Michnus & Elsebie Piki-Piki Around the World.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by michnus, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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    I can't wait for you guys to come to america. I hope to meet the legendary Michnus and of course we will have beer.
  2. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Thanks man I am flattered. :D
    Our plans have changed a bit so we might be in the big USofA sooner than later. :thumb:ricky:beer
  3. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    If the image in your head is of a religious conservative, bombed to hell, backwards Arab, Christian struggling dump with rubbish buildings and poverty Israel. You would be very wrong.

    The road to Jerusalem is a short distance highway from Ein Gedi. It’s a busy city, clean and organised with decent roads and many religious tourists on the streets that came to Israel searching for divine inspiration.

    We have lost all our Jerusalem pictures from the SD cards and most of Israel. These pictures are some we were able to bring back from the dead with recovery software. BACK UP, BACK UP, BACK UP!!!!

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    Won't say it's in Israel?

    My GPS maps were not working properly. We had the idea of finding a hostel or backpackers close to the Old city and then walk there for the afternoon for some sightseeing. As we circled the Old city with its maze of small roads and no-entry signs we suddenly found ourselves smack in the middle of the Old city.

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    Colourful, noisy Tel-Aviv street markets offers anything from hippy sexy underwear to fresh produce.

    The deep noise from our bikes exhaust pipes drew some irritated stares from bystanders while we rode into the Old city. There were police walking around chasing cars out of the Old city but lucky for us not bikes. The roads inside the Old city are small cobble ways and not really made for cars.

    Some bikes were parked next to the one wall and we quickly pushed our bikes next to them. I caught the eye of one policeman and asked whether our bikes would be safe while we explore the Old City, to which he replied that they are there all day and pointed out some of the cameras around.

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    The Old city is like a busy beehive on Meth’s. Overcrowded with tourist and religious visitors pushing and shoving through the small streets. Some groups praying on street corners and around ancient relics. And of course like many other such places scattered with small shops selling plastic tourist stuff, cell phone paraphernalia and cheap China fake religious made rosaries. Genuine authentic never to be repeat 2000 year old rugs and papyrus scrolls are on offer at discount prices.

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    Tel Aviv murals. Street art is not your average rubbish.

    The Muslim community sees the Old city as theirs and the Jewish community as theirs. And with that, both live and work there every day in seeming harmony. We might miss some of the nuances of love towards each other. As for them, they might not feel so brotherly towards each other but that was how it came over for us.

    The prayer wall was worth visiting. It is stuffed with small pieces of paper into each crack and crevice in reach of people. Whether religious or not, it is the one thing in Jerusalem that is a must see.

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    American Western lifestyle is much loved in Israel.

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    Tel-Aviv is very cosmopolitan and hip.

    Just a short stay in the Old city we decided to head for Tel-Aviv. We were told that Tel-Aviv is a groovy hip happening spot. Tel-Aviv’s greatest allure is unquestionably its Mediterranean seashore, which gives the city a Miami- or Rio-style sense of ease and openness. Some people even tried to convince us Tel-Aviv is a small New York city. I will not go that far.

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    Streets of Tel-Aviv Yafo

    On our way into Tel-Aviv a man on a scooter passed us, big grin on his face waving his hand gesturing for us to pull off the road. We have just stopped and before having time to get off the bikes he came over and introduced himself as Jakob Samuel, art dealer, avid biker and traveller. He invited us to the only BMW motorcycle repair shop in Tel-Aviv.

    In typical exuberant travellers fashion we were chattering away like old friends that saw each other for the first time in years. Sharing stories and advice while enjoying the coffee and biscuits he served. More of Jakob’s friends joined us later on, all of them a friendly bunch of people.
  4. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Jakob took us to a small hostel cum backpackers in the centre of the city close to the beach. Very basic but livable and good for our stay while waiting to catch the boat to Italy. It gave us the chance to explore this gritty part of the city. Israel is not cheap, in fact it is one of the more expensive countries that we have come across.

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    Momos hostel charge per room was 45Euro’s night. Africa in comparison is really cheap to travel, even South Africa in comparison is cheaper to travel that Israel.

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    Tel-Aviv’s cosmopolitan feel rubs off on you quite quick. The warm Mediterranean buzz is all around. Café’s on the ocean along the promenade in Tel-Aviv, a variety of restaurants offering falafel’s, shawarma’s, Rugelach and Sufganiyot, Ice Cream Bars and open air markets. Tel Aviv was genuinely delicious city with much to offer.

