Couple things: On January 2nd I contracted some kind of super bug that tried to kill me. It shut down my kidneys, liver, and went for my heart. I spent a week in the Cardiac ICU then monitored closely until I was released this week. I had planned to fly in to DC for the womens’ march but sadly, with my heart still on the mend and kidneys still working their way back, I’m house-bound. To celebrate these marches I wish I could participate in, here some of my favorite shots from the election protest in November. I’ll be back soon, kids, camera-in-hand, I promise.
After finally recovering from the winery, Luka gives me a buzz and we ride out for a scenic tour of the Croatian countryside, including a local racetrack (that hosts weddings in their VIP area, #racetrackwedding #weddinggoals) corn, churches and cool old buildings I made him stop at. I’m starting to realize the trip to Prague- where my flight to London departs in less than 48 hours- isn’t going to be as easy as I originally thought. One of the necessary busses is scheduled as “twice a week” with no additional information available. I say goodbye to Luka and hire a car to take me in to Slovenia where I will have 5 hours to kill, hopefully spotting some mopeds. When I arrive an hour and a half later I buy my train tickets and wander the streets, popping in to bike shops grabbing some snacks. I spot a few Tomos riders but most sadly report the factory is basically shuttered and cheap Chinese scooters are much more popular. Everyone, and I mean everyone has love for them though, I don’t talk to a single Slovenian that didn’t have one as teenagers or still in the garage. Lunch, then the train, a bus, another train, finally settling in to a 6-seat room by myself. I see a few boys walk up and down the car looking for a room before opening my door, “we ride in here?” “Sure.” Turns out they are five guys, all 19, also headed to Prague, traveling to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and they make my night. Like guys would, they have basically only packed alcohol and socks. We drink through the evening, singing loudly to the bluetooth speaker which blasts Californication well in to the wee hours. Some of them talk fondly about Tomos bikes from their youth. When we arrive in Prague shortly before sunrise, the boys escort me to a pub and eventually we part ways. Flight at 9am, best way to finish the trip.
The weekend swings in to full gear while as the boys assemble a tent for their landlord’s wedding, held in the courtyard in front of the Teufelskerle clubhouse. Like boys would, there were ratchet straps and bungee cords in effect. Hot dogs, drinks, a rogue tooth pops out, and some serious practice on my part shifting the Simson. In Denmark anything 50ccs and under is a moped, so most of the bikes are shifty fifties, which I stall basically non-stop until we leave. We ride out through the city (you can only ride in bike lanes, even with 50cc bikes) we’re speeding and I’m actually getting pretty good at it. This weekend is Magic Carpet, Copenhagen’s vintage motorcycle event so there’s a lot going on. A gigantic warehouse is home to a multi-level clubhouse, outside there is a band playing on stage and a bar. Inside there are more bars and loads of great bikes, but we’re tired of waiting in lines so we drink out of the bottles of wine in my backpack. Next morning there’s a ride to an all day outdoor meetup, then to a neighbor’s for drinks. The boys wrap up my visit by cooking a great dinner and playing some excellent Mario Kart, followed by some Netflix+Chill. Thanks boys, had an amazing time ❤
Sunday starts at Chrissy field with whiskey and MD 20/20, because that’s how the best days start. The legendary ride over the Golden Gate bridge was beautiful and we stopped shortly after for group photos up at the bunker. James got naked, but that wasn’t the only law being broken: after several miles of lane splitting and traffic holds the police intervened to let us know how poorly we are adulting. Hillary’s law enforcement experience was much better though with the angry demands that she, “tell your friends to take their dumb little scooters or whatever and go home.” After many hours we rode said dumb scooters back in to the city and formed the world’s dumbest/comfiest cuddle puddle. Hugs were had by all. Thanks SF, you did it again.
I land in Zagreb Croatia after a grueling 5 days in Greece where I spent my time assisting volunteers, living with refugees, and formulating lies to my family about where I was. I was wiped physically and emotionally. Much to my dismay, there were no direct flights from Thessaloniki to Zagreb so after a long day of shooting in Greece, hopped a red eye to Istanbul where I had an 8 hour, overnight layover. Let’s face it, you’re not going to NOT go in to Istanbul with 8 hours to kill. I taxi in, wander about until 4am, taxi back to the airport. Napping well within a business man’s personal space on the plane, I land in Croatia to a bright new day, utterly exhausted but excited to meet my Tomos brethren. Luka instructs me to head to the bus station when I land and take the bus to Varazadin, ” I hope you have energy to party!” he texts to me and punctuates the statement with a ‘laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying’ emoji. Except I really might cry. The bus ride is slow and the countryside is breathtaking, peaceful, pastoral. I meet him at the bus station cautiously examining faces for the Instagram profile pic I know. He calls out to me and drives me to the hotel where I will stay, I nap for 2 hours then he brings around my loaner, a beautiful old orange Tomos from 1991, there are many cool models here we don’t have in the states including a model with a plastic gas tank, many shifting models and different beefier engines. We ride out to a friends small winery where the group had built up a patio, oven and outhouse. The last mile was dirt road and woods. Lots of wine, lots of meat, and we even played flip cup, my cultural exchange. I tried to sleep a few times but that came with some protests, eventually we all piled in to the work house and passed out. Heading back to town and finally crashed at the hotel and slept like baby. A baby with a wine hangover.