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ISSUE 04

DECEM BER 2020

M O T O R C YC L E DIARIES OFFLI N E EDIT ION

www.motorcycle-diaries.com


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E D I TO R I A L


2020. At first sight a perfect number, nicely symetrical, round. It was a year filled with plans, trips and work. What we got was slightly different… Some call it a year of holidays, we called it torture. Not being allowed to travel really does have it’s effect on our well being… However, we can see only positive vibes coming from 2021, so let’s close this dull year with great inspiration for next years rides. There’s a bit of everything. Sit back and enjoy! For your riding pleasure only! PICTURE & TEXT PETER-JAN WILLEMS

E D I TO R I A L

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O U R PA R T N E R S


INDE X

I S S U E

0 4

D E C E M B E R

2 0 2 0

06

BLUE SKIES, CROWDED BEACHES, FLAMENCO AND OLIVE TREES

Grand Tour of Andalucia

28

AWAY FROM THE ALPES

Vercors & Chartreuse

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BELGIUM AND THE QUEST FOR RIDING PLEASURE!

Does it exists?

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BEST OFF-ROADING

Follow RTW PAul through Colombia

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ZNATI ŽIVJETI - SAVOIR-VIVRE IN CROATIAN

A 'must-ride' for every motorcyclist

114

THE ROAD TO ICELAND

Bucket list...

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SO DIFFERENT, SO FAMILIAR

Discover a country full of colours and flavours

152

TRANS EUROPE TRAIL

Enjoying TET towards the north!

166

ON HER BIKE

A free soul on an adventure bike

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PARTNERS

Proudly supported by…

ANDALUCIA

FR ANCE

BELGIUM

COLOMBIA

CROATIA

ICELAND

MOROCCO

GER MANY/DENMARK/SWEDEN

SUDAN/ETHIOPIA

INDE X

05


ANDAL


LUCIA BLUE SKIES, CROWDED BE ACHES, FL AMENCO AND OLIVE TREES

TEXT PETER-JAN WILLEMS

PICTURES PETER-JAN WILLEMS


We turn around and as far as we can see there’s Andalucía, our playground of the past eight days. Andalucía is so much more than all the well-known clichés. It’s a motorcyclist’s paradise. There are wonderful roads to be ridden and there is so much to see: green hills, fast bends, empty beaches, fluffy clouds, cosy villages, rocky deserts, turquoise lakes, snowy mountains, and of course…plenty of olive trees. ◆

Green hills, fast bends, empty beaches, fluffy clouds, cosy villages, rocky deserts, turquoise lakes, snowy mountains, and of course… plenty of olive trees!

ANDALUCIA - IDE AL ROUTE Due to the limited time we had on this trip we had to cut it short at about 1650km. Over the past years we have however spent a lot of time in Andalucia so we would propose a real Grand Tour of Andalucía that is more complete. It’s about the double of km’s and you should be able to do this one in one week. Of course more time will allow you to enjoy even more. Avoid August and even July is pretty hot. So plan your trip for next spring or autumn!

LENGTH: 3009 KM MD ROADS: 53 POI: 9

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B L U E S K I E S , C R O W D E D B E ACH E S , F L A M E N C O A N D O L I V E T R E E S


