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Alps and Lakes (Oct. 2012)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Paul Kustermann | Europe

When you say Alps and Lakes, you should rightfully think of WATER, don't you think? Like one thinks of sand when you say Saharah, or Palm Trees when you mention pina colada. Just try to say "Alps and Lakes" and not think of trees and water. It's hard, for the lakes are plentiful here and the Alps are full of streams that fill them. Otherwise where would all this green and lush beauty come from?

It's a Legitimate Question! And I have to tell you the bitter truth -- it comes from RAIN.

And so began our 6-Day journey, with a very appropriate (wet) riding-school getting acclimated to the climate! Here Toby and Andreas are getting there chops down.

Nothing a warm lunch couldn't put in order

Ridig Day 1 was a blessing however! Perfect sunshine, lush green valeys, stunning vistas and those "Killer Colors" of autumn in the bavarian foothills of the grand alps!

Putting happy faces on all our campers...

Ain't that beautiful...!

Day 2 (October 9th) put us back into the element of "liquid sunshine"! Giving us the opportunity to test that aged-old philosophy:  "There's no such thing as bad weather! As long as you have the propper outfit!"

When I scouted this tour in May,  it rained and I loved it. When I rode this tour in May with Guests, it rained and they loved it. And now we're doing it in October and it's raining, and they're loving it again. So just what is so fun about motorcycling in some of the most beautiful country this earth has to offer -- even when it's raining?

Well it seems to me, the worse the weather gets, the better the spirit in the group. Remember splashing through puddles as a kid? Remember that sailing ride with 9-point gale winds blasting you all day long, and how good the beer tasted at the end of the journey? Remember skiing in a blizzard? These things bring out the best in people - granted they are well guided and smoothly managed. And it all sure tunes your riding skills, while making you appreciate that cozy respite at a warm friendly way-stop...

Like this one on the "Postalm-Strasse" somewhere at the end of the world between Hallein and Bad Ischl. When we arrived they were closed. But when they saw us all scraggly and wet outside the door they just opend the place up and prepared us a few of those famous pastry-dishes they are so renouned for -- and some good hot chilli con carne to boot.

Luckily room enough this day for laying out all the gear to drip-and-dry...

A great time for forging new friendships...

and a great Time for enjoying the kinds of moments one dreamed of months ago while planning this trip:

Conquering the elements... is just one of many thrills that go along with traveling by bike.

High-tailing it home after our break, we  finally arrived at Gmunden on TRAUNSEE. There, warm and cozy in our hotel, we had a beautiful view of the lake...

And we were proud as punch about the streach of road we did that day over the "Postalmstrasse". In two hours of riding up there we only saw one car, did some switchbacks, got glimpses of the majestic alps peeking out through the clouds and mist...

It was Magical. And to be truthful, any ole sunny day can be great... but a great day in the rain is a real adventure to remember.

We capped the day in the arms of luxury with our other Guide Michael playing music on his guitar. He has an impressive repertoir and a great voice that took everyone back through a musical journey of the 60, 70s, 80s. Doors, Beatles, Janis J., BeeGees, Peter Paul and Mary, Jim Croche... You name it, Michael played it.

What an Artist...

One almost thinks Bruce Springsteen or Paul "friggin" Simon is sitting there serenading you...

Need I say more?

All that remained was getting ready for the next day...

Thanks to the ammenities of our generous hotel, Boot-Service in every room!

That's a hair-dryer buddy...

In case anyone didn't notice, Manuel just happens to have hair-lined boots?

What a guy!

DAY 3 / October 10th

It was off to Bad Ischl - Hallstaetter See - Zell am See - Kaprun!

Brilliant food along the way, stunning sights, more liquid sunshine and lots of smiles!

The ride to our luxury hotel in Kaprun was like a perfect Humboldt County Redwood forest Autumn day!

And this was awaiting us...

A first-class hotel with Great food, teriffic beds, a sauna and wellness area to soothe any aching soggy bones, friendly personelle, and a free day to follow where everyone could do whatever they wanted:

Riding Day 4. And a brilliant day it was! Three groups went off in different directions. Kirk and I took the long route to Großglocker via Defreggental and the Italian city of Dobbiaco (Toblach in German).

And the view from the top of Staller-Sattel is not only impressive, the road going down is a one-way affair with a light at the top and bottom to regulate traffic, so no-one colides. This is a famous gathering point for motorcycles. They all crowd to the front to get a racing start when the light goes green. But today we were alone and had the road to ourselves...


