Living in London is a bit like living in a giant bubble, certainly filled with fun and lots to do, but still a bubble. With no car, expensive trains and beer fuelled Friday nights it's almost impossible to wake up fresh on a Saturday and get away for a couple of days. It's a strange feeling, quite new to an Italian who's used to make the most of the winter weekends on the slopes and summer at the beach, in those 48 hours you forget the grey city and enjoy the excitement of a little adventure.
Adventure, that's what I missed so much, and fresh air. So when a friend offered to lend us his custom made 1986 circa motorbike we literally jumped on the saddle and wroomed away towards the sea. Only thing to remember "the bike needs to be back by tomorrow morning at 9am for a photo shoot". No problem so far, but little we knew it would turn into a quite eventful weekend on the road....
Our destination was Whitstable, a little fishermen town in Kent, about two hours drive from London. We stopped for a pint in a village on the way and everyone turned their heads at the roar of our bike, only to realize it came from a sabotaged marmitta, not a super cool Harley Davison! The ride in the countryside was wonderful and our bums were not hurting too much once we finally got to the beach.
I would recommend to anyone to go and spend a day in Whitstable, so many lovely pastel coloured cottages and an amazing fish market on the promenade, so old school with the stripy umbrellas that cover the oyster stalls.
We went swimming, and it was the 1st of October, in England! In the afternoon we set in the sun eating all sort of amazing seafood, oysters, cockles, grilled prawns and mussels, all for very reasonable market prices.
On the way back to London we stopped in Canterbury to have a coffee and visit the beautiful cathedral, then back on the road.
I forgot to mention that my boyfriend is also Italian, and you know what they say about Italians driving, or in general respecting the rules...well this is exactly what the policemen that stopped us liked to point out. "We are England, not in Italy!", we avoided funny jokes and tried to get away with the usual "But we didn't realize that...". He was having none of it, we had apparently been riding on the hard shoulder, we didn't hear him following us with a siren, we had a broken taillight and I was wearing inappropriate clothes for a bike ride, did we at least have insurance? Thanks god yes. But he didn't let go and escorted us to the first service station where he waited until we called the emergency to come and fix the taillight. Before leaving us he added that if we tried to ride back to London that night he would have us arrested, our number plate had been passed to all police units in the area.
I didn't mention the fine, because we got away with it. He had relatives in Italy and had an amazing time in Rome and bla bla bla, we tried everything and that worked, but we were still stuck.
After a couple of hours the bike seems ok and the mechanic says that we are "too jung to worry" and suggests to just get on the saddle and drive back.
When we do so (sorry policemen!) the pressure of our fat bums blocks a connection and the taillight stops. Too scared of going to jail we decide to stay in a motel but they ask us ?65 that we don't have...
And here the "Italiano abroad" skills come handy again. We manage to negotiate the price and after driving the receptionist crazy with a long story of all our misadventures she gives us a discount, but says that the room needs to be done. We tell her not to worry, it's just for a few hours, until it gets light again. When she comes to open the door and sees the state of the room she feels sorry and tell us she will not charge us, we can stay for free! We giggle until we fall asleep thinking that after all, it's been a fun day.
In the morning we leave early to make sure the bike is back before 9am, and although freezing it's a beautiful sunny day and a pleasant ride. Until the bike feels funny...the back tire is flat, we have to stop!
We call the same mechanic that helped us the night before, he laugh at our bad luck and bring us and bike back to London. We swear we will never ride a bike again but first thing we do at home is to go on e-bay and buy one!
The buzz of a little adventure, I missed it, no matter how much bad luck it's always nice to end a weekend with a funny story to tell instead of a terrible hangover!