In 2014 met 400 years since the Keicho Embassy traveled from Japan to Spain, so I thought it was a good time to try to get from Spain to Japan. The 3 August this year I went with friends Gobi Heroes (Nomadic Travel) Heads to Russia, from there I went down south to cross Kazakhstan and return to the Russian Altai to enter Mongolia.
In the capital of this country, I baptized this GS as Ulan (Mongolian Red), and demonstrate that despite being small Family Trail GS and be piloted by a small woman, could overcome the hard journey across the Gobi Desert, a vast expanse over 1.700 km of track. A week of powder, sand and stones, very hot and loneliness that gives a great desert sparsely populated and with a nomadic population ...
There I immersed myself in their customs, I slept in his guers (circular huts with a stove in the middle) and I tried their poor diet based on lamb and pasta. After several long days on earth and after having to use a trailer to cross the river and raised last, I came to Ulaanbaatar, where I did my social commitments, this time he had raised money for school and build a small house for some children in a slum depressed about 40 Km from the capital, the people of Nalahj. I had the help of several Spanish, Travelers also and as, the Alvaro, cooperante de www.laotramirada.org, NGO which is responsible for this family.
My trips are always linked to solidarity actions, financial aid is that I meet through social networks on the way, either with my own work and on other occasions. And after making this successful and endearing work and stay with the desire to help these children even more with my own hands, I headed Ulan Ude in Russia to travel the rugged Transiveriana and be able to head for Japan. A new civilization was looking forward to meeting.
The journey through this linear road between pine forests has not been easy, many parts of the road are under construction or have been destroyed by the winter ice. The miles that separate Ulan Ude (by the Lake Vaikal) to Chitá, are virtually earth and stone and took more than four days (this time a Valencian, Daniel, he joined the team with an old Africa Twin purchased in Mongolia. From Helsinki to Khavarosk the trip was a little easier, although the long distance between stations and the small population did very exciting. On occasion it got dark and we had to find a railway halt or small town tucked in the woods to sleep, but as always people helps you and protects.
Of Khavarosk a Vanino, end over east Asia, where I traveled on a ferry to the island of Sakhalin, the last Russian border before Japan.
Change from one country to another has been delicious, in this case because Japan it seems to me. The first impression to live up to a clean ferry that would take me to the North Island, Hokkaido. Cleaning the bike in the cellar was a prelude of what I found after. And finally, after three years of travel, another culture getting my eyes became as large and that my senses were skin deep.
Open spaces and the absence of seats, this ferry you live from the floor. Your shoes, a pleasure to walk on tatami touch, the diffused light and fun and convenient food packaging. Japan lacks the seriousness of European, where everything is gray. Here use color, shapes change and the circle is its finest.
A peaceful ferry ride where I first experienced the kindness of Japanese. And finally go ashore in Japan, in Wakkanai, a name that evoked me a long beach and surf otherwise. The F700GS was also happy to tread a good asphalt, broken after both road and off road. The smoothness of driving back to my command. Little by little, curve curve clearly marked, I penetrated in this dream island, preferred for holidays for many Japanese not to be crowded and have an incredible nature. Forest green mountains with dormant volcanoes, Great Plains of ocher and yellow where rice is grown ... precious to me Hokkaido is another paradise. Housekeeping and gastronomy which can not resist.
The first night I spent at the lakeside Shumarinai in a stylish residence 100% Japanese. Outside shower shoes and comfort, the bathroom was prepared.
This is one of the things I liked most surprised me and this ancient culture, the use of thermal water for bathing. Enter one of these establishments is a treat for the mind and very healthy for the body. At first impresses think that everyone will be naked, but the common nudity makes the dress. The damage of my culture remained in the drawer shoes and enjoyed the company of other women, of long showers and the wonderful times in different types of water. A relaxing experience that everyone should live after a long day on bike. Hokkaido also gave me gallons of rain and delicious sahimi and ship. From the city of Hakkodate crossed by ferry to Amoori, on the island of Tokio.
Unlike Hokkaido, I found a paradise for road bikes, ports with perfect curves, the wonderful forests and green hills, Tokio is much more populated. The cities are becoming larger and gradually go walking away from the life of the fishermen and the field to become the most urbanite on a bike. Tokyo is the island of a thousand lights if you do not use the expensive toll roads, but always get the "Skyline" where you enjoy curves and wonderful views of the lakes and bays. Each straight, each curve is a postcard, a photograph that you would like to capture in the retina forever.
