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Old 10-15-2010, 08:10 AM   #691
TwilightZone
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>"Tagesk, where are you? I need another fix of your ride report."

Ditto that.
Hopefully Tagest is feeling ok? Yes?
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:33 PM   #692
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Indeed, we are stuck in Alexandoupoli since a while !
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Old 10-15-2010, 04:25 PM   #693
tagesk OP
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Thumb Wine report



I have learned that "you can ride the ride, or you can ride the report". Today I have learned that
there is a third possibility: Report the wine without the ride.

As I hope you are well aware, I really do my best to serve any ADVrider that pays us a visit.
Today it is the Honorable Mr. Docbru who is seated at our table. He brought with him a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino
made by Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona. It was nice, but small. Surprisingly small. The taste, I mean.
On the other hand that wasn't a bad thing as the antipasto was a small Caprese. The primo, however, was
home-made red pesto. A much richer taste and more up to the task of keeping a Brunello at bay.




The bottle sports a code with witch you can verify that the bottle is genuine. We send the code by SMS
to the number supplied on the bottle, only to be told that the number isn't valid. We check the number very carefully, but
to no avail. We have a lot of fun with this invalid wine.

That was yesterday. Today I have looked more carefully into this; a fake bottle? It turns out that we sent the
code 614134972950. You can verify yourself that this is what it says on the bottle. However, this is Italy,
and the correct way to send the code is 614 134 972 950. That is, one understands from CertiLogo.com's homepage,
self evident.



For secondo we have osso buco. Very tasty, and well supported by a bottle of Amarone.



Finally, to go with the home-made ice cream we open a bottle of Muscato d'Asti. That is a combination
I really fancy.

Mr Docbru - I am honored you took the time to visit us. Sorry I could only offer you home-made food.

What I try to say is this: I have been extremely busy lately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelaez
I guess I'll have to buy a secondary motorcycle, the HD Road King Classic is a great bike here in
the US but I'm not sure how well it'll handle in the old villages of Tuscany. What is your experience, do you ever
see any big American Touring motorcycles down the roads you frequent? (road king, any of the Glides)
I don't think I have seen even ten HDs here the last year. I actually spoke with Docbru about this.
He said that in 14 days he had seen three HD out of thousands of bikes.
The Transalp, or bikes like it, is the ideal thing here.

[TaSK]
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tagesk screwed with this post 10-15-2010 at 04:38 PM
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:26 AM   #694
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagesk
... However, this is Italy, and the correct way to send the code is 614 134 972 950. ....
Which is one more very clear indicator that "nothing" or at leat "frequent breaks" is/are from highest importance in Italy;-)
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:41 AM   #695
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagesk
I don't think I have seen even ten HDs here the last year. I actually spoke with Docbru about this.
He said that in 14 days he had seen three HD out of thousands of bikes.
The Transalp, or bikes like it, is the ideal thing here.

[TaSK]
While the ratio of Transalps and even AfricaTwins to HDs is heavily weighted on the leading end, I was sort of suprised by the number of HDs I saw last summer in Livorno. My wife's family believed that a number of them were owned by US soldiers stationed at the Air Base, but I think I saw about 10 HDs in the two weeks that I was in Tuscany last summer, all of them either just south of Livorno or east near Peccioli. Isn't there a newer HD Dealer in Livorno (I remember people wearing shirts for this)? I recall seeing a shop in Florence that specialized in American bikes, I believe it was Northeast of the center of town, we were looking at old aquaducts and passed it.

Certainly, you would know the area, bikes, and bike choice far more than I would, but I think that a big bike like that would at least be welcome and popular, even if not a normal choice.

Thanks for the updates, always a pleasure to read this thread!
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:13 PM   #696
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ADVisitors

Tage and Sissel,

Thanks so much for your hospitality. One of the greatest rewards of travel for me is the people I meet along the way; whether fellow travelers or locals. You were both very generous with your time and it was good to get to know you a little over a very excellent dinner. I just returned home yesterday and once I have things organized I will post some pics and impressions of my 'Ride in Tuscany'.

Ciao,

Docbru.
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:39 AM   #697
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelaez
. I guess I'll have to buy a secondary motorcycle, the HD Road King Classic is a great bike here in the US but I'm not sure how well it'll handle in the old villages of Tuscany. ...........
Having just returned from riding 3250 km in Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, and Lazio regions, I can't imagine doing it on a big tourer. Yes you could stay on the main roads, but what fun is that?

