Our first holidays week we were in Czech Republic to watch a road race: Czech Republic TT
After one week in Czech Republic, we went to our next stop, chosen on a rainy day with the map and some luck: Austria. The truth is that we made a mistake when booking, and we were lucky to end up in a very nice place at about 50km of Vienna, close to a mountain. We had booked a small house with a balcony with views to the fields and mountains. The owners had a farm and fields and were very very nice. It took me 1 week to remember some German studied long ago, but their son luckily spoke perfect English, so it was nicer for communication.
We took some hours to cover the 380km, we got lost, we found ourselves in the middle of a Harley charity ride after Vienna, and we had to follow their pace on the motorway during 30km… and when we arrived at about 6.15pm, the supermarket was about to close and we had nothing for dinner nor for breakfast. The owners indicated us a restaurant in the village where we had a very nice dinner (though we had rain on our way back).
The first day in Austria was spent in: having breakfast (optional with the rent: with homemade products like jam, bread, brioche, strawberries and blueberries from their garden, and so on… sooo good!), going to buy some food for the week, resting, and going for a walk around to see where we were.
The second day we went for our first “twisties” ride out. When we went out it was sunny, but we could see some clouds on the horizon. Being a mountain area, there is always a possibility of rain. The road was full of corners, and of bikers (with signals inviting bikers to slow down… and loads of bars indicating “bikers welcome”), probably the playground of Viennese bikers…
When we stopped to eat our picnic in a small village, it started to rain. Though there was one table under a small roof… so that was perfect!
Then we went again, first putting on our rain gear, as there were some quite bad clouds on the horizon… And it did start to rain… We missed a cross, and we started to go down by another road, first quite “flat”, but then quite steep, and quite wet… during 55km… we were not going too fast I’d say…
After a short stop in a petrol station to rest a little, we finally got to the motorway to get “home” quicker. It had stopped raining… not for long. After about 15km (of 90 we had to do) it started pouring down on us, with those kind of summer storm that usually lasts 15mn maximum… except that this one lasted about 70km… at some stage we could hardly see anything… We were lucky that there were quite a lot of tunnels on our way, one of more than 5km, but it was worst when we could see the end of the tunnel and outside it was still the same! First my gloves got soaked through, and then the rest in some places… We finally arrived, and the most difficult part was to find enough places to hang everything for drying…
The next day we wanted to go to see an Enduro race at about 15km, but everything was still completely wet (suits, helmets, gloves, boots). So we put everything on the balcony (it was sunny) and we took the day to rest. With loads of newspaper in the gloves and boots…
The next day it was 15th of August and it was bank holiday there. It was sunny again, so we decided to go back to the place to complete the ride out we had to shorten the first day. This time we had good weather and good temperature, and we could ride all day with loads of corners and nice landscapes without getting wet.
The next day we had some rest and went for a walk between fields and forest.
At last we had to leave this wonderful place with so nice people, to get back little by little to reality and end of holidays.
But we first had a last stage (well, really we did not want to come back lol), in a small hotel at about 20km of Innsbruck: still in Austria, and also in the Alps, in the “Tyrol” area. We got up at 5.00am, and after breakfast and finalising the packing, we started… well, I started, because Juan’s bike would not fire… After half an hour she finally decided to fire (maybe she didn’t want to go back either…) and we finally left just before 8.00…. We had a 430km trip to do. It took us 11 hours to get there, because the landscapes were so nice and we just had to stop to take pictures ;D .
We went through some passes, one of them with toll.
In Austria you can travel on the motorway buying a tax disk. For the motorbikes it costed 4,90€ for 10 days. Then you can have other roads (usually with tunnels or mountain passes) which have to be paid apart. We did not know that. The best would have been to buy the tax disk for passes (13€ for 10 days) to travel through this area and avoid surprises. But as we did not know we just bought the tax disk for this pass (5,50€ one way per bike). The landscapes from one side and the other of the pass were well worth the cost of it though…
Going up to Gerlosspass
View over Speicher Durlassboden
The road was also in very good conditions. At last as it was starting to be late, we went back to the motorway until past Innsbruck. A very nice motorway, with mountains all around. The hotel was close to Seefeld in Tirol, and we arrived at about 7.30pm. The dinner time was over in the hotel (dinner was at 6.30) so we had to go to another restaurant in the village where they served dinner until 9.30pm (not many… some Italians arrived some time after us and they were not served…).
