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The Alps go all Japanese! Special Japanese High Alpine Tour HAT170C

Saturday, August, 19nd, 2017 | Wim Doms | Europe

Arrival day - Erding

7 friends from Japan arrived today in Erding. All ready for a special High Alpine Tour. Thank you very much from both tour guides to Yun for helping out with translation during the welcome briefing! Our Japanese will surely get a lot better over the next 7 days.
One word we have already learned in Japanese though: weissenbier! Or hang on, that may be German
No seriously, it is hard work being a tour guide. Cheers!

Riding day one - Erding to Lienz - A first taste of the Alps

A German tour guide was very ready to go this morning in Erding!
And so were seven Japanese BMW riders right behind him. Sure, the tour start was a little rainy, but that would only last for about 30 minutes.
See? First coffee stop at Prien am Chiemsee and everything was all nice and dry again.
Meanwhile, tour guide Wim in the van was not exactly short on scenery either... some van days are just better than others, we say.
Well... some bike days are better than others too... what is this for a view?
That view is Pillersee, where our group from Japan had their very first very non-Japanese lunch.
And then it was time for a first bit of serious Alps riding: up to Grossglockner, one to check off the bucket list when coming to this part of the world. What a sight!
How better to see the Alps than by looking at a real glacier, very high up in the mountains?
After arriving in Lienz, the cosy little town had a little surprise for us: a sunday evening outdoor concert, right by our dinner room. Very typical!
During the concert, Yun and Not Yamaha (no kidding, that really is his name) told us they were going to meet some girls! Turns out it was mostly the schnapps the girls were serving they were interested in...
So much excitement in a first day on High Alpine Tour... it can wear you out very quickly. Right Nao? Sleep tight everyone, see you tomorrow!

Riding day two - Dolomites baby!

Just a short while after leaving Lienz, it was time to enter a whole new country on this tour. And Italy can only mean one thing: time to go and see the Dolomites! Spectacular scenery may be coming soon...
... and here it is: the first of many, many, many spectacular views on our ride through the Dolomites. They don't call this place Europe's motorcycle playground without a reason, right?
Down by Lago Misurina, the scenery got even better. Just try not to actually fall into it
A bit further up on Passo Valparola, the Edelweiss van seemed to be parked in a very busy parking lot. But why?
Because it was picnic time, that's why!
And when a Belgian manages to cook up some very nice lunch, celebrations are in order
Riding bikes through all these curves makes you hungry!
Time then for a few last amazing views over the Dolomites before making it to Bozen, where tomorrow a rest day awaits. Although with this group of serious riders, even a rest day may include some curves, we think. Watch this space!

Riding (rest) day 3 - Just a little loop to stay in shape

The resting part of rest day was postponed until the afternoon. In the morning, when the weather was still nice and cool and the roads still almost empty, our riders wanted to do a little loop. So up Passo Mendola it went (very swiftly by the way) and then even higher up to go and see this magnificent view.
Perfect blue skies for a nice and quick morning ride.
Over in Val d'Ultimo, we found a Japanese tour guide reading the map. Oh no wait, that is actually Mister Nori! He knows his way around perfectly!
A few last views over the beautiful valley and then back to Bozen it went. A whole afternoon to rest and prepare for the two very long riding days awaiting us. (Oh, and for the proper real original Italian pizza that we will discover tonight!)

Riding day 4 - Up to the mother road

Today it was time for the big one: Stelvio pass was waiting for us, but every visit to Stelvio starts with a little breather in Glurns, to build up the tension just a little bit
Oh, and also to taste a very small ice coffee...
And then up we went! Halfway through the switchbacks, we took a little time to have a look at this unbelievable road.
And our Japanese friends agreed: this place is just amazing!
As an extra surprise, a very friendly local came to wish us a good trip! He seemed to have an even bigger beer tummy than the Belgian tour guide, but he was in a very relaxed mood. Bye bye little friend!
After conquering one of the most famous roads in the whole world, it is time for without any doubt THE most famous saucage in the world: welcome at Bruno's!
If you though Stelvio was tricky to ride, try Passo Gavia just next door. Even more crazy to ride, but our troup managed as if they do this every single day. Then again, on this tour, they actually do
The clouds looked a bit dangerous coming up Gavia, but on the other side nice weather greeted us once again for the ride into Pontresina.
Osamu leads the way into Pontresina.
And guess what tour guide Ramon had prepared? A very German bootbeer! Bitte ein Bit! Just perfect after almost 300 kilometers on the bike.
Here's to another wonderful riding day! Tomorrow we do it all over again!

Riding day 5 - The Swiss mountain roads in all their glory

For our very special group of excellent riders, we fitted in some extra mountain passes today! First stop, after many many curves, in the middle of the stunning scenery on top of Albulapass.
Some local wildlife (well... wild is relative) came to say hello again, but this time a lot bigger than the marmots on Stelvio.
Next up: the amazing roads up to Flüelapass.
Again, some locals came to visit. No wildlife this time Not Yamaha went to say hello and show the pictures of his police-RT back home in Japan. The Swiss police bikers were very interested to see.
Three mountain passes before lunch called for an extra little stop just outside Liechtenstein. Pay attention when going through, because with just 24 kilometers from border to border, you'll miss it in a heartbeat.
Back in Austria, yet another pass road was up. And on Furkajoch, our friends seemed very keen to take a picture.
And well, with a view like this, who wouldn't want a picture? What a place!
One more pass to go, and one with a very special corner, built in thin air! On the other side of Hochtannberg awaits one of the very best hotels in the Alps... Jägeralpe in Warth would be the perfect location for our last night on the road. Tomorrow we head back to our start base in Erding.

(Final) riding day 6 - Back to Erding, bye bye Alps!

Some places are harder to leave behind than others... That morning in Warth, we could have just stayed there all day and enjoy the amazing atmosphere of the Alps.
Our homebase Erding was waiting though, so we all still got back on our bikes for a final riding day, out of the Austrian Alps and back to Bavaria. Not Yamaha hesitated for a while, but finally decided to leave this not-Yamaha behind and go on his BMW after all.
And so our fantastic group of Japanese friends ended their adventure in the Alps. Nao-san, Osamu-san, Mister and Misses Nori , Fast Ichi, Not Yamaha and Yun-san... it was an absolute pleasure and an honour to guide such a group of splendid riders over the very best motorcycle roads of the Alps. We really, really hope to see you around these parts again soon! Sayonara!
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hitohiko samukawa
Tuesday, August, 15nd, 2017 at 12:35

How lucky they are to ride the Grossglockner!! It was snow when I was there last week...so passing through a tunnel to reach Lienz, which was so boring...
Wim Doms
Thursday, August, 17nd, 2017 at 22:31

Hey Hitohiko!

Well... we were actually lucky with the weather for the last five days... amazing how it can change in the Alps from one week to another.
But I am sure that you will be back one day, and then Grossglockner will be waiting for you under bright sunshine.

Take care, safe travels, and was a pleasure meeting you in Erding!
Wim
hitohiko
Friday, August, 18nd, 2017 at 08:14

Hi Wim,

Time goes so quickly when having fun!
Being in good weather is because of not only luck but absolutely your everyday well-behavior!!
What is the most important thing for touring is that all riders safely go back to home so take care until finish the tour.
BTW, how improve in Japanese?
I guess you know wider variety of vocabulary than before^^

Edelweiss Bike Travel