Monday, December 23, 2013

Leaving Spain and farewell to Europe

We were in Tarifa and felt pretty miserable. It seemed that our to-do list was too long especially compared to the unavailability of internet and the flat as such. We discussed and prioritized based on what we want (or better said what we and the bikes really need), where we have some other solutions, how much those cost etc.

Christmas in Morocco was a clear yes, which meant we kept the ferry tickets and leave Spain as planned. We were able to cancel all orders which we made to the apartment in Tarifa and so we booked us another hotel in Manilva (and hope we get some refund from the Tarifa flat).

On the way to Manilva we found a Honda bike shop and I could persuade Paqui (who is originally from Germany) to get us our beloved Heidenau tyres. The BMW dealer opposite did not care very much to start searching for them. YSS did send me a basic rear shock which I will keep as a spare for future (thank you very much for this Christmas present). The broken shock went back to Netherlands for repair. The repaired one will come back to me somewhere in Morocco and so will our CdPs and IDPs (hopefully).

The discussions about the Carnets with ADAC did continue until the last minute in Manilva. All in all it took now two weeks to clarify one single detail and in the end we found a solution for this problem.

We rode to Manilva with the hopes that the new apartment will be better. Obviously I looked a bit worn out and the lady at the reception had mercy. The dogs did cost extra, however we got a huge discount and on top of that we were able to park the bikes in the underground parking for free. That was very nice and a good start. The flat was almost luxury for us and for the first time in months we enjoyed a Finnish sauna (dry, but hot) and a whirlpool!

Milady was extremely happy. My mood was also getting better and I had a few hassle-free days. So on our second day in Manilva we had a pre-Christmas party and enjoyed plenty of delicious raw food goodies, that Skippy had been wanting to experiment for a long time! Girls got also their beloved porridge every day, now that we finally had a working stove!
We named this street "kakkakuja" (poop-alley) - there was poop everywhere! :)
In the end of "kakkakuja" there was a beautiful park where we played a lot with girls.
Reminded us of our old neighborhood in Sundsberg, Masala, Finland (
Couch with a view :D
Play of sun and clouds.
A two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere - one end a round-about and at the other end solid rocks :D
Heidenau K60 after 27.000km as a front tyre (maybe still good for a few thousands?).
Waiting for the tyre and cleaning my air filter.
I got me also a new backtyre. The Uniroyal did not last too long, now I am trying a Bridgestone BT250 (175/65R15). After almost 23.000km Skippy's Suzi got also a new backtyre - again a Heidenau K60. The old one would have still lasted a few thousands, however the big puncture from Latvia caused the tyre to leak air and we thought it is time to change it now. I also changed Suzi's air-filter to a K&N re-usable. These are the moments which I do not like! Taking all the plastic parts away and putting them back takes over one hour, changing the air-filter only takes 5 minutes!
Enjoying some last European unhealthy goodies before Africa :)
We wanted to downsize a bit and donated some not so needed stuff to the Adana dog rescue shelter and second-hand shop (
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Our track from Europe - looks funny :D
Besides all the bike maintenance, it was also time again to take care of ourselves and girls. I went to the dentist in Sabinillas for a check-up. Valeria - the doctor - had a quick look and did not find anything which would require further action. Good for me and it got even better - she did not charge me anything!

Girls got also their teeth checked and cleaned. This we try to do about once a year, because poodles tend to get easily teeth problems. We have brushed their teeth with "normal" toothpaste meant for dogs, but it didn't work at all. So now we're using a new mixture made by Skippy: bentonite clay and Neem tree powder. Both are natural, healthy, vegan and cruelty free products and also recommended for both human and animal healthcare. We use the same mixture with some added ingredients to brush our teeth and can warmly recommend it to everyone!!!

While girls got their teeth cleaned they got also tested for heartworms, Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis. All results were negative and then girls got vaccinated against heartworm, which are really creepy and dangerous parasites! We also gave them some medicine against Echinococcus and each received a health certificate which is required to enter Morocco. The decision on how to prevent Leishmania is still open... The doctor gave us Advantix drops, but the ingredients and the risks of the medicine sounded really horrible! It's a nasty pesticide!!! Scalibor-collars would be also one option, but back in Finland doctor said it shouldn't be used for under 5 kg dogs, so that would basically exclude Lyra and Ulpu.... Have to continue the study on these matters and hopefully find some more natural stuff... Luckily it's not mosquito season here right now!

Farewell to Europe
Looking a little back on those first seven months on the road. I would say that it was rather brave from us to start this journey with a newly built sidecar. In this way, it was good to get things fixed here in Europe (and within EU) as it was one of our original ideas why to ride first around in Europe before going to exotic places. We only got a snap-shot to see of all the beauty Europe has to offer. We said "no" to many places and attractions because we really wanted to go to Africa.
Our most favorite places were (1) Croatia and especially the Plitvice Lakes (2) Pyrenees and (3) Alps.

Things work in Europe. We noted that they work better in Germany (we do not count Finland, otherwise Finland would "win" this section :)) and less in Spain.

