Europe is so nice

Hello from Budapest

Hello from Budapest

It’s been some time since I’ve contributed anything to our illustrious blog… not really sure why, but most likely because since we arrived in Europe everything has been… very nice.

And while that might sound lovely, it’s actually borderline boring after the year we’ve had.  It’s also very expensive, which makes most things a pain in the ass.  Finding a place to sleep, finding a restaurant for dinner, and filling the tank have all become optimisation exercises.

The Budapest skyline, quite nice.

The Budapest skyline, quite nice.

But I’m not complainig, just imagine, “boo hoo, poor us, we’re stuck in beautiful europe for a few months with not much to do aside from aimlessly wandering the countryside in search of tasty food and wine”  pretty hard going!

Back to the blog…

So it’s Summer here, unfortunately no one told that to the clouds who have been conspiring against us recently.  We arrived in Budapest after a lovely day riding in the green countryside (s0 nice!), then 8km from our hostel the heavens opened and torrential rain followed us all the way there.  Seriously torrential rain, the type that makes the cars pull over because they cant see where they’re going, the type that totally floods the road so we were continually riding through more than a foot of water… yes the type that actually fills your boots up with water until it comes flowing over the top.

weather aside, Budapest is a beautiful city

weather aside, Budapest is a beautiful city

Arriving at the hostel saturated, Sally went into reception to ask them to open the gate to the carpark

“excuse me can you please open the gate for the carpark?”

“do you have a booking?”

“yes we do, could you just open the gate so we can get in please?”

“the carpark costs 10 euro per day”

“I’m not paying 10 euro per day, I called before booking and this wasnt mentioned”

“well they should have told you”

“Yes they should have… but we are not paying 10 euro”

“would you mind waiting a minute please?”


It went on for quite a while, long enough that when Sal finally reappeared on the street I thought we must be going somewhere else.  On the up side, we didnt pay for the carpark!

Sally on the green bridge across the Danube, (closed to traffic for roadwork)

Sally on the green bridge across the Danube, (closed to traffic for roadwork)

Budapest was REALLY nice.  It was full of really nice streets, selling nice clothes, nice bars, and nice food.  I’m sure you can imagine.

From there we rode a short day to a very nice lake, completely overrun by tourists, where we camped in a caravan park, walked into town, where it was also very nice, walked back to the park (because I forgot my wallet), and then ate a really nice traditional dinner of goulash soup and bbq pork joint.

Today we rode from there to the border, where we didnt even need to stop or show passports, (that was also a very nice change), and into Slovenia, where everything is unexpectedly even nicer.

Sally looking great as usual

Sally looking great as usual

But this afternoon the weather turned against us again, and 85km from our destination it started to rain.  Then the little mountain road we were on turned to dirt, and the rain got even heavier.  Usually this would be considered not very nice, but I actually enjoyed the ride even though it was really hard to see through my frosted visor 🙂

Late in the afternoon, drenched again, we rode past a little hostel in the middle of nowhere, where a tiny little wooden hut in the garden costs 36euro (very cheap for here), a glass of slovenian wine is 1.50 and a pizza is 6euro.  This was all very good news, and has led me to be writing this blog in the relative comfort of a heated room with a full belly and empty glass, rather than in a wet tent surrounded by wet riding gear.

Sally drinking wine... as usual.

Sally drinking wine… as usual.

I think i’ll have another glass of red and then go to bed.

Thirsty in Hungary!!

Me after too much wine...

Me after too much wine…

We are now in Hungary! Eger to be exact which is a major wine growing region in Hungary…and yes, apparently  they have a massive wine culture and not many of them are even aware that Australia produces any wine! We are finally getting use out of the tent that we have been dragging around the world and set up camp in a campsite about 1 km away from all the cellar doors which is quite handy!

Me a little excited with my bottles of wine...!

Me a little excited with my bottles of wine…!

It seems that it isn’t quite the same as wine tasting at home here and it is expected that you order at least one glass of wine in each place rather than taste their whole selection and walk away. We worked this out after a couple of dismissive goodbyes so we started to ask if we could pay for a tasting instead of feeling obliged to buy a glass…this was received very well and we had some good experiences learning about all the wine styles here… and they are quite good…not as impressive as Bulgarian wines were but still very drinkable.  We got a little carried away and now have three bottles of wine to try to fit on the bike with us… or drink… but I doubt much more wine drinking will get done tonight!

Dean after having had enough wine tasting...