Americans cannot relate to European roads, I don't think there are 12 REAL paved switchbacks in the ENTIRE US, but a trip to the Alps can have you riding 50 or more in a day. Take the best set of tight S turns you know, and imagine riding then for 4 hours + a day, and you have central Italy.

I have to say Tagesk has been holding out on us. I have spent over 18 weeks riding the Alps, Schwartzwald, and Alsace/Vosges areas and this was my first time riding central Italy. Without a doubt, there are more corners/mile in this area than the other areas. I am a corner fanatic, and after a week and a half I was almost ready to cry UNCLE, but a nice 5 course meal, and a few glasses of fine Italian wine and a good nights sleep took care of that.

WONDERFUL area to ride for those that love to never ride straight roads, ..........Oh and great food, and wonderful culture.

PFFOG screwed with this post 10-19-2010 at 05:55 AM
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:53 AM   #698
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Thumb

Quote:
Originally Posted by PFFOG
I am a corner fanatic, and after a week and a half I was almost ready to cry UNCLE, but a nice 5 course meal, and a few glasses of fine Italian wine and a good nights sleep took care of that.
You, Sir, has learned how to deal with ordeals. Tuscan treatment for Tuscany hardship!

But no lunch in my garden...... :-(

[TaSK]
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:36 AM   #699
PFFOG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagesk
You, Sir, has learned how to deal with ordeals. Tuscan treatment for Tuscany hardship!

But no lunch in my garden...... :-(

[TaSK]
Next time, would have loved to share a meal. I envy you, as you live in a wonderful part of our planet.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:10 AM   #700
PFFOG
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Location: Western NY, further from NYC than 6 entire states
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I did not want to hijack TaSK's fine thread, so here is mine and my impressions as a visitor to this wonderful part of the world to ride.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...0#post14341220
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:22 PM   #701
Nordkapp55
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Location: Pisa, Italy
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Hi! I've read only this evening your nice post! I've found what to do for next days . Very very nice! We met some months ago in Pisa and I appreciated your love for motorbikes. And now i find your contribution to this forum... awesome style!
Ride safe!
Francesco

PS: I've send you an email
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:28 AM   #702
atermon
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Mr Task is living the good life.
riding from dining to wine sampling back and forth.

come on big man , make some time for your adv followers and put Tuscany's autumn dress on our screen.
couple of hot dishes right out the casserole won't hurt either.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:00 AM   #703
tagesk OP
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Riding in Greece: From Alexandroupoli to Kavala



We are in Alexandroupoli, it is Thursday 18. March, we are ready to
embark on the 7th day of our vacation. We have stayed the night at
Hotel Berlina (take my Latin version of Greek names with a large grain
of salt!). At the time the railway station was here down town
Alexandroupoli, the hotel had prime location. Next to the harbor,
next to the station, and in the middle of things. Now, it is in the
back-waters of the city.



Yesterday evening the reception was manned by an old man who
repeatedly said "Deutchland good, Deutchland good". Today the son
(grandson?) is (not) manning the reception. He sits outside in a
chair, chain smoking, wearing (Italian!) designer sun glases, and
talking in his mobile. He looks very, very bored.



Next to the hotel there is what we in Italy would have called "a
bar". In it we would have gotten coffee. In a cup. Here we are
offered "coffee" in a plastic container. I think it is a
misunderstanding so I forcefully make it clear that we will not have
"to go", but enjoy it here.
To no avail.

As I sit outside I reflect on the state of affairs. The lady (um,
girl) is both good looking, polite and helpful. It is, obviously
more important that she is polite and helpful than that she is good
looking. But she is indeed good looking. I can't hold that against
her, can I? Anyway, she simply doesn't have any nice, thick small
cups to serve the coffee in. Not her fault. Besides, she is good
looking and a pleasure to talk to. I hate old grumpy men like
myself.

It is a mere 8°C. Even though the sun is shining the wind is very
cold. We dress up for winter riding. She also attaches her heated
vest. Without that heated vest our vacation would not have been a
success. To say the least. I volunteer to walk back to the "bar" and
talk to the girl. She says, as did the young man sitting on the chair
outside the hotel, that the weather is far better further south.
So we have to go there, then.



The touch-screen on the Zumo GPS is definitely dead. Thus I am unable
to "talk" to it. I can only view the maps as we ride. Better than
nothing, but as our planning is next to non-existing it means we must
start looking at our maps.
So far I have given Mr. Zumo the name of where we want to spend the
night, and he has taken care of the rest. We are on vacation and
things aren't that important. At least he has taken us in the general
direction, and that has been enough.

