Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Alien on a bike

July 2010. The month where a weird virus took hold of me and changed me into something new. Nope, not someone, something! Combine swollen feet with restless legs, a wooden butt, an obstinate spine, sweaty clothes, red rimmed eyes, messy wet sticky hair and creased infected ears. What will you get? Right, an alien. But then add sparkles and a big grin. Suddenly the 'something' will change into a 'someone', a very happy person. And that person would be me.
Vman and me took a two-weeks flight away from daily life. A flight not by plane but by bike. The holiday started for real when we left on a Monday morning at 6.30 AM and I took my place on the back of our Harley, holding on tight. All we needed was stowed safely in two saddle bags and in a big bag behind me. Needless to say that luggage was limited. 
Our trip took us through Belgium into Germany, where we sailed over the magnificent Schwarzwald Hochstraße. During a short stop I called my dad (on his birthday!) and he laughed out loud when I shouted that it was soooo beautiful. My family used to travel here with our Citroën Dyane, top off, and we share so many fond memories about that time. The green trees, curved roads, blues skies with sailing white fluffy clouds.

The roads led us to Lugano and onwards to the Italian Rivièra. Temperatures went wild - up to 40 Celsius - and I was in serious danger of massive meltdown. As long as the bike is rolling, the wind will at least cool you down a bit, but it was hell in towns with traffic jams and stop lights. At that point nobody could stop me from tearing loose my jacket and getting rid of the ever present helmet. Whole rivers of water gushed down our throats to keep from dehydrating. Oh yes, plus ice tea, beer and wine. 
After Italy we slowly traveled to the north and made our way through France. We found our lodgings in hotels, agriturismo and chambres d'hôtes: idyllic, romantic, unforgettable experiences. The one room that had air conditioning was too cold by now and we turned it off. 
We spoke Dutch, English, German, French and even Italian in various stages of competence and almost always got what we wanted. Almost. Did you know that 'mixed grilled fish' contains no fish at all, but is mainly shell 'fish' with little eyes, legs, claws, pincers, tentacles and suckers? *shudders* But Vman came to the rescue and exchanged our plates. He's my hero! But no more kisses, 'cause those slimy molluscs tend to crawl back up towards the light...
So what makes people go on holiday by bike? Why not take the car, of catch a train? It's much more comfortable and relaxed, with room to spare for anything you like to take with you? 
Feel the freedom with me, the wind on your face, magical deserted roads with u-turns and steep slopes, while the beast beneath you effortlessly growls on in a staccato rhythm. Look through my eyes and see birds of prey soaring in blue skies. Pull over on the side of the road and turn off the engine. Listen to the silence and let the sun set everything aglow in a golden light. Enjoy the unwritten pact between bikers, your family on the road. Dream away while the miles roll on, and forget all your worries. Let inspiration fill your mind and make room for new fresh ideas. 
Aye, feel the power of your bike, arms wrapped around your love, let him take you away into the unknown...

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