of a Moche-Chimu temple from 1400 B.C. Having covered 450 km we arrive in Lima and quickly find a suitable hotel in the center of the old part of the city. We manage to see a few cathedrals and churches in the evening. The altars are incredible – very ornament and big! The police are omnipresent, just like in Quito, but the reason is the safety of the tourists. Tomorrow we are going to see the rest of the city.
22 Nov – We set out again. But without Marek. There's just too much difference between our traveling ideas and simply way of looking at life. We covered over 9000 km together and got through the most dangerous countries together, but now we must part. Perhaps we will meet on the road again.
We leave Piura and ride along Pacific coast in a desert landscape. The desert here is filled with trash, which lies everywhere and gets denser the closer we get to a bigger city. Before we get to Chimbote, we stop in Cochera and find a hotel with a garage for the bike for 6$! We managed to cover 650 km today. The plan for tomorrow is to get to Lima – roughly 500 km to go.
21 Nov – At 9 a.m. we are back on the road. We want to get to Peru's border in Macara as soon as possible. The road is as bad as yesterday – there's gravel everywhere and just before the border the road turns into a narrow tarmac path, we start to think, that maybe we took a wrong turn somewhere and we're not on Panamericana anymore. But no, we reach Macara and the border. It takes us two hours to clear all the formalities and enter Peru. No charges this time! Panamericana in Peru is far better than in Ecuador. On average, we cover 100 kilometers an hour. We stop in Piura and find a nice hotel. In Peru the roads are better, but the living conditions of people here are really bad! We saw houses made of clay and tree branches! Noone cares about trash here. It's everywhere. For example, we rode through Sullana – a city looking like a one big trash hold. The smell is unbearable. This is not what we expected. The currency here is Sola 1$=3,325 Sola.
20 Nov – We leave Cuenca at noon, because first we want to see the old town and a small factory-museum of the famous hats everybody is wearing. The owner turns out to be a BMW-fan. We have great fun – Malgosia is trying the hats on, I take photos, the owner is having a detailed look at the bike. The whole family is very friendly and nice. Of course, we bought a few hats and had them sent home. We also visited a cathedral. A few hours later we are back on Panamericana, heading South. The views are unbelievable, but the road is awful. There are sections without asphalt! There are potholes the size of a truck! We ride along a ridge 3300 – 3600 meters above sea level. It's also cold – 12-15 degrees. The average speed in the mountains drops below 50 kph. We sleep in Catamayo after covering 280 km.
19 Nov – In the morning we say goodbye to our hosts and leave Quito. The exit from the city is very difficult. There are traffic jams everywhere and the exhaust fumes are irritating the eyes. It must be the altitude – the fuel doesn’t have enough air to burn properly. We cross the Equator and leave late autumn and enter late spring. After an hour, we finally leave the city and enter the mountains. The altitude is above 3000 meters and mountain passes are above 3600 m. Having covered 480 km, we stop in an old, colonial town of Cuenca. The town is beautiful – the location, number of old buildings, cleanliness – it all adds to a wonderful atmosphere. The roads, however are really bad. There are pieces of rock lying on the road, sometimes they’re really big!. The local people are the most interesting – everyone is wearing a brown hat!
18 Nov – Morning. In a moment Fernando, our host in the hotel, will call the forwarding company to inquire, when can we retrieve our bikes. At 10 a.m. we receive a message, that our bikes can be retrieved on Quito Cargo Airport. We arrive at 11 o'clock and live through another horror! We could not imagine, just how terrible mess that place was! Everyone running, we couldn't get any information on how and where apply to get our bikes back! We had to pay 40$ to some customs agency and they managed to fill out all the paperwork for us. After 8 long hours of virtual fight to claim our property, we finally have the bikes. We also had to pay 53$ for storing our bikes in an airport warehouse. The first petrol station is a nice surprise. The gasoline is only 2$ a gallon. The currency here resembles what we encountered in Panama – only coins are local. The notes are US Dollars.
17 Nov. - Greetings from capital of Ecuador – Quito! The city lies in the mountains, 2800 meters above sea level. It's 65 km long and 3-4 km wide. It is really nice, clean and tidy here. Temperature – 14C at night and 25C at daytime. We met a group of tourists from Poland, who are visiting countries of South and Central America. Unfortunately we have a sad opportunity to see, that people from Poland will try to cheat you, even so far from home. Together with the tourists we met we take a bus to a hotel „Cayman”, run by a lady from Poland. It turns out, that the prices are 3 times higher than anywhere else in the city. When we decide to look for a hotel elsewhere, the lady tries to charge us 3 times the cost of a taxi, for getting here on the bus. We return the amount we'd have to pay for getting here in a taxi and leave. Just on the other side of the street we find a very nice and inexpensive hotel, run by a family of Ecuadorians. We pay 24$ for a two-bedded room, Marek – 10$ for a single. We even have a place to park our bikes! Today a month has passed since we left Poland. Malgosia and Marek are having small difficulties with breathing. These are probably an effect of a cold and the altitude. We spent the rest of the day sightseeing in the city. It is full of soldiers keeping order – there must be some sort of civil unrest here. One can see armed policemen, soldiers, dogs and armored cars with water cannons everywhere! The life stops after sunset. On our way back, we met a group of bikers, who are organizing a rally here! Once we get our bikes tomorrow, we will join in!
16 Nov. - We were thinking about a ferry from Colon or Panama City. After many conversations with locals, we learned that there's no regular connection. We could hire a small cargo ship. However, the American we met en-route told us that he did so and spent 5 days on deck, sailing from Colombia. Besides, the costs were 250$ for the bike and 250$ for himself. He also had problems with customs officers. We decided to choose the safer option and we think it should turn out to be a cheaper one as well – we will not have to ride 2000 km through Colombia.
15 Nov. - We are in Panama, sightseeing and later we board a plane. That's the news for today. We traveled throughout the city with a taxicab. They are very cheap here. One can get to the other side of the city for as little as 2$. Basically, everything is cheap here – at least 40% cheaper than in Poland.
