Some nights I just pinch myself – a photo montage 

Adventure, Denmark, Europe, Germany, Motorbikes, Netherlands, Norway, photography, travel

It was just six months ago that I placed an advertisement on the Moto Guzzi Club of Great Britain asking if people would help me buy a Moto Guzzi in the UK to tour the UK and Europe.

Six months later I’m sitting at my campsite at Kunzelsau in southern Germany half way through my tour to Europe.

I pinch myself again.

My last post summarised the tour of the northern mainland of Great Britain.

The European part of the journey started with catching the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

Then to the new TLM premises in Nijmegen, the Netherlands to get a couple of issues I had with the bike sorted out

A quick dash across the German border heading north

To Hirtshals, at the top of the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark a ferry and fishing village and a crossroads for bike travellers

A ferry port for those going to northern Scandinavia

For me I was seeking a taste of Norway

I say a taste because Norway may be revisited. I think Scotland and Norway in one trip was too much high northern latitudes weather for a fellow from the driest of continents.

A dash to Rodby, Denmark thought torrential rain to catch the ferry to Germany

Where it’s warmer and drier.

Yes sometimes I pinch myself to check it’s not a dream.

I’m halfway through this tour and the Alps only 300km south.

Pinch pinch

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Impressions of the Netherlands and the Dutch 

Adventure, art, history, Motorbikes, Netherlands, photography, travel

Having spent, off and on, a couple of weeks in the Netherlands and travelling a couple of thousand kilometres across Europe with a bunch of of Dutch Moto Guzzi riders has left me with some powerful impressions of this place and the people.

The core of the Dutch people are caught up in their history.

Having succeeded from the rule of Spain the Dutch have faced constant threat of invasion.

The Threatened Swan by Jan Asseljin

In the Rijksmuseum, The Threatened Swan, captures this aspect the Netherlands constantly threatened by the dogs of war.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Incorporated into France under Napoleon

Brutal occupation by Germany in WWII despite declaring neutrality.

There is the constant fight to maintain control of there country.

In the Rijksmuseum there is a further insight

Up past The Night Watch

On the third floor there plays a documentary video about the Dutch and the constant battle to control water.

Reclaimed land from the sea and mighty rivers

fighting flood and inundation

Maas River at Nijmegen

Water in the huge rivers flowing through the country to the sea.

Basillica Saint Nicholas on the Amstel Dam

Water in the canals and behind the dams and dykes of Amsterdam.

Tilting aparment buildings sured up against subsidence as the water tries to reclaim the land it once covered.

It’s this fight for control from outside forces that give the Dutch a core strength, an inner stoicism.

But the Dutch are more than stoic.

Ride from Nijmegen in the Netherlands to Mandello De Lario in northern Italy

Riding with an eclectic  group of Dutchies over 8 days revealed a certain joi de vivre that sat well aside the stoic determination.

An eclectic group; women on classic bikes, old veterans of the tour, white haired old men on new bikes, riders from all walks of life. All pushing hard on the tortuously twisty routes through southern Germany, Austria, the Swiss and Italian Alps to Mandello.

Beer list not wine list in Amsterdam

Every night laughter good food and of course beer.

The Dutch love to laugh, and drink the beers they are so proud of without losing control.

After all beer is mostly water!

A bit of reflection 

Adventure, Europe, France, history, Motorbikes, Netherlands, travel

In the just over a week I have ridden through six countries in Europe

Open borders

Free travel

Wonderful friendly people

I’m reflecting on a this

And thinking of the past

The tragedy and waste of war so poignantly captured at the memorials at Villers Bretenneux

And the at the main train station at Nijmegen there was this sign

And I think

Let’s all just keep kissing

Let’s keep riding

And keep war and death in the past