We ride west, as our general plan is to get to Kassandra. Kassandra
is one of the three "fingers" sticking out in the sea. We pass an
archeological site. It is closed, but under a roof we see a large
number of terracotta "vases". We didn't understand the sign with the
name on it, but the position is N40.86244 E25.63996. Can anyone give
me some info?



We're on an adventure. River crossings are part of adventures.
They say.



We ride along beautiful beaches. No-one here now. In summer, guess it is
crowded here. Being far away from things, I also take it these are
beaches from which you return home to say "...and we found a beach
with no tourists - just Greeks". Well, I have been here as well. And
I was here first :-)



In my next life, when I am a famous professor in archeology, then I
will take my annual "work holiday" here in Greece. The Greek have
put up countless signs, showing the way to interesting places.
Countless!

I find it appealing because, obviously, this is a service to guests
and visitors. On the other hand, isn't there always "an other hand"?, if you are
waiting in line in a hospital, you might not fancy the money being
spent on being kind to tourists.

On the third hand, I guess part of why tourists come is that the Greek
seems to take care of the historical mess that has been left them to
administer. Here are sign to ruins from the Greek (ok, silly),
Roman, Byzantine, and what-not-period.



At random we choose to stop in Maroneia. The petrol station is
closed; "strike". Except for that the village has three things to
offer: A large archeological field, the cave where the Cyclope lived
(hint: Odysseus), and an oak tree of monstrous proportions.

It is cold so we skip the first two, and instead sit under the tree
and have a "coffee". Capa Superiore does some shopping for lunch.
The sun is out, but it is cold, cold, cold.
She says we really need to get to the south of this country.



Far out in the fields we come upon (yet) another closed gas station.
The owner is working in the yard, and we pull inn pretending we don't
know there is a "strike". Well done: The owner is interested in
selling fuel. We all pretend there is no "strike".

I write "strike" because a strike is a mechanism workers (in developed
countries) have in their economic struggle against employers. Petrol
station-owners can't strike. Call it whatever you want, but not
strike.

In any case - when the tank is full we ask about this "strike". He
says that these protests are for professional protesters in Athens and
other big cities. How do I know he said that? He speaks some English
and some German. In France (or Italy before I learned Italian) we
would not have been able to talk about these things. I love the Greek
for their language skills!

We ask how come there is a petrol station out here in the fields;
don't they all cluster together in the villages? He says he mostly
sells diesel for the agricultural machinery that works in the fields
around here.

I feel very large.



I ask about the crisis. He shrugs. Instead he informs us that the
bridge a few km further down has been washed away. The next bridge
upstream is 40 km away. But, he says, when you come to the river,
ride on the dirt track upstream a few hundred meters. There you'll
find another bridge. You can safely cross there.

Without this tip we would have had to ride 40 km upstream, and then 40
km back down again. The extra bridge is a full-fledged concrete bridge
with two lanes. Why is there no sign showing tow way to it? Why is
there is big bridge here with no roads leading to it? Why are (were)
there two bridges just 500 meters apart (one without access roads)?



We find a place that probably is teaming with tourists in the summer.
Now, with 10°C we are alone. We are also entertained by a strong
wind. The ground is wet and poorly drained. But in summer I guess
there is much less rain and thus the ground will be dry.



As always when She has made the preparations, things run smoothly. We
have our lunch on the stairs of the house there. Looking in through
the windows we see a good kitchen. Undoubtedly, in summer, you can eat
well here. Not that we didn't eat well, but you know what I mean.

There is a cold wind coming in from the sea, it is about ten degrees,
and even for us Norwegians it is a bit chilly. Without coffee (or
"coffee" for that matter), we take off. After, in good Norwegian
style, having taken every tiny bit of rubbish with us.

The left indicator is ever more troublesome. I need to start pushing
the button many hundred meters before I need it; some times I manage
to get it started, most times not. I really need to find WD-40 (or
equivalent).

We start riding, but soon the advantages of the intercom (Autocom, no
less!) comes into play. "Are you cold", she asks. "No, but I take
it you are", I reply. "Very much so". I realize this is going to be
my shining hour: reply by going from fourth to third and then second,
pull the throttle all the way, and fly.
We fly towards a warm shower, a stiff drink, and good food.



The next big town (city?) is Kavala. We miss the first exit (what
shall I say: Greek speed?), pass north of the town, and take the
second exit. The road winds nicely down into down town.

