The part of venturing with a bike in foreign countries that always makes me most nervous, is never knowing where I will spend the night…
And I know that many of you are always curious, how it works the way I do it; staying mostly with local people rather than in hostels or rented rooms.
Taking off in the morning without an idea, where I’ll find a place to rest is very exciting but also stresses me a lot and requires a lot of trust – in circumstances, people and in my intuition.
You’d think you get use to this… but I can tell you, you never will and this is probably what keeps the magic in such an adventure.
So let me tell you about my first night:
I took off in Bologna at Ducati much later than I wanted. It turned out to be a bigger deal than we expected, getting this racks fixed on the bike.
It was past 3pm when I finally turned the key of the little Scrambler and kicked in the gears for the first kilometres of this Balkan quest.
Ravenna was the destination I was aiming for but my tummy got very angry at me about after an hour of being on the road as I totally forgot, amongst all this excitement of preparation, to eat some lunch… So I stopped at this little, not very pretty village for a piece of pastry (pretty much the only thing you can get before the restaurants are open for dinner).
A tiny café with a gambling machine and only a few male guests, which showed a great interest of me and my bike.
I started chatting with one of them, who spoke very little and broken English. He offered a bed and some fish for dinner only after a few minutes. Oooooh it was so tempting to except this invitation; my body was really craving some good food. But the Vibes were weird and he tried to make a little too clear what kind of a good person he was… Plus, there were still an hour to go to the destination I had on mind.
Here I was, torn between hunger, worried not finding a place elsewhere and my feeling that I needed to learn to trust again. Maybe he was just being friendly and I had nothing to worry about? But I always promised myself to rather go this extra mile than settle for something that didn’t feel 100% right.
So I thanked him politely and took off again…
When I reached a little town a few kilometers before Ravenna, I followed the signs to the centre to admire the brick buildings and throttle through the little streets for my first experience of Italian village gorgeousness. When I passed a hostel sign, I took the next opportunity to turn and ride back a one-way-street the wrong direction… Oops!! All these little alleys make it difficult to find your way back to where you want to go. This tiny risk of wrong traffic behavior paid out.
The hostel was supposed to be in this beautiful old monastery, which I found out doesn’t operate as a such anymore since about 6 years… Yet, what I found where some lovely locals that just tidied up the place after some school event. They didn’t only invite me for a glass of vino, they also made a couple of phone calls to find me a bed somewhere in town.
I followed one of them through the old and narrow streets to someone’s apartment, where they had arranged for me to stay. The owner wasn’t home yet and even though they left a key for me, I politely waited outside until his return.
When Andrea came home from an evening run, I felt straight away comfortable around his present. He offered me the room of his little daughter, who stayed with his ex wife and prepared some pasta for dinner. Making sure a million times that he can’t cook, I still really enjoyed dinner and the evening of my first night on the road…
Wow!! I couldn’t believe I just made this happen!
Now it was about finding some sleep and realising, that this is only the first night of many ahead of me.
The Moto Quest is BACK!!