Alps, Italy and Croatia report
I made a motorcycle trip by myself in the summer of 2003. Finally I got my act together to report it here! (my other trip done in 2004 in Pyrenees can be read at this link http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123600)
The trip was 8000 kms (~ 5500 miles). My route was the following: Stockholm-Hamburg-Köln-Munich-Alps (Austrian, Swiss and Italien parts)-Florence-Ancona-Zadar-Split-Dubrovnik-Salzburg-Munich-Hamburg(with autozug train) and finally back home to Stockholm. The whole trip took about 4 weeks.
I was riding my Yamaha TDM 900 during this trip. The bike had no problems at all. For bikers driving 90% of their time on asphalt, I can recommend this bike. I had the original side cases and they performed well too. No water went in etc. In one bag, I had my camping gear and in the other one personal items. The tankbag is from Oxford (www.oxprod.com) and I can recommend it too. It is a very flexible designed bag. It can be used as a backbag or shoulderbag if necessary.
Fitting 4 weeks' of camping gear such as tent (i used a lightweight version that bicycle people use), sleeping bag, kitchen etc. plus personal items in two sidecases seem to be a challenge at the beginning but thanks to my dear friend Daniel's wise advice, I managed it. He asked me to put all the gear on the floor and almost without looking at them asked me to take half of it away! I did that and still it was too much. He said wait for a while, like a day and do the same process. Take half of it away. My advice would be that we most of the time tend to pack too much. We need less then we need during the trip but some essentials have to be there with us. Such as silver tape:D
A nice morning in July, I am leaving Stockholm. Check out my early energy breakfast next to the bike on the floor, a red bull:rofl
I drive for about 500kms to Malmo south of Sweden first.
From there I take the beautiful Oresundsbron that connects Sweden to the continental Europe. Side wind is strong.
I continue driving through Denmark. My destination is Bonn in Germany.
I will stay at my friends place there. I am on the German highways also called autobahn. The left lane is full of fast Mercedes, BMWs,Audis and sometimes Porsches. I realize that if I drive on the left lane my speed has to be 150-160km/h. It is a tiring cruising speed for me and the gas consumption increases dramatically thus forcing me for more frequent gas stops. Therefore, I prefer staying on the middle lane and cruise at 130-140 km/h speed. I arrive to Bonn late in the evening. I will stay here for one day, spend good time with my friends and continue my journey.
Sounds like a fabulous trip! :thumb
Take lots of pics and post here!
After spending great time with friends in Bonn, I wanted to see Nurburgring. The legendary racing track. It is very close to Bonn. The track is open to public and for around 10-15 euros, one can drive around the 21km long track.
It is quite technically challenging track with up and down hills in combination of nice curves. It is a very popular place, when I arrive I see bikes, cars, trucks and busses around!
First you need to buy the ticket
Then start an adrenalin ride of 21kms
It is quite crowded on the track so be careful:rofl
Enthusiast are coming here for the weekend or even for a week and practice on the track. I met a nice group of bikers from England. They were timing their laps and the slowest one of the day was paying all the beers that evening:1drink Although my bike is not a sportsbike, I enjoyed driving on the track a lot. I would definitely go there again.
My next destination is the nice city of Munich in south of Germany. Munich has great beers:1drinkThe trip is around 500kms long today.
I give a break in the rastplatz next to the highway. My TDM is ready for thousands of miles ahead.
I spent two days in Munich at my friends place and had great time. But the real journey waits for me. I head south again. My destination is the Austrian Alps.
On my way is the city of Fussen and I want to see the famous castle Neuschwanstein. It is also called the Walt Disney Castle because the logo of the company got inspiration from this castle. It is a very popular place especially among American and Japanese tourists.
My journey will continue...
Now I am in Austrian Alps, just passed Kitzbuhel and drive towards the area called Zell am See. Roads are in great condition. The weather is super nice, not too warm not too cold. I am enjoying great view around me while my 900cc twin is playing its high rev music:1drink
After Zell am See, I continue my journey towards Grossglockner Strasse.