14 Nov. - A working day. At 8 a.m. we are at local BMW retailer – Bavarian Motors. We have oil filter, oil and air filter changed. We also learn the address of GIRAR – a shipping company, which will fly our bikes to Quito, Ecuador. The cost of freight is 650$ for one bike. On our way to the airport, we visit Polish Embassy to visit Polish ambassador – Mr. Marek Makowski. He is a very kind person and tells us a lot about Panama. The Polonia in Panama counts 70 souls. From the embassy we are going straight to the airport. The formalities take about 3 hours. Having that done, we but plane tickets – 350$ per person. On Wednesday we are going to fly to Quito via Bogota, Colombia.
Panama City resembles Hong Kong a little. Except the size. It counts only 1 million citizens. We also learned that the rainstorms are quite normal during this time of the year. In two weeks there will be no rain at all here. Tomorrow we will go sightseeing.
13 Nov. - It's hot and sunny in the morning. At 12 a.m. (which is CET-6hrs) we cross the Canal. The bridge we cross is simply beautiful – we took some pictures. We have closed another chapter of our travel around the World! Just as we get to the center, we have to hide on a petrol station – another rainstorm. After 3 hours we meet two Panama policemen, who show us to a very nice hotel. 22$ for a 2 bedded room. There's a garage for the bikes and there's a swimming pool here! Moreover, a few blocks away there's BMW retailer and maintenance station – we'll have the oil changed. Besides, as most of bike travelers ride BMWs, many arrive here and ask for help with shipping their bikes. The retailer does business with shipping companies – we'll see tomorrow!
12 Nov. - After yesterday's rainstorm we are drying everything. The weather is really fine – sunny and warm – 28C. The road is also fine – a concrete, two-lane highway – in a few hours we get 70 km from Panama City. The last thing to do is to get through the last mountain range. This is where the sky goes almost black with clouds. We turn around and hide in a small hotel. The rain is incredible! The surroundings turn into one big raging river. After a few hours the rain stops and we are able to go shopping. We are close enough to Panama City to celebrate! Panama is the most civilized country we've seen since we left USA. The funny thing is that they have their own currency, but only coins. They use dollar notes. Besides the exchange rate of Balboa (that's the name of their currency) is 1 Balboa=1 Dollar. The fuel is quite cheap 2,70$ for a gallon.
11 Nov. - It is still raining in the morning, but at least it's warmer – 12C. We dry our clothes and set off at 9 a.m. After 20 km we descend towards order with Panama. The temperature rises to 28 degrees in an instant. We have to stop and shed some clothes, especially rain overalls. On the way we meet an American on a BMW 1100GS, who's been riding around South America for the past 8 months. He's on his way from Uschuaia – our destination. We gather some useful information about shipping the bike to Ecuador or Colombia. 80 km before Panama's border we are caught in another tropical rainstorm. At least it's warm and we are able to get to the border. After another 25 km of constant riding we are finally able to find a nice little hotel. Happy about the fact we are having local beer.
10 Nov. - It is raining. We are continuing along road no. 2 towards San Hose – the capital. It is still raining heavily, but at least it's warm – 22C. Once we get to the mountains it got really cold. When we reach 3300 meters on a pass, the temperature is a mere 5 degrees. We are freezing. I have never been so cold in my life. We have to stop for a while, because we can't ride. Marek is so cold, he can't get off his bike. Luckily, after 30 km we find a restaurant and some small huts for rent. We had hot tea and rum to warm us up. And an electric blanket.
9 Nov. - We wanted to go and see an island with two volcanoes on Nicaragua lake, but the weather is terrible. It's raining and the clouds are virtually laying on the ground. We are heading towards the border with Costarica. While finishing all the formalities we can see Marek arriving! Together, we continue along road no. 1 to Liberia, where we stay for the night. We are having a local drink – Guaro Cacique. We covered 200 km today.
8 Nov. - In the morning we leave the hotel. Marek hasn't arrived yet, but we have information, that he is still in Honduras, 130 km behind. We ride along NIC24 to Nicaragua's old capital city – Leon. It turns out to be filthy, stinking and without any tourists. We take a few pictures and leave. We are heading towards Managua – present capital. Later we change to NIC4, which leads us to far nicer Granada. We are waiting for Marek. Tomorrow we will go towards Costarican border.
7 Nov. - The sky clears during the night and the morning is nice and sunny. We dry our things and head towards Tegucigalpa, which turns out to be a nice city surrounded by mountains. Then we head South to Choluteca and CA3 to Nicaragua's border. 30 minutes and we are in Nicaragua. We stay in a hotel in Chinandega. We covered 477 km and the total is 41692 km. Tomorrow we are going to Granada, where we will stay 2 days to find Marek.
6 Nov. - We visit the ruins of Maya temples and pyramids in Copan until 1 p.m. The whole site is deep in the jungle and animal sounds coming from around make an incredible atmosphere. This place really makes you think about the wonderful civilization, which is now gone. Later we return on the road. We ride along CA11 and later CA4 to San Pedro Sula, where we change to CA5, which leads to Tegucigalpa. 55 km after San Pedro we get caught in a rain like we have near seen before. It is virtually pouring down! In this horrible rain we get to an Italian hotel. It turns out that we lost Marek! He's nowhere to be found! Moreover he has got no telephone! We use of e-mail to find each other, but it can take days. The humidity is killing us and the temperature doesn't drop below 26 degrees. A 5 p.m. it is getting absolutely dark.
5 Nov. - In the morning, while the weather is fine, we take some pictures of Antigua and leave towards Honduras' border. On our way we have to get through Guatemala City – a living horror – no road directions! We spend 2 hours trying to get out of the city! The formalities at the border take one hour. After crossing the border, we stay in Copan, not far from the most famous Maya ruins in Honduras. We had a great steak dinner!
4 Nov. - We leave the hotel at 8.30 in the morning and continue down the road CA1. Roughly 150 km before Ciudad de Guatemala we leave CA1 and go to see Atitlan lake. It is beautiful, surrounded by mountains next to an active volcano. This is where we saw the aftermath of the recent hurricanes. This is something horrible. The mud came from the mountains virtually burying villages, people, everything! The layer of mud is several meters thick! We cover 22 km in one hour and get to a river. The only way to cross it is on a boat, but we cannot find a boat big enough. We turn back and head for the CA1. We stop for the night in Antigua, former capital city of Guatemala.
