Last year we featured Paolo and Lindsay’s ‘little’ trip on board their LML 125, that first instalment saw them riding from Canada to Australia and back. They’d already covered 5,000 kms before that on an aborted trip to Mauritania.
Since then they’ve put a few more Km’s on the clock as they set out, seemingly, to visit every country with the word ‘Stan’ at the end of its name during their Central Asian journey. By the end of this instalment, their little LML 125 has covered 98,500 kms, or 61,218 miles. It just goes to show it’s not the size of your scooter but the size of your balls that counts…
Last time we talked you guys were about to start the Central Asian part of the journey, how did that go?
It went pretty well. We arrived the end of March in Bishkek. After the culture shock of arriving from the warm weather of the Gulf, we had to adjust to the prolonged winter they were having in Kyrgyzstan.
After some time of waiting for the scooter to arrive via cargo and dealing with some bureaucratic visa related things in Bishkek, we were finally able to start and went west and crossed to Kazakhstan for the first time. We rode through Taraz, Shymkent, Turkistan, eventually arriving in Aralsk to bear witness to the tragic man-made disappearance of the Aral Sea. We then went down to Uzbekistan entering by the sprawling Tashkent. We spent 30 days in Uzbekistan getting to visit the magical cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and everything in between. Uzbekistan with its rich history and engaging people was a constant stimulation even in the most nondescript towns and cities. Then we came back and went to Termez on the Afghan border, before making our way into Tajikistan and attempt to drive the mighty Pamir Highway.
You said Pamir is just a dream for many riders, you guys did it two up on an LML 125cc, how did it go?
Whatever difficulties we faced due to the small wheels of the scooter and size of its engine, was overcome by the stunning and magnificent environment of the Pamir mountain ranges. We both say it was a top highlight of being in Central Asia.
The Pamirs are 4,000 meters above sea level, did you have any problems with altitude?
No, we didn’t feel the altitude affected the scooter. Really the main issue was the sometimes dilapidated condition of the roads.
Then where did your journey take you to?
By the end of June, we left the Pamirs and spent the next two months visiting other parts of Tajikistan and around Uzbekistan again, this time going into the Ferghana Valley. Then back to Kyrgyzstan entering from the city of Osh. It was great going that direction at the end of July since the stunning green valleys were dotted with yurts, horses, other livestock, and Kyrgyz families. Visually very beautiful.
Then after visiting what we were able to see in Kyrgyzstan, we were back in Kazakhstan, this time entering from the south-east. We eventually made our way north to Astana where it took a few days of endless steppe (forestless grassland) to get there. Surprisingly we found the steppe gave us a similar emotion to the sea. Calming and tranquil. We took full advantage of the emptiness, camping along the way. The odd vehicle or truck on the road or passing trains in the distance.
Which route did you take from Central Asia to Europe?
We took a boat from Aktau to Baku across the Caspian Sea. Then in just over a month we made our way to Georgia, crossed Turkey along the Black Sea to Greece and entered Italy via ferry in Brindisi in the south.
How long had you been away from Italy?
It was just over five years. The immersion back into Italian culture, warmth, and food was overwhelming. We zigzagged through Italy back home to Budoia in the north-east. Visiting and promoting the book Inseguendo le ombre dei colibrì.
Now that the bike is parked in Italy where will it go next?
We have some ideas. The Balkans, Russia, Japan to name a few. Still too early to know for sure. Now working, writing, and waiting for spring in Vancouver since we are swimming in all this rain!
We would like to take a moment to say a thank you to all the Vespa clubs that made our time in Italy so memorable and fun.
Grottaminarda (Leoni Rossi): https://www.facebook.com/vespaclubleonirossi/
San Benedeto del Tronto: https://www.facebook.com/vespa.clubsambenedettese.1/
Alessandro of Casco Vostri: https://www.facebook.com/caschivostri/
the fantastic Vespista Marco Giurin: https://www.facebook.com/IlmondoinvespaMarcoGiurin/
Paolo and Linsey’s gallery
New products always in development…