Taking the dogs along with us was a conscious decision and no way we would have left them behind. We were aware that we had to pay a little extra once in a while (we just did not like to get ripped-off!), as well as that there are people in this world who do not like dogs or are afraid of them. In any case, we made experiences which we would have never had without our girls!

~ Wolfi

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fruitarian Holiday feast

Here is my suggestion for Holiday feast. We enjoyed this as our pre-Christmas meal. The whole meal is quite well according to 80/10/10 low-fat-raw-vegan lifestyle with just a bit too much fat, but no need to be too strict on holidays! ;)

The zucchini pasta became instantly our new favorite. So if you just want try one new thing, I definitely recommend the pasta!

All recipes are for two. I recommend to use only organic produce!

As an appetizer we enjoyed fresh pomegranate juice, which I squeezed with my bare hands! Good muscle training at the same time :D

Starter salad
  • 100 g lettuce
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 0.5 mango
  • parsley
Chop the lettuce and half of the tomatoes and mango on plates. Put the other half of the tomatoes and mango into a mixer and mix until smooth sauce. Pour the sauce over the salad and garnish with parsley.

Minty loaf (or puree)
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 apple
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 40 g mint leaves
  • 1 pureed mango
  • 70 g rucola
Mix the cauliflower, avocado, apple and lemon juice into a fine puree. Let the puree set in fridge for at least 30 min. before serving. Make rucola beds on the plates and pile the puree on top of them and pour the mango sauce around them.

Zucchini pasta (I forgot to take picture, sorry! It will be visible in the forthcoming video though! :))
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 mango
  • 1 lime (flesh and juice!)
  • 1 dl coriander leaves
  • 0.5 dl fresh raw coconut meat (canned milk is also ok, just try to get without additives)
  • 1 small cayenne pepper
  • parsley
Slice the zucchini into thin pasta-slices. I just used a veggie peeler, but if you have a spiralizer or mandoline, be happy! :D Don't use the middle part with the seeds, that will go to the sauce!

Mix all the other ingredients (also the seed middle from zucchini) except the parsley into smooth sauce and pour over the pasta. Stir well and let set about an hour before eating. Garnish with some chopped parsley.

Raw Jul Log and cinnamon milk
  • 200 g dates
  • 5 figs
  • water
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 + 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 apple
  • 0.5 dl fresh raw coconut meat (canned milk is also ok, just try to get without additives)
  • 2 dl water
Soak the dates and the figs in water that just covers them for about 1 hour. Add the cardamom and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and mix into smooth paste. Take 1 tablespoon of the paste aside and spread the rest evenly on the bananas.

Put the apple, coconut meat, water, 1 tsp of cinnamon and the 1 tbsp of date-fig paste into a mixer and mix until smooth drink. Enjoy!

I must admit that my Jul Log looks more like Jul Poop :D Well, it's the taste that matters, not the looks!

Here is the nutritional data of the meal for one person, for those who are interested. I was pretty amazed about these facts and didn't even give any thoughts for this while I was inventing the recipes! :) I used to calculate these. (the energy % are according to my measures: 173cm and 55kg and wanting to stay so ;))

Hopefully I didn't forget any ingredients...

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Happy and cruelty free Holidays to everyone!!!

~ Ilta

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Towards Tarifa and problems problems problems

We thought it was a good idea to plan a little ahead when it came to using ferry. We looked at the various companies and decided to go to Tarifa (more about this in another post). Three legs and we would be in Tarifa with each leg about 250km. From there we would take the ferry to Tangier and spending Christmas in Morocco. That felt exciting. Besides this, there would be a good chance for some last maintenance in Tarifa (i.e. within EU) and getting papers for Africa organized.
A strange landscape appeared to us - the area was full of greenhouses.
Our first stop was in a tiny village. It was so tiny that all shops and everything else were already closed as the summer season had ended. When we booked it, it looked good and it was so cheap that we could not believe it first.
A much different landscape compared to Alicante.
Our big terrace, in which we enjoyed breakfasts in the sun.
The place was freezing cold inside and we did not like it very much. At least the sleeping room had a heating device and when we were inside, we spent most of the time there. In addition we only had cold showers for the first two days before the water became warmish. Lucky us, the sun was heating up nicely during day time. We found a hike trail nearby and girls liked it a lot since we could play with them during the walk and "at home"!

First time we saw an almond tree and picked some (plenty) - they are were delicious and by no means comparable to what we have bought in a shop in e.g. Finland or Germany.
I noted already earlier that the rear of the GS looked very dirty - full of oil spots. I checked it out and noticed that I filled a little too much oil into the engine (did not want to throw some extra away) which then spilled over into the air inlet housing. Of course, I said to myself that this was a stupid thing to do and took a mental note on that issue.

On the way to Nerja we found some great facilities along the road... :D
Riding through Sierra Nevada
Next stop was Nerja and back in city limits. We got lucky again with the apartment - it had a south-side balcony. Plenty of sun bathing for Milady.
Walking at the promenade in Nerja
Appears obvious who comes to live here and yes... we heard Finnish the day we arrived, what a shock!
Parking under the balcony and bikes in sight
On the way to Nerja I suddenly knew it was not the engine oil which caused this mess - my brand new shock was leaking its oil! WTF*!!!