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    We took to the roads and was pleasantly surprised at the huge amount of street markets around. Local cuisine, sweets, art works, clothes, spices and anything handmade was on offer. Tel Aviv is definitely a more open-minded city cosmopolitan city compared to the others we visited. Dress code is more relaxed and beaches filled with tanned bodies.

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    We spend a few days around the promenade and on the beach. The sunsets over the mediterranean sea are some of the best we have seen and with the pleasant warm weather the evening drinking beers on beach went down well.

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  5. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    Bit of a fan myself
  6. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    thanks man :D
  7. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Our last evening we wanted to spend on a beach near Ashdod the city where we were to board the Ro-Ro vehicle boat, the Grimaldi lines to Italy. While stocking up on food at a local supermarket in Ashdod some people got talking to us and eventually advised us not to go camping lower down than Ashdod. They said Hamas was bombing the area just below Ashdod from Gaza. Since we knew absolutely nothing about the dynamics of this issue we decided to stay in Ashdod.

    Dodging bombs in a tent might not work that well.

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    Early morning and we had to go through all the questioning from the customs people at the harbour.The Israeli customs people are the friendliest and most competent people we have had to deal with from all the countries we travelled so far. They are super strict due to the issues in the country but all friendly and efficient. For now it is a slow 5 days on the boat enjoying Italian cooking 3 times a day. This is not a ferry or passenger ship so we ate what the crew got. And it was good food with wine.

    It was the end of our trip through Africa and 11 months in total. We were excited to get into Europe for what it has to offer.

    Reminiscing about Africa, we had some stunning experiences and time in Africa. The people of Africa, the travellers we have met and are friends with most of them because of it. We will travel Africa again, that is a given!

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  8. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Stupidly did not take any video. This is a bit of fun attempt with photos to try and give an overall of the entire trip through Africa. :lol3

  9. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

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    Nice!
  10. Tan101

    Tan101 Been here awhile

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    Fantastic! Awesome photos, great song. Was great following you through Africa and look forward to the next leg
  11. OnTheWay

    OnTheWay Long timer

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    I am enjoying your ride so far and looking forward to the next installment. Looks challenging!

    Take care!!:clap:clap:clap
  12. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    We have never been on a Caribbean cruise tour and thought this would make up nicely for that. :eek7:
    I mean 4 days of real Italian food, our own Captain guest room and our own butler calle Luigi. Now Luigi is a short stocky fattish Italian man with a bit of a boep. Half bald and his neck hair and back hair are one continues carpet. He wears black suit pants with black pointe shoes and a white slightly dirty and sweaty shoulderless undervest.

    But he is one cool dude and did well to spoil us with wine and espresso at a moments notice. We ate with the Captain 3 times a day and every time it was a 4 course full on Italian meal. F-knows how they go and work after such a meal every time, and there are only 20 mean on the ship.

    The stately room turned out to be no bigger than a F1 Hotel room with and no view.

    We were the only customers on the Ro-Ro (car carrier ship) It might not be common knowledge but it is possible for the public to book on a Ro-Ro or cargo ship as they normally have a few rooms, like 2 or so Captains/Owners guest rooms. No frills and your trip can go for weeks on long hauls without TV or Internet but it is not that expensive and a cool adventure when looking for something different.

    So we boarded the 12 storey building "Gran Bretagna" from the Grimaldi Lines, it's fucking massive!! Down right scary big. This thing can carry thousands of cars, trucks and other big machines. The floors can move up or down to fit in even more cars.

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    Our own living room for the journey.

    The route was from Ashdod Israel to Cyprus, back to Alexandria and then to Salerno Italy.

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    Poor bastard who decided to ship his bike from Egypt. That bike will not get to it's destination unscathed.

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    Alexandria Egypt. The Captain told us everytime the harbour pilot comes out they must throw boxes of cigarettes overboard as bribe otherwise they will just leave them outside the harbour. And for them time is big money.

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    Cyprus art

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    In Cyprus an elderly gentleman also got onboard as passenger. He told us he has been around the world as passenger on cargo and ro-ro ships and has been doing this for his entire life. That day was also evacuation drill day.

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    Amalfi coast Italy.