3 Nov. – We left San Cristobal de las Casas early morning and headed straight to border with Guatemala. We cleared all the formalities with Mexicans in 30 minutes and 1,5 hours with Guatemalan customs officers. We cover another 100 km and stop for the night in a family-run hotel in Huehuetenahango next to CA1 road. All other hotels looked like barns. There's no decent restaurant in this area. We go to sleep early and decide to leave early in the morning.
2 Nov. – We spend the day visiting the neighborhood of San Christo de las Casas. We take a road no. 199 to Palenque and stop to see Cascade Aqua Azul – beautiful waterfalls. The road to Palenque is anything but nice, but it is well worth the effort. Next to Palenque lie numerous Maya temples, right in the middle of a huge rain forest. The views are magnificent! At 8.30 we return to our hotel room in the town center. Marek did not accompany us to Palenque, he had some thing to do with his bike. Tomorrow we leave Mexico and enter Guatemala. Distance covered from home – 40000km.
1 Nov. – We covered 370 km on road no. 190 today. First we had to struggle against a hurricane, blowing from the mountains towards the Pacific and later we had to struggle with both the hurricane and the curved road. We stop for the night in San Christo de las Casas, an old, Spanish style town. Lovely streets, nice Mariachi music and a big Halloween fiesta – rock concerts and dressed people. It’s cold – only 14 degrees. Everything is OK.
31 Oct.- In the morning we cruise the city for the last time to take some photos. 31 October is a fiesta day in Mexico. Everyone dresses as a monster of some kind or a ghost. Later, because of a mistake we covered 120 km on a wrong road in the mountains, we lost 3 hours. The time has changed and it’s dark at 5.30 p.m. We covered 410 km today – all curves. At 7 p.m. we reach Tehuantepe, an old, Mexican style town.
30 Oct. – We buy a tour of nearby Maya and Aztec ruins for $18. Here’s what we see:
Tule – a 2000 years old cypress tree. 58 meters of circumference, which is almost 18,5 meters of diameter! Next to the tree there’s a church Santa Maria from XVII century.
Tlacolula – a Sinior Tlacolula church, around which local Indians (Mercado de Indios) have raised their stand and sell ethnic stuff – something incredible. They have so much fun!
Mitla – an Aztec city with ruins of a temple. There’s also a church here, which was raised by the conquistadors.
Monte Albano – a site full of Aztec pyramids, located on a mountain top, not far from Oaxaco. The place is absolutely beautiful.
Late at night we return to the town and visit the famous San Domingo church. Few tons of gold on the walls – incredible and beautiful. We also gave a small interview for a local TV station, because there is a off-road competition organized here. Marek, our friend, prefers tent to a hotel room, but we get on really well. Everything is OK.
29 Oct. – We leave at 10 a.m. and ride along the road no. 131 to Oaxaco in the mountains. The GPS says it is 132 km in straight line, but we have to ride 270 to get there. We arrive at 6 p.m. There wasn’t a straight section of the road which was longer than 50 meters! The potholes were enormous, both in number and size, just like in the mountains of Albania. The plant life is beautiful – flowers build a tunnel in which we ride. We stay in an inexpensive, but clean and tidy hotel St. Antonio for $20. In the evening we take a walk in the town. Everyone is preparing for the Halloween – you can see skulls and skeletons everywhere. The atmosphere of this place is very nice. These people here are really enjoying their lives!
28 Oct. – We spend the day resting in a nice town of Puerto Escondido. The atmosphere of this place is remarkable. The beaches are beautiful, the water is warm – 30 C, with white sand, palm trees and so many colorful flowers! We are staying in a hotel which is situated next to the beach - $20 for a room. the people are really friendly and nice. We regret that we have to continue – it is so nice here.
27 Oct. - We continue west on road no. 200, along Pacific coast. Curves, villages and those pesky „sleeping policemen” made of concrete, 30 cm high and badly made. We passed 300 of those today. I hit them with the bike's frame. From 11 a.m. till 7 p.m. we covered only 400 km. Our butts are sore, because of the heat and humidity. We stay at a hotel in Puerto Escondido – on a beach!
26 Oct. - Still riding along the road no. 20 we reach Acapulco. We covered only 450 km today. We covered 38130 km from our home. We covered the last few kilometers in a horrible rain. The road turned into a river with very warm water. The landscape is nice, but after three days it is getting monotonous. The people are very friendly and helpful. Acapulco is clearly a tourism city.
25 Oct. - We continue south-west along road no. 200 all the way to Caleta de Campos. It took us from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to cover 520 km. The road resembles on of European one I once rode – all curves. The climate is really hot and humid. The day is getting short and from 6 p.m. on we ride in the dark. The time zone is CET+7 hrs. This part of Pacific coast is almost deserted. We couldn't find a hotel for the last 200 km.
24 Oct. – A really beautiful day. We continue down the road no. 15 to Tepic and change to road no. 200 to Puerto Vallarta. We cover 500 km. The town is very nice, a quintessence of Mexico, including the mariachi. The landscape is beautiful. Lots of green trees, bushes, flowers and beautiful mountains. The road no. 200 is all curves and the trees and bushes create a green tunnel. Because of the curves we cannot travel too fast. Besides, Mexicans tend to ignore other drivers. I avoided an accident thanks to a miracle. The temperature – 28-33 degrees. We rent a room in a hotel. The temperature and humidity are a nuisance. Apart from that, everything is OK.
23 Oct. – In the morning we leave Javier and Claudia – our hosts, who are such friendly and hospitable people! We continue south down the road no. 15. The weather is super – 26 – 32 degrees. In the beginning the landscape is cactus-ridden, but later it turns into more tropical-like. We covered 620 km and stopped in a hotel in Mazatian. Marek Michel rides with us and he is just fine. The time zone here is CET-8 hrs. The hotels are neither clean nor nice. The prices, on the other hand, are high. The landscape is monotonous and not at all interesting. The people, however are wonderful – very friendly.
22 Oct. – We set out at 9 o’clock. The weather is FINE. We still ride down the road no. 15. In Nawoja I use an ATM to get some cash. I got the cash, but the ATM didn’t return my card. It’s Saturday, the bank is closed. What to do? We called the Police and they found an employee of the bank the ATM belonged to. He opened the bank and returned the card. That was a 4-hour long horror in Mexico for us. The remarkable thing is that everybody wanted and tried to help us! It turned out, that the bank's employee rides a BMW 1100GS and is a traveler, just like us! He took us to his house on a beach over California Bay, where we were welcomed as guest. There was a party and tequila. Everything turned out fine. This is really hard to describe how friendly and helpful these people are. We covered only 220 km, but ended the day partying on a beach. It is really warm here 28 degrees.
