When the fat envelope thumped onto my desk, I wasn’t at all sure what it was. After all, magazines are kind of skinny these days and hardly anybody sends out catalogues; the interwebs are far too convenient and much cheaper. When I turned it over and saw the Edelweiss logo, a single and powerful thought flashed through my head.
You sure know how to hurt a guy.
The 198-page catalogue in the envelope was the 2022/23 Trip Collection, Edelweiss’ listing of the many tours they run on six generally recognised continents, New Zealand and Iceland. Ah, did you not know that geologists, wild and wacky crowd that they are, have claimed that there are sizeable continents around both of those places? They are under water, of course, which is why this comes as news to many people. Ignorant scribbler that I am, I had always thought that to be a continent you had to be, at a minimum, above water but it seems not.
A group of geologists hit the headlines in 2017 when they announced their discovery of Zealandia which even has a name in the Māori language, namely Te Riu-a-Māui. I don’t know how they can claim to have discovered it when Māori already had a name for it – why didn’t the geologists just ask? – but there you go. Indigenous people being downplayed again. Icelandia, on the other hand (I am not making these dumb names up) is apparently a Texas-sized continent which the locals did not know about.
I am telling you this because you need to know. Either continent may come up at the next trivial pursuit quiz. It has nothing to do with reaching the number of words required for this post.
But back to Edelweiss and their sucker punch with this catalogue. I live in Australia, if you can call it living, and it looks as if I will be resident in Australia for quite a while, too. Every now and then the government announces a ban on Australians leaving the country (which is also, coincidentally, a continent) for the next couple of months. When the time is up, they announce the same thing again, for the next couple of months. This saves on writing press releases.
At the moment I am stuck within five kilometres of my home. Never mind not being able to leave Australia, I can’t even leave my neighbourhood. Indications are that Australia’s borders will not open until Christmas, or March 2022, or indefinitely depending on whom you listen to. My money is on indefinitely, although this does mean that Great Britain will need to find a new source of barmaids and Europe will run short of drivers and couriers for tourist buses.
After doing five Edelweiss tours over the years, I know what I am missing.
I have signed up for a Japan tour in 2022, in the pitiful hope that our government will let me go and not make me isolate in hotel quarantine for three weeks when I get back – at a cost of $3000 or so. To me.
Apart from listing the tours, the Edelweiss catalogue is very informative. It gives details of difficulty, average riding time and average time for sightseeing. There is no average time for beer tasting at this stage, but I am working on that. Some of the tours run entirely on sealed roads, some run on gravel – there is a choice of bikes and of accommodation and so on. You have a lot of discretion. And if you book a 2022 tour before October 21 this year, you get $250 off, and you can cancel cost-free up to 60 days before the tour starts. Booking code is EBB2022.
I should explain my connection. I get to go on Edelweiss tours as a kind of supernumary when there’s a spare bike, and I don’t pay for the tour. Everyone else gets to choose their bike, while I get what’s left. That’s not a problem, although I have ended up on a Ducati Monster on the sometimes rough roads of an Eastern European tour and an Africa Twin on sealed roads in the Canaries, both of which were available because – guess what – nobody else wanted them. I’m not complaining. I think the tours are outstanding. While every one is different, formed by the environment in which they take place, they are all well organised with motorcycles in top condition and a commendable choice of routes, accommodation and meals. The guides are knowledgeable and thoroughly pleasant, and I’m sure it’s rare that they both end up in jail the way ours did on the Iceland tour. All a mistake.
Am I hanging out for another Edelweiss tour? Does the bear… er, is the Bear keen? Yes he is. With a bit of luck, I’ll see you on that 2022 Japan tour. I’ll be the one on the weird leftover bike…
(Photos by or of The Bear)