Castles in the sky not just high Alps – Switzerland part 3

If you follow some narrow winding roads through fields of maize, past sheep and cattle quietly grazing, near the Aara River,  you find the village of Habsburg and Schloss Habsburg. 

Castle Habsburg

The starting place in 1025 for a family that would dominate Europe and its colonies for almost a millennium- the Habsburg Family

The Schloss Habsburg is one of the many castles that dot the Swiss countryside. 

Schloss Lenzburg in sight of Habsburg tower is an impressive example. 

Castle Lenzburg

Perched on hilltops

Castle Wildegg

And on lake sides

Castle Thun

The villages and old towns have their own special charms. 

Decorated building eves and old town entrance in Aarau

Monument in old Lenzburg

Looking across the Rhine to old Laufenburg in Switzerland from Germany

My time in Switzerland, this trip, is drawing to a close but I have enjoyed amazing Alpine riding, exploring aspects of a rich history and found a welcoming motorcycle culture. 

Thursday nights at Trimbach bei Olten

All types of bikes some very exotic 

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The Bergennen at Seebodenalp

Program for the historic meet

The Bergennen or hill climb race at Seebodenalp is a 500 metre climb over a 5 km track. 

The top of the track providing views over Kussnacht am Rigi. 

It was an event for historic bikes and some cars

Endurance racing Laverda

Studibaker hill climber from yesteryear

The pits were perched atop the track

With some lovingly restored bikes. 

And sidecars

A different day at the races! 

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High peaks, glaciers, lakes and fine twisty roads this must be the Swiss Alps – revisited

WARNING

Alpine roads and scenery and culture are known to cause Alpinitis, a disease that creates an almost uncontrollable urge to return. The only relief is more Alpine riding, which results in reinfection. 

This warning sits in small print on the first page of the book Motorcycle Journeys Through The Alps and beyond

September 2016, I had my first taste of the Alps
I hadn’t noticed the onset of Alpinitis but in February this year I felt compelled to do a five day ride in the Australian Alps

The Bonang Highway, 105 kms of twisty road

But it wasn’t enough and here I am again in the Swiss Alps reinfecting myself.

The piecemealadventurer at the top of St Gotthard Pass

Up amongst the glaciers. 

Looking

Across the valley to the next twisty climb

Looking at Grimsel Pass from Furka Pass

The climb up old St Gotthard pass

Down at the switch backs just conquered 

Old roads 

The cobbled surface of the old St Gotthard pass road

And fast sleek sweepers

Fast corner on the Susten Pass

The past the lakes

Looking down

Looking across

Days in the very high passes

Nufenpass the highest in the Swiss Alps at neatly 2,500 metres

Grimsel

Furka, Susten and St Gotthard

I’ve been reinfected and I’m glad there is only one response. More Alpine riding! 

Adendum 

To ensure the total reinfection I have was drawn to the tortuously narrow Pragel Pass

And its partner the Klausen. 

There is no end to the beauty of these mountains. 

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Refinding the beauty of Germany 

Old town in Kunzelsau

Escaping the rain of Scandinavia via the ferry from Rodby in Denmark  to Puttgarden in Germany the sun broke through. 

Rodby to Puttgarden ferry

The southern areas of Germany and warmer weather called. 

And along the road the lovely old buildings the lovely German guest houses. 

And the well preserved buildings in the villages. 

Moving south the mountains take over from the flatter land of the north. 

Castles perch on hilltops. 

With views over the green pastureland

And curvy roads that attract motorbikes. 

An on any Sunday stop

And of course the beautiful Rhine with the old towns and cities built to the edge of the river. 

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Great adventurers and a taste of Norway 

Borders I’ve never seen one but I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.  

This quote from Thor Hyerdadahls captures a vision of adventure and cultural interaction. 

The Kon Tiki

To see see the Kon Tiki to know the strength of that quest bought tears to my eyes. 

Fram, Kon Tiki and Rah form part of the maritime history at Bigdoy in Oslo.

Thor Hyerdadahl and polar Explorer Rould Amundsen were adventures after the highest order.

The Norwegian team led by Amundsen that were first to the South Pole

The ship Fram a wooden ship designed by the great Colin Archer that still holds the record the furthest north and south of any ship.

Fram

These are names that have fed my love of maritime adventure. 

For as it is said about the Norwegian sailor. 

If there is a boat that floats he will be the first one there. 

The Norwegian prowess at sea has existed for centuries. The Vikings emblamatic of their skill and exploration.

As these Viking burial ships show. 

Viking burial ships

A day at the Norwegian maritime museums is a wonderful insight into a rich maritime history. 

My taste of Norway took me north past Trondheim and its fjord. 

And to the very steep fjords on the west coast

And its glacier covered mountains

But a summer full of rain in the high northern latitudes was too much for this bloke from the driest continent on the planet. 

So it was a taste of Norway till maybe another time. 

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Some nights I just pinch myself – a photo montage 

It was just six months ago that I placed an advertisement on the Moto Guzzi Club of Great Britain asking if people would help me buy a Moto Guzzi in the UK to tour the UK and Europe. 

Six months later I’m sitting at my campsite at Kunzelsau in southern Germany half way through my tour to Europe.

I pinch myself again. 

My last post summarised the tour of the northern mainland of Great Britain. 

The European part of the journey started with catching the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

Then to the new TLM premises in Nijmegen, the Netherlands to get a couple of issues I had with the bike sorted out

A quick dash across the German border heading north

To Hirtshals, at the top of the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark a ferry and fishing village and a crossroads for bike travellers

A ferry port for those going to northern Scandinavia 

For me I was seeking a taste of Norway

I say a taste because Norway may be revisited. I think Scotland and Norway in one trip was too much high northern latitudes weather for a fellow from the driest of continents. 

A dash to Rodby, Denmark thought torrential rain to catch the ferry to Germany 

Where it’s warmer and drier. 

Yes sometimes I pinch myself to check it’s not a dream. 

I’m halfway through this tour and the Alps only 300km south. 

Pinch pinch

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Touring Northern UK on the mighty Breva II – a picture narrative 

Went to England but not London 

Went to Scotland but not Edinburgh 

Didn’t do Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds 

Touring a motorbike is on a different path

With strange admirers along the way

Crossing the Burway on the Welsh/English border

Started in Stoke

Made it to the top

Coast to coast

From Newcastle in the east

To Skye in the west

Past castles grand

And those that bare the scars of Britain’s violent history. 

Sinclair Castle

In search of monsters real or legend 

In the highlands

Fortingall Hotel Central Highlands

View from the Burway

And in the low

Smoo cave on the North Coast 500

Went to England and didn’t do London 

In Scotland missed Edinburgh 

But saw a bit. 

Mighty Breva II loaded and ready for the European adventure to come

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