Now I am on top of a pass. I will drive up and down many of these passes next 5 days.
Spectacular views has this region of the Alps. Just outstanding. I was very lucky with weather too.
Empty curvy roads, what more can a motorcyclist want?
I pass through a small village, the local band is giving a concert. When I stop to take a picture, an old fellow starts talking Swedish to me. He saw my license plate. He says that he has moved to this village about 15-20 years ago. We chat a little and I inform him little about happenings in Sweden. He was very happy to talk to me, I guess he missed talking Swedish to someone.
to be continued.....
I spend three nights in various camping sites in the Austrian Alps. Overall quality of camping places are very good. I am driving towards Swiss Alps and then will drive south towards north of Italy.
I make a stop at this nice lake, people are sunbathing. I take a dip into the cold water and continue my journey. I wish I could stay longer here, very nice place.
Now I crossed the Italian border. Time to have a nice italian lunch:clap It immediately feels in Italy:1drink It is louder and more people around.
I am in the land of Ducatis:bow I see many types of Ducati drivers with attractive ladies on their back seats:D
After lunch, I pass next to this lake. The water was amazingly clear.
The next stop is the city of Bolzano. Decently nice place with people speakin a very interesting and in a sense funny dialect. Some sort of a mixture of Italian and German. I leave the town without stopping and start to drive on a nice serpentine road upphill. Super fun:clap View of Bolzano
I am back to the nature again. One of my most favorite views
It is getting late, I have been driving about 500kms and it starts to rain, first little but then a lot. I stop in front of a hotel to be able to read my map and to figure out if I should drive the pass called Stelvio now during this rain or should try tomorrow. The pass looks kind of tough on the map. Then I hear some swedish behind me. Two bikers shout to me from the entrance of the hotel. We start to chat. They just came from the pass and it was difficult under the rain. They convince me not to continue, so I stay in the hotel that night and we eat dinner together.
Next morning, the weather is nice again. I say bye to swedish group and drive upphill towards Stelvio.
What a pass! The Swedes were right. It would be a bad idea to drive it late in the evening under rain.
The next destination is St. Moritz. Jet society's favorite winter resort. It is a beautiful town located in a fantastic valley but it is not according to my taste. It is kind of weird to see Gucci, Armani shops in a mountain town. I leave the town fast and continue towards its lake.
I have time, time to do some windsurfing. But I would like to learn kite-surf too.
After a short windsurfing experience back on the road again. Cute towns spread around on my way.
Next destination is the lake of Como in northern Italy.
to be continued.....
Brilliant. I did a similar trip last summer and may repeat it again this year. Beautiful. :D
Supurb photos of a beautiful land. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing the rest.
I arrive to Lake Como and stay in a camping place at the water for couple of days. I do some windsurfing and sightseeing around. This area is a very popular summer place for people from Milan. The view of the lake from the camping site
I drive around the lake, nice curvy roads with beautiful views
I arrive to the town of Como. Very cute town with interesting architecture and narrow streets
Then I take a small ferry to sea the coast line from the lake. Some Italiens are lucky, beautiful houses!
Staying at Como Lake was very peaceful and relaxind. I meet a nice group of people from Switzerland in the camping site. We windsurf together and play cards etc.
After three days, I say bye to them and continue my journey towards south to Florence. About 400kms to ride.
Since I need to be in Florence at a certain time, I need to take the highway the autostrada. What a mistake! Italiens are really aggressive drivers! I try to avoid couple of danger moments caused by some alfa romeo driving ninjas:rofl
The city of Bologne is on my way, why not a stop for a drink and a picture
Back on the bike towards Florence. It is getting warmer the more south I drive of course and it is not so enjoyable to be in these black motorcycle clothes. Thanks god I have Gore-tex equipment, it makes a different actually. Finally, I am in Florence. I will stay at my brother's super nice school friend's apartment. After parking the bike on the street, the city is full of bikes, I thought it would be safe to park on the street plus I have an alarm installed, I start to explore the city.
