Already holiday memories… – column

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When the weather improves, the holiday memories come back. Let's see what this summer will bring. But these are some memories

Hotel du Liverpool

From Brummen to Calais in one day? Had to be possible! Modern motorcycle clothing is fantastic. But after just 400 rain-soaked kilometers we arrived in Calais as if we had come swimming from the White Cliffs of Dover. In every hotel or room rental facility, the desk clerks stumbled over their words as they assured us that they were fully, absolutely fully booked. Real! “Toute complete!”. Next to us, a dry couple of motorists were shamelessly given the key to their room. We trudged away feeling despondent. Until we came across the somewhat shaky facade of Hotel du Liverpool. When we entered, the lady behind the counter woke up. Sixty plus. An exploded gray haircut and glasses with very thick lenses that were stuck together with a lot of tape and were crooked on her head. She seemed shocked and staggered a bit. It was extremely warm in the hall. “Mais vous êtes des motorbikes! Vous êtes tellement humides!” And we were terribly wet!

To counteract the shock, she took a few long sips from her glass of wine and quickly helped herself. Dehydration is a terrible death. She immediately went to see if she had a room or rooms available for us. From where we stood we saw her holding the guest book upside down. In the smudged mirror behind her we saw her gravely leafing through blank pages. And guess what? There was room for us. The rooms were just as hot as the hall. We hung our wet clothes in another empty room, showered, put on dry things and went to pick up our mopeds and have something to eat. Our landlady lay with her head on her desk, snoring with an empty glass and an empty bottle next to her right hand. Back at our hotel it turned out that we could no longer enter. Lights off, doors at least on a lock that our key did not fit. We were not in the mood to be the facade artist.

There was a kind of shed in the courtyard where we had parked our motorcycles. There were some tarps and stuff in there. We thought it was nice. We made our own beds and fell asleep satisfied with the certainty that our things would be dry the next day. That next day started with sunshine. We went into Calais for breakfast. We walked around and arrived back at Hotel du Liverpool. There the hotel owner was just carefully sipping a glass of red wine. She greeted us enthusiastically and cheerfully: Alors mes amis! Est que vous avez bien dormi? In all innocence. Did we sleep well? So much warm human interest. Hotel du Liverpool. Highly recommended!

Already holiday memories...

Rostock by night

I was sitting on a terrace in Rostock. An old, stripped Goldwing came thundering across the square. The thing made a U-turn. Stopped. The rider kicked off the jiffy and came over to me. He was big, anabolic wide and double tattooed. A belly guy instead of a biker. With a Totenkopf ringed hand he gestured to my Ural combination. “Man, was your power here with such a bloody thing?!” So that had to be explained. “Set a beer and enjoy it.” My table companion, who looked like a successful Disney Neo Nazi with a lot of National Socialist print, introduced himself: “Großer Dirk”. But his biker club name was Adelwolf. My name is Dolf. “AH,… Adolf? “Yes, but via the Indian side.” And the grandfather Dolf in question was lost when the merchant ship he was sailing on was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. "Oh so. Dass war yes everything damals. Scheisse war dass.”

Adelwolf turned out to be chairman of the local biker gang. Lazy until about thirty years old. Reasonably to well educated. Unemployed. No chance. Because former East Germans were discriminated against. “Scheisse!” We had another pot of beer. The maid treated me with new respect. Apparently I was in good company. Fat Dirk had to move on. He said that if I were back here at about eight o'clock, he could come along to the club night. At 20.01:XNUMX p.m. four motorcycles entered the square. They remain precise, those Germans. Hands were shaken. Names exchanged. We disappeared in convoy to the countryside. Germans love columns.

There was an abandoned warehouse that had been adopted by the club. We were not the first. Because there were already almost a dozen older, heavy Japanese bicycles in the court. Adelwolf was respectfully welcomed. I, as an invitee, was kindly received. The crate of beer that I took from the team was accepted with mock indignation. “We will never have to pay for it again, we will never forget it!” But still: “Skol!” They looked a bit scary to civilian eyes. But they were nice people. With their social limitations they made something of it. There were about twenty people. There were a few biker girls. There was beer, bratwurst.

Potatoes were roasted in their skins on the fire. Later it turned out that the barn had been used as a bar, workshop, motorcycle yard and storage shed. A lifting bridge. Lots of tools. Among the wreckers were a few more recent engines with foreign plates. There were some boxes with liter bottles of vodka. About a hundred boxes. A shotgun swung behind the bar. Hemp grew on the plot behind the warehouse. Extra income and security probably. It was getting later. It remained pleasant. There was heavy smoking. They drove around in circles with my Russian side-valve vehicle. A kind of uninhibited Achterhoek conviviality. At one point I was asked if I had a place to sleep for the rest of the night. So no. I was allowed to sleep in the 'Gäste Zimmer'. And it turned out to be ventilated, clean and made up with fresh bedding. In Germany, outlaw biker gangs still have their norms and values.

Already holiday memories...

Summer is over

Last summer was one with a golden edge. We went to the Channel Islands, the Îles Anglo-Normandes, and understood that they are almost full size on Google Earth. That's why it didn't seem necessary to take your own transport for the last part. And that is why we were able to take a fast catamaran from Dielette to Guernsey. We made the entire trip overland on the narrowest roads and ended up about 800 kilometers from home on the third day. When approaching Dielette we felt like we were traveling through time.