Just the two of us up here, having a grand ole time. But as we continued on up to Großglockner Pass, the weather started turning for the worse...

And by the time we got to "Franz Josefs Höhe" and the famous look-out on the Glockner-Glacier...

Well the soup was sooooo... thick... That Dirk could barely make out the "dart" at the end of his finger... :0)

But we made it over the top! And what awaited us on the other side was about to blow our minds:

Try and get all that into a camera...!

If you can...

Or This....!

Or This....!

And this is what you get....


Meanwhile, the others had taken the short route up to Großglockner,

direct from Kaptun to Edelweiss Sptitz:

And here's how it looked like to them...

That's an achievement to celebrate with a nice little break at Cafe Edelweiss Spitz.

But what do you do when the guests make friends with the locals and want to take them along for the rest of the ride...?

There are moments when you just have to be hard as a guide, and simply say NO.

After all, where are you going to put a one-meter Marmet on a bike that only seats two Terchi...? Your husband won't be very pleased about this little fellow blocking his view, sitting on the tank.

And still there was a third group which took the cable-car up to Kitzsteinhorn. A stunning view at 3029 meters!

These are literally moments that "take your breath away"!  The spectacular vista, the thin air, the exhileration of being with friends...

And to think that all this wonder could be packed into a one-week-motorcycle trip!

Well... That's Alps and Lakes"

A quaint little castle welcomes us back to the civilized town of Kaprun, decked out in autumn splendor, and in the evening another terrific meal together before heading back to Erding.

Riding Day 5, Back to Erding via Zell am See, Pillersee, Tatzelwurm...

And this is Wiesensee....

I told them this was my favorite LAKE in all of austria... but they told me in Canada it wouldn't even count as a pond...

But the ducks love it.

Suzi however was unimpressed and quickly ready to ride on...

So it was on to Pillersee...

A real "schmankerl" as the Vienneese say.

And Suzi seemed to love it too!

As did everybody else..!

That was a mouthfull of a holiday...

All home safe! All full of wonder and joy...

All full of memories and plans for their next great tour

Stay posted. Stay in touch. And be back for another Edelweiss Bike Tour

Be talking to you....


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Add a comment Rate this post
Peggy Cleary
Monday, November 5, 2012 at 21:24

Dear Paul,
You did a fabulous job. Thank you so much for trip. Stay in touch.
Suzy Freitas
Monday, October 22, 2012 at 20:20

Great recap Paul! THANKS!
Alan Magnoni
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 08:38

Ciao Paolo,
nice BLOG, complimenti ...
ciao from the rome to sicily tour
Toby Wong
Monday, October 15, 2012 at 20:32

Paul and Michael
Manny, Suzy, Kim and I really enjoyed our ride through the Alps, evenings with Michael´s music of the 60´s and 70´s was a great way to end each day riding in the RAIN.
Thank you guys for the great experience.
Paul Kustermann
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 08:38

glad to have had you along... That's what friends are for!
Susanne St.
Friday, October 12, 2012 at 18:10

As they say: Always look on the bright side of life! That's Pauli...
Paul Kustermann
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 08:39

Behind and just above the silver lining of every clowd... is SUNSHINE !
Pat & Lynda Monroe
Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 02:31

Paul - Pat & I absolutely loved the tour in May despite the rainy weather. We have so many good memories because of the wonderful people we met & the spectacular scenery we were fortunate enough to have experienced. Tell the group they have more awesome days ahead of them rain or shine. ENJOY!!! Lynda & Pat Monroe (Canada)
Paul Kustermann
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 08:43

I hardly remember clouds Linda... I only remember that million-dollar smile of yours - no matter what the weather threw at us. And Pat... with him at your helm there was never a worry! Cheers to both of you.
Marko Bauer
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 18:04

Paul, I have done this tour in great weather most of the time! Have you upset the weather gods? Enjoy the tour!
Paul Kustermann
Monday, October 22, 2012 at 13:04

He Marko... check out the finished blog! I hope this does due respect for the wonderful tour this is. You being its creator should appreciate these moments caught in pictures. All the best to you. Paule
Paul Kustermann
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 08:40

Hello Mr. Sunshine, can you stroke the good-luck-globe for me the next time I go out?


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