Churches in Transylvania

There is a village in the depths of Transylvania, called Gelence (pronounced Ghelentze…now say that 10 times…).

It doesn’t look much different from any other Transylvanian villages. Remote from western civilisation, surrounded by mountains and dense forrest, no public transport, only 4-5000 people etc…In fact it it wasn’t for the single petrol station you’d think you have gone back in time.

Since I was in Transylvania on my motorbike, I just had to visit this place…

My aim was to check out this fortified church…

which does not look anything special…except that it is.  And, you don’t have to be religious to appreciate its historic significance:

  • originally built in 13th century…(yes, 1200 something)
  • it is on the top 100 list of the World Monuments Fund (check it out in Wikipedia), along with well known places like the Taj Mahal (that’s the one in India not the Trump Taj in Atlantic City…)
  • UNESCO world heritage site

There are no buildings this old in Australia, so I had to look inside. It’s hard to imagine that anything that is built today would last over 800 years…

The frescos, with meticulous attention to detail, tell a story of a king that ruled the area in around 1080 A.D. If you want to know more abut this place, click here.

Once I had enough appreciation of the local history and religion, it was time to appreciate local geography…did I mention this place is surrounded by hills right? LET’S RIDE!

as the sun started to go down I turned up to one of my favourite restaurants for a bite…

I knew the food was great here from previous trips so I grabbed a menu…It is so thoughtful that they translate each meal in numerous languages for the tourists…including english of course…It’s pity though (and extremely funny!) that some things get lost in translation…case in point:

…since I speak Hungarian (after all I used to live here some 25 years ago) I knew exactly what that dish was. I can assure you no person got hurt during the making…Nevertheless it was all too easy to imagine some poor shepherd in the hills with a voice a few octaves higher…and the sheep around him with a sigh of relief…

Speaking of sheep…the lamb cutlets are awesome at this place! Till next time!

Advertisements

Breakfast in Transylvania

My breakfasts in Transylvania were always preceded by a quick fang on the Gixer…nothing works up an appetite better in the morning than fresh air and 20 kms twisted pavement…(actually, there are a few things but you can’t stay in bed forever… back to the story)

On this video below…

I ride the hills of Hargita county as I know of this great cafe/restaurant surrounded by pine trees and mineral water fountains…

where they serve the best scrambled eggs, home baked bread and garden grown tomato salad on this planet…

This, with freshly brewed coffee…and my day’s just begun…

Does life get any better than this? No?

Actually it does… You should see the ride we went onto later that day….more of that next time…

Adventure Motorcycle – Jindabyne run

I took this video of my mate Eric on our way to Jindabyne. The trip was 1,600km return from Melbourne so it was an overnight ride…well it was for me anyway as Eric fell in love with the place and stayed an extra night…

I put one of Eric’s fave song, “Army of me” by Bjork since that dude’s a One Man Gang (bang)…according to him.

Stay tuned for more rubbish that makes no sense whatsoever, except to those who were there.

Small Bike Syndrome – Ride to the Twelve Apostles via The Great Ocean Road

While I was waiting for my bike to arrive back from Europe – 50 days on the sea from UK to Australia – I developed MASSIVE withdrawal symptoms, especially on warm and sunny weekends. As spring approached, it was getting worse, to the point where I was  frothing at the mouth like I had rabies at every bike that went by…

Eventually my friend Daniel took pity on me: one long weekend, I had the chance to ride one of his two bikes (either the Honda CBR 1000 or the Aprilia Dorsoduro, which is “just” a….750). As I’d already had a taste of his CBR before, it was time to try something different, so I grabbed the key for the Dorso…

Daniel's Dorso...is it a road bike? Is it a dirt bike? Is it a Supermoto hooligan mobile!

It was a warm and sunny Sunday and I was in the mood for a Great Ocean Road ride. I asked my good friend Susan, who also owns a Gixer, to come along since she has the right mixture of hotness (yes, she is a guuurl) and coolness (she can carve up most men on a race track); the perfect riding companion.

Hot chick, preparing for take off...Damit, where is my Gixer?!

