This page is dedicated to the roads I have driven down... There is no sensation quite like driving and no better way to see a place, feel its beat, mix with the locals. You can go as far into the countryside as you want, step where no tourist has ever stepped, eat in places that tour guides have never even heard of. And you can feel in control of your own destiny. And isn' t that the essence of life? The countries/territories are listed in alphabetical order, and the routes I have driven down are noted...
From the capital Mariehamn to the provinces of Lemland and Lumparland, then back through Jomala to Finnstrom, Saltvik, Sund and the end of the road at Geta, then down to the western provinces of Hammarland and Eckero. Beautiful small wooden houses with porches, empty roads in good condition making it a pleasure to drive, and all around trees and sea. On a good day, this is the best drive...why, oh why did I have to lose my camera in Helsinki airport just after landing from here, without having transferred the pics somewhere safe?
In from France, through the second largest town of Encamp to the capital Andorra La Vella and then the next down out to Spain in the south. Mountainous scenery throughout, pleasant, easy to drive roads. Done this same route twice, once in April 2000 with my friend Vagelis, and once alone through considerable fog upon entering Andorra, as you can see in this pic, in April 2009.
A small island and an easy drive really from the one end to the other that won't take more than a few hours. The south is more barren and filled with cactus trees, the middle and north seemingly more developed, up to the lighthouse and passing a few nice beaches.
As can be expected, this is a fascinating place to drive in , and I rented a car on the island of San Miguel and did the entire western part of the island which includes quaint villages, volcanic lakes and crashing rocks all in one. From the airport, northwest to Sete Cidades and then past the lake to Mosteiros, then on the northern part of the island east all the way to Ribeira Grande and then down to the southern part by Agua de Pau. From there to the capital Ponta Delgada. This made for one of my nicest days in 2009.
Belgium: From the border with France to Gent. Uninteresting really, just like the whole country, though I did this in 1996 so it is a while back...
Thanks to my couchsurfing acquaintance Chemmy, I not only rode a scooter here but also did it on the 'wrong' side of the road, the first and only time I have dared do such a thing. It was worth it, as Bermuda can only really be experienced on wheels and the scooter is the best way to do so. I rode from Warwick, where Chemmy lived, westwards via Horseshoe Bay to Southampton, Somerset, Hog Bay and up to the Dockyards - got hopelessly lost on the way back but somehow survived... In the pic, the scooter parked at Gibb's Hill lighthouse, with a view to the south.
First time in 2003 just to the small town of Orasje on the border of Croatia. Second time in 2005, a whole ride from Bosanska Gradiska down to Laktasi and Banja Luka, then northeast through Derventa to the border with Croatia at Brod. Then back into the country at Brcko, going down into the Federation at Gradacac and then through to the major eastern Bosnian town of Tuzla, up through hellish Ugljevik to Bijeljina and out into Serbia. Generally quiet roads in far from perfect condition, and nice country scenery. Third and four times in March/April 2009, in at Zvornik with a lot of snow and back into Serbia via Bijeljina in March. In April, in from Montenegro, passing to Dubrovnik, and on the way back a major route through the whole of Srpska, covering Trebinje, Foca, Gorazde and Visegrad.
Whole driving tour lasting a number of days, starting from the capital Sofija and off east ending the day in Gabrovo, having past Koprivshtitsa, Tryavna and the Sipka pass and including a burst tyre - luckily only 50 meters from a gas station! Then on to Veliko Tarnovo and turning back west to the mountains around Teteven. Back in Sofia where I got completely lost. I can't believe that this is all EU territory, the rural realities here are...hard to imagine.
Driven here twice within a month or so back in 1998, in first instance from the border of North Dakota to Winnipeg and back (in heavy snow), and the second time (also in snow) from Toronto through to Niagara Falls and back. In July 2009 I went all out in Canada, almost in every region. Drove in Yukon from Whitehorse through Carcross to the border with Alaska and back. Also from Montreal through to the Vermont border and back in from Maine, through St. Georges, to Quebec City. Also, finally, from Moncton in New Brunswick to Prince Edward island (the connecting bridge is pictured here) and the on the ferry to Nova Scotia, overnighting in New Glasgow and ending in rather nondescript Sydney and Louisbourg.
