In 2010, the route selected was more dictated by weather than by anything else. In general, the weather was terrible. Arriving in London with the bike in mid-April, however, the weather was terrific as I waited over a week for Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland to stop erupting and for lost luggage to arrive. Well, London was a great place to hang out, but that was the last stretch of nice weather I had until crossing the border into Turkey in late May. So while I wondered across Europe being guided by the movement of a stubborn low pressure system, I did get to some fabulous places.
As per the plan, however, I did make it up to Scotland for a fantastic ride along the north coast, then made a quick trip through Ireland in deteriorating weather. And after hopping back to England for a visit to Stonehenge in the rain (you're getting the picture now?), I took the ferry to France and discovered that Rennes, Blois and Chartres are real gems to visit. The rest of France just seemed very wet! I then made a quick trip across Germany and had a brief layover in Prague, truly one of the world's great cities to hang out in. Just beautiful. Then another wet ride to Budapest for another layover in a fabulous city, so much so that I revisited again on the ride of 2012. Departing Budapest in rains that made the lead story on BBC News International that evening, I headed across Romania to the Black Sea coast, then south through Bulgaria to Turkey and yes, sunshine!.
While not part of the original plan, I became totally captivated by Turkey and wound up staying almost a month. My wife, Diane, came to visit me in Istanbul for a week, and we did a small bike tour, hitting the only rain I experienced there. And it was there that I decided for many reasons outlined in the dispatches, to abandon the eastward trip and head back through Europe. But before heading west again, I spent a few weeks visiting Roman ruins and beaches of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts before turning north through the Cappadocia region and the finding the only bedbugs encountered on my trip. Stopping first at a Horizons Unlimited meeting in Bulgaria, I headed across northern Greece then ferried to Italy, making a major diversion across the country to wander around the streets of Pompeii. And now that the weather was better, I made for the Alps that had been so unapproachable on the eastward journey two or three months before. The Alps... ah... motorcycle heaven.
The trip back to London was highlighted by a visit with Niels, whom I had met at the meeting in Bulgaria and with whom I had a great day ride. Then it was a quick, wet trip back to London for a short vacation with the family who had flown over, and finally a return with the bike to Kamloops.
The 2010 trip was not what was planned at all, but in fact, turned out to be a better trip than what I could have imagined. It made me change my whole approach to the around-the-world trip. No longer was it going to be a line around the globe, but the motorcycle became a means to get to some great places. It set the stage for what was to be the 2012 and 2013 trips... further explorations of Europe and a visit to many places I had never been. Europe was not to be rushed through.
As for the map above, it is fully zoomable and moveable. The layers pulldown in the upper right allows you to display several versions of the base map and toggles on the nightly stops as well. Nightly stops are marked with green tents for camps and with beds for hotels or other roofs over my head. Boats indicate nights spent on ferries. There are a lot more hotels than camps... a function of the weather and the trend towards visiting major cities enroute. Clicking on an icon gives the location and day. The track file can be downloaded and viewed in GoogleEarth. Be sure to toggle it on (in the left-hand "Places" column of GoogleEarth) if it doesn't display right away.