Susan’s Gixer stats: 160hp std at the rear wheel,  top speed: 155km/hr… in 1st gear (it has 5 more), 0-100 in less than 3 seconds…or in short: the Chuck Norris of motorbikes…it doesn’t move forward on the road, no, it makes the road move under it. Any bike next to it develops a “small bike syndrome…” (you know what I mean).

Ok, ’nuff about the Gixer, back to the ride…

On the way to the coast we planned to ride through the Ottway ranges to the Great Ocean Road, beautifully forested hills with enough twisties to have you leaning more often than not. That plan was thwarted when the roads were closed due to a pushbike race. Yeah, I know…WTF? Options: 1.) go all the way back and try another road or 2.) about 30 minutes of riding on:

not the best road for sports bikes...

There was a good chance we would not come out unscratched on the other side since this road is possibly the worst thing you can take a sports bike on. So we took some “before shots” to remember our bikes and our faces before they were all busted up…

Despite all odds against us, we managed to get through:

Finaly we made it to the beach…hundreds of kilometres of coastal twisted fun also known as The Great Ocean Road beckoned…We did not need a second invite.

Around lunchtime we arrived into Lorne and sat down for quick bite and a coffee. I could not stop raving about how great the Dorso is: phenomenal suspension, great tyre, insane lean angle with endless traction, “did you see me take that corner?’ bs, bs, bs…

Susan, observing my obvious small bike syndrome, shared her words of wisdom…

its not how endowed your bike is, its how you ride it what matters...(really?)

Soon after the general banter and all around piss take (pun intended Susan…), our mate, Bomba arrived. Bomba is a local lad so he knows all the turns like the palm of his hand…Riding his Yamaha R1, against the 750 Dorso, my small bike syndrome grew exponentially. Nevertheless, when he invited us to show us around, I picked up my camera and ran after him like an ADHD school kid high on sugar.

after momentarily catching our breath, the foolish behaviour continued:

Eventually we made it into Apollo Bay…There is only one thing to do in Apollo Bay: refuel and continue…Ok that’s actually two things but you get the idea.

Actually, the town is really nice and if you ever get there during summer take your bathers, the beach is AWESOME!

Once we refuelled, Bomba offered to run backwards in front of me with the camera. I hate being the centre of attention but I thought Yeah why not?

We briefly stopped for a break…

when some of us put their personal safety at risk…

Susan is engaged to a big Canadian dude called Kev - and that's not him....Mate, I didn't do it!...

and to play Japanese tourist – but without the Victory sign (you know, with the fingers…that’s just wrong, what’s with that anyway?)…

Shortly after the ADHD kicked in again and Bomba continued running in front of me backwards with the camera making sweet Yamaha broom broom noises…

Eventually we endured the overload of twisted fun and we arrived to Port Campbell…this place is famous for the Twelve Apostles that has to be on everyone’s bucket list! We did not stop to wonder around this time but here is a photo from another time so you get the idea:

The Twelve Apostles - been to worse places

On the return trip, I led the troops back to Lavers Hill

and then to Apollo Bay

by then the evening started to close in so we had to tear ourselves away and said ciao to Bomba and Apollo Bay

Ottway National Park at dusk

Apollo Bay at dusk

and took the short cut back to Melbourne…

I have to say this was one of my best riding days ever on the Great Ocean Road – I wonder why not every rider is down there, especially on days like today!

Thank you for Susan and her hotness and general piss take, Bomba for showing us his playground and of course Daniel for letting me ride the Dorso like it was stolen…awesome bike mate!

And of course, to address my small bike syndrome, I had to get a bike that has the agility of the Dorso with the power of a sportsbike…say hello to my little friend:

on the seventh day he just chilled, then on the eighth day he created the Ducati Multistrada

its capacity: big ass thumping 1200!

Cach you next time!

