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European Adventure

PS-RagE Oct 7, 2015

  1. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    My wife and I are huge fans of progressive rock and among our favourite artists is Arjen Anthony Lucassen's "Ayreon" project.

    When we heard that a theater company was planning to bring "The Human Equation" to stage featuring most of the original members we knew we were going to have to go. The decision was made and concert tickets purchased.The catch though was that this performance was limited to only four shows in the Nieuwe Luxor Theater in Rotterdam! :devilzeek I told her there was no way we were going to travel all the way to the Netherlands just to see a rock concert so, since we'd be in the neighborhood, how about a tour of Italy? :madaddy: (she has always wanted to go there).

    After some research and much correspondence, I booked a customized, self-guided motorcycle tour of Tuscany from Adriatic Motor Tours. They deliver the motorcycles (a factory-lowered BMW F700GS and a Ducati MultiStrada), booked hotel reservations and provided a pair of Garmin Zumo 650 GPS navigators with complete routes and waypoints.

    So, by coincidence, on the day of our 21st wedding anniversary we boarded the plane on our way to Europe! I stuffed our helmets into the checked luggage but the suits and boots were too heavy so we had to wear them on the plane (the peak of comfort). 26 hours later we were in the Netherlands!


    Normally, we would just take a cab from an airport but I was told the hotel was very close to the bus port so public transit it is!

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    Sure enough, the hotel is right next to the central station:
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    Although they were all pretty good, this hotel had the most comfortable bed of all the hotels we stayed at in Europe.



    With a day to kill before the concert, we had time to explore the city. Rotterdam is amazingly clean and for a major city there is not much traffic; lots of bicycles. They are dead serious about crosswalks here. Traffic will screech to a halt when you put a foot out.


    View from the hotel's restaurant window:
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    Tram approaching the station:
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    This interesting character deserved a photo:
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    Maritime museum at the docks:
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    Crossing the bridge over the Nieuwe Maas channel:
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    Interesting mural:
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    Unusual sculpture:
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    We decided to get off-the-beaten-path for dinner. Following a recommendation from Yelp, we went out in search of the "Bierhandel De Pijp"

    Google Maps says this is the right location:
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    My wife hesitates at this door:
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    Once opened, you are facing the wall of a short hallway leading to a ragged velvet curtain? On the other side of that curtain, we are greeted by a maître d' who asks if we have a reservation! Of course, we do not but if we will return in an hour he says he can find us a spot. We find out this is the oldest restaurant in Rotterdam - dating before WW2


    How cool is this?
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    The food was fantastic! Although we ate like royalty the entire trip, this was the best!
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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2015
    tx101 and AJD1 like this.
  2. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    Finally, concert time!

    [​IMG]

    We were front row, center. So close to the stage, in fact, that we could tell which of the singers had bad breath! :devilzeek

    Here is a panorama from the stage as the theater filled (can't see the top row):
    [​IMG]


    If you've not heard "The Human Equation" before here it is. This is "headphone music" and really should be listened to in a single go:

    [video=youtube_share;codSKV_0NrQ]https://youtu.be/codSKV_0NrQ[/video]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2015
  3. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    Part two:

    [video=youtube_share;X7FfaJr4sHQ]https://youtu.be/X7FfaJr4sHQ[/video]
     
  4. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    There were no cameras allowed in the theater so these are not my photos. There were 9 musicians, 13 vocalists and a whole choir on the stage:

    Stage:
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    "Agony" and "Me" (Devon Graves and James Labrie):
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    "Love" (Heather Findlay) and the Epic Rock Choir:
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    "Love":
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    "Agony" and "Fear" (Anneke van Geirsbergen) fight for "Me":
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    The Epic Rock Choir was the replacement for Devin Townsend (hard to do those layers live):
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    "Fear" (Anneke van Geirsbergen sings the clean vocal parts previously by Mikael Åkerfeldt):
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    "Me" and "Agony":
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    Fantastic stage lighting:
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    "Best Freind" and "Wife" (Jermain van der Bogt and Marcela Bovio):
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    Guitars and violin (Marcel Coenen, Freek Gielen and Ben Mathot):
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    Jeroen Goossens:
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    "Pride" (Magnus Ekwall):
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    Ben Mathot:
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    "Passion" (Irene Jansen):
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    "Me":
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    "Passion" and "Pride":
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    The band playing "Loser". Note the didgeridoo:
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    Maaike Peterse on cello:
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    "Reason" (Eric Clayton):
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    "Rage" (Mike Mills):
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    The finale:
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    The "Epic Rock Choir". The chick with the pink hair was the growler (original growls were by Mikael Åkerfeldt)
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    Arjen makes an appearance:
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    Cast takes a bow:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2016
    Toni likes this.
  5. Toni

    Toni JD Jeenius Lady Devil

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    Great pics!! :thumbup:

    I am still so jealous but at least I have pics to look at next time I listen to it again!! :)
     
    PS-RagE likes this.
  6. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    They filmed the third show! I'll send you a copy once it is released!
     
