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High Alps Tour (Sept 2012)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | Paul Kustermann | Europe

High Alps it was...!

A gem of a jaunt through some of Europe's most beautiful countryside. Passes that brought us up to over 2700 meters. Valleys flushed with rivers and lakes. Lush vegitation and rugged soaring mountains. If you don't believe it, just take a look at these Fotos...!

This was Walchsee. A quaint romantic lake with "special attractions" along its pleasant shoreline...

But before we got to see all this beauty, we had to start off by clearing up some rules.

Here's a shot of our briefing before we left!

Then it's ready to go...

Two hours down the road... It was time for a well deserved break and a little relaxing...

and some mulling over thoughts of all the splendor to come...

Several hours further down the road the group was mounting their first major sumit. It's Edelweiss Spitz! And John... proud as punch.

In the Museum we got a glimps

of how the roads got built by hand

and snow removed by the worlds first


The group assembles for another rest

and a view that would astound an eagle!

It makes one want to fly.

The rest of the day took us over Großglocker on to a splendid hotel just west of Lienz in a town so small, it wasn't even on the map. Strassenwirt in Strassen is none-the-less an unforgettable stay for any weary biker. The next day it was up and early and off to the dolomites. Our first stop was just for coffee near Misurinasee!

Today it's Paul who's leading the troups.

The espresso is good

and the scenery ... well need I say more?

And then we're finally into the Dolomites. On the way to Pass Giau:

A stunning view...!

And locals to greet us...

Showing us their home...

Father and Son, relishing in a trip they'll never forget.

And then we're up. All the way at the top of Pass Giau!

A bicycle ralley caused us to make a short break. We had time to do some hiking in the hills and visit the littel shop with choice littel relic of a bike:

One last look back, and then its on to our well deserved Lunch in Caprila...

Where we got visited by a bike from outer-space.

Then it was off to Passo di Falzarego, riding in little groups, each testing his own speed and skill with a chosen mate. A great ride to the top. A great view from the top. In short, it was just simply one hell of a great day.

The evening brought us to Bolzano in northern Italy. Otherwise also know as South Tirol. To explain that would take too much time, so I will leave it at a simple truth (the best of two worlds). Great food. Great riding. Great Time.

Here the Old-Town at dusk.

The following day, Frank took the keen ones on a tour of the southern Dolomites while Steve and I repaired his bike and took a soothing ride on the cable-car up to Riten. What a view from there...

And yet another group of  our team tailed off to the Ferrari Factory just a few hours south of Bolzano for a visit with a legend

A legend in Wax...!

... in fabric

and in real...!

Some of our guys even got to test-ride one of these beauties...

Whether that is also legend...? No-one's telling.

Our next day took us off to Glurns.  A mideaval town with a wall entirely around it. They say it is Italy's smallest City. And it's a beauty. We took a moment there to enjoy a coffee and some of that famous Apfelstrüdel.

And many of us seem lost in their thoughts...

Thoughts perhaps of that infamous set of switch-backs to come. The monster Passo di Stelvio...

Here they are clammouring for position...

Mark and Lori doing it with perfect technique

Steve is close behind

The omni-presen bicyclist close behind...

And helping out all along the way, here are Toni and Anthony bringing up the rear, making sure that everyone who has gone before them is safe on their way. The advantage of being the light at the end of the train is, you can wait a bit, and then go at whatever pace you prefer.

Father and Son on the big climb.

Toni nearly at the top!

Steve close at his heels...

Bruno and Carluz for a second time!

Gilberto and Esperanz showing how it's done!

Anthony at the top of Stevio!

Carluz at the top!

Carlos at the top...

Esperanza at the top...

Bruno at the top!

Everybody at the top!

To celebrate the feat, a treat for body and soul...

At the "Tibet Haus" on Stelvio... You feel and look like you're at the top of the world.

The rest of the day took us on to Livigno and a respite in Pontresina. In the morning it rained. A picture wouldn't do justice to the day. Rain, Fog, Snowflakes at 2° celcius, and a warm fire to end it off. Spectacularly. Somehow the most inclement days are the most fun, that's a strange incongruous fact. Adverse conditions tend to bring out the best in people. And with a group this good - celebrating the success of a cold wet jaunt over the swiss Alps into the 1500 meter high valley of the river Lech is a hallmark to what camaradeship means. After 5 great days of sunshiny twisties, high passes, a superb evening meal in Bolzano with Sophia Loren just a few seats away, and the fruit draped orchards of outside of Merano, tonight we are beginning to feel the fall an winter creeping in to the alpine Highlands. But there is wine for the soul and excellent mexican tequila for the spirit. We are full of cheer!

Here is what the day might have looked like, had they seen through the fog and gotten a glimpse of the spectacular scenery am Arlbeg, around Lech and warth...

The last day of our trip took us to Castle Linderhof, built by Crazy Ludwig.

Impressive when you think, he built this all for his sole and private use... and now it is visited by thousands every year.

As I finished posting this Blog, we were all home and safe and sound. But remembering is half the fun... and so it doesn't really ever end. Keep looking in and sending you friends a link to the blog to share these moments. And if any of you out there have more fotos you want me to post, just send them along and I will do my best to put them up... It was a wonderful trip. Thanks to everyone for being here and making it so much fun. Come again and join another ride.

It'st the best ride there is...!

I promise. Paolo/Pazlo

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Steve Titus
Friday, September 28, 2012 at 06:45

Thanks for setting up the blog Paul. It has been fun to look at all the pictures. It was an amazing week.
Riding, scenery, eating, and making new friends. I have been checking out the tour catalogue dreaming of another trip some day! Safe riding everyone,
paul kustermann
Monday, September 24, 2012 at 22:56

It's great to be getting mail from everybody about liking the blog and not being able to get the great trip out of your minds. I am also sorting the new photos I am getting from some of you and will pu a few of them up real soon. Keep riding and keep dreamig. And come back for more. Paolo...
Anthony Sr
Friday, September 21, 2012 at 18:45

Well done Paul, cudos to you on a wonderful blog. Can't stop thinking about the experience, much much more than I expected. On top of everything else, where can you find such a great group of like minded people. Everyone friendly, interesting and most importantly, all with a great sense of humor.
I don't think I'll ever be able to top this one. What could possibly be better?
To you and Frank, thank you for a lifetime experience.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 20:30

Today i came again to the blog, bacause i'm missing the trip a lot. I'm planning to go again next year with my wife, and i'm wondering to meet a group like ours. Is that possible? I really don't think so.
And how is everything?
Carlos Guimaraes
Monday, September 24, 2012 at 01:17

I totally agree with you!! A wonderful trip and an unforgettable group!!!
Thank you Paul, Frank and guys for make this tour unique!
Warmest regards,
Susanne Berg
Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 23:02

A good decision to stop here for taking pictures, Paul ! What a great landscape ! I'm shure it is one of your unforgettable sunshine memories of this tour...! Greetings to all of you from Berlin, Susan


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