Piazza Santa Croce
The famous shopping bridge from medieval times
Florence is the right city for art interested people, you can see very famous pieces of art in its galleries. Strogly recommended. I drive up to a hill where a nice view of the town can be seen. But I am litte fed up with the heat:cry
In the following days, I and my brother's friend Zeynep take a ride to Toscana region, the famous wine producing area with spectacular landscape. There are many tiny cute towns in this area with interesting wine yards.
A view from a small town
Narrow streets of the town
Unfortunately, summer is not the best time to see Toscana since landscape doesn't have the best color because of the strong sun but still nice landscape
We take a break in this nice wine yard and enjoy our drinks
I had great time in Florence and would go there back again but not in July on a bike, it was too hot.
Next stop is the harbour town of Ancona, I will take a ferry to Croatia over the Adriatic sea. Exciting...
to be continued....
Here is my man:D
Guys Ahmet is member of my club and he is a great guy. I cannot wait to ride with him.:evil
Ahmet great job buddy, keep up the excellent work:thumb
After releasing my reports in our site, I thought I should share them with all adventure riders.
Looking forward to drive with you and others in the black sea region of the most beautiful country of the world TURKEY!
:clap Amazing scenery! Second to none. Maybe I will end up there some day.
I left Florence and heading south east towards Ancona where ferries leave to Greece and Croatia. I decide to make a stop at Perugia, a historical city with interesting old town.
Perugia's old town is really impressive
Typical narrow streets of Italy, one feels like travelling in time
And the town square
I meet 3 turkish bikers in Perugia who came from Greece via en ferry. We chat shortly and then I head towards Ancona. Ancona harbour is not nice place really. Total chaos of cars and trucks. I realized that almost all the ferries to Croatia for that day are full but having a bike is an advantage, there is always a dead corner where a car can't park and in last minute with a lot of convincing tactics (money, vodka, cigarettes) I get on the ferry:clap I am on my way to Croatia.
I land to a town called Zadar. I find a bed and breakfast run by a family that evening and head towards south the next day. Croatia is a beautiful country with an impressive coast line along Adriatic sea. Tourism is an important industry for the country, before the civil war in Yugoslavia, Croatia was a very popular tourist destination for many Europeans. It is becoming popular again. Because of constant wind of mistral, it is very suitable for sailing. I found the infrastructure and qualities of the country above my expectations. Croatians are little reluctant to make the first step to foreigners but open up later. Most of them can speak Italian and German in the northern part of the country. Although their language belongs to slavic group, in contrary to other slavic nations they belong to roman catholic church but not the othodox church. I got the impression that Croatians believe that they are more western European than rest of the nations/ethnic groups in former Yugoslavia. The country doesn't have a very impressive kitchen but hey I am from Turkey, we turks are very difficult to satisfy when it comes to food, because we always think that our food is the best:D The only disturbing factor about Croatia was the lack of service mindness but I believe in 10 years that will be fixed.
On my way to the town of Split and crossing a bridge where some germans are doing bungee jumping
Croatia has a very beautiful coastline. I love this wind of mistral, it cools me down a little.
On the way, I decide to stop by at the nature resort Krka where there is an impressive collection of fresh water and water falls. At the intersection, I see some oil on the asphalt and slow down. Yes it is a lot of oil on the road! Must be from an accident or truck. The back tire spins little but I have the control. I take a swim in this natural resort.
I also take a boat ride to see islands along the coast line. Most of them are under protection. There are many of these islands, no wonder Croatia is a favorite spot for sailors
Back on my bike, driving towards Split.
Instead of staying in the centre Split, I find this nice hotel with a great view and price:wink:
Next destination is famous Dubrovnik....
Great pictures. Your Alps shots are super. Try to go to Plitvic after Dubrovnik, its gorgeous.
Oooops ... you took the trip in '03
Thanks for sharing the experience.
[aka the GadgetBoy seal of approval, hijacked by yours truly :D ]
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