DUCATI TOUR 07-07-2011: Gabicce Mare to Bologna
Ciao tutti viggiatori di mundo! (Hi Worldtourers everywhere!)
We are exhausted, but happy.
Today we rode incredible 280 (group Juergen) / 370 (group Christian) kilometres from Gabicce Mare to Bologna, via Misano (Juergen), San Marino and a large number of passes all over Tuscany.
Near Gabicce, we dropped by at the closeby Misano Circuit. We could not get INTO the circuit since BMW was testing some prototypes on the track, but we got some nice pictures by the gates.
When entering the Republic of San Marino (oldest republic of the world, founded in the year 311) is easy. No checkpoints, nothing...
Entering San Marino Castle, and look: the policemen are nice (and the uniforms different)...
Today's curves were a worthy ending to an excellent tour. Not only were the conditions perfect, we were all able to employ some of the new riding techniques we had been picking up from Vittorio (a participant, motorcycle journalist and former racer) and from our tourguides. The hairpins and tight turns don't scare anybody anymore, we just came to love them when we ride them.
It will be hard to return to a life without Antipasti and handmade Tortelli, but we all are taking precious memories with us. Like the fine truffle-slizes on fresh Ravioli, hmmmmm....
And even though all participants were Edelweiss novices, one thing's for sure: we will meet again, on another Edelweiss or Edelweiss-Ducati Tour. And whenever or wherever that may be the case: We will definitely keep you posted!
DUCATI TOUR 06-07-2011: Assisi to Gabbicce Mare by the Adriatic, via Lago Trasimeno, Urbino and Tavullia!
Hi Worldtourers out there!
We are on the sixth day of our journey through Italy, and today we reached the Adriatic Sea in Gabbicce, just south of Rimini. The route from Assisi (see the Basilica on the picture below) was long and curvy.
The landscape changed, as we entered the Italian provinces of Umbria, Marken and Emiglia Romana. The region is famous for ist truffles (among many other things)...
Ryan having some fun in the curves...
Floyd and Martha enjoying their Multistrada in a perfect setting...
Lago Trasimeno, scene of an important battle between Hannibal and the Romans...
There are still a lot of vineyards on the hillsides, but now there are also vast sunflower fields. Time to have some fun in the yellow sea of petals!
The "Brazilian Musqueteers" in a sunflower field...
After a quick lunch under the Brazilian flag (our friends from Sao Paolo proudly display it whenever they can) we headed towards the city of Urbino.
This city is famous for two reasons: Federico de Montefeltro, general of a mercenary army from the early 15th century, who is said to never have lost a battle. He took the money he earned as a mercenary and reinvested those funds into the improvement of the city, employing famous artists and architects to construct a beautiful old city.
The second reason why Urbino is famed is Valentino Rossi: He was born here.
After the little trip to Urbino we headed east towards the little town of Tavullia, hometown of „Vale“. We took some pictures of our Ducatis underneath the banner that „the Doctor“ unfolded after his 100th GP victory and then spent some time in the local fanshops.
We reached Gabicce Mare in the afternoon, and some of us went directly into the Adriatic for a swim. The evening climate was warm, so many of us went for a stroll through the lively streets along the seaside after dinner. There were people everywhere, street artists, musicians... a typical summer night in the Adriatic.
Tomorrow we will be leaving for Bologna. But before we get there, we have to leave Italy: We are passing through San Marino! The world’s oldest republic sits on a big mountain rock (the „Monte Titano“) and also offers some beautiful views and nice curves. But more on that tomorrow. We’ll keep you posted...
DUCATI TOUR 05-07-2011: Siena to Assisi, via Montalcino, Orvieto and many curves...
Hi Worldtourers out there,
Greetings from Assisi. Sounds familiar? Well, you could say it is one of the most prominent catholic pilgrims’ destinations in the world: once home to San Francisco de Assisi and Clara de Assisi, and proud to have one of the largest churches in the world on ist terrain.
But before we reached Assisi, we had some curves to ride and kilometres to master.
Leaving Siena towards the south-east, we quickly reached the curvy side-roads and rode through a truly magnificent landscape.
Everwhere we looked, the scenery seemed like a setting from a Tuscany holiday postcard. We visited the gorgeous city of Montalcino, where we had coffee. Wine would have been more appropriate for the region: it is home to the famous Brunello wine. But we want to have a clear head and fully enjoy our ride, so we left the wine orders for the evening.
Of course, we made a number of photo-stops along the way and we can’t wait to show these pictures to our friends and family.
Both groups - again riding separately today - met a few times along today’s route, including for an extended lunchbreak in a restaurant overlooking Lake Trasimeno.