B L U E S K I E S , CR OW D E D B E ACH E S , F L A M E N C O A N D O L I V E T R E E S

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TEXT PETER-JAN WILLEMS

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AWAY F R O M T H E A L P S

PICTURES PETER-JAN WILLEMS


VERCORS & CHARTREUSE

AWAY

from the Alps

LENGTH: 690 KM MD ROADS: 4 AWAY F R O M T H E A L P S

29


36

AWAY F R O M T H E A L P S


Even if it dates from 1995 we saw the bullet holes and the war graves we still remember the feelings we had. Make love, not war some say. We say: Make miles on a bike, not war and therefor we invite you to discover every road of the Vercors. We have made a road book that probably covers the best, but there’s much more than this, talk your time for the Col du Rousset, climbing up via Die is the best in our opinion, and when you cross the whole Massif du Vercors get out back on the Grenoble side, head back south for a little bit more and cross a little part of the Massive des Ecrins on your tour, and while you’re there why not just ride up to L’alpe d’Huez (make sure is not July…) From there you can either turn back directions of Grenoble and then North to the Chartreuse or you can choose north east direction Saint Alban de Villards to cut via the A43 towards Chambery and then up into the Chartreuse. The Natural Parc of the Chartreuse has not the same to offer as the Vercors but it is very quiet and there’s the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, the main monastery of the Chartreux and the birthplace of the green herbal Chartreuse liquor… Also the landscape is so different to the Vercors that it really makes you wonder how 2 area’s so close to each other get to end up eroded in such a different way. ◆

Enjoy the ride!

TWISTY

690 KM

MOUNTAIN

CANYON

FOREST

AWAY F R O M T H E A L P S

37


BELGIUM

AND THE QUES


T FOR RIDING PLE ASURE!

TEXT PETER-JAN WILLEMS

PICTURES JONATHAN GODIN - PETER-JAN WILLEMS - EROS GIROTTI


DE PANNE

VLADSLO

YPRES LIJSENTHOEK

OUDENAARDE GERAARDSBERGEN RONCQUIERES

STREPY DINANT CHEVETOGNE

CHIMAY

BOUILLON ORVAL

MARTELANGE


LENGTH: 837KM MD ROADS: 17 POI: 11

B E L G I U M A N D T H E Q U E S T FO R R I D I N G P L E A S U R E !

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COLO

READ ALL THE RTW PAUL STORIES ON

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B E S T O F F- R OA D I N G


MBIA

Best off-roading

TEXT RTW PAUL

PICTURES RTW PAUL

B E S T O F F- R OA D I N G

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TITRE DU CHAPITRE


EL COCUY AND RITACUBA GLACIER

El Cocuy offers some of the most spectacular off-road riding in Colombia’s Eastern Andes!

If you have the time, El Cocuy National Park is a must-ride in Colombia, and it should be your next highlight after Chicamocha Canyon. El Cocuy is home to Colombia’s largest glacier, the Ritacuba, which is visible within the boundaries of the Park on a clear, sunny day. The Park has an entire labyrinth of off-road tracks open for motorcycle riders, and you can get very close to the glacier itself. Prepare for colder temperatures, however, as El Cocuy is situated at over 9,000 feet above the sea level. Starting from the town of El Cocuy (stay at the Posada del Molino, the only hotel in town that has hot showers and a restaurant), take the El Cocuy-Guican trail and ride towards the Lagunillas checkpoint (Lagunillas Puesto del Control). Here, leave your bike at the park rangers’ station and take the short walk to the Pulpito del Diablo (The Devil’s Pulpit), a giant rock overhanging a stunning fjord-like valley below and revealing a glimpse to the Ritacuba glacier in the distance. Chat to the park rangers and ask them for more route suggestions: from here, you can get even closer to the glacier, or loop back towards El Cocuy. The tracks are narrower and rockier here, with some loose rocks, shale, and steeper climbs, but on a dual sport motorcycle, you should be more than fine to cover the entire route. Before entering the El Cocuy National Park territory, make sure you layer up as the temperatures remain cool throughout the day, and pack some cigarettes and chocolate for the park rangers – theirs is a thankless job out in the sticks, yet they always greet travelers with smiles and hospitality. El Cocuy offers some of the most spectacular off-road riding in Colombia’s Eastern Andes, and after the hot, sunny Chicamocha Canyon, this is the perfect place to recharge in solitude and quiet, wild mountain country. From here, cross the Andes heading West and ride to Medellin to explore the zona cafetera and the Cocora Valley. ◆

READ ALL THE RTW PAUL STORIES ON

B E S T O F F- R OA D I N G

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ZNATI


ŽIVJETI* *Savoir-vivre in Croatian

TEXT ALAN KLEE

PICTURES HENNY BERNO STERN


ZAGREB


DAY 1

Old iron, old wood!


