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Old 04-30-2008, 07:06 PM   #151
Watercat
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Nice Vid ! ! ! ! !

Wow -

Really shows how narrow those roads are thru the villages . . . . .

Also, like the stone walls lining the sides of the roads

Thanks for the update ! ! !

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Old 05-01-2008, 05:38 AM   #152
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Thumb Viterbo - Tolfa: Day 1, Part 2

To recap: We're on our way south in Toscana, having had lunch in Colle di Val d'Elsa. The map, with all the images, is here. The map will be populated with more images as I work on the report.

As a remineder to the gentle reader: The text associated with an image is always (!) below the image. Both above and below has it's advantages, but I had to choose one. If you don't like it, screoll by the image, read the text, adn scroll back up :-)




As we have about 300 km to cover today, and we have had lunch, and it is about two o'clock, we bite into the bitter fruit and take the Autostrada from Colle di Val d'Elsa to Siena. It is a mere 20 minutes, but riding here is against everything I came to Toscana for. But sometimes, I even have to ensure 20 minutes of highway. You are free to feel sorry for me.
If I knew what would happen tomorrow, I would have gone home instead. But that will have to wait.
After ten minutes, on our way south to Siena, we pass the fortified town of Monteriggioni. You see it on the hill to the right.




Here is an earlier photo (from an earlier RR) of the same fortress. Looks nice, doesn't it. In fact, it deserves a dedicated Ride Report; I've put it on the ToDo list.





We pass Siena, and take South-West on SS-73 towards Grosseto. The plan is to visit the slopes of Monte Amiata. After inmate flanga's epic report from North-America, and since the only thing I know about geology is that there was a faculty with that name at the university I used to work, I offer you instead a link to everything you want to know about this vulcano here. We want to visit it because there are some nice town and villages in the area. Per fortuna we are interested in different things :-)

The SS73 is a new road, and utterly boring. It even has a three km strech with no curves (see above). Can you imagine how boring that is? Well, if you have read flangas RR you can vividly imagine. But I live here to avoid these things.



Fortunately the new road comes to an end, and we return to roads as they are supposed to be. We have decided to visit the town of Santa Fiora (wiki here). The 01:24 film above shows hwo the road to the village follows the terrain. It is not steep, it si just an old road that crawls it's way up the slope of Monte Amiata. As always: The sound is awful but you get the idea. We (Capa della Famiglia is still with me) don't ride fast, we enjoy the travel and then (too much) speed makes impossible to focus on Toscana as it passes by.




As all Medieval towns, riding within it is hard. Very hard. Once upon a time, a stairs was a perfectly normal part of a street. If you don't have any kind of vehicle, a set of stairs is no ibstacle at all. And a mule will take it without problems. We didn't try on this street.




We did, however, find a ridable set of streets into the main Piazza. The fiml above shows how to enter the old fortress, and follow some steep streets onto the piazza. Once there we found that there is a modern street leading to it from the other side, that we had gone up the street which is on-way down, and passed though two area pedonale. But we made it so we were happy.

So happy that we settled in a gelateria on the piazza, had a nice ice cream, an espresso, and a nap. Thus the second part of the day ends in Santa Fiora. In the third part we get to knwo a few nuns that takes us into their monestary for the night.

Thank you for you attention, so far.

[TaSK]
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:05 AM   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagesk
BTW: Did you ride a bike there?

[TaSK]
The first time when in Tuscany and surrounding areas, no I didn't. The second time yes but the majority of the time was spent in Northern Italy, Austria and Switzerland. This is the ride report:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=172101

The roads are amazing as is the scenery and the history. Very little on this side of the pond can compare. The type of riding we did would have resulted in prison over here:)
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:09 PM   #154
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Thumb Viterbo - Tolfa: Day 1, Part 3



The sun is shining, but probably because we are in the mountain it is not nice and warm. A very cold wind makes it
uncomfortable to sit outside. After a long while inside the gelateria we depart from Santa Fiora.
We do as we always do when we want to enjoy the countryside. On the Zumo we plot the place of arrival, and then ask for
the shortest distance. This waw we are taken through the wealth of small and narrow roads that fill up the Tuscan countryside.
Toscana isn't more than 200 x 200 km (125 x 125 miles), but we have 28.000 km (more than 17.000 miles) of paved roads. The
blurred picture above is one of them.
There is, however, one thing She does not tolerate: Unpaved roads. So I rely on Zumo to keep his word when I tick the "avoid
unpaved roads"-button. So far, so good.