The arrival Kyoto It is slow and calm traffic by the number of times you stop to photograph ports, volcanoes, Lakes and Mountains. I enjoy the scenery and try to communicate with some fishermen, women working in the field picking rice. It's complicated, we have nothing in common, Spanish and Japanese have no roots in common, but education of Japanese and Mediterranean expressiveness (mine) get to end up understanding. The Japanese are polite to exhaustion, seem flat and timid, but it is only the beginning. It is rooted in a respect for the exquisite neighbor, a communion of communities from which we should learn western.
All are amazed when I take my helmet and discover that you are on a bike strange enrollment is female. They ask about my trip and a long stretch "oooooh" ... a sign of high admiration. Women ask me more and end up making the sign of Ok. For me, this is the best thing that could happen in a distant land as Japan. Kyoto I am very surprised, despite being a large modern city, saved the best treasures of Japanese culture. Women and men wear kimonos down the street, locals have not lost their charm and tradition, the decorated streets mingle with the thousands of tourists. As, I decided to live a "Maiko experience", and I decided to dress just as you would an aspiring Geisha. The laborious process of transformation in which several women help, It reminded me that I have painstakingly putting on the equipment of the bike every morning: socks, thermal clothing, trousers, jacket, neck and helmet, followed gloves, everything perfectly adjusted and instead.
The weight of this suit, limiting movements giving, force you to be sweet and delicate on vertiginous wooden soles shoes ...
From Kyoto and sadly leaving the fine traditions of this city, I go by quick toll roads to Tokyo, the goal of the two-month journey, the big city where everything fits and nothing is forgotten traditional.
But along the way, my F700GS already has more than 20.000 km with just an oil change, resents. The weight of the equipment for the journey and hard weeks of off road Mongolia and Russia their toll, rear bearing is broken, dancing dangerously sideways. Toyota It is the nearest city to breakdown from there and again relying on the kindness Japanese, contact BMW Motorrad. Quickly send a crane and take me to your dealer. I am saved, although it is party, I changed the small bearing in no time and again'm ready for the trip. Thanks to the kindness of Toyota Motorcycle I can continue without losing many days. They have been in my situation and understood the need to be quick in replacing that piece and has been. Domo Arigato.
Join Tokio Night is one of the most impressive things I've lived, possibly comparable to New York, although much larger and modern (not to mention the housekeeping). The highway is engulfed by the city, passes between buildings over 30 plants, to floor height 20. Turns a corner and goes through another avenue more, full of neon with a script for my illegible. Illuminated signs are occurring at the height of my helmet, despite being suspended, as motorway, several meters above the ground. It reminds me of all the maga movies I've seen, I feel like a fictional character on your futuristic motorcycle, going through as a light beam between the lighted windows million, neon colors of the vast city where everything happens. Good, not all, I am in Japan quiet and can walk the streets even at night. At ground level there are no bins, but everything is clean. Nobody uses the horn to annoy, Most cars are hybrids and the Japanese show their taste for cube-shaped vehicles, certainly very practical for crowded city, where the distance from one building to another is barely half a meter. Motorcycle Tokio It is delicious, it comes soon everywhere and parking is not a problem. Further, leave the helmet on the bike and do not touch anyone, one of the things that have lead the Japanese on the Western: safety.
Younger people of this great city meets in several streets are filled with pedestrians of all kinds. No one is surprised by anyone. Women disguised as servants, with false eyelashes, men with strange hairstyles ... and some small shops that hide some classic beauties like BMW why pay gold Spain. I get the feeling that the Japanese love the engine and have fun and much transforming their motorcycles. They have passion and "great art" as they say in the south of my country, to customize mythical engines Boxer of BMW. Stop asking me photos and more than one is about to accompany the portrait. Japan, never ceases to amaze.
It is time to return, typhoons occur one after another. BMW Motorrad Japan, as always delicious with travelers in this brand, makes me a box to transport Ulan their country of origin. The F700GS packaged stays, ready to return by air Madrid and continue rolling, but certainly another country like this, another futuristic city as Tokio, a gastronomic culture like Japan, I'll never find. I tested the thousand and one different dishes from Japan, always elegantly presented and special, as they, as their culture and way of life.
Thank you very much to all the friends that I have come across on this trip, for his excellent treatment to a foreign. What unites us is stronger than what sets us apart: passion for two wheels.