The bridge spanning the deep, dark blue sea between Pag and the mainland measures exactly 301 metres. Apart from a car ferry, the impressively tall structure is the only connection between the continent and the island, pointing like a compass needle into the northern Adriatic. Pag is the fifth largest island in the Adriatic, but is home to only 8,000 or so people. Good news for us, because man and machine are now warmed up and starting to get hungry for lonely, winding country roads leading up towards the steadily tapering tip

of Pag. It’s said olive trees over 1,000 years old grow there, reaching up to eight metres high into the cloudless Croatian sky. To the left, the mirror-smooth Adriatic Sea glitters in the sun. Laid out before our front wheels, the deserted country road stretches in wide curves all the way to the horizon. The island’s scenery is barren, to say the least. The landscape’s colour palette is dominated by a palecoloured limestone rock, called karst, which varies in hue somewhere between white, yellow and grey. ››


FOLLOW DAMIAN ON W W W.WATRACZISTRAVELING.COM OR IN OUR WEBSITE

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T H E R OA D TO I C E L A N D


the road to

ICEL AND PART 1: GE T TING THERE AND THE FAROE ISL ANDS

TEXT DAMIAN WATRACZ/SIMON HARGRAVES/PETER-JAN WILLEMS

PICTURES DAMIAN WATRACZ

T H E R OA D TO I C E L A N D

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T H E R OA D TO I C E L A N D


‘Dont drown your bike. And if you do, be sure

you know how to fix it!’ – of all the advice I get before leaving to tour Iceland by bike, this is the strangest. I’m pretty sure it’s a joke...

Iceland has always been near the top of my travel dreams. And, naturally, I wouldn’t even think of travelling around the endless lands of ice and fire on anything other than a motorcycle. So I took the plunge and bought a ferry ticket from Denmark to Iceland six months before leaving, for 600 EUR – after that, there’d be no turning back. It also gave me time to prepare myself physically, mentally and financially: the plan is to spend eight weeks travelling – and Iceland is far from cheap. I booked the ferry through the Smyril Line website (smyrilline.com), choosing the option of a stop-over in the Faroe Islands; I’d had the chance to visit the Faroes a year before, by car, and I knew a few scenic routes over there would be perfect for a bike ride.

HIRT SHAL S The boat to the Faroes, and Iceland, sails from the port of Hirtshals, in Denmark. I reach the town’s outskirts at around 6pm and it’s pretty chilly, just 15°C, but I can taste the crisp, salty air. The campsite is in the western part of town, close to the sea. I set up my tent, ride to the supermarket to buy some food, and take time to see the port and the town centre. I have a beer and scrambled eggs for dinner, then hit the hay for an early night. It’s still light outside at 10pm, but I want to be up early, before 7am. Next morning I manage to be fully packed by around 7:30am, and leave the campsite soon after – the ferry from Hirtshals sets sail at noon, but I like being up early for a trip, and I want more time to have a look around the area. A few kilometres southwest of the town I find an entrance to a beach – I take the chance for a ride along the coast, wheels cutting through the swash as the waves lap against the shore. ››

T H E R OA D TO I C E L A N D

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MORO

so different,


OCCO

, so familiar!

TEXT PETER-JAN WILLEMS

PICTURES JONATHAN GODIN - PETER-JAN WILLEMS


We started our dream Ride via the coast to the west and from Ajadir on we plunged to the south via the N8. The first part of this trip gave us nothing but green hills and we had our the first stop in Fes. We had not done this road before, so we just added it to the route as it looked twisty on the map. We had visited in Fes and read all about the tanneries, but as usual we didn’t have the time to visit them. Now we did! From Fes we went to Sefrou. If would happen to be around in June, enjoy the cherry festival. The R503 lead us to Boulemane from there. You can also choose a slightly more west route to Bouleman from Fes, Via Ifrane. If you do, you might suddenly think you’re in Switzerland as Ifrane is all about Swiss chalets and skiing. The modern city was founded by the French as a mountain resort and builr following the - at that time - ‘ideal’ city guidelines. But we did not want to ski, we wanted to ride! ››

Upon negotiating the Atlas the R503 joined the N13 and we started to feel the desert.

