Day 7, Kals to Seefeld
The last riding day of this fantastic trip has sadly arrived but it was another great day! We first rode on the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, the most famous alpine road of Austria. There, on the Franz Josefs Hütte, we could enjoy coffee with a breathtaking view over the big Pasterze glacier. Before finally reaching the hotel, another great highlight was waiting for us: Albert played the organ in the Peter and Paul church of Telfs and explained us many secrets of this very complex musical instrument. What a great end for the tour!
Good bye everybody, see you hopefully soon on another Edelweiss tour!
The Pasterze glacier
At the Franz Josefs Hütte
The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
At the Edelweissspitze
Last break at the Krimmel waterfall viewpoint
The interiors of the beautiful Peter and Paul church of Telfs
Day 6, Bozen to Kals
After almost a week of riding and 1.3 millions of turns the group has still not mountain-passed-out.
In fact some of them have been Edelweissed, which gives their faces new freshness:
Starting in Bozen, we had some trouble getting out of the patking lot, just as we had on the way in. After a while, we succeeded, though, and made our way into the area of the famous Dolomites - for so many riders one of the most exciting motorcycle places. We had little traffic, good sunshine in the morning and tremendous roads.
At lunchtime we met Domenico and Alberto (he went in the van to give his knee a restday) and took the cablecar from Passo di Falzarego up to Rifugio Lagazuoi. The view from up there was stunning.
Unfortunately, Marys 696 - very much unlike its rideress - did not wish to ride any longer, so we loaded the diva into the van and Mary came with me (Albert). The afternoon ride was superb again, taking us to Olang, Stallersattel and finally Kals.
We arrived early enough to enjoy the great spa and wellness area of the Gradonna hotel. Dinner was magnificent, too.
Our first coffee stop on Passo di valles.
Our small group on the Passo di Giau.
Re-united up on Lagazuoi.
Antholzersee - Lake Antholz
View from the Stallersattel
The last coffee and a little more for the riding day
We found it - the rare one, so well protected and seldomly seen: Edelweiss!
A great dinner in a great hotel.
Day 5, Livigno - Bozen/Bolzano
Today, after countless switchbacks, we reached the highest altitude of the tour, the 2758 metres of Passo dello Stelvio (Stilfser Joch in German)! Once we reached its top, some rain "suggested" us to stop for lunch there before going on to the Passo di Gavia, another very famous alpine passroad. The descent from the Gavia was the most challenging part of the day because the road was wet and it was also quite foggy, but all our skilled riders did very well! The weather was good again once we reached the valley and then we finally arrived in Bozen riding on one of the most beautiful roads ever, the Passo di Mendola, surrounded by the thousands and thousands apple trees of this region!
The Torri di Fraele passroad, great view!
Francesco, Earl, Mary and David on the Torri di Fraele pass
Coffee break in Glorenza, where a very "friendly" waitress did not manage to ruin our good mood!
Mary and Earl reaching the top of the Stelvio Pass
The Stelvio passroad
For my bucket list!
Going down the Gavia... wet road surface!
Mary looking a bit tired on the last break before reaching Bozen
Day 4, Restday Livigno
On our restday in Livigno everybody wanted to go for a ride, but not for the long route into Switzerland. So we went North through the tunnel Munt la Schera, then took the Ofenpass to get to Müstair, where we visited the famous abbey church dating back to the 8th century, and part of the Unesco World Heritage.
We then proceeded to Bormio via Umbrailpass, having bright sunshine all the time. In Bormio, we found a good pizzeria for lunch. After lunch we spent some more time on the beautiful roads around Livigno, before we returned back to the hotel.
Earl went two-up with Domenico, so he could come, too.
The Benedictine Convent of Saint John in Müstair.
Turns, turns and turns, this one is on the way up Umbrailpass:
On the way down to Bormio, we rode parts of Stelvio.
Mary needed a little nap time in the afternoon,
whilst Domenico explained the secrets of Italian newspapers.
Day 3, Andermatt - Livigno
This day will be remembered as the "day of the mountain passroads"! After the first two days of training, we were finally ready to climb up the San Gottardo (2108 m / 6916 ft), San Bernardino (2066 m / 6778 ft), Spluga (2113 m / 6932 ft), Maloja (1815 m / 5955 ft), Bernina (2330 m / 7644 ft) and Forcola (2315 m / 7595 ft), before finally reaching Livigno in Italy, a famous alpine holiday resort town, where we will spend two days. If anybody was able count the twisties and the hairpins we rode along today, we would be very happy to know!
The old St. Gotthard passroad
Going down the St. Gotthard
first coffee break between the St. Gottard and the St. Bernardino passes
on the top of the St. Bernardino pass
The Spluga pass, Swiss side!
David reaching the top of the Spluga
On the top of the Spluga pass there is the border between Italy and Switzerland, the italians are starting to feel home!
TG Domenico kissing his holy land
The impressive Morteratsch glacier under the Piz Bernina, the biggest in the eastern Alps.
Day 2, Warth - Andermatt
On our second riding day, the Alps presented themselves at their best - we had sunshine and blue sky to start our ride in Warth. The Hochtannberg was our first pass of the day - a warm up for what would come. We had our first coffee-stop at the Furkajoch and then descended to go into Lichtenstein. The group did not even notice borders, so we had to obtain the proof - a stamp in the passport. At beautiful Walensee, in the restaurant Sagibeiz, we spent quite some time talking and enjoying lunch.
We made it to Klausenpass before the rain and without sliding away on the excrements of the local cattle. In Altdorf, we were able to meet the number one hero of the country - mister hit-the-apple-not-the-head.
Hit a few drops just before getting to Andermatt, but everybody was happy about the day and the serious rain started in the evening. So hopefully, we will have the same luck again - heavy rain at night and bright sunshine in the morning!
Earl cannot wait to hit the road.
Ready for lift-off.
Furkajoch was amazing today.
Vaduz and Prince Adam's castle - and no, Mary, he is not vacant!
Lunchtime at Walensee.
Francesco di Pascasio - famous torero from San Giorgio di Nogaro!
Our three Americans ride through their steaks.
Dave found locals,
whilst Mary found local delicacies.
Wilhelm Tell statue in Altdorf.
Day 1, Seefeld - Warth
On our first riding day we "took it easy" to get used to our new bikes and we did not enter immediately in the "High Alps". We had a very pleasant ride through the south of Germany, in Bavaria, where we saw the beautiful Linderhof palace and Neuschwanstein castle. This last one especially attracts many thousands of tourists each year, has appeared in several movies and was the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle. Both of the palaces were commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, a very eccentric personality whose reign lasted from 1864 to 1886. His legacy of architecture and art and the tourist income they generate help to make Bavaria nowadays the richest state in Germany! After lunch the clouds became threathening, it also started to rain and we found some traffic (people going back home at the end of the weekend?) but we managed to arrive to the hotel in time to enjoy a bit the wellness centre with pool and sauna... before a great dinner all together!
first break at the Walchensee
David and Mary
at the Linderhof palace, very famous for its wonderful gardens.
Alberto and Francesco
Earl and David
Our small group at the Neuschwanstein castle
The famous Neuschwanstein "fairytale" castle