(Taken with my 89 euro camera mounted on the bike!)



(Taken with a substantially more than 89 euro Olympus.)

We continue through the south of Toscana, and we approach the border to Lazio (the Regione to the south). We pass
though the little town of Sorano. Known from 300 BC, this turns out to be a perl! I haven't been here before, and when
I relalize how nice it is, we are basically past. We are running a little late so we decide to ride on. We want to find a place
to stay before it gets dark, and the sun is setting, so what can we do?
After a few km we pass by a field as the sun is setting, there are yellow flowers, a clud in the sky, and a white house next
to a tree. A postcard, no less. And with a BMW R1150GS on ti as well - can it get better?
Obviously this cost us another half an hour, and as we come to Tuscania it is getting dark.

But, there is un ponte (a bridge). We have Satruday 26th and Friday 25. April is Liberation Day. This creates a long week
end, and all and every Italian goes home to his mother to selebrate with fine food. We spend until eight thirty calling and
visiting different places before we give up as none have any vacancies, and head to the next big city: Viterbo (wiki here).

In Viterbo we try a few places before realizing that we must do as the Itlians do: We head into a bar. To the nice gentleman
we explain the situation, that we are cold and hungry, it is getting late, and so on. He does as any Italian would do: He grabs
the telephone.

He calls several friends and friends of friends, but to no avail. In the end he doesn't dispair, he says "OK, we'll try this last
thing, but you need someome local to come with you". He talks to a lady having an espresso, and she without hesitation
offers to come with us. She walks through many small and narrow streets, while we follow on Bamsefar.





At last we arrive at a small door in a gray stone wall. After a while i nun opens. The lady explains that we are foreigners,
tired from a long jurney, have tried everything, and now would very much appreciate if we would be allowed to stay the
night with the nuns.
She does not look happy. Not at all. But Capa della Famiglia turns on her charm, and I am not the only one that falls for it.
We are invited in, are allowed to park the bike behind a locked gate at the back, and given a double room!

The rules are simple: We can go out for dinner, but must ring the bell when we get back (so don't stay too long).
Breakfast is from 06:30 until 08:00, but if we want we can have it earlier. We politely decline to have the breakfast
earlier then 06:30, dash out for a light dinner, and then back and have (another) nun let us in.

Thus we stay the night at L'Istituto San Pio X in via S. Tommaso 30, Viterbo.

Needless to say, the double romm doesn't have a double bed (this is, after all, a monastry). But it has two Bibles and
two desks for study (the Bible I guess). We feel like naughty teenagers when we push the beds together, and even
naugthier when we surrender to all the nagging needs of the body.


Thank you for reading! Tomorrow we will have a lunch that compensates the lack of dinner, and do something unprecedented.

[TaSK]
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:05 PM   #155
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Thumb Viterbo - Tolfa: Day 2, part 1

The map is here.




So we entertained ourself all the night at the monestary; God knows what the nuns think about that, but I guess that they would appreciate all that enjoy the result of God's work. And, if I may modestly add: Capa della Famiglia is a prime example of His work! Nature in it's finest! But I digress.

Breakfast was served from 06:30 until 08:00 (with the option of having it even earlier). We missed it. So instead we walked through the morning quiet streets of Viterbo, and returned to the bar where we received help yesterday. And to convey our gratitude to the Gentleman there.

To my joy he had an assistant helping him in the bar this morning. Among her fine properties is that she can make an absolutely wunderful cappuccino. Watching an assistant pour a perfect cappucino is a nice way to start a Sunday morning. The sun is shining, we are the beaautiful city of Viterbo, and she is making me the perfect cappucino, and Capa della Famiglia captures it all. This is going to be a above-average day; I can fell it!



The genteman himself is also there. Just as smiling as yesterday evening; he probably had as good night as we had as we are all very, very happy.



And, finally, here is the bar itself with two random customers. If you, the reader, happens to know the address I would be happy to update this page. I advice anyone who happens to be in Viterbo to go there for their espresso!




But it is time to go on. We ride down to Tolfa.




