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Topic: Six Years Abroad: A Retrospective  (Read 9945 times)

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Orson
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« on: November 30, 2006, 03:26:28 am »

2007 will mark my sixth year in Saudi Arabia so I thought I'd offer a compilation of some of my favorites. So, without much further ado...a team orson retrospective...
 
I'll start in Italy since it is the motherland of half of team orson. When I was a kid, I imagined Italian motorcycle factories as being in some hot, flat featurless suburb of Rome. I had no way of knowing that the Moto Guzzi factory lies on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Como.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro012.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro030.jpg
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Orson
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GPS: Western N.C.
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2006, 03:27:50 am »

On the Mediterranean coast near Portofino.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro031.jpg
 
Heading south, Tuscany is as beautiful as everyone says, like a painting.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Picture033.jpg
 
Medeivel Tuscan villages vie for attention.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/a4b4a264.jpg

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/b567e127.jpg
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TalkingHead

« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2006, 03:31:13 am »

Man I Inlove your ride reports and photographs! Clap Clap Beerchug I still want to be you when I grow up!
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Orson
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2006, 03:34:14 am »

Northern Tuscany rises up into the Appuan Alps sheltering many more secluded villages where life moves on at the pace of molasses.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Tusc04036.jpg
 
Lying off the west coast of Italy lies the nominally French Island of Corsica. Corsica turned out to be a pleasant motorcycling destination as almost the entire island is a mountain range jutting out of the Mediterranean making for some excellent twisty mountain roads. It was a 4 hour ferry ride but well worth it.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Picture023.jpg
 
Heading back north, we encountered the Alps. The Alps are wonderfully scenic but team orson is not so inclined to battle seemingly endless switchbacks. The Dolomites lie in the Sud-Tyrol, a region that formerly belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire but was ceded over to the Italians after WW I. The people are mostly fair skinned and blonde.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro04233.jpg
 
Moving westwards towards the Switzerland. Near Madonna di Campiglio, the mighty, mighty Goose stops for a breather.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro001.jpg
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Orson
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2006, 03:35:31 am »

St. Gothard's Pass on the Swiss-Italian border. From the dark blue hue of the sky, you can tell that this picture was taken just a few meters short of outter space (that's my story and I'm sticking too it).

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro006.jpg
 
Descending down into France....a glimpse of the French Alps.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro04073.jpg
 
A quaint village in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. This region has traded hands many times since the Napoleonic Wars.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05087.jpg
 
French food, French wine and Italian motorcycles...a combination that I find hard to resist.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro04067.jpg
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Orson
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2006, 03:37:20 am »

The Ardennes in Belgium, haunted by ghosts of WW II. While it's a beautiful region, the up and down hillsides must have made it a hell of a place to fight a war...especially in the depths of winter.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05208.jpg
 
France turns out to be team orson's favorite motorcycling playground. Most of the roads are impeccably paved, billiard table smooth surfaces with constant radius curves. Well marked and little traffic add to your two wheeled enjoyment. While the grandeur of the Alps are undoudtedly more scenic, the roads in southern France are more likely to make you let out a little,"Yee haa!"....ahem...if you know what I mean. Police enforcement in southern Europe seems to be limited to populated areas. Once you escape into the countryside, you're free to...uhmm...well...you know.
After crossing southern France, we come upon the Pyrennes. While not as high as the Alps, they're no less enjoyable on a bike.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Picture070.jpg
 
Le Col du Tourmalet...one of the more famous passes in the Tour de France race.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Picture064.jpg
 
Across the Pyrennes and into Spain, the terrain immediately turns dryer and warmer. Before long, we reach los Picos de Europa. A smaller range of mountains in northern Spain that provide some excellent motorcycling.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro04023.jpg
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Orson
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2006, 03:40:45 am »

Rain clouds gather over a lake in the Picos de Europa.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro04048.jpg
 
The Duero River cuts across central Spain from east to west. In the Middle Ages it was a natural defensive position for both Moorish and Christian forces for over a hundred years. As a result, the region is dotted with ruins of some spectacular castles. Some of them are still in fairly good condition.
 
Without a doubt, the crown jewel of Spanish castles has to be the majestic Alhambra outside of Granada. A more beautiful man-made structure I have yet to witness. There are no words to describe its beauty.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/bb47b12d.jpg
 
Continuing in Spain towards the northwestern Galician region. Galicia was settled by the Celts and the locals still cling to their old traditions, even playing a variation of the bagpipe. At the far northwestern tip of Galicia lies the town of Finnisterra. Finnis meaning end and terra meaning earth. The end of the earth as they must have thought in the days before Columbus sailed to the New World.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Galic081.jpg
 
Heading south towards Portugal, the coastal road opens up occasionally offering a view of the Atlantic coastline.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Galic086.jpg
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Orson
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2006, 03:42:32 am »

Portugal turned out to be the revelation for me. While not as flashy as its French or Italian neighbors, the country posesses some startling beautiful locales with a hard-working, unpretentious population. With no one to impress, they go about their daily lives with an admirable hard work ethic. The hard work is evident in the terraces of the wine growing region along the Duoro River. Generations of farmers broke their backs constructing these terraces so their offspring could reap the rewards.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/CopyofDuoro028.jpg
 
Another view high above the Rio Duoro...or River of Gold. In alliance with the English, the Portuguese used the wealth from the port wine industry to finance the defense of the country from the Spanish invaders.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Duoro008.jpg
 
Near Lisbon, lies the town of Sintra, nestled in a gorgeous setting in the coastal mountains. It must have been a fine defensive position too for here I found another Moorish castle overlooking the valley below.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/1a1e1e48.jpg
 