Dean after too much wine…

Our time in Romania was fun… a little bit of medieval mixed with a little bit of Italian. The countryside was really beautiful and it seems like town after town was ‘oozing’ history as Lonely Planet would put it! It seems not only Italy has charm! Beautiful sunny riding days at 28 degrees, blue skies and fields and fields of sunflowers – you can’t really ask for more!

One of hundreds of sunflower fields

One of hundreds of sunflower fields

It feels too good! We feel like we’re on holiday as nothing is really a challenge anymore. There’s plenty of wine to drink and nice places to drink it in, lots of pizza and pasta and good roads. It doesn’t feel right. And while we have both been gagging to get to Europe, now we are here, it feels like we are cheating. I guess we are adapting back to the western world without the luxury of earning money to pay for it all which makes it harder! It kind of makes us want to get home, earn money and see people we love or else fly back to Asia, sleep in a dirty bed again and avoid getting killed on the road!

Dean looking a little over it...

Dean looking a little over it…

Still, we have another 3 months of all this nice stuff so we really have to keep things in check… hence the camping. Tomorrow we are heading to Budapest where we will be staying (in a hotel!) for 3 nights.


Quick hello from Romania. We’re in a town called Sibiu, in Transylvania.  

Lovely ride coming in here, apparently one of the most scenic in Europe, although we were caught in heavy fog and a storm for half the day so couldn’t see more than ten metres in front of us 🙁 

Last few days have been a bit disjointed, initially because I woke up with a very painful swollen left hand (no idea why) which meant I couldn’t use the clutch, which is quite critical when travelling by bike, and then we were refused entry to Macedonia because our falsified bike insurance document was not accepted… fair enough too!

So we’ve been riding around in circles with only one good hand, lucky it’s the right hand or we’d still be in Bulgaria!

Very odd to just wake up in the early hours with a pain in your hand for no apparent reason, so much so that you find yourself in the communal kitchen of the hostel at 3am with someone else’s frozen peas atop your hand…

Anyway, so we tried to get into Macedonia unsuccessfully, actually we could have gotten in, but we refused to pay the 50 euro insurance premium on the basis that we’d only be there 2 or 3 days, and then would need another one for Kosovo, and another for Serbia and another for…

So… back to Sophia, by which stage I was really in some pain with the hand, so we stayed two days there to rest it, before heading off for Romania, which is in the EU, where they seem happy to accept the fake insurance document. Lovely.

Last night we stayed in a nice little hostel run by an Italian couple, where we were surprised by the picturesque town square and all the cafes and restaurants in that random little corner of Romania.

Today, after 300km of the most beautiful road in the world (which we missed due to fog), we have been similarly impressed with the even more picturesque town, with grand old buildings and another smattering of cafes and restaurants.

Tomorrow we stay here again to no doubt sit in aforementioned cafes and drink coffee and then wine before going to bed in single children’s beds, with bright red satin quilt covers. Living the dream…

Plovdiv, Bulgaria 

Well we have made it to Europe! We’re pretty happy about it too!
After debating all morning between Greece or Bulgaria we finally decided on Bulgaria… Mainly because we thought it would be cheaper and its in the direction we want to go. We decided that it would be better to decide on some places we really wanted to see and try to go there without trying to see everything and spending all our time on highways and none really getting to know the places.  It’s been hard not to ride directly to Italy but after spending a couple of nights in Plovdiv it’s made us more interested in seeing more of Eastern Europe!

We stopped here because it was the next logical stop to go after turkey and we discovered a pretty cool city. Lots of bars, good wine and interesting people! We spent the afternoon yesterday drinking Aperol spritz in a cafe on the walking strip and people watching… Which is quite a fun thing to do here! The hair, the fashion…. The hair… Wow 😉

It’s nicer and also a lot cheaper here than in turkey so we are kicking ourselves for spending time in Istanbul. Oh well… Today (once Dean has fixed the puncture he found in the front tyre this morning) we will be heading west to Macedonia, making our way up to Budapest over the next few days.

There are not so many interesting things to take photos of now I’m afraid, especially not with the head cam, so I apologise for slightly boring  and probably fewer posts!

Love xx


the bridge connecting Asia to Europe

the bridge connecting Asia to Europe

We saw the Mediterranean yesterday as we arrived into Istanbul – We are officially on the continent of Europe despite still being in Turkey! Everything feels European and so, unfortunately, do the prices! Filling the petrol tank is now $60 as opposed to $5 in Iran! And there are bars and alcohol which always adds to our daily budget…!

