Ride through the Valley of Death


Yesterday was the first day without rain over the Easter period so I took the opportunity to go out for a ride on Scarlet, my BMW F650GS. I didn’t go too far as I’m still running the engine in after a long cold winter. I went to the Valley of Death, scene of the biggest fighting during the Battle of Dukla Pass. Virtually unheard of in the West, this battle was between the Germans and the Russians and their allies. It was horrifically big – one of, if not the biggest battles of World War 2. The casualty figures and number of combatants are staggering.

The tanks in the picture are a monument just outside the town of Svidnik, East Slovakia. Until recently, the lower, German, tank was painted blue but the Germans came along and repainted in authentic WW2 camo pattern. I took other photos on the trip but my mobile camera must have misted up as they all turned out crap.


The road through the villages was all broken up after the snow and ice, and the final stretch was mostly gravel. The biggest problem I had to deal with was the strong side wind – and I really hate riding in those, especially on long stretches of road without cover. Thankfully, this time I dressed for the cold as last time my left knee and my jaw froze. I really need to get some riding practice in before the season starts properly and I have to ride in a pack again.

I’m jealous of those who live in hot countries and can just jump on their bikes and ride without having to spend so much time dressing and then prepping their motorcycles just to go out for a short jaunt. It really takes away the ‘freedom’ aspect of riding.


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