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Old 06-10-2009, 07:59 AM   #9
tserts OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
Oddometer: 2,564
DAY1 - Venezia - Moena

Fresh Out of the ship under the morning sun

They say that for Venezia you will either love it or hate it, no in-between options. Be that as it may, I can't really understand how you could hate it.. Sure, it's packed with tourists all year long, the moisture will make sure you remember all your past injuries, the stench is, at some points, too heavy even for Dr. Zoidberg, the cappuccino costs 8 euros, you have to fight to get a slice of pizza, you need to set camp to enter the palace, orientation can be a bitch, but, despite all that, I was ready to rent a gondola and start hitting on my buddies (as my wife missed the trip with the pathetic excuse of being pregnant)...

You may find all that cliché romantic stuff too corny but the moment you start crossing those bridges you've been had. The place is almost magical, so rich in historic echoes, glorious remains of an era when that place was once the center of a powerful empire..

The size of the preserved part of the town is still a mystery to me, from the moment our ship entered the port to the crossing of the main bridge to the mainland, it felt like we were time traveling. As far as the eye could see, thousands of medieval mansions and humble 15th century homes make sure you forget it's 2009, and that you actually have a motorbike parked some distance away... I thought I'd find a horse instead of my Ornela at the garage..















We parked at Piazzale Roma for 5 euros per bike (we were asked for as much as 24 at some other garages) which is really the closest place to park before you enter the “wet” part…


We thought we could get at San Marco square before the masses of tourists get in our way, we had no hope.. By 9am it was already packed and we abandoned any plans of actually entering the palace.

We were left with the lesser option of wandering around the city, which proved to be equally rewarding, as the little roads away from the buzz are truly captivating..

At around 5, our eyes (and our feet) had had enough so we headed for the bikes, ready to test the Italian tarmac…
We took the A27 until Belluno (6 euros toll), when we exited the highway, heading northwest.. and UP!!






We changed from our meshed jackets to our warmer ones (yeah, we had taken both summer and winter gear thankfully) some kms up the road, and soon the Dolomiti begun to show their richness.





OK we were in a good mood, the weather was fine, we could be easily impressed, but, as the altitude started to climb, we were completely mesmerized by the natural beauty and the perfect bond it formed with the road under our tires. Beautiful tight turns, carving their way through the forest, reaching desert-like summits beyond 1800m, partly covered in snow, and then back lower through the perfect green carpet of grass which covers every inch of the land…








Soon we reach Moena, and find our hotel, unpack an insane amount of luggage and head downtown to look for fuel, this time for us… The end of May is a transitional period between the busy skiing season and the summer season, it is considered low season so many restaurants are closed but we manage to find a perfect little Italian restaurant, and we eat till we burst mocharella, prosciutto, pizzas and lots of BEER… Back to our rooms, we still discuss how lovely the scenery is and prepare for the main course of the Dolomiti, which is scheduled for the next day..










A perfect start for a perfect trip, in two hours' drive we went from 30 degrees to 12, climbed to 1900m (the hotel and Moena are at 1400m), and experienced the tarmac with the trimmed glass (it sparkles in the sun) which would be the norm for many thousands of km in the days to come. Gripping and handling were phenomenal, irrelevant of tire condition, and it tempted you to push the bike to its limits.. Another great thing is that the speed limit outside residential areas is 90, which means, with the tight design of the road, you can go really fast all along being legal and carefree, beware when entering villages though, the limit drops to 50 and the pedestrians expect you to give way…

Closing this daily review I must tell you of the first electrical problem I had. The moment we disembarked at the port of Venice, I turned off the kill switch to kill the engine until we set up our gps devices and do some short term planning. The moment I did that, the bike started giving ignition with the kill switch off, I took out the key and, guess what, the bike kept igniting. I put the key in, turned the switch and reved up a bit until the bike started again, tried to kill it and it did the same! On the third try it finally turned off correctly, leaving me sweated and panicked. I tried it another couple of times, and it seemed to work OK for now so we went on our way, but I was very nervous every time I had to turn off the engine. This was the first time I had this problem, and I had changed the starter relay only a week before departure, I also had a new battery but the relay was my first suspect, so I decided to re-insulate it the next morning so as to prevent it from possibly short-circuiting again under high moisture (the only scenario that made sense)…


Coming up: The best ride of the trip, the majestic Dolomiti, a motorbike heaven!!
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