  7. ded i

    ded i Friend of The Devil Lady Devil

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    Such a cool trip to plan! I salute you and :thumbsup: Happy Anniversary!
     
    PS-RagE likes this.
  8. Toni

    Toni JD Jeenius Lady Devil

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    :elmo:

    Another reason you and your wife are my bestest friends ever!!! :manganr:

    Thanks!!!! :thumbsup:
     
  9. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    Just an amazing show. I think I had goosebumps the entire time! I tried to get some scalper tickets for the next performance but had no luck - oh well.



    Next day we are back on the plane and on our way to Italy via London!

    We land in Florence and are greeted at the airport by a fellow with a placard :bwah:

    Our home for the next two nights is the Hotel Londra:

    [​IMG]

    The "Superior Room" has a groovy 60's feel to it. Yeah, baby!
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    The traffic in this city is insane! There are roadsigns and lines painted but those are suggestions at best. The scooters come in swarms. We were calling them "moscooters". No rule of the road applies to these riders at all. Sadly, watching these guys has shaken my wife and she is terrified of the day's riding to follow
    :jduh:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    Some random iPhone photos around Florence:

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    Some pretty macabre imagery in the churches:
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    Making a panorama in a crowd can have some pretty bizarre results. Some heavy tone-mapping fit this one pretty well! :bwah:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    ... and the adventure begins!

    Although exciting, riding in Florence was not as chaotic as it originally seemed. Once you're in it, just go with the flow. The cagers are hyper-aware of the bikes (unlike NA) and hold their lines well. The scooters are not a concern, just let them buzz around. A supermoto would be a blast here!

    A quick stop at a lookout above the city:
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    In no time at all we are completely out of the city and riding the back roads of Tuscany!

    Our first stop of the day is the castle in Poppi. This is a cool little fortress city with extremely narrow cobblestone streets:

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    A bottle of "still aqua" and we are back on the road and start our first ascent into the Apennines! The rest of the afternoon was spent making non-stop hairpins so tight you were spun around well over 180 each time. Just lean into the corner and the world rolls around you again and again!

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    Finally, we reach the end of Day One and arrive in San Marino. After another winding ride up a mountainside we reach our hotel:

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    The view from our hotel balcony is breathtaking!

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    After quick showers we head out to find a restaurant.

    We find instead the battlements of a ruined castle!

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    What a way to end a day!

    In the end, there were no restaurants within walking distance and we didn't feel like suiting up again so we ate at the hotel. Overate is more like it - whew
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2015
  12. Towelie

    Towelie The JD: Don't Forget To Bring A Towel Brigade Member

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    Looks like an awesome trip. Thanks for posting.
     
  13. firebolt

    firebolt Hollandse Duivel Brigade Member

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    nice trip, freaking nice pictures... you should do something with that :thumbsup:

    statue in Rotterdam , the guy is called Monsieur Jacques
    the oil barrels is called Cascade


    there is allot off Art in Rotterdam,
    the complete city center was rebuild after the war, as it was completely destroyed

    but funny how you experience some things ,
    all depending where you go to i guess

    for us Europeans the trip The Netherlands to Italy is a long way, i guess for allot off folks in the US , it is just like visiting a neighbor :bwah:
     
  14. apdallaround

    apdallaround K'inich Janaab' Pakal I JDBA Official Member

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    i keep coming back, very nice. the landscape and buildings are beyond words beautiful.
     
  15. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    Thanks!

    Once you've traveled 8,000km to see a concert, another 1,300km for some epic riding is no big deal :manganr:
     
  16. WalkingTree

    WalkingTree JDBA4L JDBA Official Member

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    Looks like an incredible experience man! I need to go on one of those myself!

    I must say, you've got quite an eye for the camera :thumbsup:
     
  17. itadakimasu

    itadakimasu There are no kangaroos in Austria! JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    Looks like an amazing trip! Beautiful pictures, next stop Vienna? :ropeman:
     
  18. ded i

    ded i Friend of The Devil Lady Devil

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    It is so good seeing those places, some I know - through your eye, your camera and your lovely photos.

    & Wife pRage is ultra cool par excellence - the tour you took is not for sissies. :thumbsup:
     
  19. jjhamilton

    jjhamilton JDBA4L JDBA Official Member

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    Amazing, thanks for sharing and be safe
     
  20. PS-RagE

    PS-RagE "R" for Adventure JDBA Official Member Brigade Member

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    Thanks! Theses are mostly iPhone photos so far. The SLR pics are coming up.

    It was the adventure of a lifetime! Hopefully not the last! (big $$$) Next stop is Assisi!

    Thank you! Indeed, it was more strenuous than I envisioned. Each day's riding was listed at ~200km so I figured super easy days with lots of times for rest breaks and sightseeing. Little did I know that 200km was going to take 8 hours or longer! :devilzeek
     

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