In the afternoon, we decided it was time for some cultural sightseeing activities, so we visited the famous Dome of Orvieto. Absolutely breathtaking architecture, a gigantic building covered in tile mosaics so fine you would think it is decorated by mural paintings.
The Dome also holds one of Christianity’s most famous reliquiae, a mass tablecloth on which blood is said to have dripped from the hostia. This miracle is actually the story behind the Christian holiday of Corpus Christi. In Orvieto, we also took the time to drink another nice Italian coffee on the main square facing the dome, some of us even tried the famous Gelato (ice-cream).
More curvy roads concluded the day, as we reached Assisi in the early evening. Our hotel has a great view. Just to give you an idea of how great it is: The view from only the parking lot overlooking the old town and the valley below Assisi is better than that of most hotels ANYWHERE here in town.
After dinner we took a nice stroll through the old medieval streets of Assisi… a great opportunity to chat a bit, have an ice-cream or just enjoy the fresh evening air while looking at impressive buildings, the famous Dome of Assisi, and discovering small details like vanishing frescos and little hidden churches, secret side-streets and mysterious corners and medieval alleys.
Tomorrow we will be riding towards the Adriatic Sea, and of course we will be paying a visit to Tavullia. Any idea, where that is and why we should go there?
Find out tomorrow - we will definitely keep you posted…
DUCATI TOUR 04-07-2011: Florence to Siena, via San Gimigniano and other detours...
Ciao Worldtourers and Gourmets out there!
Today we started the day in style: We held our morning briefing on the rooftop terrace of our downtown hotel in Florence. The impressive dome (made of famous Carrara marble) looked close enough to touch it!
Then we left for Piazzale Michelangelo, a large Piazza overlooking Florence (or Firenze, as they call it here). An official Ducati photographer joined us and took our group picture there, and accompanied us for the rest of the day to try and catch the magic of this Ducati Tour with his camera.
Riding southbound, there are only a few dozen kilometers from Florence to Siena. Guess what: we made close to 200km out of that. The region between Florence and Siena is called "Chianti", an old name for a medieval military alliance of villages of the region. And of course, that is the origin of the name of the famous Chianti wine! But no wine for us - that part will have to wait until tonight.
Instead, we enjoy great Antipasti, Primi and Secondi Piatti, Dolce and Caffé Macchiato, and then explore the curvy twisties between the endless vineyards and olive gardens, see castellos on hilltops, cypress trees alongside roads and enjoy perfect riding conditions. After the morning coffee break, we had split up into two groups: One with Christian, one with Juergen. In the course of the day, our paths should cross a few times - for example in San Gimignano. This medieval town is unique, because it still has some of the old medieval family towers. Some wealthy and powerful families of Tuscany tended to build "skyscrapers" in order to impress other families and to show off their wealth and power. This led to a tower-building competition - giving San Gimignano the nickname "Manhattan of the Middle Ages". Delicious ice-cream accompanied our walk through the narrow medieval streets. It is a strange notion to think that every stone you walk on and the walls you touch are many hundreds of years old. What hard and cruel times have these stones seen, how many battles have these walls withstood?
Certainly these medieval walls enjoy the looks and sound of our Multistradas and Monsters...
From San Gimignano it is just a short ride to Siena, but we had a quick stopover at Montereggione, one of the few medieval towns that still has all of its outer walls. This is rather remarkable, since these cities, when growing in size and overflowing into areas outside the walls, typically used wall-stones as building materials, particularly in peaceful times.
After arriving at our hotel in Siena we had a short walk into the old town of Siena. This town is famous for the "Palio", a rough medieval horse race on the shell-shaped main square. For that purpose, the steep brick ground of the square is covered with a particular clay, which in turn is the exact same clay that has been used for the Palio for centuries. After the race, the clay is stored away and then reused the next year. Every year, twice a year, for centuries already.
You can still see some of the clay from last week's "Palio" race on the ground of the shell-shaped piazza...
We finished the evening with a brief outlook on tomorrow's trip: curvy roads through the hills, bound for Assisi. And of course, we tried a little bit of that good Chianti wine, and spoke about our past motorbike trips and all those trips we have always been dreaming of doing... but that's another story! For the time being we will just have to update our Facebook Status to "...la vita è bella..."
Tomorrow we will see some of Tuscany's most beautiful spots and the decision whether to enjoy the next curve or rather to stop for a great photo will be a hard one. Whatever our decision will be: we'll most certainly keep you posted...
DUCATI TOUR 03-07-2011: MotoGP at MUGELLO!!!
Hi Worldracers out there!