Finally down by the sea we see that Constantinople is a mere 460 km
away. Odd name. In my part of the world that city hasn't been called
Constantinople since 1453, and it has been utterly Politically
In-correct to call it Constantinople since 1930.

It is, however, very fitting that the sign is just here. We are,
after all, standing on via Egnatia (which, in case you have forgotten,
did run from where via Appia ended, to Byzantium (which was later
called Constantinople, and, since 1453, Istanbul). It is, however,
very disappointing that it doesn't say "Durres 631 km" pointing the
other way. Or, even better: Roma 1201; it is 631 to Durres and 570 from
Brindisium to Roma.

Here is a challenge to my Greek friends: Ride to Kavala. Bring a pen
and write "Roma 1201 km" on that sign. Then go to "Bibliotheka bar"
and look at the girl (see below for details).

By the way: Did anyone call the son of the friendly man who served us
coffee north of Kastoria?

There are a lot (!) of bikes in Kavala. During a few hours we see
more bikes here than we have seen in our vacation so far. What seems
to be the most popular one is the VStrom 650 (or is it 600?), closely
followed by Africa Twin and Transalp. This country would be ideal for
BMW R1200GS (like Italy), but I see very few of them. In Italy it is, by
far, the most sold adventure-style bike year after year. Why don't
the Greek boy the 12GS?



We park on what should have been named via Egnetia but instead carry the
name Erythrou Etavrou (the street along the harbor). We find a café
(bar we would have said in Italy - but it is larger). I get
not-too-bad cappuccino (but I am charged four (!) euro for it!) and
sit down with my laptop to find a place to stay. Where to go, if not
to ADVrider.com.

We agree that while I try my virtual friends on the Internet, she will
physically wander the streets and look for a place to stay. I seem to
be the only one around not smoking.

I am quickly told that the place to stay in Kavala is Galaxy hotel.
They have a home page, and I find the phone number. When she returns
I proudly tell her that ADVrider has saved us (again!), that we don't
need to sleep on the beach, and that Galaxy hotel will be our place
tonight.

She totally agrees. I am not used to this, so I say "And?". She
places the key to our room on the table. It says Galaxy with big
friendly letters. While I surfed and drank coffee she didn't only
find the Galaxy herself, she also booked us a room. I don't call her
Capa Superiore della Famiglia without reason.
They're closing next week for renovation and she has obtained a fine
room with an excellent view for a mere 45 euro.



After a warm shower we go to hunt for a charger for my Nokia. We find
a store that seems to have everything, but a charger for a Nokia 6310,
not seen one for years, they say. Notice that I am very well dressed;
it is very cold in Kavala in March.

But after a few other stores we find one where the owner makes a call
to a friend, and promises that he'll have one tomorrow. At eleven.
For 15 euro. We'll take it, I way.



Time for an apperitivo, me thinks. By chance we stumble onto
Bibliotheke cafe and bar. It is located in a narrow street cutting
between to larger ones. On the street you only see the door; the
place itself is on the first floor.

I don't know about you, but after a long day on the bike, in very cold
wind, after having had a simple lunch (relatively speaking; we live in
Tuscany!), after having secured a nice room at Galaxy in Kavala, after
even having been promised a charger for my Nokia, sitting in the warm
and inviting rooms at Bibliotheke bar, listening to their smoooooth
jazz, knowing all this, when at this point a very good looking, and I
repeat: Very good looking, young woman replies "I know, I know" when I
say "I would like a dry Martini. Shaken, not stirred, please", at
that point in time, is it possible not to be happy?

The girl can be seen on the photo above. I know she is blurred.
Believe it or not, she is blurred because she is SHAKING my Dry
Martini. To me, that blurred girl in many ways represent nirvana; can
you be more happy? She is shaking my martini so hard I can't even get
her on the picture!

Would I have been more happy if I had a well maintained R1200GS
Adventure rather than my worn out 1150? Or, would I have been more
happy with a Nikon D7000 to replace my worn D80? Or a Leica M9?
Would a Rolex have made me more happy at this point in time and space?

Alternatively: Would I have been less happy if I had a, say, black BMW
instead of the silver-red I have? Ok, that was a difficult one. But
would I have been less happy with a 1100? Or, as was our emergency
plan when the clutch failed, would I have been less happy on one of my
Transalps? Or if it was raining outside?