The area was very nice also, with mountains all around, which we could see between 2 clouds…
The first day started with rain while we were having breakfast. Anyway after the previous day “small trip” we preferred to rest a little. But the hotel owner did not let us, and gave us a map and advice to go for a small walk (supposedly 1h40) above the village through the forest, to a place with nice views. So we started to walk, the path was well indicated in the forest. The problem was that along all the path there were strawberries and blueberries all over the place, so that we were stopping all the time to eat (me mostly…) and after 1h30 walking we hadn’t even reached a restaurant we could see from the village.
We finally got to the restaurant (which was closed) and we tried to find the path to the views, but it was all muddy and we had not the right shoes for that, and besides it started to rain, so we went back to the restaurant to eat our picnic under a small roof, and waited for the rain to stop… At one time we were completely surrounded by the clouds, and it was beautiful, but by the time I took the camera out, they were gone… at last the rain was less strong and we went back down by a shorter and steeper path.
The next and last day we had planned a trip to the famous “Passo dello Stelvio” which seemed to be quite “close” (about 155km), and come back through “Passo del Rombo”- but this last was with toll (11€ x bike), so we decided to go back through “Jaufen Pass/Passo di Monte Giovo”.
So there we go, with a small diversion through Switzerland as the “Reschenpass/Passo di Resia” was cut for works. Beautiful views and wonderful roads.
We finally arrived to the famous road by Trafoi. I think I will never forget my try to go up the Passo dello Stelvio… but because I had such a bad time. First corner, I find myself in the middle of the opposite lane… good start 🙁 . We go on. Second, third corner (the worst thing is that the corners are numbered, starting with nr 48 and down…), the road is very narrow, you have to open to the opposite lane to take the corners, but most of the time you don’t see if someone is coming down… If someone is coming down, you can’t open and you end up on the other side of the road on the upper part. That’s what happened to me on the 6th corner… with 2 motorbikes coming down… 🙁 and I got really scared. We had to stop and come back down (with Juan leading) after Juan turned my motorbike. It was not easier going down… 🙁
Back to Trafoi we parked the bikes and went to eat some giant, good and cheap pizzas and I tried to put my head together again…
My big problem with those corners is that I do not get too well to the floor, and the road is not flat (on the sides) either. Sometimes I ended up with only one foot touching the floor (when waiting for vehicles to get through on the other side) and apart from the kind of corners I am not used to, I got scared of falling, which was not in our holidays plans… and got very nervous.
After getting my nerves back, Juan convinced me to go up to the path, but with my bike only, and him driving. It was worth a second try and there we went with one bike. The clouds had gone and the snowy peaks were clear, it was just beautiful. We bought the Stelvio sticker and postcards for the family (they stamp them as the higher Alps path- as it seems that the supposedly higher path in the Alps “Col de l’Iseran” in France did some trick to get to the 2770m), and took some pictures. We saw that the road on the other side seemed to be quite better, and we went back to Trafoi to get Juan’s bike back. We went back through the same way as with all that it was quite late and we would not arrive before night if we took the first planned road.
So if we come back there some day, we will take the road from the other side, unless I get another motorbike, easier to handle… (which is not planned for now!).
Well, holidays were coming to an end, next day was Friday and we had to go back home. Supposedly 900 and something kilometres, most through German motorways, but we had 2 problems: 1- We started late AND 2- I didn’t want to go back so I said that we could avoid the motorways and stop one more night somewhere if necessary…
This got us to problem number 3: we took the “Fernpass”, and it seems that ALL the German, ALL the trucks, ALL the motorhomes… took it also, and then we went along the “BodenSee”, giant lake between Switzerland and Germany, where it seems that ALL Swiss and German go to spend the week-end… So it was quite a nightmare of traffic jams… We finally went out of the nightmare and arrived in Colmar, France at about 5.00pm. But we wanted now to get home, and we decided to go on to Nancy, but instead of the tunnel we took a nice road with corners. Bad idea, there was another traffic jam due to an accident, and it took 1 hour to cover 20km…
We stopped for dinner and rest a little, and we went back to the motorway, with a 100km detour to Troyes, but we had no choice, it was too exhausting to go on through smaller roads. We finally arrived at 2.00am, after 17 hours on the bikes, beaten and with a welcoming downpour half an hour before arriving… Welcome back to Paris! End of the good things!
The 2 days resting before going back to work were not too many!
Holidays 2014: 5076km, 1000 pictures (350 after sorting them out), 6 borders crossed, 1 Deluge, a few passes up and down, wonderful landscapes, nice and interesting talks with nice people, a lot of improvisation (the last one not the best), and a great lot of smiles.