Tasmania – Epic Adventure (Episode 1)

After our Mad Dash to Tasmania (see earlier posts), Eric and I returned to Melbourne bragging to everyone (whether we knew them or not) about how great our ride was. Still buzzing, we managed to convince our mate Daniel to join us next time…OK, he didn’t need convincing and the date was set again, quickly followed by purchasing of the tickets to cross the Bass Straight on the Spirit of Tasmania…it was another weekend ride, but this time with longer days, more saddle time and bigger distances…hence the Epic Adventure.

The boat ride was fairly uneventful, embark of Friday evening, dinner, vine, talking crap and arriving Saturday morning to Devonport…

Upon arriving to Tassie, the usual intake of coffee and breakfast followed and we were off towards Cradle Mountain… 

Along the way we came across a genuine piece of two wheeled art. Straight away Eric felt the need for a test ride…

I'm a cowboy...with a steel horse I ride...

...poetry in motion...

Eric decided on “Better the devil you know” and we continued on our Epic Adventure.

Near Cradle Mountain we pulled over to check out the scenery…Daniel could not believe the beauty of the land…

I took took a picture of the bikes 

and the last corner…

I could ride this all day...

and Eric left to check out the scenery from a higher vantage point

...the Man on his throne...

This view greeted him from the cliff:

you don't want to get lost in there...

Our next stop was Strahan, but we had to stop a few times along the way, just to take in the scenery which was awe inspiring…

...are we there yet?

or needed a group hug

...ah that's nice! Now can we farkin' ride???!!!

or there was A Bug On Daniel’s Bike and he HAD to pull over to clean it…

you missed a spot...

The day was perfect! It was warm, light wind and we barely saw any cars for hours…We took breaks frequently just to soak in the vibe of the place…

other than our helmet hair, this picture is perfect

or for the boys to admire my bike…

Admire but do not touch!

but when we got to this sign…

happy times ahead...

we knew we were in motorbike heaven…We took off into the distance having a blast through the twisties like there was no tomorrow…Arriving to Strahan, I took a picture of myself… I do not know why, my hair was a total mess… After a massive feed of fresh seafood, pasta and cold beer we lazed on the lawn near the bay for a while. I do believe I heard Eric snore, but that could also have been me…

Finally, once we got ourselves moving again… it was time for us to look for somewhere to sleep. New Norfolk was some 260kms away and we only had 5hrs before sunset…It was time go and the perfect excuse to ride fast!

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Epic Adventure, where we ride fast for no reason whatsoever, check out Strathgordon Dam and make fools of ourselves in the bike heaven of the Tasmanian wilderness.

Motorbike Adventure: Mad Dash – Tasmania Ride (Episode 3)

The following morning we woke up to another gorgeous Tasmanian day. During breakfast in New Norfolk we were amazed how accepting the locals were of us on bikes. We had a number of them stopping by, starting conversations and advising us the best roads to take….what a way to start the day!

Immediately after coffee, we were on our bikes and rode into the sunrise…

"on days like this, I feel this big....!"

We rode around the hills all morning and felt our day could not get any better…until we came across this little sign….

hello!

Eric, being the more religious of the two of us, proceeded to a quick prayer to the God of Motorcycling….

"Lord, I have no idea what I have done to deserve this...but thank you!"

Perhaps because of the excitement or because he was not sure exactly what religion he actually belonged to, he proceeded to cover off other possibilities of thanking The Bearded Fella above…

I have also joined in the appreciation but with a slightly different approach…

...insert insulting comment here............

Once we got over the excitement of a road sign, and thanked our lucky stars for not getting caught acting like two idiots, we continued on and enjoyed the twisties up ahead to their fullest extent…We also went passed some pretty amassing scenery…

Not content with the fantastic weather, awesome ride and great company I kept teasing my mate for getting on his knees so easily earlier on. Finally, he had enough and once we pulled over…

pulling the gloves off...big mistake

he came over to swiftly box me in the head…The next minute, I would have been on the ground bleeding if…

I am the Stig....