Broken rear shock in the BMW
OH NO - the whole bike was wobbling and rocking. I needed to drive half of the way extremely carefully like a typical 80 year old Sunday driver. It was weekend and a holy one: Spain was closed from Friday to Monday (we learned that when Sunday is a holiday, the following Monday is a holiday too). The only thing we could do now was to wait and get all this sorted out when we were in Tarifa. Until then some more of the slow riding and only major highways and no more small and curvy roads. Anyway we made all the major orders of items so that they would come in time during our stay in Tarifa.
500l and get a free meal - I prefer 25l and a free beer ;)
And then we hit rock-bottom...

It started with the fact that the flat was a rathole. Yeah it looked ok in pics and sounded ok when we booked. Reality was really different. The series of disappointments started with the fact that the office was closed for winter (and not open every day as stated on their door) and you need to call someone for the keys. There was no internet in the apartment, it was freezing cold, no way a mail man would find us here, toilet dirt water was flooding and many other small things did not work either. It became a major and expensive issue now that I needed to call some office in Malaga all the time for fixing things. The ultimate turn-off was that the stove did not work and my master cook could not use it.

All our plans for ordering stuff and getting it to Tarifa got destroyed. We realized then, that we would not get the Carnets done during our stay in Tarifa neither the international driving permits. The tyre delivery company demanded from me that I show a bill with the delivery address to proof my identity (passport was not good enough).

We were really down, depressed and Skippy was almost crying.

During our stay at the previous place we searched what has to offer in Tarifa and found the Eco-center. First of all they had good food as well as free and fast WiFi. We became regular customers there :D

Eco-Center in Tarifa with a shop, restaurant and free Wifi
Vegan humus as a starter
Vegan Paella - this was delicious and filling
We drowned our problems in some excellent tasting Muscatel wine (17%), some more unhealthy food and watching movies from our laptop. Some orders were confirmed and others were pending, open issues on the both bikes, the flat in its current state and the idea to be Christmas in Morocco: many moving parts and how to make a decision.

Something needed to happen and the question was what?

~ Wolfi

*WTF = What The Fruit (learned from the Banana Girl)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Alicante and bike maintenance

Finally we came to some warmer climate. Since we decided to skip most of Spain and Portugal it was for us now more like riding km and getting south towards Africa. We decided to spend over a week in Alicante to receive some parcels and do major maintenance on both bikes. Thus this is again mostly a "speak by picture post". Enjoy!

The days in Alicante were warm and it was almost hot when there was sunshine. The nights and mornings were still chilly and the temperature was sometimes below +10C.
Finally - beach, sun and warm
It was also time to do major maintenance and some repairs on both bikes. I did not want to do the oil changes at the hotel parking lot and I asked in Facebook for some advice/help. Thanks to Fanney from the Motorbike Riders Spain, she advised me to visit the Motocenter Levante in Alicante - they were some 4km away from the hotel - a convenient distance.

Motocenter Levante, Alicante (picture from the google+ page)
At this point I would like to say big thanks to Antonio, Cesar and the other guys from the Motocenter Levante who helped me. I was able to do the work on their parking place as well as borrowing me some not-so-typical tools.

Oil changes in the car park of Motocenter Levante, Alicante.
Plenty of metal from the gearbox - I'm slightly concerned.
The rest of the maintenance I was able to do at the parking lot of the hotel.
Skippy's chain oiler leaked somewhat (yes, Ralph from the extension tube connection)
Lucky me, I still have a little bit of silicon with me - that shall do.
And then I got a friend
More friends over there
Hurray - my new rear shock from YSS came
And right away into the bike. That was the last piece of the basic building part of the hack.
And we got stormy weather
with plenty of debris and plastic inside there
We had many nice walks on the beach and we played also a bit with girls there. Typically Ulpu does not look back, neither left nor right and thus she did not see the bigger wave coming from behind. Skippy needed to step into the water to save Ulpu from being almost washed away. She was in total shock after that, all wet and freezing and Skippy carried her home quickly.
Ulpu after a hot shower to wash the saltwater away
We got more stormy weather
and nice and warm days as well
Laundry day
So much ham, poor pigs
We got our enjoyment from delicious fruits
My version: The guy on the left stopped to admire my bike and thus the ladies hanged around there waiting. The guy on the right came along and tried to sell his bags to the waiting ladies. Then he used my bike as a table. Skippy said, that nobody admired my bike and the guy only used my bike as table... I like my story more.
 When there is a kitchen, Skippy cannot resist to do some tasty warm food.
Our "pikkujoulu": smashed sweet potatoes with cardamon and cinnamon, garlic mushrooms and Falafel (bought ready)
"Chili con Sesamo" a.k.a. raw chili with sprouted chickpeas and raw garlic tahini sauce (Skippy's recipe).
Lyra is totally bored... when do we play again?
Back to maintenance... in the end I ran out a bit of time and had bad luck with a stuck screw. At least there was something to do in Tarifa as well :)

We were in good mood - heading towards Tarifa and going to Africa.

~ Wolfi