Its really quite here in Istanbul at the moment – it seems the recent bombs and shootings are keeping people away…funny that…not us though! We will probably spend another night or two here before heading in to Bulgaria. It feels like the challenging part of the trip is over and now the main challenge will be not to spend too much money… however today I left $60 in the pocket of my trousers and had them washed and now the money has disappeared… not very happy about that…

Dean being a boy

Dean being a boy

We spent a few days getting here through Turkey from Iran. It was nice to spend some nights in random little towns in Turkey and see how the locals live. We rode down to Cappadocia for the night which are unusual rock formations which were once used as houses. It was interesting but also very touristy which was a first in a long time for us. In retrospect I probably would have preferred another night in a no name town watching men play with their worry beads and drink tea!



We did a mammoth 750 km day to get to Istanbul from Cappadocia and we hope the last of long days like that. It was pretty boring… 8 hours of helmet time isnt good for anyone! I usually find reoccurring songs playing in my head… ‘We’re on a road to nowhere” by the Proclaimers plays on long straight boring highways (featured especially on the  road from Adelaide to Darwin),  “Here comes the rain again” by the Eurythmics (which I think will play more the closer to England we get),”I can see clearly now” by Jimmy Cliff (which will probably never get a hear in in England!),  “Go West” by the Pet Shop Boys has been a big hit lately along with “The only way is Up” by Yazz which was big in the last half of India and will feature more from here on.  Rage against the Machines “Fuck you I wont do what you tell me” was playing a lot for some reason as we were riding through Iran… I think the Iranians (especially the women) need a little of that anger and rebellion in their blood… On particularly long days I do tend to have a little Prince concerts in my helmet and sing (and dance) to all the Prince songs I know…thankfully Dean cant hear me 🙂

Stuck halfway up a steep hill where Betsy didnt want to go

Stuck halfway up a steep hill where Betsy didnt want to go

Its time to now go and walk around this city a bit and see whats around. We are both pretty tired (and bad) at being tourists so it will probably just involve us walking around the block and trying to find somewhere untouristy to get some lunch.


We’re in Europe!!!

After a very long day we’ve arrived in Istanbul, it feels like quite a milestone.
780km to get here from Cappadocia, hopefully the longest day we do for a long time.

Goodbye Iran!

Currently waiting at the Iran border for Dean to get the bike papers stamped so that we can exit Iran and enter Turkey.

Today is the end of Ramadan so it is a holiday everywhere in Iran. It would have been nice to experience Iran without Ramadan but we didn’t feel like waiting for the holidays to be over before everything opened again.

Its a shame that we’ve been here during the hottest part of the year and Ramadan as we feel as if we’ve missed out on what life may usually be like. Due to all the restaurants being closed during the daytime, we’ve had to eat in hotel restaurants (as these are allowed to be open) which is something we never usually do as it doesn’t give you the ‘local’ experience that we try to look for. The food has been hit and miss with very little variation. 

I don’t get the impression that eating out in restaurants is a big part of  the the culture here as there are very few around. Today we’ve seen lots of family’s having picnics on the side of the highway which makes me think that home cooked food is the preference!

While we were in Tehran we were kindly invited out by a guy we had met who owned a KTM. He and his friends took us to the north of Tehran to a nice restaurant. We had an interesting time learning about how Iranians feel about Iran which we had felt that we had missed out on up until now. They drove us around and showed us the view of Tehran at night (which is massive!) and then drove us back to our hotel. It was really nice hanging out with locals 😊

We rode a long day to Tabriz where we had planned to spend a couple of days but upon arrival realised that everything was closing up for a few days so decided to push on.

Thankfully it is cooler here and I am very excited to be rid of the headscarfe I’ve had to wear for the past 2 weeks!

The people here have been so so lovely and welcoming and we are forever getting waves and big smiles from all the cars that pass us, it’s really nice.

Tonight we hope for beer 😊

Arrived in Tehran


We just arrived in Tehran, with the engine scorching hot, and the temp readout at 42 it’s lucky we found a place to stay without much fuss.

Another long boring ride on the highway, about 500km today through more desert. So far it’s been desert desert desert here. 

As you can see from the pic, the heat really takes it out of you, we’ve resorted to stopping every hour or two and soaking ourselves with water, which then keeps us cool until it dries an hour later. 

We’re getting some funny looks doing it though, me dousing Sal with water in a truck stop while she smothers it into her t shirt with lots of “ooohhhss and ahhhhs”, it’s the equivalent of porn for the local guys.  I even get the odd sideways glance from a woman when I do it 😜

2 days here to see some museum’s and no doubt more damned mosques and then we’re headed for beer land (everywhere but here), I can’t wait!