21 Oct – We reached Mexican border at 11 a.m. It took 3 hours to complete all the formalities. The costs are: $60 – insurance for the motorcycle for 10 days, $30 – customs collateral for the motorcycle, $20 per person – Forma Migrationa de Turista (FMT). Total - $130 and we are entering Mexico! At 2 p.m. we leave Artur at the Mexican border and together with Marek Michel continue down the road no. 15 from Nogales to Guaymas over California Bay, where we stay for the night in a hotel. We covered 410 km. Distance traveled from home – 35890. Temperature – 32 degrees, the sky is blue.
20 Oct. - Wojtek and Malgosia rode to Mexican border. En route they met Marek, who will travel with them through South America on his Kawasaki. Artur will see them to Mexico.
17 Oct. - After two-week-long break Wojtek and Malgosia are back in USA, continuing their voyage. They boarded a plane in Cracow, flew to Warsaw and took a plane to Chicago. Again, the captain of the plane was their friend - Mirek Olowski, who also rides a bike. Jet-lagged but happy they reached Phoenix. They met with Artur and Marek and decided to start on 20 Oct. Until then they prepared the bike.
27 Sept. - time to fly to Poland. After 3 months and 23 days of traveling, they covered 35000 km!
26 Sept. - they gave a second part of the interview in Polish radio in New York. Later they went to Central Park and saw a monument of Polish king - Wladyslaw Jagiello. Jagiello lived in 14 and 15 century - before America has been discovered. Wojtek wondered why has someone placed the monument there. The explanation is, that Polish sculptor made the monument for World Fair held in New York in 1939. Later, when Germans attacked Poland there was no way for the monument to go back to Poland. So it stayed in New York.
25 Sept. - the day's main event was an interview for Polish radio in New York. They met some people, who lived near Bielsko - their hometown.
24 Sept. - They went to Manhattan again, went to Madame Tussaud's - a wax figure museum, where they had taken photos with world's most famous people - made of wax. In the evening they went to Broadway and saw a great musical - Mamma Mia! - 2,5 hours of Abba songs.
23 Sept. - They visited Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and the site of World Trade Center disaster.
22 Sept. - they flew from Phoenix to New York. Malgosia's friend took them to her home. The flight was 4000 km. The plan was to see as much New York as possible.
21 Sept. - They left the bike at Andrzej Sochacki's home, packed their things and went to sleep. Next day they would fly for the second time in their voyage.
20 Sept. - Wojtek had his bike serviced - brake pads, oil and oil filter. Later he has worked on some minor things on his bike. On 22 Sept. they are flying from Phoenix to NY.
19 Sept. - in the morning the travelers went to Tucson and met Dalai Lama himself! He taught about principles in life. In the evening they returned to Andrzej's home.
18 Sept. - Wojtek and Malgosia reached Phoenix and Andrzej Sochacki's house. Andrzej is a great traveler, he has travelled around the world six times! By car (a VW Beetle - the old one), by plane, by sailboat, by train and on a motorcycle (I don't know which one he has done twice). The welcome party lasted until 2 a.m.
17 Sept. - they made a trip from Mietek's house to see the surroundings of Williams. In the evening they had a small party at their host's house.
16 Sept. - the travelers returned to route 66 and headed back to Crazy Mietek's house (they stayed there on their way to Las Vegas). They are heading to Phoenix, because from there they will fly to New York and then back home for two weeks.
12-15 Sept. - Wojtek and Malgosia stayed at their friends' house from 12 to 14 September. They made a few local trips, for example old town in Los Angeles, a cathedral, an opera. They also went to Santa Monica and spent some time on the beach.
11 Sept. – they did nothing the whole day – they rested. Wojtek wrote an e-mail containing news from the journey. That's all.
10 Sept. - they visited Hollywood and write, that it is not as good-looking as people think. Quite the contrary. The buildings are ugly, everything looks cheap, and the souvenirs look very cheap but are expensive. Generally there is nothing worth seeing in Hollywood. In the evening they did the same thing as the evening before – partied.
9 Sept. - they stopped to see Santa Barbara and Malibou and reached their host's house in Los Angeles at 5 o'clock p.m. The welcoming party was fueled by Tequila and lasted until late at night.
8 Sept. - they cruised road no. 1 the whole day. Road no.1 runs along the Pacific Coast and the views are beautiful! They stopped for the night in Lompoc.
7 Sept. - They continued sightseeing, but not on the motorcycle. In the evening they packed, because in the morning they would depart for Los Angeles.
6 Sept. - The travelers went to tour San Francisco and the biggest difficulties were the steep streets. It is almost impossible to stop the bike and start riding again. They saw the harbor and Alcatraz, although they did not go to the island where the prison is. They saw all the beautiful bridges, including Golden Gate, San Francisco Cathedral. They have also seen the machinery, which runs the rope of the street trams. They bought some Polish sausage from a Polish butcher, who has been living in San Francisco for 40 years.
5 Sept. - They met a friend of theirs - Rafal - and headed to San Francisco together. They rented a room in a hotel in the center of the city and had a tour of the city on their motorcycle. They have covered 19000 km in North America, which is enough to ride it coast-to-coast three times!
4 Sept. - They reached Yosemite National Park, which they say is not what they expected. Not as beautiful as they thought. They covered 200 km in the park and camped for the night in Groveland. Distance traveled from home: 32437 km, distance from San Francisco - 300 km.
3 Sept. - it is 3 months since the travelers left their home city. They visited another park: Sequoia and King's Canyon National Park - www.ns.gov/seki/ Sequoias are huge and long-living trees. Some are 3000 years old and grow as high as 80 meters! An interesting fact is that those trees revive after forest fire.
2 Sept. - the travelers have ridden through famous Death Valley - a valley which lies 70 meters below sea level and is surrounded by high mountain range. The temperatures reach 49 degrees! If you like, you can have a look at: www.nps.gov/deva/. They camped in a town called Squirrel (check your dictionaries!) over Isabella Lake.
