THE OLIVES ET AL STORY
The man in Cooper BMW on Park Lane laughed. He wanted to know why I wanted to trade in my lovely bells and whistles one for a sort of trial bike style one that was positively bell-less with nowhere even to think about putting a whistle. When I said I wanted to ride around the Mediterranean and North Africa for a year on it and ‘oh, and by the way, the woman I intend to marry is coming with me and she’ll need one too’, was the bit when he laughed. I’ve never been sure whether he laughed because we were doing it or because my about-to-be-wife was coming with me…
He stopped laughing when we bought two R100 GS’s from his colleague – a Mk I and a brand new Mk II – now these details may not be important to you but someone reading this will eventually find that bit interesting. In case it’s not you and you want some sort of context then these are the original, older versions of the motorbikes used by Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in the Long Way Round.
We set off in September 1992 to circumnavigate the whole of the Mediterranean basin on our two shiny and now heavily laden motorbikes. We were away for a little under a year during which time we travelled across the top of North Europe, through Turkey, into Syria, down to Jordan and Israel then onto Sinai. We watched the New Years dawn from the top of Mount Sinai, moved onto Cairo, down the Nile and across the Western Desert around the string of Oases.
Heading back through Libya and Egypt, we eventually ended up in Cyprus before bumping our way back to the UK by mid July of 1993. During the trip we’d fallen in love with the food we’d eaten along the way and had collected recipes from everywhere we’d been. So, born out of post travel depression, and trying to recapture the essence of where we’d been, we started to recreate some of the recipes and on the 28th October 1993 we sold our first jars of olives in Bath. Olives Et Al was born.
The Olives Et Al team have been faithfully re-creating those recipes ever since, and have found many more, using traditional methods and top notch ingredients from the best suppliers we can find. I’m privileged to say that we’re still working with some of the people we met on that first journey as well as many more we’ve met on repeated trips back to old places and lots of new ones over the last 20 years. Today we’re lucky enough to have a few awards for what we do and I thoroughly hope you like what you find here.
Oh, and so as you know – we still have the two original R100 GS bikes tucked away – ready to roll out and do it all again someday. Meantime, thanks for reading this far – if you’ve got a story to share, we’d love to hear it. Thanks and let’s have an olive.