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    Solero harbour Italy
    RedDogAlberta and Phipsd like this.
  13. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    Nice!
  14. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Michnus - I couldn't quite understand why you didn't just get on the ship in Alexandria and save yourself a trip to Israel...although after seeing all your pictures of the Israeli girls I can see why you went there. Also...can you tell us how much the boat ride cost you w/bike.
  15. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    How do you book these ships?
  16. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    The Israeli woman sure are good looking :evil:D

    Egypt...mmmm man nothing is easy with Egypt. Bribes and bullshit is how they roll. You will book a ship from Alexandria and be told a date and then the date will change, and so on an so on. Eventually you will pull your hair out with frustration.
    Friends had their bikes turned upside down to drain the bike from oil and fuel. Topboxes got broken open with bars after clearing customs just to "have a final inspection"

    In the end going via Israel the 4 day boat trip and both bikes was about 900Us. More importantly booking, dates, customs all went super fast and efficiently.
  17. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    There's quite a few but you can contact them directly. The more popular ones are Grimaldi and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics
  18. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    Pulling into Salerno late afternoon

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    The Gran Bretagna docked late in the afternoon in Solerno, a small coastal town on the West coast of Italy. We have been sleeping and eating the time away on the Ro-Ro for 4 days since leaving Ashdod in Israel.

    Almost R12000-00 (950-00Us) bought us an inside cabin with 3 meals a day and passage for the motorcycles. The Ro-Ro is a bulk vehicle carrier with only a few cabins for passengers. This arrangement allows normal people to travel with most cargo ships around the world at a fraction of the cost of a cruise ship. Bear in mind there are no TV or WiFi or such luxuries on board and you have to have time to waste, as a typical trip will last weeks for far away destinations.

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    Being on an Italian ship we were treated to some of the best Italian cuisine. We were allowed to enjoy wine with our meals while the rest of the crew had to make due with non-alcoholic beverages. It is a working vessel and thus no such luxuries for the crew.

    Lunch and dinner was a 5-course setting with salami’s, pasta and gnocchi as part of the delicious spread. The chef was part of the look, *and typical to such vessels an unkempt, unshaven, fat Italian with a dirty white apron over a worn, fat and oiled stained sleeveless undershirt, black pants pulled over his navel, stopping short of his arm pits. *Always friendly and constantly offering us more food than what we were able to consume.

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    Make shift headlight from our LEDLENSER headlamp

    Unlike Africa’s bureaucracy, some idiocies and obsessions over paper work and the need to see an official stamp, Italy and, it seems Europe, had very little issue with trivial things like paperwork. Just after dark we made our way out of the Ro-Ro and stopped at the docks awaiting the officials’ stamp for our motorcycles’ paper work. *One customs official eventually told me in very short broken English sentences that there was no need for paper work for the bikes. *Zero, Nada, Zilch, you are free to go! *I protested, saying the Carabinieri will stop us and then I won’t be able to prove where the bikes came from, let alone stolen or something to that effect.

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    You go, you go! No paperwork! And so my fears were waved away with a go signal from his hand and a smile.

    At that stage the motorcycles were not at all in a road going condition. My indicators were not working, Elsebie’s bike’s headlight were not working and a myriad of other issues.

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    Most people told us that in Europe the police take no prisoners when it comes to roadworthiness of vehicles. Our loud exhausts and part non-functioning bikes would get us into serious trouble.

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    benedikt.m and Phipsd like this.
  19. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    Ha ha. That's awesome. Talk about contrast eh
  20. michnus

    michnus Lucky bastard

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    It was well after dark when we decided to fit our LED Lenzer headlight to the front of Elsebie’s bike’s wind screen and use it as a headlight. *The small little headlight’s beam turned out to be too powerful, as traffic from the front kept flashing their headlights at her. It worked and got us to the hotel in the small town.
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    First day in Italy.

    We could not have asked for a more perfect place and time to land in Italy and experience our first day in the country of exotic machines, pizza’s and The Mafia.

    While I went back to the customs officials to clarify and make sure we indeed did not need paperwork for the bikes, *Elsebie had a bit of time to plan our route for the day. It turned out we were right at the start of the popular and scenic Amalfi coastline. Landscapes of towering bluffs and pastel-hued villages terraced into hillsides, precipitous cornice roads with luxuriant gardens, and expansive vistas over turquoise waters and green-swathed mountains.

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    Vietri sul Mare is a village known for its ceramics and in particular its arty clay tiles and one that offers sweeping views of the beautiful jaw drop coastline. The road meanders past viewpoint after viewpoint. The one at Capo d’Orso may be the best of what we have seen and skirts the villages of Maiori and Minori, the ruins of a first-century A.D. Roman villa, before a junction close to Atrani whisks you inland to Ravello.

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    Small cafe's all along the way packed with weekend bikers.

    The views are breath taking and spectacularly beautiful. The pace is slow with people sipping coffee and beers at road side restaurants and coffee shops. *I think we could easily get swallowed up in to this lifestyle and spend a life time around these parts, never getting bored or used to the views, smells and sights.
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