View from Furker pass looking across the Valley to the Grimsel
The ride down Furker Pass and up the Grimsel has to be one of the most beautiful and exhilarating rides available.
Past the wall of the Rhone Glacier
Looking across at the Rhone Glacier from the Grimsel
Through the little village of Gletsch
Then up the Grimsel
Winding up to the lake at the top of Grimsel Pass
Grimsel Guest house under repair
If that is not enough
Down the Grimsel
Then up the Nufenen Pass
What a day of riding it was.
In a few months I will be back in Europe
On the Mighty Breva II
More mountain passes some old some revisited.
Break dancing in Puerto del Sol\
In Puerto del Sol, Madrid
The wild break dancer
On his back
Passion for the night
In the Flamenco Cave
The flashing of the legs
The swirling of the skirts
The staccato beating of the feet
Hard on the floor
Driving the beating of the heart
The Dance of Passion
Looking forward to visiting Spain again to indulge the passion
The Dordogne Riders had lured me to the Vezere Valley
St Leon sur Vezere a beautiful Village in the Dordogne Region of Southern France
St Leon sur Vezere
Camped on the edge of the river
St Leon sur Vezere Municipal Camp site
Amongst significant historic and prehistoric sites
The Grote de Rouffignac
Maison Forte de Reignac
Maison Forte de Reignac
and Chateau de Losse
The Mighty Breva 11
But southern France is also about the beautiful villages
The continuation of the wonderful biker culture that exists in Europe. *
With the Dordogne bikers and friends
And of course in France food
A delicious lunch
* I was amazed that after 3 months covering 16,000km in 9 countries I was not pulled over once by the police. Three weeks back in Australia I was pulled over for a licence check while not breaking any law. It was motorcycle awareness (HARASSMENT) month.
On the train from the midlands to London. I listened to The Clash, London Calling.
Its both a distopian and resilient view of London. It seemed fitting as a bombing in the tube had set a sombre tone.
But London is London no matter.
Despite the confrontation London open day was in full swing as was Thames week.
And it gave a little sometime for mariner like me.
These 10 Thames barges had sailed up the river.
And were using their motors against the ebb tide to hold formation still in the water. Such seamanship.
And really there is something special about the English is their way with the sea and boats.
Be it Drake’s Golden Hind
Replica Golden Hind
Or the uniquely English narrow boats that carried goods and produce from the midlands to London prior to rail
Narrow boat exits a Loch on the
Along the Grand Union Canal.
And now provide floating pleasure.
So I did go to London!
From Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald you can see the Aletsch Glacier. Running over the mountains.
View of Aletsch Glacier from Lauterbrunnen
But, in time, it may be lost a sad loss both in beauty and the impact on the Alps.
North of Interlaken the valley runs north to the Jungfrau region and the Glacier.
And beautiful waterfalls
But in time as the Glacier melts the villages, the lakes, the waterfalls will in turn be reshaped.
A carnival atop the Stelvio Pass
Its the big daddy of the Alps
2760 metres high
From Lake Como four passes to reach the top
Maloja pass through to Saint Moritz
Then climb the Ofen Pass
View from the Ofen Pass
And onto Santa Maria at the foot of Stelvio
Hotel Stelvio in Santa Maria
Then the climb on the Umblia pass
View from cafe on the Umblia pass
Bikes and cars making the climb
Higher and higher
Till the top
Looking down the valley
Across at the glacier
Standing atop the Stelvio Pass
The brochure called it the lake of dreams.
View over Lake Como from the Somana galleries above Mandello De Lario
But it’s a lake of life and vitality.
From the tourist towns like Bellagio
Bellagio from Lake Como
The narrow streets of the villages full of smells of fine food, chatter and laughter
And beautiful villages that held forged dreams that became Italian classics.
View of Mandello de Lario
Like Carlo Guzzi’s dream for an industry for his village
So if Lake Como is a village of dreams it’s also the essence of Italian love and lust for live, beauty and exuberance.
Village lights and moon over Lake Como
The piecemealadventurer Mandello de Lario where dreams do come true.
The Alps are a beautiful but precipitous place.
The mudslide is a reminder of the both the beauty and power of nature.
Shifting rocks above the Pass
It takes my thoughts drift back to the indigenous Australians and their relationship to land.
No deity in the heavens it’s is the land that nurtures and provides. It’s the land that has wrath.
Story of land
So as I sit in the Vezere a place where humanity survived the ice age. I can reflect on the power of nature.
Humanity may try to destroy itself through nuclear war or climate change or our greed and averice nature will continue.
My heart goes out to those who lost lives and property in the beautiful Swiss Italian border country.
I want to thank the countries of Europe for boring tunnels and building motorways so there is less traffic on the beautiful mountain passes.
The piecemealadventurer atop Stelvio Pass
Riding the passes of Austria, Switzerland, and Italy to Lake Como was sublime.
Emerging from a congested Fern Pass and then onto Reschen Pass the traffic eased, the pace quickened and the dance of a motorbike carving the curves of a mountain road took form.
Lake Reschen at the top of the Pass
Looking down Reschen Pass the road in the gallery clinging to the cliff face
The Reschen Pass links straight to the bottom pass of the Stelvio. On a run through to Bormio.
The Umbrail Pass is just below Stelvio and with the weather closing in Stelvio was for another day.
On Umbrail Pass
With Bormio the objective before too much rain fell.
Rain over Bormio
From Bormio to Lake Como there is a tunnel or Passo Gavia. One on the highest roads in the Alps.
War memorial Passo Gavia
Atop Passo Gavia
The last miles to Lake Como is small villages that link together as one and tunnels. Pushing hard to get to the booked room before dark. The GPS suddenly announced that in 500 metres I would reach my destination. In the middle of the tunnel! I was 100 or so metres below there I was to stay. A lesson in making sure I enter a detailed and accurate address lol.
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.
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.
Perched on hilltops
And on lake sides
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
Bridge to old centre of Olten
The old sections of Aarau and Olten were built in a circle formation.
The back walls of the rows of buildings forming a barricade with gated entrances.
Old main gate in Aarau
Curved walls in Olten