How it all started…
The flight is delayed and sitting on the runway because apparently they have an inadequate supply of water. It’s too early to start worrying about making my connections, so I figure I’ll spend some time writing.
What I really should do is sleep because I’m so sleep starved from getting only five hours of sleep last night – I had to wake up at 4AM to get to the airport at 5AM. But I see that it is 5PM in Slovenia now and I want to try and stay in that time zone as much as possible. I’m really wary of getting the jetlag from hell and losing days when I get there. This probably means that I try and stay awake throughout this flight, and get some sleep from Toronto to Frankfurt.
I have all sorts of good resolutions for this trip. I resolve to write more frequently, blog as often as I can, upload photos as frequently as possible and make at least one video diary recording at the end of the day. We’ll see how well I do once reality intervenes. I will also try and reply to comments as frequently as I can, although I hope that folks understand that this won’t always be possible.
I’ll start with a brief recap on the story so far, in other words, where am I going and why? I am headed to Ljubljana, the capital city of the gorgeous country of Slovenia in Eastern Europe. Why Slovenia? That’s just how it worked out. I would have preferred to have started somewhere more central, like Germany, but an opportunity landed in my lap where I had the chance to rent a motorcycle from a fellow rider in Slovenia.
Given my history with BMW, I’m not particularly excited about riding one of their bikes, but it had the advantage that it’s a bike I’m familiar with, having ridden an F650GS before. None of the standard bike rentals that I found in Europe were made for a person like me. The rates were also quite a bit exhorbitant, most averaging about $100/day. Shipping my own bike over wasn’t much of an option either, as it required a lot of co-ordination and organizing of shipping months in advance.
I had looked into purchasing a bike in Europe, but European countries typically do not allow non-citizens to register vehicles or get insurance, so this was a dead-end too. Also, even if you did find some sort of workaround, European bikes do not conform to US specs, which would further complicate the import of the bike back into the US.
There used to be an option a few years ago for people to purchase a new US spec BMW or Ducati in Europe, ride it around Europe, and drop it back at the factory or dealership who would then ship it to the US for them. Unfortunately BMW appears to have discontinued this, and I’m not sure if Ducati does this anymore either. Not that I really want to own a BMW or Ducati myself anyway. So an F650CS it is!
My plan is to start off in Ljubljana, ride around in the area a little bit, then head north through Austria to Vienna, possibly take a ferry across the Danube to Bratislava and back, the north again towards Berlin. From here, I will ponder which direction to go and how. As of now, I just want to get through the various flights and circumvent the myriad ways in which immigration and visas work.