Continuing south to the far southwestern corner of Portugal lies Cape Sagres. The most southwestern point on the European continent. At this spot, Henry the Navigator built a school to train seafarers to discover new worlds. They eventually succeeded in rounding the Cape of Good Hope. These spots at the edge of continents hold an unexplainable appeal to me. Perhaps because you've gone as far as you can go which leads one to become introspective.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/a890277a.jpg
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Orson
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2006, 03:44:58 am »

Crossing Europe to the other side of the former Iron Curtain lies the eastern bloc. While not possessing the raw beauty of the Alps, this area still has a beauty of its own. The road down the Adriatic coast comes close to mimicking the natural glory of California's Pacific Coast Highway.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro04186.jpg
 
Farther down the coast lies the jewel of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik. The city was bombarded by Serbian gunboats during the break up of Yugoslavia but, the Croatians have done a remarkable job in repairing the damage. A unique town.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro04188.jpg
 
Farther north lies Romania with its Carpathian mountains and its ruggedly scenic Trannsylvania. Some of the roads leave something to be desired but once they get some E.U. money rolling in, it will be a prime motorcycling destination.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05057-1.jpg
 
The onion domed churches of the Romanian Orthodox sect were some of the most aesthetically pleasing churches I have seen.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05061.jpg
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Jeff N

« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2006, 03:47:44 am »

Bastard. Asshole. How dare you tempt us with such posts? Twofinger
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Orson
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2006, 03:48:18 am »

Heading northwest into the Czech Republic, the terrain flattens into a rolling landscape but the roads start to improve and roads feature fast sweeping bends which suit the mighty, mighty Goose to a "T". Fast sweepers and Guzzis go together like coffee and cream.
 
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05074.jpg
 
Finally back across the Iron curtain into western Europe. The town of Dinkelsbuhl was an ancient trading post between the North Sea and southern Europe. The town is remarkably well preserved.
 
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05081.jpg
 
The capital of Hungary, Budapest lies on the banks of the Danube. I was totally blown away by the artistic flair of its architecture. I enjoyed it more than Prague as it was a lot less touristy.
 
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05033.jpg
 
Heading northwards to Lapland and the land of the midnight sun, Norway awaits with its spectacular fjords.
 
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Picture015.jpg
« Last Edit: November 30, 2006, 03:52:52 am by Orson » Logged

Jeff N

« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2006, 03:49:51 am »

Apparently, he can't stop posting.
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Orson
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2006, 03:57:55 am »

The Nry Valley typifies much of the jaw dropping scenery in Norway. Unfortunately, the prices are accordingly jaw dropping.
 
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Picture047.jpg
 
Across the English Channel and up into the Welsh mountains. The roads of Wales impressed me greatly. Fast sweepers with a beautiful location, I rank it right up there with Northern California and Southern France losing out only because of its cold winters.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro05214.jpg
 
Further north and into Scotland. Another magnificent nordic, mountainous setting with castles and lochs. Is that Nessy?

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Orsonbike2.jpg
 
Finally, we come to the place of pilgrimmage. The birthplace of roadracing. Aye laddie...the Isle of Man. Every motorcyclist needs to make the pilgrimmage at least once in their lives. Every type of exotic motorcycle that has ever existed can be seen there as well as jaw dropping riding by those god-like TT racers. Put the wife/husband and kids up for auction on E Bay and get thee to the Isle of Man.
 
The mighty, mighty Goose cools off at Creg-ny-ba after a hot lap of the TT course.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j231/Orsono/Euro021.jpg
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Jeff N

« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2006, 04:12:27 am »

Stop it! You have no idea what you're doing to my morale as I sit here staring at 4 monitoring screens (SCADA, GEMS, Security).
 
How so totally depressing. Angry3
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2006, 08:14:23 am »

That must be a killer, losing all those old S-T.N posts. Ever stop to think how many man-hours you lost? Shrug

At least you've still got your library. The rest of us will just have to be content with Orson's Greatest Pics. Clap
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2006, 08:36:26 am »

Orson, you've obviously used your time abroad well. If you don't mind my asking, how long do you intend to stay where you are and do you have any specific tours coming up. I'm just nosy, you know Bigsmile
 
You've become somewhat of a legend here with all your posts, I fear. Pls. post some pictures of an oil rig or a lot of middle eastern sand so that I can feel better Wink
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2006, 09:03:54 am »

Thanks Orson.  Bigok
Beerchug
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scott-sts

« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2006, 09:30:55 am »

Holy sh*t Orson, those pics are amazing.EEK!
I've been coming here for a while but have no idea how you ended up abroad.  Can you give me a short explanation?  Military?
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Orson
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2006, 11:25:02 am »

Quote from: Ralf;4315
If you don't mind my asking, how long do you intend to stay where you are and do you have any specific tours coming up.

I'm not really sure how much longer I'll stay. I'd like to put in around another 6 years. Hopefully, I'll be able to see most of the places I want to see.
 
Specific tours? I haven't been to southern Italy & Sardinia. I also haven't been to Britanny & Normandy. After that, I'll just retrace my steps with emphasis on Italy & southern France...my two favorites for motorcycle riding.
 
Pictures of sand for Ralf Smile
 
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b173/Orsoni/CopyofMVC-069F.jpg
 
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b173/Orsoni/CopyofMVC-062F.jpg
 
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b173/Orsoni/CopyofMVC-061F.jpg
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Orson
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2006, 11:28:35 am »

Quote from: scott-sts;4366
Can you give me a short explanation? Military?
As the desert photos above show, I w*rk punchin' holes in the ground. Bigsmile I grew up in Venezuela, where my father worked for the oil companies so, I guess it's in my blood to travel.
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