It was inevitable that the journey back home was going to get harder the closer I was getting to the end of it. The realisation that it is nearly over, the freedom of doing exactly what I wanted and pretending to not have a care in the world. The escape from the daily grind and not being faced with coming home to an empty house and an empty bedroom of the son that has moved to the other side of the world to set up his life there.
I woke up with a numb feeling inside me and didn’t want to get up. Knowing I had motorway miles to cover just to get the train back to the UK wasn’t exactly inspiring.
Breakfast seemed to taste off, I spent ages deciding what to have to then leave half of it. I returned fake smiles to other guests and hotel employees but really I just wanted to be left alone and not even look at anyone.
The checkout process seemed to take forever and I was eager to get out. The garage underneath the hotel was on a slope going down towards the exit. I was told to just ride up to the door and it will automatically open. Except it didn’t. And I was stuck on the bike loaded with bags, facing downhill in front of the garage door, the automatic lights switched off and I nearly cried! Somehow I managed to get off the bike and parking it without either of us falling over to walk to the wall and press the button to open the garage door.
I’ve heard so much about the Black Forest roads but I really wasn’t in the mood. Looking at the routes I was on the north side of the B500 – The Black Forest High Road and ideally, I was going to be heading north to reach Belgium that evening. But I figured I’ll go south a little bit so at least I can say I’ve been on the road.
Soon my mood changed and as soon as I smelled the unmistakeable smell of the trees, the forest ground and I hit the first lot of bends on the road. A smile spread across my face and my heart seemed to start beating a little faster. It is true that motorcycles are better than any pills or therapy.
My grin was spreading and I soon forgot all about the journey home and the fact that I’m heading south and not north. I’ve stopped several times to take in the view. A few times I turned around as I’ve missed a photo opportunity then I carried on. Some sections of the road were running through a forest where the road wasn’t the best, some potholes and tree roots digging up the tarmac but then the road climbed over a hill and it became wider with smooth tarmac and flowing bends and it was just a dream to hear Bella and Akrapović purr again.
Eventually I had to join a motorway and commit to some miles to get closer to the Eurotunnel.
Luckily the journey was quite uneventful, taking me from Germany through France and Luxembourg to Belgium. To be honest, I switched off for most of the journey and just kept going.
I chose a quaint hotel in a small village in Belgium and once I’ve turned off the motorways and main roads the countryside changed again to green rolling hills and beautiful scenery. I arrived to the village looking for the hotel which was right in the middle by the crossroads. I managed to miss it and had to turn around and ride past it again. There were people in the beer garden and the car park was on a slope and covered in gravel. Yikes. It took all of my mental strength to think “I can totally do this” and not end up falling off the bike on the gravel. And I have done it, parked and checked in.
The hotel was lovely and the room was great. I took a quick shower and went downstairs for dinner. Last night in Europe. Sitting there thinking about my journey made me feel proud of what I’ve achieved. I ordered a glass of fizz to celebrate. I have bloody well done it. I travelled around Europe on a Ducati on my own. Something I’ve always wanted to do and I have bloody well done it! So cheers to me and my crazy world.
245 miles across four countries in a day and my last night on the continent.