I didn’t keep the helmet on…he got back onto his bike in disgust…and with a sore right hand. He rode much slower after that…and true to form, he blamed his bike…

Eventually we ended back in Devonport where the Spirit of Tassie was waiting to take us home…our awesome weekend was over…fuck!

the sight of the weekend being over...

onboard, we caught up with other fools on bikes…

who chose to leave the comforts of the concrete jungle behind (it rained all weekend in Melbourne…) to explore the Tasmanian wilderness…We exchanged war stories at the bar over a beer or four…

So this was the Mad Dash to Tassie, we planned about 600 kms but ended up doing about 1,000, just because it was so much fun!

I want to thank Eric for his mate ship, awesome company, putting up with my shit, not letting truth get in the way of a good story…and more importantly…

no no...thank YOU

choosing to keep that fart all for himself in the cabin…

Coming up next: we convince another mate Daniel to join us for another Tassie run, Eric upgrades his bike on the side of the road, Daniel throws caution to the wind and takes off his training wheels and I ride my awesome bike again…

Will the upgrade be faster for Eric? will Daniel make it back to Devonport? will they decide not to put up with my shit anymore, beat me up and leave me for dead?…Stay tuned!

Motorbike Adventure: Mad Dash – Tasmania Ride (Episode 2)

We arrived in Devonport around 6:00am. Once we disembarked, we were greeted with still empty streets (it was Saturday after all) and more importantly blue skies…yeay!!!

blue skies yeay!

Promptly looked for a cafe to have brekkie and gave the boys and the family a wake up call to tell them how wrong their weather forecast was

E.H. phone home

still somewhat weathered from the late night drunken behaviour on the boat… (see Mad Dash Episode1)

I need coffee! Now!!!

we ordered a huge serving of breakfast and double dose of coffee. We needed all the help for the adventure ahead. Words could not express how happy we felt about doing the Mad Dash.

So we stayed tight lipped and communicated with hands and feet

Is nice!

and admired our bikes (but mostly mine)

The K5...getting old but still sporting the nicest arse in the business

that's a beautiful blue, freshly pained for next year's trip to Europe...

straight after loading up with carbs and caffeine we came across this rather dramatic and disturbing image…

remnants of last night's storm

Australia’s supposed to be the driest continent on this planet…did they count Tasmania?

Soon after that thought we started to focus on the task at hand and rode into the distance…

the road into the wild wild South

On the road to nowhere we pulled over frequently to enjoy the scenery

and for a quick prayer to Motorcycle God for the nice weather…

you are Welcome!

as we headed further South, and higher into the mountains, it started to get cold so we pulled over for a stretch…

 or two…

who's da man?

I, instead of acting like a fool, just decided to beat the cold with my wet weather gear, which was…

I hear they shoot people who wear pink in Tassie...

fluoro pink…Out of embarrassment I kept the helmet on…luckily though on the back of the jacket

...and of course my stretching is much more efficient than Eric's

it does say its ‘Race wear” so it does have some coolness about it….look at my bike!

One more shot of Great Lake…

and we were on our way towards Strathgordon Dam. Just before we got to it, we pulled over to check out Lake Pedder…

wow what a view...and the background is not bad either...

however it was too cold to enjoy it as much as it deserved…even a “manhug” didn’t warm us up. It was then that Eric told me that his heated grips are making his hands sweat….

bastard

The entire day we rode roads like this:

no idea how fast I took this bend, and luckily there was no uniformed officer there to enlighten us...so we will never know. And I am ok with that...

and like this:

until we got to our destination:

they say ” a picture tells a thousand words” but sometimes a small video does a pretty good job as well…[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MofGAW3F12k%5D

As the evening drew in, we realised that we had nowhere to sleep and were about 70km from the nearest house…fuck!

To make things worse, one of us was running low on fuel and it wasn’t the Suzuki…

We managed to stagger into New Norfolk and came across an old pub with available rooms and open kitchen. One we checked in, and neatly packed our gear away,

the honeymoon suite...

we headed down for dinner and to check out the night life…

Stay tuned for Mad Dash Episode 3 to find out about: Tasmanian hospitality, will we make it back in one piece or will they find the pink riding gear and use us for target practice? Eric’s has a religious moment and we find some seriously twisted roads on the way back to Devonport…