We ask Zumo for the shortest, and we are taken into the countryside. Even though we are not in Toscana any longer (we are in Lazio), we are not many km from the border so we are still comfortable. The road follows the landscape as it should. Mostly we meet other bikes, of various kind.






In the small town of Monte Romano we stop for (another) cappuccino. We sit in the sun for a while while I watch the rider of a red CBR getting ready to ride off. Eh.... nice bike, or what?



After the interesting riders have departed, we decide it is time also fo us to go. We need to be in Tolfa well before lunch.




Riding through the valley, coming towards Tolfa from the East.




We get there in time, and we settle under the (almost) Tuscan sun for lunch. What you see above is the view from the terrass where we had lunch.



Needless to say, after such a lunch it was impossible to continue riding. I found a bench in the shadow, and fell a sleep.

But we will go home, I promise!

[TaSK]
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Old 05-03-2008, 12:15 AM   #156
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thank you for the report and cool pictures. :)
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Old 05-07-2008, 03:36 AM   #157
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Thumb Viterbo - Tolfa: Day 2, Part 2


To recap: After a day of riding, and staying a night with nuns at a monastry in Viterbo, we have arrived in Tolfa for lunch. The 10 sec video above will show you why we're not ready to ride home after lunch. In fact, I spend most of the afternoon dozing on a bench while the wine wears off. Life is hard.



Finally, in the very late afternoon, we are ready to go home. Home is by now 300 km (185 miles) away. The prospects are not nice. Not nice at all. It seems clear to us that the only way we can make it home in a reasonable manner, will be to ride on the via Aurelia.
The problem with via Aurelia is that it is a four-lane highway. As far as I can recall we have never, ever taken the Aurelia 300 km.



The only comfort is that towards Roma traffic is completely stuck. Riding for tens of kilometers looking at cars standing basically still is nice for several minutes. Then it becomes boring. Then disgusting.




We stop for a late-afternoon espresso. As we are departing five other BMWs pull up. There is no price to win from guessing who the old fart with the yellow west might be. And as Capa delle Famiglia is taking the photo so I'm obviously not wawing to her, it is not clear why I am giving a Nazi salute. Let us hope there was some reason. Bamsefar, the 2000 R1150GS looked old, tired, and worn next to the new and polished 1200GS's and the LT.



Our ordeal continues, the sun sets, and we are still cruising ont he via Aurelia. The the road is more than 2.000 years old doesn't help. Highways sucks.

Oh well - we did finally get home. We had a nice week end, had an above-average lunch on Sunday, and visited friends. What more can a man reasonable ask?

[TaSK]
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:19 AM   #158
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Quote:
Bamsefar, the 2000 R1150GS looked old, tired, and worn next to the new and polished 1200GS's and the LT.
don't let your bike hear that...
the very best bike in the world is the one you are riding that's paid for




and the lunch....
we had a similar lunch at the Villa La Massa in your beloved Tuscany!
Italians certainly know how to live.


it seems a world-wide truth.. multilane highways & traffic jams suck

thanks for taking us along.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:54 AM   #159
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Thumb Colline Lucchese



What to do in a few hours, with some guests, on a Saturday morning? Well, a ride in the hills overlooking Lucca is not at all the worst one can do.
We started on the lower right-hand corner. Rode north over Monte Pisano and to Lucca. Continued north up the valley on SS12, then over the hill (mountain?) and down to Lucca again. South to San Giuliano Terme, and home. 130 km.




We are somewhat delayed becuase a very gifted man had managed to drive a large lorry all the way up in the village. As should be apparent from the picture, passing it was not an option. Furthermore, there is nowhere to turn up here, and it took some time to go backwards the several hundred meters to the parking below the village. Good entertainment (not much happens here at the end of the road).



We ride over Monte Pisano and arrive in the tiny village of Sant'Andrea di Compito. Not much to see (except a nice, small and cozy medieval village, I mean :-).



But they have a small bar. With a cake that isn't bad, and cppuccino. Sitting in the shadow, outside a bar, with cake and cappuccino together with some nice and gentle people, a Saturday morning in May - take my word for it: It is not bad at all.