1 Sept. - after sightseeing until 3 a.m. they had to rest the next day. Wojtek has changed tires - Michelin Anakees have lasted 17000 km all the way from Anchorage. Now they are riding on Metzeler Tourance. Distance covered from home - 31300km! Temperature in Las Vegas - 42 degrees!
31 Aug - from Crazy Mietek's house, the travelers took the world famous Route 66, but they did not ride it all the way to LA, but changed to a road to Las Vegas, where they, of course, lost 20$ in a casino. They write, that this city is a must-see.
30 August - Wojtek and Malgosia met a man from Poland, who is called Crazy Mietek, because of his love for extreme South American voyages. He met many different Indian cultures in South America and is a walking encyclopedia. Wojtek and Malgosia, thanks to information from Crazy Mietek, now know exactly their route through South America. They also found time to visit another National Park -Walnut Canyon National Park - www.nps.gov/waca/.
23-29 August - The Travelers are heading West, towards Las Vegas, where they plan to change the tires. They have visited several more National Parks:
Mesa Verde National Park - www.nps.gov/meve/
- Four Corners - a place where 4 states' borders meet - www.navajonationparks.org/fourcorners_monument.htm
- Monument Valley - www.americansouthwest.net/utah/monument_valley/
- Canyonlands National Park - www.nps.gov/cany/
- Arches National Park - www.nps.gov/arch/
- Capitol National Park - www.nps.gov/care/
- Bryce National Park - www.nps.gov/brca/
- Zion National Park - www.nps.gov/zion/
- Kaibab National Forest - www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/
- Grand Canyon National Park - www.nps.gov/grca/
And all of them in 6 days (23 Aug - 29 Aug). They keep writing that North America is a very beautiful continent and the views are remarkable. They also write, that they don't want to live there. They will soon take a break in their voyage and will return home for two weeks. After two weeks they will go back to Los Angeles and will go South via Mexico to South America.
10 – 22 August - The travelers left Sturgis and went to Chicago, where they spent 5
days visiting the city and Poles who live there. They gave several interviews and were on a local Polish radio.
From Chicago they went west, through Iowa and Nebraska to Colorado, passing Mississippi and Missouri rivers. In Colorado they visited several National Parks and climbed Pikes Peak. Below you can find several links to webpages of places they have seen. The views are remarkable. They plan on staying in Colorado for several more days, so they can see all the beautiful places Colorado has to offer.
Everything is fine, they are hale and the bike is doing great. Right now they are accompanied by their friend from Poland - Jurek and Marek Michel, a person who rode around the world in the 70. They will go through South America together.
8-9 August - Wojtek and Malgosia wrote, that on 64 and 65 (8 and 9 August) day of their journey, they stayed around Sturgis and took part in the great meeting. Actually, this year 750 000 bikes arrived to Sturgis. The meeting officially lasts one week, but people come there one week earlier and leave one week after the official meeting. There are contests, concerts, and many things going on, there's a lot to see.
They also went to Mount Rushmore, where faces of four presidents of United States are carved in stone. Right now they are heading to Chicago to meet the Poles who live there.
7 Aug - they continued their travel towards Sturgis and reached the city around 6 p.m. This year over 700 000 motorcycles came to Sturgis, which houses the World's greatest motorcycle meeting in the world. After reaching the city center, they drew attention of many people, because there are very few BMW bikes in USA. Also, their bike carries a lot of luggage, so people asked where they came from and what they are planning. They met some Polish Americans. They left Sturgis to sleep at their friend's house, 35 km from Sturgis. The plan for the next day was to meet another biker from Poland, a friend of Wojtek's - Jurek, who came to USA just to go to Sturgis.
6 Aug - in the morning they started touring around the park and later went to another one - Grand Teton, which houses 8 peaks higher than 3700 meters and 7 moreanian lakes. A mountain called Grand Teton towers over the whole park - it's 4198 meters high. Again, the views were magnificent. Oh, by the way, they did not meet Yogi Bear in Yellowstone. They left both parks in the evening and stayed for the night in an inn, which is 102 years old.
5 Aug - the travelers have reached Yellowstone National Park and stayed there for the night, after having covered over 100 km around the park. They slept in their tent. They were lucky, because someone, who had made a reservation, did not come. They were given some firewood and bought some Polish barbecue sausage.
The weather is sunny and warm, even hot. At the foot of Rocky Mountains the temperature reaches 36 degrees, but in the park, which is 2500 meters above sea level, the temperature is around 26 degrees. At night, however, it drops down to 6 degrees, so they got quite cold in the morning. They also write about the beauty of America's nature.
3 August - the travelers continued their voyage along route no 3, on the Canadian side and later changed to route no 6 and stopped for the night in a motel next to Glacier National Park, which lies both in Canada and in USA. This place lies in Rocky Mountains. The roads, they write, are wonderful! Straight and even. They covered 487 km and the total from home is 20300 km.
They also write, that the people in Canada are very nice and friendly. Wojtek and Malgosia were invited by completely strange people to come over to their houses and tell the story of the voyage.
If you are interested, please, find below some links to Vancouver City website and Glacier National Park website.
26-30 July - Wojtek wrote, that Vancouver is the first city on our planet, where people would like to live. The city is beautifully seated in a bay, separated from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. The city is only 120 years old. From 26 to 30 July they stayed at their friend's house and visited the city and its surroundings.
They also gave a small interview to the local polonia newspaper.
They also visited a small town of Whistler (120 km North from Vancouver), where 2010 Winter Olympics will be held.
Yesterday morning (2 August) they left Vancouver and headed towards Sturgis - a place well known to all bikers - world's greatest biker's meeting - 600 000 bikes! In Sturgis they will meet with their friends from Poland who went to USA just to go to Sturgis.
The plan for the next two weeks is: go to Sturgis, visit local monuments of nature and those made by man, go to Chicago and see the Lake District.
Right now they are 2200 km from Sturgis.
24 - at 10 a.m. they said their good-byes to Artur and continued towards Vancouver, home of the grizzlies (no, the NBA Grizzlies!). When they rode high in the mountains, they saw sunlight for the first time in 10 days. They had some photos taken at the spot where Alaska Highway begins. They still have to travel 800 km to get to Vancouver, where their friends await them.
