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
And onto Santa Maria at the foot of Stelvio
Then the climb 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.
But it’s a lake of life and vitality.
From the tourist towns like Bellagio
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.
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.
I want to thank the countries of Europe for boring tunnels and building motorways so there is less traffic on the beautiful mountain passes.
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.
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.
With Bormio the objective before too much rain fell.
From Bormio to Lake Como there is a tunnel or Passo Gavia. One on the highest roads in the Alps.
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.
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
The pits were perched atop the track
With some lovingly restored bikes.
A different day at the races!
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
But it wasn’t enough and here I am again in the Swiss Alps reinfecting myself.
Up amongst the glaciers.
Across the valley to the next twisty climb
Down at the switch backs just conquered
And fast sleek sweepers
The past the lakes
Days in the very high passes
Nufenpass the highest in the Swiss Alps at neatly 2,500 metres
Furka, Susten and St Gotthard
I’ve been reinfected and I’m glad there is only one response. More Alpine riding!
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.
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.
Overlooking Newcastle upon Tyne the is the Angel of the North
An imposing piece of public art that hovers on a hill above the Tyne and Newcastle.
There were also some angels of the north at Mo Tech the Moto Guzzi dealer in Newcastle.
The provided me a bit of space out the weather to make a running repair.
Angels come in different forms
It was a boys big bike bash
looping Tassie like it was a race track
From the cold damp west coast
Misty wet Queenstown
settled in the heart of the wild west coast
windy roads in the mountains
constant dam filling drizzle and rain
looping across to the east coast
The beautiful fishing harbour of St Helens at dawn
Fresh fish washed down by local beer and wine
Elephant Pass and St Mary’s Pass clinging to the side of the mountains range.
From the coast climbing the past Poatina
Up onto the high plains
Winding through Bothwell
The home of the worlds best merino wool
and the high plains lakes
The nature was not the only thing of beauty
In Hobart there we visited a magnificent collection of classic bikes
Perfect for a Boys big bike bash
I’ve looked at Tassie from both sides now
from in and out
and still somehow
Its Tassie’s illusion I recall
I really don’t know Tassie at all
(will apologies to Joni Mitchell)
I’m going to Tassie again
I place I can always go back to
find something new and beautiful
In Australian smallest State
An island State, part of an island nation.
Looking out across the blue clear waters that surround Tassie.
Looking in from coastal anchorages at
At storms rolling past
At the play of the light on the rocky shoreline
Looking in to tight harbour entrances
Sitting safe in historic ports
Travelling through beautiful wilderness
And a quirkiness that is only Tassie
Next month I’m going back to Tassie again
Taking the mighty Breva down for her second trip
I hope the sun never sets on my Tasmania adventures.