First time just a short ride from the border at the village of Tovarnik to Zupanja, also taking in Vinkovci, back in 2003. But the second time in 2005 I made up for that and have driven to Zagreb until the Slovenian border, north to Varazdin and Cakovec again until the Slovenian border and southeast from Zagreb toward Slavonski Brod. In 2009 a quickie in from Bosnia to see Dubrovnik and Cavtat.
One of the most exotic places to drive, that much I can say for sure! Did the whole island, volcano, town and all.
I drove around the whole of Tahiti starting at the airport and going south towards Papara (which sounds really funny to a Greek) and even did the little 'satellite' island as far as Teahupoo before returning 0n the less interesting eastern side and getting to Papeete. All in all I have to admit I was rather disappointed by the island given its reputation worldwide.
Well, I used to live here and on two occasions rented vehicles. One was for helping in moving, and drove a van from Helsinki via Jyvaskyla to the middle of nowhere at Uurainen. The second time from Ivalo headed north in Lapland toward Norway and came back at Nuorgam, the northermost point in Finland. Lovely to drive at these north latitudes, a true joy.
The first time on a business trip drove from Paris north via Lille to the Belgian border. It wasn't easy driving out of Paris, I was so bloody nervous. The second time entered in the south from Spain and headed for Perpignan, and then west and crossed into Andorra. This was easier and I won't forget not being able to find a place t0 eat, which meant Vaggelis and I arrived in Andorra absolutely ravenous. In April 2009 repeated this last route, through quaint towns and into ominous foggy Pyrenees in the dead of night... In February 2010, I once again entered from Spain in the west and drove a few kilometers up to Biarritz. Still, I have never rented a car on the French mainland!
Home base for many years, so my routes here are multiple. I have interestingly almost never driven on one of the islands, with the exception of two pilgrimages to Mitilini (Lesvos Island). However, I have done justice to the mainland, from Athens to Patras and Nafplion in the Peloponnese, and frequently north to Halkidiki and the northern borders around Kilkis, Serres and the lot. Twice been to Meteora in central Greece. The roads leave something to be desired, and the route north to Thessaloniki is a bore apart from the Tempi gorge. Yet, the sea makes up for all this...
Near Greece's borders with Bulgaria and what is in this picture (taken in 2004) still noted as Yugoslavia.
A brief drive for the couple of hours I was there took me from the apart past Pointe a Pitre to the beach at Gosier. One could do worse than that I suppose...
Guam is probably one of the most offbeat places I have driven around. U.S. territory means acceptable infrastructure and automatic cars. I had the vehicle for a day, from 5 a.m. to the evening, which is as long as I stayed on Guam, doing the circle of the island and also to the romantic Two Lovers Point. I was exhausted and frequently needed air to wake up, and also breaks at the mall for an infusion of Americana that, as much as I hate, I also kind of enjoy from time to time. Missed this.
Spanish-influenced gates on the south end of the island of Guam.
In September 2009 I made it for a day to this tiny island which is the southernmost part o Italy, mostly known for refugees from Africa. I rented a scooter and went around the island, which is rather dry but does have decent routes and nice beaches and a rather adorable town centre. An unusual place to go to, certainly worth it.
I hadn't driven in Italy until 2009 but then really went for it despite the reputation of made drivers. First time in the Rimini region, up to Ravenna and down to Cattolica; second time from Verona airport through to Luino on Lago Maggiore and then back in Varese and up to the Simplon pass, and returning from Switzerland in Porlezza by Lago Lugano and then in Como and up to the airport in Bergamo.
Quite a lot of driving here, from the airport at Lamentin west to Le Francois and then south all the way to Marin, and back north to the middle of the island where the capital lies, Fort de France. Surprisingly, quite a lot of traffic here...
This is one strange country to be driving in...I have done quite a lot here, from Podgorica through Ostrog monastery and Niksic to the border with Herzegovina, and then back in from the north in Serbia, through Bijelo Polje to Andrijevica and then through a terribly small mountain road, where I picked up a drunk old hitch-hiker who had loads of stories to tell, to Kolasin and into the terrible capital - from there via Lake Skodra to the shore at Sutomore and Bar...a country one can feasibly drive all around in (almost) a day.