25 July - they left Prince George Motel at 10.30 a.m. and reached Vancouver 11 hours later. Their hosts - Andrew and Ada - gave them a warm welcome. The weather has finally improved and the temperature exceeds 30 degrees. In a city of 100th Mile the temperature exceeded 35 degrees! They write about the landscape of Alaska and Canada - it must really be beautiful. Nothing they have ever seen before.
They covered 19140 km from Bielsko and 5120 km in America, so they decided to stay awhile in Vancouver, to get some rest.
The couple who is riding Wojtek's bike back to Poland - Robert and Ania - have reached Chita and changed the front tire. They are OK and doing fine.
23 July - they set out at 9 a.m. Temperature dropped to 5 degrees and it rained. The temperature did not exceed 8 degrees that day and they covered 600 km! No wonder Malgosia caught a cold.
22 July - the weather became a problem 6 degrees and rain. It was snowing in the mountains. They stopped every 100 km to warm themselves. They covered 600 km that day. The windshield in Wojtek's bike broke and Wojtek had to drill it to stop the crack from spreading. They met buffaloes, reindeers and moose. They stopped in a motel, 180 km from Fort Nelson. Total distance traveled on a bike: 17170 km, total distance in North America - 3150 km.
21 July - they left the motel at 9 a.m. and covered 500 km, later the weather collapsed and they stopped at a motel in Teslin. 20 July - the day started sunny but cold (10 degrees Centigrade). They reached the border, where Wojtek cleared all the formalities and they could continue through Yukon. The weather changed and they were forced to stop after having covered only 350 km that day. So, 130 km before Haines Junction, they rent a motel room. 19 July - at 1 p.m. they finally managed to get a Canadian insurance, so they set out at 3 p.m. In bitter cold and rain they reached a place called Tok (150 km from Canadian border) and stayed for the night in a... tent. All motels were full, so they rent a tent for Arthur, who was traveling with them and camped. They met a group of American youth and they talked until 3 in the morning.
20 July - the day started sunny but cold (10 degrees Centigrade). They reached the border, where Wojtek cleared all the formalities and they could continue through Yukon. The weather changed and they were forced to stop after having covered only 350 km that day. So, 130 km before Haines Junction, they rent a motel room.
19 July - at 1 p.m. they finally managed to get a Canadian insurance, so they set out at 3 p.m. In bitter cold and rain they reached a place called Tok (150 km from Canadian border) and stayed for the night in a... tent. All motels were full, so they rent a tent for Arthur, who was traveling with them and camped. They met a group of American youth and they talked until 3 in the morning.
17 and 18 July - The next two days they rode around Alaska and covered 1050 km. They write, that Alaska is nothing like anything they saw before. The views are beautiful. I can't wait to get some photos from them. Since it's now fishing season in Alaska, Wojtek and Malgosia slept in a tent. All hotel rooms are booked. They also had a small adventure - they ran out of fuel. There are not as many points to buy gas as in Russia. Weird. They will be riding through Canada with their friend - Arthur, who rode a few days just to meet them.
16 July - Wojtek bought a sim-card for his mobile, because his operator doesn't have a roaming agreement with any of the operators in Alaska.
They also had the first contact with Polish bikers in America. I just don't know how to describe it. OK, it was BAD! Polish Americans turned out to be a bunch of egoistic, unfriendly, commercialized and consumption-oriented people, who have only this one thing in common with the people Wojtek and Malgosia met so fat - they ride motorcycles. They said that they would not meet with Wojtek and Malgosia, because they must get to work and they do not have time for Wojtek and Malgosia. Wojtek also heard, that Polish American bikers do not have two years to travel. Wojtek's plan is 9 months. A bunch of ignorants riding oil-spitting Harleys. Heh. And Wojtek shortened his stay in Russia because of those people! He should have stayed in Russia, where people are friendly and helpful. For Polish American bikers from "Solkol" MC it’s the money that counts. I apologize to those who are different in that MC.
15 July - they spent the whole day trying to buy an insurance policy for USA and Canada
On day 40 - 14 July - they sent no messages.
14 July - they reached a town of Eagle River in Alaska, where they were welcomed by their friend and went to her house. The same person collected the second motorcycle from the airport. The motorcycle arrived in a perfect condition. Wojtek assembled the bike and they went or a ride. Alaska is beautiful, mountains partly covered with snow, woods, sunny weather. They ate salmon. As fishing is very popular in Alaska, Wojtek and Malgosia are staying until Sunday to catch some fish.
13 July - they went to see the city of Seoul and it's beautiful temples, gardens and a palace from the fourth century. The city is clean and tidy, the people smiling and helpful. At 8.30 p.m. they took off the ground again and landed on the same day, but at 1.07 p.m.! They crossed the 180th meridian, going east, so they received a day.
12 July - at 4.10 p.m. the plane took off from the airport in Vladivostok and landed at Seoul airport at 4.40 p.m. No, I am not wrong. The time in Vladivostok is CET+9 and in Seoul CET+7. They rent a room in a hotel for a mere $38. In the evening they went for a walk and had a tasty but spicy dinner.
11 July - they had registration papers changed at a local custom's office, so that Robert can ride back to Poland. In the evening they went to a party at Igor's house. Later on Robert collected the bike and started packing. Wojtek and Malgosia followed suit. The next they would not ride - they would fly.
10 July - 5 weeks have passed since they left their home. The weather has improved, but it's cold anyway. They met local bikers Igor Sokolov among them, who has just returned from a trip around Australia (24000 km). At almost midnight Wojtek and Malgosia picked up Robert and Ania from the train station, where the transsiberian train has punctually arrived.
9 July - they bought plane tickets to Anchorage, Alaska via Seoul for a mere $1093 per seat. Gee, that's expensive! They will depart on 12 July and arrive in Anchorage 13 July at 11.40 a.m. Later they went to see the city, which, they write, resembles San Francisco. They also write, that the weather is really bad. A typhoon destroyed some roads and there's mud everywhere. They spent the evening in a Chinese restaurant.
8 July - at 18.04 p.m. they reached outskirts of Vladivostok and had some photos taken with newly-wed couples who go to a monument site for photo-sessions. They have covered 14020 km in 33 days, which means that on average they rode 425 km a day.
7 July - greetings from Chabarovsk! They saw the city from the seat of the bike. It is a tidy and nice city. Robert and Ann - people, who will ride Wojtek's bike back to Poland, are on the train and heading to Vladivostok. They will reach Vladivostok on 10 July. Distance from Vladivostok - 700 km.
