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Yamaha Journey Vol.03

This is the story about Hiroshi Hosokawa's motorcycle travel on Yamaha SR400 around Eurasia.


Lush Colors and Heartening Encounters

Hiroshi Hosokawa


#03 Eurasia: I've found a city I love
Switzerland – United Kingdom

The road trip – or tour rather – that I started in Russia was beginning to bear fruit.
I was meeting interesting people, feeling out new places, new scenery, smells, sounds, climes.

Riding over the Stelvio Pass into Switzerland - the rider had traveled through Füssen, Rothenburg, Heidelberg and Cologne in Germany, and through Amsterdam in the Netherlands. From the Hook of Holland port, the rider boarded a ferry bound for Britain. This would be the first time he had left the Eurasian Continent. The distance he traveled in this leg was in total 7,500 km.

Letting the senses loose at 2,800 meters above sea level.

Stelvio National Park, Switzerland

Everything stilled. It's a long time since I've felt this way.

Cologne, Germany

A white, blue and green ensemble – the Earth's colors are beautiful.

Seven Sisters, United Kingdom

Heading towards the mystery that appeared suddenly a meadow.

Cotswolds, United Kingdom

I expected people to be impersonal, but was met with a warm welcome

Although I had traveled over the Alps to Switzerland, and through Germany and the Netherlands, I didn't come across as many friendly chance encounters, compared to when I was traveling in southern Europe. Maybe that explains why (if I'm being honest) these countries didn't make a strong impression on me. Take Switzerland for example - the people I met in Switzerland were exceedingly kind, and the beauty of the landscape was overwhelming, but to me it felt too perfect - too flawless. For people who appreciate precision, Switzerland must be heaven. Having said that, the Stelvio Pass bordering Italy and Switzerland was exceptionally beautiful. The view from an altitude of 2,700 meters was on another plane altogether. Having a chance to spend time with other bikers from surrounding countries was a plus too. Of all the bikers there that day, I'm sure that I must have ridden the longest distance.

In any case, my favorite city in Western Europe was London. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to make new friends - Metropolises generally don't have a reputation for friendliness. But in this instance I was glad to be wrong. While in London, I stayed at the apartment of a Czechoslovakian friend, Alexandro, whom I had gotten to know in Sicily, and all the people I met through him were just fantastic. Everyone I met was welcoming – it was great.

London is a big city that stole my heart

In London there is a cafe called "Ace Cafe," where bikers gather from around the world. I took out the world map that I had marked my journey on, and showed it to the regulars. "Wait there", I was told, and next thing you know, I was being introduced to the owner, Mark Wilsmore. In the motorcycling world, he is something of a celebrity. Mark pointed at me and said to his staff, "this man is my guest, don't let him pay for anything". His gesture really touched me. I took him at his word, and frequented the Ace Cafe for about a week.

Britain is blessed with beautiful scenery, including the Seven Sisters, the Cotswolds, and Stonehenge. Departing London and heading north, I found that plenty of peaceful rural landscapes remained. Even London was surprisingly full of green. For the most part, I prefer sunny cities with a good climate, but London was the exception. I could even put up with poor weather. It must be because the townscape is beautiful, even when it's cloudy.

Motorcycles make travel a relaxing experience

Most travelers have some preconceived ideas about countries they haven't been to. But for the most part, when I set foot in the country my image is overturned, and the trip is richer for those aspects that I couldn't have imagined. And you know what? You'd have to go a long way to find a country where the people are all bad. At least, all of my encounters were memorable and positive.

In any case, when you tour by a motorcycle, you can go where you want, when you want. You can take in the sights you want to see, breathe in the smell of the earth, tune into the sounds around you, and feel the air conditions and the heat and the cold on your skin - all at your own pace. This is the true charm of traveling on motorcycles. There is no other mode of transport that lets you travel with as much freedom. As all bikers know, it is the perfect way to experience the wonders of the earth with your senses.

Hiroshi Hosokawa

Hiroshi Hosokawa was born in Kobe in 1977. He launched a website featuring motorcycles after graduating from university. While working as the administrator of the website, he started a world tour with his own YAMAHA SR400, visiting more than 50 countries as a rider or on foot. He is currently living in Tokyo and working as a web content editor.

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