The village below us that so bravely rubbed against the high, white-crested, bottle-green waves was 100% 1960. We thought that the area had become so serenely quiet before. In the village itself we found hotel Du Phare, including a spacious dining room. The view from our room was so beautiful that we decided on the spot to stay an extra night. Before dinner we went for a walk and noticed that, just around the corner from the cape and neatly out of sight, there was a nuclear power plant less than a kilometer from our hotel.

A native pointed proudly to the right, where something large shimmered against the sky in the distance. That was the La Hague conversion factory. The rustic Dielette is sandwiched between two nuclear installations. To take the edge off that idea, the French government has done all kinds of landscape management. But touristically it remains a heart-conquering no man's land. Scenically a kind of 'England+'. Only the servant in Du Phare was a little confused by my answer to her question about how I wanted my lamb: “Quand ç'est mort, ça suffit.” “As long as it's dead…” We decided to leave the mopeds on shore. We tested the catamaran to Guernsey in heavy seas. We got sick and decided to refrain from further island hopping. From Guernsey we would simply go back to the mainland. The museums in Guernsey are fantastic. They are all about WW2 and there are motorcycles. Also a Russian M72 pretending to be a BMW!

The serving staff on the island is mainly female, friendly, blonde and Latvian. We had seen Guernsey in two nights and went back. The return journey was without seasickness. After a brief discussion, we decided to explore the nuclear amusement park landscape in the region. That landscape lacked the typical French nonchalance. The surface of the often lazily winding roads was excellent. The beaches wide. We ended up in a B&B run by a British couple where the man had the look of someone who had been provoked beyond all limits and who had a plump wife dressed in a rather naked floral dress who was in a state of constant, hysterical joyful exuberance was wrong.

The breakfast consisted of separate components that together formed such a complete English Breakfast that the Atlantic Wall was dwarfed by it. The landlady spoke only English. Also to the French couple who washed up late in the evening and stared in bewilderment at the enormous amounts of cholesterol on the breakfast buffet. We hummed happily through the landscape. Aimlessly racing on the sun and wind. The purpose of the journey is the journey. Not the end point. We had a drink on the terrace. Picked up a fallen scooter rider. Calmed her down. Bandaged her up and used a few yards of Duct Tape to tape her Chinese Tupperware back together.

In La Pichotiere we met a former driver who, after his retirement, continued to happily tinker with the machines where he had once competed. After seven o'clock in the evening, Le Mont Sint Michel turned out to be virtually deserted, as Jean Françios Marcadé, the manager of 'Le Relais de la Hardiesse' in Courtils, who resembled Gérard Depardieu, had promised. We drank there after visiting Mt. Mich and an extra glass of Calva before going to bed and we enjoyed the bats tumbling through the air. Oh yes, we did the return journey in one go on the highway. Because a week of vacation is over before you know it.

Already holiday memories...

Authority is good!

The Autoroute du Soleil. Too hot for the motorcycle and its rider. The holiday flow runs north again. Masses of yellow license plates, early retirement racks full of bicycles and caravanists. Through freight traffic.

But the time to drive the return route is too short for the scenic route over the Routes Nationaux. The leather pants stay on. The engine block radiates too much heat for shorts. Above the belt: a fall-safe T-shirt with the text 'The KGB is still watching you” Pfahhh. They certainly haven't heard of the AIVD yet. And our own Pushkins.

The ROOF boxer helmet is completely open. The sunglasses with holographic eyeballs keep most of the wind out of your eyes. With 130 on the clock, the old Moto Guzzi trots along. Must also. He's had almost two and a half years to learn it.

It's time for a stop again. On the Aire de Tournalet. It is – with apologies for the language – very busy. One million Dutch caravanists. Two hundred and fifty thousand trucks of all nationalities. Thousands of French people who can't cope anymore. Motorcycles are parked here and there. Uneducated Dutch children from caravan trailers wander around and are living proof that their parents should in fact be deprived of any right to procreate. The helmet is not yet finished and Kevin or Kjelt is already turning the throttle of the motorcycle. The child is spanked. “Salt up you cunt!” The heat makes you crusty.

While the cigar has just been lit, an angry couple arrives with Kevin or Kjelt plus Anita or Kimberly. Did I hit their child? Yes indeed. “And now I'm about to beat you up.” The family retreats modestly. The woman screams at her husband “You don't let anyone tell you that!? Asshole!” Screams at me: “Antisocial cancer motorcyclist!” Tonight there will be a fight again instead of making love. This way there will be no third child. Well done.

The cigar is burning. Nicotine repels free radicals. Fine. Because they are bad. Very bad. A convoy of Russian trucks leaves the Aire. That makes way for an idling Portuguese refrigerated semi-trailer and a blue-and-yellow combination of Betz with his two ex-Eastern Bloc drivers for the price of one.

Already holiday memories...

A crossing mother and child are almost run over by a German on a KTM who takes off on his rear wheel. Two motorcycle police officers arrive on the Aire. They wear short-sleeved shirts. They drive BMWs. They stop. Place the motorcycles on the side stands. Take off their Ray Ban sunglasses. Take off their helmets. Put their sunglasses back on. Two calm men in uniforms with short sleeves and short haircuts. They let their leaden gazes float over the air. They rule. The two of them have total superiority over at least five hundred people. A mother quickly picks up a lollipop wrapper from the ground. A motorcyclist walks the full five meters to put his sandwich wrapper in the trash can.

In some countries, an agent is simply not someone to get rid of.

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3 comments

  1. Well, that Dolf is experiencing something in his old age, with a romantic sauce on top, and that's it!
    Writing pieces is also a profession.
    Just carry on…….

  2. The saying is, the older the crazier, but is that still true? The stories keep getting better, synchronized with the creativity of the writing

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