6 July - they say, that God created Jalta and Sochi and Devil created Skorovodino and Magochi, and added Magdagachi. But, Wojtek writes, those people make up for all of the bad weather and other obstacles. They left Blagoveshchensk at 11.30. The weather changed and it was sunny and warm. After 200 km of asphalt the road went muddy again. At 11 p.m. they reached Birobidzan. Distance to Chabarovsk - 176 km, Vladivostok - 1000 km, home - 13000 km. The road to Vladivostok is supposed to be only asphalt.
5 July - the weather did not change a bit. Nothing but rain fog. They reached Blagoveshchensk and were welcomed by Father Thomas. In the evening they went to a Chinese restaurant and saw the city. Distance to Vladivostok - 1600 km. Exactly one month earlier they left Poland.
4 July - it kept raining and raining. By noon the sky cleared a bit, so they decided to leave. Tears were shed while saying goodbye, because, again Russian people turned out to be kind and friendly. Tola gave Wojtek an address to firefighter-parachuters' station in Svobodny. The road again was like a swamp. Storms were a common thing to meet. They reached Svobodny in the evening and, tired and wet, went straight to sleep. Distance from home 12350 km.
3 July - they unloaded the bike from the train and headed for Magadachi. On the way, they were caught by a storm and were forced to stop in a wood. A Moskvich stopped and Tola and Siergiei asked Wojtek if they want to go with them for a cup of tea. Tola and Siergiei were on their way to their friend. In the evening they had steam bath and vodka with potatoes.
2 July - they left Nierchinsk at 11.30 a.m. and headed towards Chernyshevsk. The road was being repaired and was a nightmare to ride - they covered 100 km in 3,5 hours. After that was a federal road, which was significantly better. They reached Magocha a 11.30 p.m. and were looking for a place to sleep, when they met Jurij, who was in charge of a train carrying eggs to Vladivostok and Japanese cars from Vladivostok. He took them to Skorovodino for only 65$. Luck favors Wojtek and Malgosia.
1 July - at 8 a.m. they reached Chinese border and were cleared by Russian officers quickly and in a friendly manner. Also, Chinese border guards caused no problems. Chinese customs officers did. They told them that they cannot enter China on a motorcycle and to do so, they would require a permit issued by the authorities. They did not know where such a permit could be obtained, though. To cut a long story short, Wojtek and Malgosia did not enter China, despite Wojtek's agent's assistance. They had to turn around and head back to Russia. After 380 km they reached Nierchinsk and could not find a hotel, because there aren't any in Nierchinsk. A security guard of local authorities' building let them sleep in a conference room.
29 June - they are investigating the possibility of going through China. They learned from an official, that there should be no problem. Tomorrow they are heading to Zabaikalsk to cross the Chinese border and enter Manzhouli district. Then via Harbin to Ussurijsk. If they can make it, they will be the first bikers to cross China, Wojtek says.
28 June - having covered 730 km they reached Chita at 10.30 p.m. local time. They write, that this is by far the most beautiful part of their journey. The view is magnificent. Wonderful Selenga river, mountains covered with thick grass, valleys and so on. The sky is deep blue and they could see hail storms racing across it. After such storm's passing the ground was thickly covered with ice pellets, which resembled a snow cover.
27 June - they left Listvianka at 9 a.m. and headed towards Ulan Ude via Irkutsk. They traveled 580 km of really bad road and the temperature was not helping at all. 13 degrees is really cold when you travel 580 km. On the previous day they managed to visit a museum of Baikal's wildlife and an open-air museum of Russian and Buriack (is it how you spell it?) buildings. Distance to Vladivostok - 3800 km and 700 to Chita.
26 - Listvianka, 9050 km from home. Altaj Mountains, they write, are beautiful at this time of the year. Their friends took them on a trip. The plan for the next day - Ulan Ude - 600 km.
25 June - they set out in the morning and headed towards Listvianka via Irkutsk. On their way they met another three motorcycles from Germany. Gee, it's getting crowdy over there!
24 June - they rent a jeep and drove around Olchon Island, sightseeing. Later they ate fish and drank vodka. The weather was so fine, that they regretted they had to go.
23 June - They had to leave Viershyna, because of pouring rain, which quickly renders roads impossible to travel. They went straight to Olchon Island. On their way they met Thomas and Rose, both from Germany and both riding a BMW 650 Dakar. They rode together for the next 100 km to Huzyr village. Rose, unfortunately, had two minor accidents while riding on gravel, but no one got hurt. It turned out in the evening, that Thomas and Rose are also on their way to travel around the world.
22 June - 11.30 a.m. they had a photo taken next to a sign saying "IRKUTSK". The road is still bad - a strip of dried mud. Not long after that they reached Vierschyna - a Polish village - Mrs. Ludmila Figura welcomed them. She was Wojtek's host three years ago. Everything is just fine. A Polish House was founded in Vierschyna to commemorate Poles, who came over Baikal Lake looking for work in 1910.
Our travelers spent 2 days on Olchon Island, on Baikal Lake. There's no electricity and no mobile phone signal there. As if they needed mobile phone signal when they cannot charge their phone :). They wrote, that the island is beautiful.
21 June - it turned out in the morning, that the wind howling at night was so strong, that it actually ripped a roof off Andriei's neighbour's house. No one was hurt. The same wind kept them company the whole day. The rain, pouring heavily in the morning, ceased. They left Taishet at 11 a.m. The dirt road was really bad. 12 hours later they stopped at a hotel in Usulye Sibirskoye, 60 km from Irkutsk - that' 8140 km from home.
20 June - due to the effects of the feast they got up late. Wojtek changed oil in the bike ant the rear tire, he sent to Taishet earlier. The front tire doesn't have to be changed. Robert, a friend of Wojtek's will change the front tire on his way back to Poland - he will pick the bike up at Vladivostok. Distance to Irkutsk - 700 km.
19 June - they left Krasnoyarsk by midday, the weather was sunny, but a bit cold. About 6 p.m. they reached Taishet. Andrei and Tatiana, who organized a real feast in their dacha, welcomed them. The sun set at midnight. They traveled 400 km.