We continue, and get to Lucca. The walls are so nice that I will have to return here later with showing them to you as the sole purpose. A ride-bby shot will not be justified.
Instead, just north of Lucca you pass a 1 meter thick concrete wall next to the road. It is the remains of the Gothic Line from WW-II (wiki here). One can see how the wall crawls up the sides of the mountains on both sides of the valley.



We pass the incredible bridge Ponte della Maddalena (wiki here). The bridge is almost 1.000 years old. For scale: Notice the two persons (one white and one red) on the way up from this side.



We pass the 44th parallell (sign on the right).





We pass Bagni di Lucca, and continue up the valley. Then, after a while, and a dead-end detour, we start to climb into the hill, south towards Lucca. The first village we arrive at is Benabbio. In the video you can see how we meet a bus inside the village. I am glad I have a different job than driving a bus here.




We continue up, and the road is very nice as it twists it's way upwards. It is proper spring down in the valley, but as we get higher up the colours become ligher, more light green.



On the top of the pass we find the (not so) small village of Beveglio. Deep inside the village there is a piazza, and a bar. No lunch, but the espresso is nice.







When we leave we ride up the main street. It is very, very narrow, and riding there is not simple at all. I invite you to watch, and remember we are talking about Main Street :-)






Here I leave my guests. They want to relax and take it slowly down the hill towards Lucca. I need to get to work. I am stuck for a while behind a huge truck, but a small opening and the torque of the GS pulls me past it.

Half an hour later I am home, free to enjoy work.

[TaSK]
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:05 PM   #160
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Oh Task is back . Keep up with those great pics and the write up, and for the 89 bucks camera, the pics are not bad at all
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:47 PM   #161
Carlo Muro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagesk
The only interesting part is the scooter that passes me and squeezes between two cars at 90 km/h; in case you wonder why youngsters get killed on scooters, I mean.
[TaSK]
I've watched this video several times and have to say that I probably wouldn't have hesitated to do the same thing. Couple things that I noticed are that both the car being passed and the oncoming car gave the kid a wide path. I also noticed that the scooter kid seemed to choose a very good line. Having worked in Toscany for 2 years I can say that on the open road Italian drivers are some of the best and most courteous I've seen (in heavy traffic it is a different story ). I would NEVER attempt this move here in the US however.
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:13 AM   #162
tagesk OP
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Thumb Scooter, and MotorGP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlo Muro
I've watched this video several times and have to say that I probably wouldn't have hesitated to do the same thing. Couple things that I noticed are that both the car being passed and the oncoming car gave the kid a wide path. I also noticed that the scooter kid seemed to choose a very good line.
True, true. But the smallest deviation and the guy would have been toast! Problem is that here there are too many deviations and too many kids get smashed.

Upcoming: Tuesday I ride to Mugello (just north of Firenze) to buy tickets for the 1. june MotoGP. I've never been at a MotorGP before, so I am thirlled. My man on the job says Superbike is due Sunday. I'll report back to you!

[TaSK]
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:03 PM   #163
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Thumb Rain, but nice lunch

(As always, the text belonging to a picture is below the image).




There was a thread in GSpot on how to modify the tank, by drilling a hole to let air escape and bending the drainage
tube upwards. I opened it up, but found a plastic valve instead of a tube. But I still managed to get room for three more
liters of fuel by drilling a hole in the neck and lifting (bending) the "holder" for the valve upwards. The picture shows the
arrangement after I have liftet the valve several centimeters upwards. But I assume that when I now fill the tank to
the rim I can't place the bike on the side stand without petrol being spilled. I'll check it out one of these days.

Anyway, I don't want to bore you with technicalities, but I also opened the tube that drains water from below the lid of the tank,
so I felt compelled to take a ride in the rain. Normally I don't even venture outside when it rains, but today I will be bold. I will
also test if the riding gear Espen gave me is water proof. Basically: how can I find out unless I am not bold and experience some rain?



Today I ride with two guests. They are both my excuse for going outside, and they will come to my rescue if my FD fails, for example.
We ride from Monmtemagno to Lucca, passes the city walls, and up the valley to Ponte della Maddalena (wiki here). If you are an
engineer I am sure you will appreciate this 900 years old bridge. To design and build such a thing without steel wires and hydraulics
is simply stunning. For scale: Check out the (barely visible) people on the top of the bridge!



