A little update…… since arriving in Naples from Cagliari last Thursday week ago in the morning, under overcast skies, we rode to the highest carpark on Mt Vesuvius, via a very sinuous road full of hairpins, where it started raining on us! Bugger, although I guess it had to happen sooner or later…… As it was covered in cloud by now, we decided to head to our hotel in Sant’Agnello, next to the town of Sorrento, to rethink the day’s strategy. By the time we were half way there, the volcano was clear of cloud and in sunshine!
Great hotel and great manager! We went back that afternoon by train, (much more convenient), to Herculaneum, and had a good look around, (think Pompeii on a smaller scale), before returning to the terrace near our hotel for dinner watching the sunset over the Sorrento coast.
Friday morning saw us head around the coast to see Portofino and Amalfi (i.e. ride the Amalfi coast), before heading NE across Italy to Pescara for the night. A suggestion for anyone else contemplating riding the Amalfi coast – DON’T DO IT! What a total pain in the arse! The traffic is so bad, you are in a continual traffic jam, and have absolutely no time to appreciate the scenery. Best to stay in Sorrento for 2 nights, and take a bus trip. That way, at least you have time to appreciate the scenery! By the time we got to Pescara it had been quite a long day, although the ride over the mountains was nice.
Saturday saw us head up the coast towards Ancona before heading inland past Perugia to Castiglione del Lago on the west side of Lago Trasimino, where we found a great residence to stay, with a very convivial host – offering us cold beer on arrival! And only a 100m from the lake. Went swimming here as well – surprising warm in the water.
Sunday was a 500km Autostrada blast up to Lecco, at the southern end of the South-eastern arm of Lago Como. And it was very beautiful. And the water here, as opposed to Trasimino, was crystal clear, and very inviting, after riding all day in 30+ degree temps! And yes – it was lovely to swim in!
On Monday we continued North out of Italy and into Switzerland and the Principality of Lichtenstein. The scenery and riding over the various mountain passes we crossed on the way was as spectacular and awesome, respectively, as you would expect! We stayed in a nice hotel-restaurant high up on the mountainside overlooking the valley back towards Chur. Tuesday saw us heading to Stelvio, and a few more passes…..
And so it was that when we stopped for a coffee in Davos, I inadvertently left my phone sitting on my lefthand pannier, next to some black tiedown straps attached to the lid, (it blended in well), and proceeded to ride off, only to realise some 130 kms later when we reached our destination…… Bugger! Actually, double bugger!! And despite the temptation to re-ride the passes we had crossed in the meantime, we figured the chances of finding it again, and in one piece, were probably not worth the time to get there and back. It was unfortunate that I had some photos I hadn’t downloaded from the previous couple of days, but guess I better be more careful in future!
We spent the night in a very nice, and old, hotel-restaurant in the village of Gomagoi, a mere 19 km short of the top of the Stelvio Pass – up the road you see in all the photos. If you are ever passing through, we can highly recommend it as a place to stay for a night, or to base out of for a couple of days, and it is quite inexpensive.
I did a solo run up to the top of the Stelvio and back the next morning, (Chris had already ridden it on our first trip on the bikes three years ago), and hopefully the GoPro footage will prove worthwhile! From here we headed off to Innsbruck in Austria, via Lago Resio, with it’s church spire sticking out. It is all that was left of the village that was once there after they dammed the river, and flooded the town – a bit like what happened with the old Jindabyne township when they built the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme in Australia many moons ago.
With two nights in Innsbruck, Ken and I did a quick run south across Austria back into northern Italy and back – only took a couple of hours – crossing the Brenner Pass this time, once on the motorway with its spectacular bridges, and once on the old road below those bridges. Meanwhile, Chris and Pam visited the Swarovski factory, which is the headquarters of this crystal manufacturing company, and which proved very interesting for them.
Friday saw us depart under cloudy skies and intermittent rain for Unterreit, a tiny village approximately 75 km east of Munich, and visit Manfred and Antonia Huber, whose business is Motorrad Huber, whom we bought our bikes from 3 years ago, and who we were going to leave our bikes with to look after until we returned. The rain only lasted for the first hour or so, and gave way to clear skies and warm temperatures again. Then it was on into Munich to unpack, so that Ken and I could return the bikes to Manfred on Saturday, which we did.
So, we did just shy of 4,300 km on this trip, with approximately the first 300 km up in the mountains behind Nice, and about 1400 km on Corsica and Sardinia. Total mileage on mine is now 23,488 km, and we have spent some 15-16 weeks riding all over a lot of Western Europe, including Germany, Austria, Italy (plus Sardinia), France (plus Corsica), Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, and Wales, plus our trip to Morocco.
So, plans for the future? We have decided to sell these bikes, which Manfred will take care of over the summer, and upgrade to the Adventure version when the new model comes out next year. This will then give us a significantly increased fuel range, which will be most helpful when we get around to some more bigger adventures, like crossing Russia… (I will need to retire I think, to have the time for that sort of thing!) Anyone want to buy a good used bike – well maintained and with many extras? J There are actually two for sale, with Ken’s having about 5000 km less, mainly on account of not being able to make the Morocco trip.
I hope you have enjoyed following my sporadic updates, sorry they weren’t a little more regular! As it is, I am finishing this off sitting on the aircraft on the flight back to Hong Kong…… and work!