18 June - afternoon, they and Father Tadeusz drove along the Jenisei river to see Krasnoyarsk See - a huge dam built in 1964. They ate raw fish and roe. They dined in a local inn and ate dishes prepared in deep wells, where fire blazed. They also saw huge rock formations.
18 June - The first day in which they have not covered a single kilometer. They went sightseeing in Krasnoyarsk. They say that the city is quite modern and European-style. The plan for the following day is to get to Taishet.
17 June - The plan was to get to Krasnoyarsk, which they of course did. Distance from home - 6420 km.
16 June - They visited a village of Bialystok, founded by Poles by the beginning of 20th century, as I wrote previously. The villagers were subjects to repression and murder from the Soviets, who killed all the men in the village in 1938, leaving women and children and destroyed the church. By the beginning of the 1990's the church was rebuilt and a monument for the murdered was founded. Wojtek learned all that from one of the Poles who has left the village.
15 June - Yesterday they covered only 260 km, from Novosibirsk to Tomsk, which is Capital City of Siberia. They went sightseeing, because the city center consists of wooden houses, which are 400 years old. They slept in a catholic vicarage (can someone help me with this? - what is the proper word for catholic priest's home? or the buildings accompanying a church, where priests live? - I looked in dictionary.com, but all the words from there refer to Anglican Church). Their host's name was Father Andrzej (Andrew). The church is quite old, dates back to 1830. There's also a refuge for the poor nearby, run by St. Theresa's order nuns. The interesting thin is that the street itself has been built by Poles, who were imprisoned by the Russians and sent to Siberia after one of uprisings in Poland’s history. Wojtek did not write which uprising. I think it must have been 1850.
Distance from home - 6019 km.
14 June - Having covered 720 km from Omsk, they reached Novosibirsk at 7.00 p.m. local time. Everything is OK so far. They were guests of St. Elizabeth's order nuns, who are very hospitable. Wojtek has already been a guest to the nuns during his travel to the Baikal Lake.
The plan for the next day is to visit a Polish village - Bialystok, founded by Poles who migrated to Siberia looking for employment in the beginning of 20th century.
The weather is fine, with a small exception of storms, which they say are scary, because they seem to pop out of nowhere, cumulating small clouds into one, big black storm cloud.
The people are very kind and helpful, including militia.
13 June, Monday. Having covered only 400 km they arrived at Omsk. They were caught in a storm twice that day, which significantly added to the thrill of voyage. They had a "bania", which is a Syberian steam bath, after which they and three local priests consumed a bottle of Polish specialty - bison vodka, which works miracles for circulatory system, provided it is not consumed in quantities hinting at abuse :). The local time zone is CET +5 hrs.
11 June - Saturday. The main point of plan for the day was to cross Ural Mountains. They, of course did it, despite the fact that the weather was doing everything it could to stop them. The sky cleared when they were passing Chelabinsk. Having covered 900 km on that day, they stopped in a motel in Kurgan. 27$ a night - not a Hilton, but fairly expensive for Syberian standards, I suppose. That's right Syberian! They are not in Europe anymore! They're in Asia now. By the end of the day they were 4238 km away from home. They ended the day drinking local beer - Baltika. They didn't write how much they had. They wrote, however, that they are happy. That's good. They also managed to write an e-mail from Ishim. 4500 km from home. On the next night - 13 June, Sunday, they stayed at Father Kazimierz's church in Ishim. Volunteers from Poland welcomed them - teachers who have dedicated their lives to helping Poles in Siberia. The weather is wonderful over there. Blue sky, few clouds, 27-29 degrees.
June - Friday, 5.19 p.m. local time. They have 233 km to get to Ufa,
which means they are 3218 km away from home. On the same day, but at
8.28 p.m. local time they were still 80 km before Ufa, so they
covered 150 km in 3 hours. That's slow, isn't it?
They covered 700 km on Friday and are on schedule. By the end of the day they were 3371 km away from home. The time over there is CET +3 hrs. In the evening they celebrated Malgosia's namesday, which is a Polish custom, in an 18$ motel. They wrote: "Cheers!", so I reckon they downed a few.
9 June - The travelers have entered next time zone. Their time is CET+2hrs. 9 June - they set out at 10 a.m. local time and 720 km further East they stayed at a motel on the far side of Kuznieck. The weather has significantly improved and nothing but a few clouds can be seen in the sky. And the Sun, of course...
The temperature has risen and oscillates between 21 and 28 degrees. They write that it's wonderful over there. Good for them, because it's raining cats and dogs in Bielsko-Biala, 2748 km from which the travelers are enjoying good weather.
8 June - an accident in the morning. One of Wojtek friends' wife - Margaret run a scooter right into a wall. No casualties, she wore a helmet, thanks to Wojtek who told her to put the helmet on. The weather was variable. They visited a cemetery of Polish officers, who had been murdered by the Soviets in 1940. They parted near the border between Ukraine and Russia. The escort turned towards Crimea, while Wojtek and Malgosia crossed the border. They slept in a motel and bought insurance valid three months. Distance from home - 1980 km.
7 June - because of the celebration, the departure was rescheduled to 11 a.m. They rode for in constant rain and bitter coldness until they reached Poltava [I'm not sure if the English spelling is correct-Marcin]. They reached Charkov at 8 p.m. and stayed in Father Vitali's Catholic Church for the night. That was the last day they were accompanied by friends from Poland. Distance to Bielsko-Biała - 1540 km.
6 June - the travelers left territory of Poland at 8 o'clock a.m. and reached Kiev at 6 p.m. Ukrainian militia stopped them on the way and Wojtek had to "donate" 4 keyrings to keep them from imposing whatever they wanted to impose. He had taken the keyrings along just for this eventuality. One of Wojtek's digital cameras ceased to cooperate. Luckily he took a second one along.
They reached Aleksander Potapenko's residence, where they were seated at a table set for a big feast. 10 guests along with the host and his wife celebrated Wojtek's 50th birthday and Ludmila's 35th. Ludmila is Aleksander's wife. Celebrations lasted until late at night. Distance from home - 1020 km
5 June - They left Kurozweki, Poland at 1 o'clock p.m. on 5 June. They traveled 260 km to get to Zosin at Ukrainian border. Plan for 6 June is to cross the border at 8 o'clock a.m. and continue to Kiev - 550 km.