This is one old, old photo. I have only driven in Norway at its northern-easternmost point, back in September 1999. Entering from Finland and on to Kirkenes and to the easternmost point on the border with Russia, and then back and further west to Tana Bru and then down to Finland. One of the most exotic drives I can imagine, to be repeated of course...
In May 2011, I finally drove in mainland Portugal as well. From Lisbon headed east to Evora and then Elvas and the Spanish border, while on the way back passes quaint villages on the way to rather dreadful Setubal. Portugal remains my favourite country even if its roads and highways are not so great, but the scenery one passes, and the historical towns, make up for the winding, hard to negotiate, roads.
On this island the most popular way to go around is a golf buggy! And so I learned very fast how to drive one of these, and off I went around the whole island, which isn't very big but is truly enchanting in many ways. This ranks as one of my best rides ever, and the open gulf buggy means plenty of photo opportunities without hassle.
One island, two countries, France and the Netherlands - though the latter is mainly in name, very little Dutch feeling aroun. I rented a car at the airport and drove passed the 'border' to Marigot, from there to Grand Case and around the French part, then south past Quartier d'Orleans to Oyster Pond which is the border; enjoyed some border crossing up and down before heading to Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch part, and then back to the French part at Cupecoy. A nice place to drive for the border-thrilled.As you can see in the pic, the car they gave me was a rather impressive convertible...pictured here at Oyster Pond.
Well, a small country...where you will definitely have to pay to park your car! Entering here is done from Italy at Dogana, and through Serravale you drive to the main 'town'. However, I left the country to the west on the way to San Leo, and then re-entered from the south (after a detour in Italy) to communes of Montegiardino and Faetano.
In 2008 in Sardinia, I drove from Alghero airport through to Sassari and the coast past Castelsardo to Santa Teresa de Gallura (the northern part of the island) and then down a little southeast to Olbia and up to San Teodoro. The seas one goes by here are truly among the most beautiful beaches in the world. The villages are small and out of this world, as if life has stopped decades ago. Very nice drive.
From Palermo to Monreale and then Trapani, this was one of my shorter drives to be honest but perhaps one of the most dangerous, given that the Sicilians drive like real maniacs. And Palermo's traffic is insane, the roads confusing and parking next to impossible. So in a way, if you can drive here, then you can drive almost anywhere...
In 2005 with my own car, Goran and I entered from Croatia at Lendava and then headed west on small roads (and nearly had an accident) to the pretty town of Ptuj, which has a nice fortress and an unthreatening atmosphere. At Lendava, they asked me for my car registration documents, the only time this has happened. A few days later, I also entered from Croatia to Brezice (seen in photo) a few kilometers inland, for a coffee with Nusa Derenda.I doubt I will ever drive to Ljubljana, given how strict they are with parking.
On this beautiful and little heard of Pacific island nation, riding is a real pleasure as it is unlikely you will meet many forms of transport. This was the first time I ever rode a scooter, thus breaking a promise I made to my mother when I was 13. But what a thrill, here, you can also ride on the runway, which becomes a road/sports field as there are only two flights a week... The island of Fongafale, where the capital Funafuti is, is actually longer than you would think, and so I drove up and down for about 15 kms, with water on every side. If you take one trip in your life, let it be Tuvalu. No other tourists here...
Last but not least alphabetically, the United States, and this is likely to stay this way, as I doubt I will be driving in Uzbekistan, Venezuela or Zimbabwe in the near future. First drove here in 1998 from Minneapolis to Grand Forks, North Dakota and then north to the Canadian border in Manitoba; also on that occasion drove from Toronto to New York, and believe me, driving in Manhattan is no pleasure at all, not to mention getting lost in Newark. In 2009, drove in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. And later that year, rented many a different cars. First to go from Memphis, Tennessee to Louisville, Kentucky, and cross 5 other states. Secondly, a day rushing from Denver to the capital of Wyoming, Cheyenne and also taking in a little slice of western Nebraska. Then, in and around Skagway, Alaska (driving in from and out to Canada). And lastly, again in from Canada at Vermont, and crossing northern New Hampshire and Maine before heading out to Canada after Jackman, Maine. In 2010, I drove more than 2500 kilometers from Albuquerque, New Mexico all the way to Minneapolis, Minnesota, through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Indiana.