Before I got to know my Love, I went on vacation alone, dating or not. That's not scary, but the best way to experience a country and its people. On the motorcycle. In the XNUMXs, it was Triumph T150 V and the trips went – of course – to England. The approach was simple: I took the boat from Hoek van Holland and saw what was going to happen. Usually there was a fixed lead such as 'Lake District' or a Triumph specialist I had read in an English motorcycle magazine.
That was at the time when bed & breakfasts did not yet have jacuzzis in lovely renovated farmhouses. An overnight stay also cost – converted – not sixty euros, but max. a pound or two. Bed and breakfast owners? So these were families in rented houses where just a room in an ordinary house was rented out. And that could just be the nursery. In an attic I looked at the stars from my bed. Half asleep, I didn't notice the house cat coming home until it habitually jumped through the skylight onto the bed. The beast landed full on my stomach. We were both quite shocked. The next morning I stepped on a dead mouse. Apparently it had been forgotten in the cat scare. "Pounded mouse!" became a very literal phenomenon.
I once ended up at an address where the whole family slept in the barn during the holiday season in order to be able to rent out more beds. But even more important at that time was the friendly or curt answer to my question whether there was still sleeping accommodation: “No motorcycles serviced”. In large parts of the UK, motorcyclists did not yet have the status of "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" marketed by Honda. Well, my Trident was clearly not a Honda. And maybe I looked threateningly continental. Maybe that's what it was all about. There are always a lot of maybe…
But in the end I only found a place to pit but once. The one time I had to spend the night in Ter Apel style was not on a lawn, but in a bus shelter. And at that time I could still get up smoothly after a night's sleep on a wooden bench. As a counterpart: When I asked a dog-walking 'older' lady – she must have been in her late forties J – if she knew somewhere to stay, I was kindly invited to her home. And that was a seriously big house. It turned out that the master of the house already had a fine collection of classic motorcycles and cars. Plus an apparently inexhaustible supply of fine whiskeys and two daughters plus a son with those really old British noble inbred boarding school principals with horse teeth and virtually no chins. Mine Triumph was viewed and found. I looked out for British Finest on two- and four-wheelers and was deeply impressed. I vaguely remember it getting late… The next morning I shared breakfast with the family, checked my three-cylinder. And was waved goodbye by the whole family.
And that's how you come to prefab, internet-planned trips to selected places and GPS's. Death for uninhibited enjoyment. But since I have a tom tom with winding routes, the surprise factor of the past is pleasantly back. So I'm open to new things. There may even be a motorcycle with ABS. Only grab a bed & breakfast for a euro ten plus a little? That won't happen again.