We left my villa at ten, after a proper breakfast (a thin slice of white bread with a little lemon marmelade, and a cappuccino). Now,
an hour later, we are in need of a refill. I can recommend the cappuccino the lady makes there in the tiny bar just at foot of the
bridge. Very nice!
Actually, the coffee was so nice I forgot for a while how the weather was like outside.



Because of the weather I have moved my camera safely behind the wind screen. Good for the camera, but when it pours down the images
become crappy. This was supposed to show the nice village of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.
The camera is only protected from the rain as long as I ride along. It is not (at all!) water proof, so if I stop I must hold my hand out to shield
it from the rain. Not a good design, to say the least. If we are go have more days with rain this year I will have to come up with something better.





We start to climb into the mountaions. Soon we reach the small village of Castiglione di Garfagnana. The village has Roman roots, and has been
here for two thousand years. I offer you a 69 seconds video of how it is to approach the village in rain, ride below the medieval walls, let a
German tourist cross the road, and then ride on. Some day with sun I'll ride up there to present you with a better report than a mere
69 seconds. But it is raining for God's sake!




About half way up to the pass, you will find the tiny village of Cerageto. There we have known for some years the
trattoria Vila Verde (link). I have no idea of how many times we have dined here. Not only lunch, as we are planning today, but
we have stayed for dinner many, many times. The place is timeless, and arriving from a busy metropol, having lunch
at Villa Verde in Cerageto is simply amazing.

We are at 850 meters above sea level (half way up to the pass) and the temperature is only 10蚓. In the rain it is chilly (to say the least)

Today there is MotoGP and Rossi is doing well. We three riders are wet, wet, wet, but noone pays the slightest
attention to us. Everyone are watching MotoGP on TV!



We tell Roberto we are cold and hungry, and in dire need of happiness. He starts with warm mussles and shells in oil
with prezzemole. Generous serving!



Then penne with gamberetti.



Finally shrimps perfectly fried on the pan, with some fried polpo, some potatoes fried inthe pan, and two small fishes that
I don't know what were. A dash of lemon from the garden.

As dolce he offered us torta della nonna. Technically speaking the cake was OK, but it was not fatta a casa so it wasn't up to the level of the rest.



Finally, we had espresso.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Let me show you a perfect espresso. A prefect coffee, if you like. The crema was at least 5 mm thick.
The aroma beyond what I can describe (if I could paint such pictures in your mind I would have been an acclaimed author).
And that tiny nugget is a real Ferrero Rocher. If you can envision a better way to round of a lunch that this I would very
much like to hear about it. Very much!





As I refrain from both having a sigarette and a sigar, we continue upwards. The fog is thick and if I don't lean
forward and wipe off the wind shield before snapping a picture, the autofocus fixes on the rain instead.

We finally arrive at the pass (at 1.600 meters), but it is raining so hard we don't stop. Down along the old road.

My gear is holding up, and I am remarkably dry. Until the Family Jewels suddenly are submerged in ice cold water. As it is
about one hour to get home I get to understand fully that I need rain gear over the ordinary pants.




When we finally get down from the mountain, the temperature rises and the weather becomes almost good. At a red light
outside Lucca I find some things to make me merry. A nice girl riding pinnion on a nice bike. About the girl I know
nothing, the bike was a MV Agusta; the whole film is 49 seconds. What more can I ask?

Oh well, yet another working day draws to a close.

Thank you for coming along.

[TaSK]
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tagesk screwed with this post 05-18-2008 at 03:14 PM
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:22 PM   #164
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Great Great Reports! I only found this today but I have to catch up!
I will be passing by this area in June coming from Croatia to Ancona and the to Tuscany. Maybe I can take some ideas from this reports!
Thank you!
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:47 AM   #165
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Missing your reports

tagesk,

I am suffering from withdrawls of your ride reports. I hope your absence is due to additional riding. You have successfully hooked me into your thread with your pictures of riding through Itally: the absolutely stunning country side, the sites, the food (oh the food!! ), your quest for the perfect espresso and your descriptions of what you're seeing and doing. It has been a great ride along with you. I have to admit that I went out and purchased a stove top espresso pot to try to figure what it is all about. I'm still working on it. I hope we see more soon. I definitely missing riding through Italy along with you ... albeit lurking in this thread.

Cheers, Guy
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