Today we took an early ride on backroads to the Mugello circuit. Nice and easy swinging roads led us to a cauldron of Italian and international MotoGP fans. But you could almost say that it was a "Rossi"-Party, or a "Ducati"-parade. Incredible: Since Rossi rides for Ducati, fans from both former rivals (the Rossi-fanclubs and the Ducati-fanclubs) have united. Everybody is just crazy about Ducati and Valentino Rossi.
We saw three races: The 125cc, the Moto 2 (600cc) and the MotoGP.
The weather was perfect, and so was the mood of the crowds. Party everywhere, funny hats and wigs, and everything in yellow (Rossi) and red (Ducati). Since our stop at the Ducati-store in Bologna we are all outfitted with the colors red, black and white.
Although some of us have already been to motorcycle races, this was still a unique experience. We were sitting in the fifth row of a great curve (curves 2-3), right next to the Valentino Rossi fan-sector.
What an incredible day at the racetrack! Although Valentino did not win, he certainly did not loose a single fan today. Every passing maneuver was cheerfully applauded by the masses, the winner was rather a "supporting actor". The spotlight was clearly on "Vale" and his Ducati Desmosedici (by the way: one of the participants' dog is named "Desmo" - cool, huh?). If you have the chance to go to a MotoGP race near your hometown I recommend you try it. On TV it is fine. But this is AWESOME! You can feel the incredible sound of the machines, smell their exhaust, and see all the little things you would otherwise miss out on. Ben Spies making a "Cornutto"-sign to the skies right after passing an opponent in front of us. The crowds going cabooze every time Dr. Rossi drives by and even only the audience a short wave. The friendly vibes among all these motorcycle aficionados, kids and grandpas commenting race results and predicting the winners of the next MotoGP weekend, discussing wind resistance and passing strategies and being an expert on just about everything...
The short ride home was nice, and after a quick shower we hit the little streets of Florence to discover what the city has to offer. Ponte Vecchio? Let's go! And afterwards, we're going to a great "Osteria". Italy's best pizza is waiting for us, along with Antipasti and a good Chianti.
What can we say: a perfect evening for a perfect day.
Tomorrow we're heading to Siena, another beautiful old city. We have some sightseeing along the way... and curvy roads.
As usual, we'll keep you posted...
DUCATI TOUR 02-07-2011: Ducati Factory, Museum, Road to Florence
Hi Worldtourers out there!
Today we started off just the way a Ducati-Tour should: we visited the Ducati Factory and the Ducati Museum. As regards the factory: Sorry, you will hear no secrets on prototypes or production procedures from us, nor will you see any pictures. It is all top secret.
Then we visited the Ducati Museum (which is right next to the factory), and we saw everything from the beginnings of Ducati as a radio manufacturing company in the 1930s to the first Ducati motorcycle, various prototypes, and the development of the Ducati - particularly the racing bikes - up until today.
What an incredible collection of beautifully preserved, absolutely unique motorcycles.
After a quick group picture in front of the giant Ducati logo at the factory we took off for one of the world's most beautiful cities: Florence! After our first curves and twists we arrived in time to experience the sunset on the Piazza della Signoría to the sounds of a live concert by a classical orchestra in the middle of the square. Wonderful music while we admire Michaelangelo's "David" and the architecture of the surrounding buildings... kind of a magical moment! We also saw the impressive dome with its "Campanile" (the bell tower) and enjoyed strolling through the old town. Temperatures were comfortable, the streets filled with people and the sunset on this marvellous old town is really an experience that is hard to describe.
After a nice dinner in a restaurant next to our hotel some of us went for another little walk through town, while others chose to go to bed early: tomorrow is MotoGP-day, and we want to be fit and ready for an early departure to the racetrack. We will be taking backroads to the track in order to avoid the announced traffic jams.
We'll certainly keep you posted...
DUCATI TOUR 01-07-2011: READY FOR TAKE-OFF!
Hi Worldtourers out there!
I hope you are enjoying the motorbike season as much as we are. Our Ducati Tour is ready for take-off: the participants have arrived in Bologna, and we have already had our Welcome Briefing and Welcome Dinner. It looks like once again we have some great people on the tour - from all over the world, and they all came here to Italy to experience the fantastic roads of Tuscany, the rich history and culture of the region, the legendary good food and of course: the DUCATIS, Valentino Rossi and the Italian MotoGP at Mugello. Ladies and Gentlemen, get ready for a week full of highlights.
Tomorrow, while on our way to Florence, we will visit the famous Ducati Factory and Ducati Museum. Will we see a Desmosedici in production? Secret Ducati prototypes? Who knows?
As you know, we'll keep you posted...