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S O D I F F E R E N T, S O FA M I L I A R


S O D I F F E R E N T, S O FA M I L I A R

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TEXT PETER DE JONGH

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TRANS EURO TRAIL

PICTURES PETER DE JONGH


GERMANY - DENMARK - SWEDEN

TR ANS EURO TR AIL READ ALL THE TET STORIES ON

TRANS EURO TRAIL

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TET

Sweden Once I’ve crossed the Orensund bridge coming from Denmark, and paid the 39 euro to cross it, I tap “TET Sweden section 1” on my GPS device. The track leads me south of the city Malmö and then continues up north. The first hour I’m driving on minor tarmac roads which meander through the fields. It looks a bit the same as Denmark. But I’m not sorry for that, I do like riding 160

TRANS EURO TRAIL

a motorbike in this conditions. Later on the first gravel tracks are showing up. Which is more fun of course! And the amount of gravel roads is increasing as the day continues. Some of them stretch out over several kilometres and are a pure pleasure to ride with the Honda Africa Twin! The Bridgestone AX41 tyres which are installed can finely do what they are built for !


Although they also did a great job on the asphalt sections. I’m enjoying the variety of different surfaces and the remote roads. But I also keep in mind that I’m riding solo and I don’t encounter that many people around here. Some caution is needed because this Africa Twin is big and heavy bike. And I don’t want to crash with this bike on this desolate places. The rest of the day on the Swedish TET can be described as a pleasant mixture of gravel sections and minor asphalt roads. Never to technical or too hard to ride with a big adventure bike. I’m leaving the Skane region and enter the Smaland province. One of the largest provinces of Sweden and home base of Pippi Långstrump ›› TRANS EURO TRAIL

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ON HER BIKE SUDAN - E THIOPIA

SEE ALL THE STORIES ON

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KINGA: ON HER BIKE


TEXT JOANA RODRIGUES

PICTURES KINGA

KINGA: ON HER BIKE

167


SUDAN The east coast of Africa has turned out to be much easier to travel than I thought.

The major roads are in excellent condition, the people are very friendly and they easily

communicate in English. The further I go, the further I got to know this continent and the more addicted to Africa I become. 168

KINGA: ON HER BIKE


As I was getting closer to Sudan, the situation in the country was getting more unstable with every waking hour. The moment I crossed the Sudanese border I found myself in the middle of a revolution. The Sudanese people had been protesting against the government for months and as I arrived the army had removed the president. The situation became very unstable, people were confused and no one knew what this would evolve to. I was well aware of the risks, but I decided to carry on with my plans. After my experience at the Egyptian border and considering the political situation in Sudan, I decided to use a “fixer” this time. Mazar from Wadi Halfa met me at the border and helped me with all the paperwork for a small fee and I was all cleared to go in 2h.

Not only did Mazar help me to enter the country, but he also gave me some shelter. I stayed with Mazar's family for 3 days to see how the situation in the country was going to play out and for the first time, I experienced the awesome Sudanese hospitality. It's an incredibly kind and honest nation and that theme continued throughout my whole stay in Sudan. Sudan is mainly desert and very hot. Literally. Riding on the main road in the desert is bearable, but being stuck in city traffic in nearly 50-degree heat was a big challenge. Fuel is the cheapest I've seen so far in the world – 20 cents per litre, but it is very hard to find. There are plenty of petrol stations along the way but no fuel. ››

KINGA: ON HER BIKE

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Motorcycle-Diaries // The Offline Edition #4 (PREVIEW)  

The 2020 printed edition is here! 184 pages of stunning stories, roads and landscapes in a high quality printed magazine. With as usual grea...

Motorcycle-Diaries // The Offline Edition #4 (PREVIEW)  

The 2020 printed edition is here! 184 pages of stunning stories, roads and landscapes in a high quality printed magazine. With as usual grea...

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