The trip is over, time was flying. Thank you for fantastic 11 days. We learned a lot from you and we enjoyed your company very much. Hope we will see you again.
Keep going - best regards Ursula and Domenico
The Royal Tour is on the start. John and Jillian from Nashville and Junichiro from Japan - and of course 2 Tourguides - this is really a royal treatment. Follow us on a beautiful trip through the Alps and along the most famous places in Italy before we will cross the Dolomites coming back to Austria.
First pass today - Falzarego, which was the frontline in WW I
last lunchstop in "Sachsenklemme". the pizza was just awesome
before we arrive in Interalpen Hotel we visited Edelweiss Headquarter in Mieming and had cake an coffe there
Food in Interalpen Hotel is art!!!
We have to leave Venice today. Everybody is a bit sad, because we all fell in love with this beautiful city.
lugguge loading is different here
We drove through the prouction area of the prosecco. Rolling hills, lovely cities - beautifull
entering Val Cadore - the valley of the gelato producers
our hotel "Rosa Petra" looked from outside like a farmhouse, but.....
...it was a treasure inside. Design by a designer from Mailand - Mr. Samaratti - it was just incredible
Today everybody enjoyed a bit privacy. Some were going to Murano to see the glasblowers, some enjoyed the city.
See some of the highlight of Venice....
Rialto Bridge - one of the 4 bridges over the Canal Grande. Venice has all in all about 500 bridges.
Inside the Doge Palace - the center of power of the Venetians - it is of an unbelievable beauty.
La Scala d`Oro - the Golden Staircase - leads up the the administrative rooms
The famous "Bridge of sigh" from top.....
.... and from inside!!
Tintoretto`s famous painting in the Great Hall - the largest hall in Europe - 50 meters long, 24 wide.
"Pala d`Oro" - 1400 precious stones, 700 pearls - the most valuable treasure of Venice in the Cathedral of Saint Marco.
The winged lion - was symbol of the republic of Venice.
Our destination for today is Venice - were we will have a restday! But first we are doing some sightseeing in the province of Veneto.
We had already 90 F in the morning when we started in Verona. But we got tough guys on tour.
Marostica is our first stop. A famous Chess Game is taking place every other year.
the focus of the event is the story of two noblemen, who challenged each other to gain the hand in marriage of the beautiful daughter of the Lord of Marostica`s castle, called Lionora.
To avoid the cruel and bloody match between the two valid young men, the Lord decided they should play a Chess Gamewhere the winner would take Lionora as wife and the loser will marry the Lionora`s sister, Odrada.
The game dates back to 1454 and is celebrated next 2016. Have a look....
Bassano del Grappa was next on the list. Il Ponte degli Alpini - a wooden bridge over the Brenta river, destroyed several times and always again rebuilt.
The Grappa Museum
Whenever you guys will drink a Grappa at home you will remember Bassano
What a beautiful bride..
Venice - we are coming....
We are sweaty, it is incredibly hot - but all are in a good mood and excited about entering Venice
After having a struggle with the Italian in the parking garage we hopped on a water taxi and drove through Canal Grande - amazing
John has the pole position
Piazza San Marco
Our hotel is the 5 star Metropole - right next to it
On our way to dinner Domenica saw the Cruise Ship he worked on.
After dinner in the Restaurant "Remer" directly on Canal Grande, we were to lazy to walk home. So we ordered a taxi. Venice by night is amazing - here the Rialto Bridge.
Full moon over the Canal Grande
an evening walk to the Arena of Verona - Nabucco is on the list today
Shakespeare`s poem about Verona
The stage prop for Aida
As you know - our group has travelled all over the world. So we did some efforts to show them something new what is really not easy.
But we will show them round today in Florence and.... we managed to get a reservation for the original David from Michelangelo in the Galleria dell`Accademia - nobody has been there so far!!!!
Pictures coming this evening.
14 ft high, weighing about 6 tons, created between 1501-1503 by the genius of the Renaissance Michelangelo.
The statue appears to show David after he has made the decision to fight Goliath but before the battle has actually taken place, a moment between conscious choice and action. His brow is drawn, his neck tense and the veins bulge out of his lowered right hand. Everything, but everything is anatomically correct. The legend says Michelangelo did disections to study the anatomy of humans which was completely forbidden in these days.
Than we got tickets for climbing up the dome - about 500 steps -
Ok - we cut the line a "little bit" and reached the top. Beeing claustrophobic is a no go climbing up there.
we got an awesome 360 degree view - here the cathedral of San Lorenzo
Santa Croce and Piazzale Michelangelo in the east
Fiesole - one of the old Etruscan towns belonging to the Union of the twelve in the north
Best view ever
The clock tower design by Giotto
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower) was begun 1296 in the Gothic style and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome - engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.
They were masters of architecture, without computers and modern tools
Ghibertis "Doors of Paradise" the entrance to the Baptistery.