I sit back in my chair, try to dream a sigar into the picture, and
feel on this happiness. I am happy I manage to refrain from smoking a
cigar, even though smoking a cigar would also have made me happy.



A young man, mid twenties, arrives and drinks a coffee. In order to
enjoy the looks of the girl behind the bar, I walk over and talk to
the guy. He tells me that the crisis has been created by Germany.
First they used the us, the small and defenseless countries in the EU,
to create a large marked for their cars and what not. When that
isn't enough, they use the EU to squeeze us dry like a lemon. "You
know how the Germans are!", he says. Actually, I don't know how the
Germans are, but as I understand it, they are footing large parts of
the bill.

After the shower, as I sat on my bed in the hotel, I saw that a huge
banner had been placed on the Acropolis in Athens. It says "Europeans
- Rise Up" (in English). Holy Cow! Rise up against whom? Stand up
to those guaranteeing for your existence? Stand up to those making
sure your state doesn't collapse?

But with a ultra-dry Martini in my hand, one thoroughly SHAKEN and
not stirred by a very good looking girl, I calmly tell the your man
that I totally agree we need to look at this crisis-thing with fresh
eyes. Then I eye the girl before I return to my table.

At my table I use my laptop to read some news. Aftenposten, the
biggest and most trustworthy newspaper in Norway, informs me that
there are ever more strikes in Greece. Obviously (sorry to say it),
most strikes targets tourists. Ferrys and airports are closed down.



If tourism is your only industry worth talking about, and you are
facing a financial crisis, are strikes that target tourists a wise
thing to do? Or, are we completely misinformed? [Recall, please,
this was in March 2010; we are all wiser by now]. How come we
Norwegians have a much more grim view of the Greek future than the
Greek? Do they know something we don't know, or do we know they don't
know. Or, as I believe is the case: We have understood something they
refuse to acknowledge. But til will tell [and, as far as I
understand, the optimism we met on these issues were not funded on
economic realities.]

It is surreal to sit in this very nice bar, reading in a Norwegian
newspaper that the crisis gets worse by the day, while this young man
tells me that they have problems with the Germans.

In any case: If you ever go to Kavala, find Bibliotheke bar. Ask for
a Dry Martini (shaken, not stirred), watch the girl make it, avoid the
your man, and enjoy life! Not even in the worst of times is it
possible not to be moved by a beautiful girl serving a Dry Martini
(shaken, not stirred).
Here I have a request: If you happen to go there, please not the
address so that I can store it here for future reference.



All things come to an end, also our aperitivo. We ask her for advice
on where to dine. As we have arrived to the ocean, it must be
seafood. Without hesitation she recommends us a place just around the
corner. And without hesitation we go there. Who would discard the
advice of a girl who makes Dry Martini (shaken, not stirred) with such
natural talent?

The waiter speaks sufficient English for us to manage. The menu is,
obviously, Greek and we're unable to use it. So we rely on our
waiter. Wise choice.

As always there is too much oil in the Greek Salad. As always I order
one. As always Capa Superiore asks why I do so, and as always I
explain when in Greek, eat Greek salad. The rice with "cozze" is
simply excellent.



Frying "aciughe" is hard. Or, to be correct, frying it well is hard.
To retain the taste of fish without it neither being too greasy nor
over-dipped in the thing you dip in (whatever it is).



The desserts here in Greece are far too sweet for us. But our waiter
did such a good job on the rest of the meal so when he insist that we
try a local specialty, I give in. Capa doesn't. She never gives in
when her mind is set on something. That is, by the way, why She is
Capa and I not Capo.

Anyway, the dessert was ultra-mega-super sweet. Like honey baked in sugar.



She looks dreamingly out of the window. I hope she dreams about me,
so I pay and we hurry back to the hotel.



204 km today. Tomorrow we'll (finally) get hold of a charger, we'll
return to Bibliotheke bar (how could we not?), and ride our bike
further south.
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My Riding in Tuscany-thread is here.
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tagesk screwed with this post 11-13-2010 at 04:13 AM
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:08 PM   #704
quicktoys2
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Location: Patras, Greece
Oddometer: 627
Welcome back :)

It has been a long time since you posted an update to your Greek vacation.
I can't believe you never used the video feature to capture a naturally talented good looking girl making a vodka martini, shaken not stirred (very 007 of you) ......... a missed opportunity for us readers.

Best wishes
Soto
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:45 PM   #705
TwilightZone
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>"She looks dreamingly out of the window. I hope she dreams about me,
so I pay and we hurry back to the hotel."

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