Title: Rice & Dirt –
Across Africa on a Vespa
Authors: Alexandra Fefopoulou
and Stergios Gogos
Publisher: Shuvvy Press
Size: 13.5 x 1.5 x 21.5 cm
Weight: 0.5 kg
Price: £ 9.99 (€ 11.30)
A great adventure on two wheels!
This book tells the story of a long journey, that of Stergios, who set out alone on his Vespa PX200, and of his encounter with Alexandra, in Africa. Both Greek, the two become a couple and share what for many of us remains an elusive dream: a great adventure on two wheels!
The book was first published in 2017 in Greek and then updated for the English version, released in September last year. In its 320 pages Rice & Dirt takes you around Africa with Stergios Gogos, a Greek, who set out alone, having sold everything he owned, in what was a sad time for his country, caught in the grip of a recession that seemed to leave little hope.
After a brief stay in Italy, he then reached Morocco by ship and from there headed south with the final destination being the coast of South Africa. The entire journey took about 14 months, all very intense, and led him across the Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Lesotho. Stergios faced deserts, mountains, forests, savannahs and terrible roads where he fell dozens of times … riding a vehicle with 10″ wheels!
In the book he questions some common myths, such as “areas to be avoided” and “safe places”, often finding the latter to be the more dangerous.
He and Alexandra, the other author, didn’t even know each other in the beginning. Both, for similar reasons, had decided to look for a new future … passing through Africa. It was fate that had them meet, initially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and again in South Africa, where the two became a couple and where she took possession of the Vespa’s rear seat.
The book stops at the African borders but their journey went on for another year in South America (but this is another story and probably another book).
RICE & DIRT uses a style of writing that is no way pretentious and at the same time is far from the traditional day by day diary.
The various moods (the silences, the challenges, the loneliness, the worries, the enthusiasm of a date) are expressed in a most eloquent way, that only those who travel alone can understand.
Many of the reviews found on the net consider it worthy of a place on the shelf amongst your favourite books…. perhaps alongside one of the travel volumes of the never forgotten “Vespa rider” Giorgio Bettinelli.
At the moment Stergios and Alexandra are still “on the road”. Spring of 2019 saw them back in South America, from where they will probably reach the North American continent.
To learn more visit the couple’s website www.worldvespa.net or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org