The Baptistery from the inside. Awesome mosaics covering the whole ceiling.
After all this excitments we were ready for lunch.
We chose a nice spot - just in front of Palazzo Vecchio - the city hall - at the Piazza Signoria
John ordered a Octoberfest sized beer
We walked along the Uffici Gallery to the Arno River - the nex highlight the Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge)
the Ponte Vecchio span the Arno river at its narrowest point and dates back to Roman times.
After beeing destroyed by a flood in 1117 it was reconstructed in stone but swept away again 1333 and rebuilt in 1345.
Jun at the Ponte Vecchio
During WW II, the Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by Germans during the liberation of the British 8th Army on August 4, 1944, unlike all other bridges in Florence.
Actually it is forbidden, but.......
despite thousands of padlocks affixed at the railing. It was perhaps introduced by the padlock shop owner at the end of the bridge - clever these Italians.
It is popularly connected to idea of love and lovers: by locking the padlock and throwing the key into the river, the lovers became eternally bonded.
We "parked" the boys in a coffee shop at the San Lorenzo leather market and Jullian and me we went shopping, juhuuu. And we were very successful I can promise you....
Lets go back to our oasis - Grand Hotel Villa Medici - a paradise in the middle of busy Florence
after enjoying our Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte next to the beach, after having a morning swim in the Mediterranean Sea we went on to the highlight of the day - Pisa.
These guys have travelled all over the world an it is hard to find a place were the answer is not "I`ve already been there" - but nobody of the group knows Pisa. So lets go...
we got a secret place were the owner knows Edelweiss for years. So we could park our bikes safely, leaving all our gear and had a leisure walk just across the street to the world famous "Piazza dei Miracoli"
1173 Bonanno Pisano undertook first construction work. Shaky ground, clay and sand to a depth of more than 40 m was hardly ideal for italys most monumental icon. 3 storeys were completed as the earth started to give
the tower began to lean, 1 mm a year, in1993 it was 4,47 m out of the plumb, more than 5 degrees from vertical.
1990 the tower was closed for public. Several solutions failed - 1999 they slinged steel braces around the 3rd storey and fixed them on neighbourhood buildings. Engineers began gingerly removing soil from below the northern foundation. After having removed 70 t of earth the tower erected to the 18 th century level and rectified the lean by 43 cm.
4th Riding Day, Parma - Viareggio
Another mountain range to be crossed, but this time it's not the Alps, we have to cross the Appennine to reach the Mediterranean coast in Liguria! We rode the "Passo della Cisa" road from Parma to La Spezia, where we had lunch by the sea in the beautiful and picturesque village of Portovenere... so beautiful that it was also very crowded! It was not really a easy task to park our bikes, but we made it! After that, we reached our hotel in VIareggio, where we could also have a swim in the sea!
What a group!!!
Ursula's famous briefing!
and Domenicos famous route explanations
On the "Passo della Cisa"
like seals on the rocks...
The view from our hotel in Viareggio
3rd Riding Day: Bellagio - Parma
Today we decided to leave a bit later and enjoy another walk through Bellagio, the pearl of Lake Como. Then we rode the nice curvy road to the city of Como where we had our first coffee break and we could admire the beautiful cathedral. After that, leaving the mountains, some flat roads led us to Bergamo, to one of the most beautiful historical city centres of Italy, where we enjoyed lunch before finally heading to Parma.
our hotel in Bellagio
John and Jillian getting ready
our royalty from Japan is also ready to go - where is our Italian Tourguide???
thanks God - here he is - Domenico vai
Duomo and Baptistry of Parma
group picture before leaving
the Cathedral of Como
Cathedral of Parma - city of the famous prosciutto and Parma cheese
a perfect day starts with a perfect breakfast
Our guests have travelled all over the world for motorcycling, for fishing, for helicopter flying - but they are still eager to get some historical informations. After introducing them to Swiss specialities and the daily route, the first challenge of the day was Maloja Pass - connecting Switzerland with Italy. Maloja pass drops down dramatically from St. Moritz into the Bergell Valley.
the guys made it!!! First coffee stop in Borgonuovo. John felt like in Iceland!
Ursula and Domenico
Mandello del Lario on Lake Como is Moto Guzzi's hometown. Factory and museum are closed in august - what a pitty.
we started in Buchen, close to Innsbruck, in the Interalpen Hotel Tyrol. You enter the reception by car or motorcycle!!! Great mountain views and awesome food gave us a taste what`s waiting for us
First stop was on Reschen lake. A whole village got flooded for hydro power reasons.
The only thing what remained visible is the clock tower of the former church.
For lunch we`ve been already in Italy - Glurns - the smallest Italian city, completely walled.
We crossed into Switzerland over the Ofen pass.
Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains St. Moritz was our destination for today. We were early enough to enjoy the Spa, the pool, the sauna...