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South Africa and the Alps (HAT2301)

Samstag, 27. Mai 2023 | Markus Hellrigl / Nicolas Martin | Europa

Once upon a time......

To be exact, it was in 2018 that Jaques participated at a High Alpine Tour and got infected with the "Alps bug". Since then he was dreaming about bringing his brother and some of his best friends onto the twisties, the high peaks, the lush green high madows and to the excellent food and wine in Europe's center.

This year he succeeded and the group of five South-Africans ended up in Erding, where the small fleet of motorcycles and the tourguides Nicolas and Markus had been awaiting them. Ahead of them a week of riding, where the will move in a different world compared to what they are used to. Looking foreward!


Where it all begins: Hotel Henry, Erding
There will be a lot to see along the route

Riding Day 1: Erding to Lienz

After an enjoyful evening with the group and good Night of Sleep our Group was looking forward to get on the bikes this morning. But before hitting the first mountain roads in Austria, the first stretch of the day gave everyone a perfect opportunity to get to know the bikes in the lushly, green bavarian countryside. We rode from Erding towards the south east and arrived at the first stop of the day shortly after - the beautiful oldtown of Wasserburg at the river Inn.

Well, before we officially start the riding day the five have to connect. Which app connects all the intercoms? We might know by the end of the tour
Must be a dangerous briefing that it needs a helmet
Des, Mel, tourguide Nicolas, Hans, Douw and Jaques are ready to go

After a quick photo stop and some interesting facts about the medival architecture the group of five was eager to go on - the Alps were already in sight. But who can say no to a nice coffee stop at Lake Chiemsee? Our Classic Tours at Edelweiss are not all about riding, but also about enjoying life at lovely places. While having coffee the group also tried to sort out an issue with their Helmet Communication devices. (And guess what? As of now, in Italy, they still didn't figure it out perfectly.)

After we crossed the border into Austria the scenery and roads suddenly changed. The mountains got higher, the turns tighter and the grinning faces bigger. We already had alot of fun before our late lunchstop at the northern base of the famous Großglockner High Alpine Road. Fueld up by typical austrian dishes we were ready for the big Higlight of the day. The 45km from Ferleiten in the Austrian state of Salzburg to Heiligenbluth in Carinthya are always worth a visit. But especially early in the season you can experience the spectacular snow walls on the roadside. Last winter the area didn’t have the snow masses of other years, but nonetheless we were lucky to ride next to them and got I even got the picture I dreamt about for years.

At Edelweiss we also promote free riding on our guided tours. And a long mountain pass with (almost) no chance to lose each other is the perfect chance for that, right? Part of a safe trip is choosing a speed you are comfortable with and so we met up before we reached the end of Großglockner at the southern toll booth in Heiligenbluth. The last stretch of the afternoon over the Iselsbergpass was quite relaxing and after refreshing 8 degrees on top of Großglockner, the 27 degrees in Lienz felt like Italy. But thats another story for the next days. 

Riding Day 2: Lienz to Klobenstein

The weather forecast promised a so-so day, which means: rain possible. But nevertheless we decided to do a picnic and so Nicolas rushed of after the morning briefing. We just took it easy cruising towards Italy and after glimpsing at the Tre Cime we stopped at the Nasswand Cemetery from World War 1. Markus told about the history this morning, telling about the front line not moving for four years of war in the Dolomites. After coffee at Lago Misurina, cruising through Cortina d'Ampezzo and enjoying a long section of dry road towards Falzarego Pass, Nicolas was awaiting us with an outstanding picknick.

The afternoon ride was a kind of challenge - everywhere we looked we did see dark clouds broken up by spots of blue sky and sometimes even sun. We just had ti find the right roads to stay dry. We kept it moving and after doing Passo Campo Longo and Passo Pordoi on dry roads we finally hit some light rain on the last kilometers towards Klobenstein

Entering the Dolomites from Dobbiaco we stopped at the Nasswand cemetery
Spectacular picnic in a spectacular scenery!

Day 3: Restday in Klobenstein

We spent our Restday in & around Bozen, but not as a group. Everyone made the most of the free day and enjoyed it to their liking. While three of them slept in a bit, the two Brothers Hans and Jacques left earlier than usual for a big route through the dolomites. After a late breakfast Douw went for walk through Klobenstein and Des decided to try out the BMW S1000XR and explored the nearby Passo di Mendola/Mendelpass with Nicolas leading on the GS. After a quick photo stop and sweet taste of italian Dolce Vita, which came in the form of an Affogato. The 110km kilometer loop was completed with Passo Palade/Gampenpass before the duo returned to Klobenstein before the thunderstorm came in. Thank you for the nice little loop and providing the pictures of today, Des. Unfortunately the Brothers didn’t have that luck and got cought by rain and even hail on the way back. But nonetheless they were very happy how the day went.

In the afternoon Douw and Des went down to Bozen for a late lunch and a walk. But the way down and up, easily done by train and cable car, is an experience on its own. Tonight we concluded our Restday with Pizza, Pasta and Wine at a nice Pizzeria in town. 

Passo di Mendola...
... or otherwise known as Mendelpass
Today’s Company: A mix of Sun and Clouds...
... and an Affogato on the terrace

Riding Day 4: Klobenstein to Pontresina

After a little rainy restday the clouds started to vanish. Passo Stelvio is unfortunately still closed because of avalanches. So we made out the best of what was possible. Taking the small road to Sarntal, then heading for  Bozen to climb finally to Mölten. Lush green maddows, cattle in the fields and farmers cutting grass - peaceful and remote scenery. It got a little bussy when we were in Meran, so we left the town after a quick coffee. In Glurns, a small medivial town, we had a great lunch. After that we headed for Switzerland, we enjoyed Ofenpass and had our next stop in St. Moritz. If you go there, you have to stop at Hanselmann, the best place in town to have coffee and cake. For the final we rode Passo Bernina and got to see famous Rathian Train, its on the list of the Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Arriving at the main square in the city of Glurns
Great lunch!
Waiting at a constraction site
Cafe Hanselmann -the best place for coffee and cake!
On top of Bernina
Tourguide Markus in his element: Storytelling and Geography

Riding day 5: Pontresina to Holzgau

When we passed by th eturnoff to Albula Pass the day before the sign said "closed". After allready having an alternative plan we got to the turnoff this morning and - big surprise - the sign showed a green plate showing "OPEN". Great riding up and down Albula pass followed by Lenzer Heide. After we went through Liechtenstein we had variations of Schnitzel at the Schattenburg Castle in Feldkirch. As Furka Joch was still closed the afternoon ride took us to Fontanella - Faschina, another windy roads in the Austrian mountains. Another pass and a great road towards the Lech Valley finished a day full of excellent riding.

Albula Pass - Just opened!
And here's the prove!
An excellent Schnitzel at Schattburg Castle ......
..... and having a lot of fun!
A small beer for Des

Riding day 6: Back to Erding

The last riding day started a bit earlier than usual. After our daily Briefing on the terrace of our little Hotel, we started the Bikes and went straight to the gas station in the next village. The fuel stops are normaly done before arriving to the hotel, but because of this the earyl start was a perfect coincidence. From there the group of six followed the Lech Valley towards Reutte and further on to the Austria-German Border in Füssen. 

We did our first Sightseeing and Coffee at the famous Castle Neuschwanstein and even hiked up the road to the Castle before taking the well earned Coffee Break. Then we went the same winding road back to Austria and continued on towards Lake Plansee, where Markus prepared the second picnic directly at the shore. He even cought fresh Trout in the Lake and smoked it on the spot  

With a full stomack the group followed Nicolas to Schloss Linderhof, another castle of the Bavarian Monarchy, which is located at the other side of the Border surrounded by the Ammergauer Alps, which will unfortunately be the last mountaing range of the trip. After a nice stroll through the park (we could visit both castles without time and guided tours), everyone was looking forward to the last big stretch of the Tour. Today Hans, Jacques, Des and Mel had the freeriding opportunity on the german Autobahn to try out their bikes above the speed limit of countryroads. Douw on the other hand was a bit relaxed on the comfortable  RT. Still rushed by adrenaline we brushed it of with a set of backroads to avoid the traffic of Munichs outskirts.

To conclude the first High Alpine Tour of 2023, we are having a nice Dinner with some special programme points at Hotel Henry in Erding now, before sending the group on their way home tommorow. Thanks for coming along an see you on your next trip, Guys!

Those who hiked up to Schloss Neuschwanstein
At the shore of Lake Plansee
Our second picnic on this Tour
What are they doing? For the answer watch the next Videoclip
Having fun at the lake
The beautiful park of Schloss Linderhof


Einen Kommentar hinzufügen Diesen Beitrag bewerten
Mittwoch, 24. Mai 2023 um 20:17

These guys look like pros


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