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The Ultimate Alps - in private. (CUA220A)

Thursday, September 22, 2022 | Thomas Ritt | Europe

On Timmelsjoch, the last pass of the tour. What a blast we had...
What's the Matter, horn?

Riding Day No. 1 - Stunning Stelvio

There's a reason why we call the Ultimate Alps Tour the Ultimate Alps Tour: it's because we dive right in, head over heels. No fewer than seven mountain passes, five of them over 2,000 meters high, are on the agenda of Day One! One of them is the famous Stelvio, a bucket list ride for every motorcyclist. We did it today, in bright sunshine, along with a few thousand other people on bikes and bicycles and in cars and campervans. Check!!!

First stop: the famous skywalk at Gacher Blick
Next highlight, even more famous: the half-submerged church tower of Graun
A small but happy and fun group of Americans
Today's top highlight: Passo dello Stelvio, the Queen of Alpine Roads.
Sharon and Terry, enjoying their lunch. Bruno's famous sausage sandwiches, of course. What else would you eat up on Stelvio?
The group in front of Morteratsch glacier in Switzerland. Or what's left of it. The train named "Glacier Express" is a Swiss icon.
The glacier in 1900 and in 2012. Today, the glacier ends even higher up (arrow).

Riding Day No. 2 - Swiss Sweepers

The second day we tackle high passes as well, two of them to be precise. The Albula and Oberalp Passes offer riding pleasure at its best! In between, bend after bend, nestled in the beautiful landscape of central Switzerland. Our hotel in Brunnen then tops it all off!

Checking out St. Moritz
In front of the dollhouse of Bergün. Most buildings in this town are over 300 years old!
Oberalp Pass is the only mountain pass in the Alps that features a lighthouse.
View from the hotel room in Brunnen. A storm is brewing over Lake Lucerne...

Riding Day No. 3 - Magnificent Mountains

After a rainy, stormy night, the sky cleared up just in time for our departure from Brunnen. We took the ferry across the lake and headed south towards the mighty Grimsel Pass. It was cold up there and foggy, but as we rode down, the sun came out and invited us to visit the famous Rhone Glacier.

Two hours later we arrived in Zermatt at the foot of Switzerland's most iconic mountain, the Matterhorn. What an amazing place!

Group picture right next to Lake Lucerne
Lake Lucerne panorama
On the ferry across the lake
Terry and Sharon at the entrance to the Rhone glacier's "Ice Grotto"
The glacier in 2022
The glacier around 1870...
The famous Matterhorn, shrouded in clouds
Cheese Fondue! What else?
Nick likes it a lot!

Riding Day No. 4 - Italian Intermezzo

The early morning trip to the Gornergrat and an afternoon roadblock made this day of riding the longest of the tour so far. We arrived in Lugano only after half past six. But at least we now know that the famous "Road of Death" is not in South America, but near Lake Maggiore...

View from the Gornergrat, 3089 m above sea level. The Matterhorn still got its pyjamas on...
Swiss Mountain Magic, part I
Swiss Mountain Magic, part II
The Matterhorn appeared from behind the clouds to say goodbye.
The Stone Eagle on Simplon Pass
Lunch in Italy: great pizza, great coffee, and sooo much cheaper than in Switzerland!

Riding Day No. 5 - Goattrail Galore

Six passes were on our agenda today. None of them has a big name, but they offer a lot of riding fun and great scenery. First and foremost, the Passo del Vivione, which literally took our breath away with its ultra-narrow roadway and numerous blind curves.

On the ferry across Lago di Como. George Clooney would have loved to have us over for lunch, but we had to hurry. There's a price to pay if you wanna ride six passes...
Coffee on Passo di Culmine di San Pietro.
On Passo del Vivione. Looking for a NARROW road? Look no further!
The Adamello Range, beckoning in the distance.

Riding Day No. 6 - Picnic Perfection

Day 6 brought us around the Brenta Dolomites to Molveno Lake, to a wonderful picnic lunch and on to a picturesque and interesting pilgrimage site. For motorcycle pilgrims, the route had countless curves in store, on Passo Daone, on the Paganella road, and on Mendola Pass.

Today's destination was Klobenstein, just outside of Bolzano, where we stay in a beautiful hotel for two nights.

Molveno Lake is a true gem!
New generation tour guide Nick with his first picnic - a big success!
San Romedio, a stunning pilgrimage site in pristine surroundings.

Riding Day No. 7 - Delightful Dolomites

A typical Edelweiss rest day is not for resting, of course, but for riding. Sleep a little longer than usual, then we hop on our bikes and head off into the Dolomites. Four big passes, fresh snow at higher altitudes, a bright blue sky above. If there is a motorcyclist's paradise, then it looks like this!

The Dolomites, as seen from Mt. Ritten. Who wouldn't like to go there and ride?
Roads, scenery - it couldn't be better.

Riding Day No. 8 - Motorcycle Mania & the Edelweiss Encounter

On the last day of riding, the Alps once again pulled out all the stops: bright blue skies, mountain peaks freshly covered in snow, beautiful roads without traffic - it was tremendous! And as icing on the cake, we got to admire a few hundred historic motorcycles.

And no, we didn't get wet!

On pass number one: Penser Joch
Dark clouds in the north - are we going to get wet?
Pass number two: Jaufenpass
The final ascent to Timmelsjoch, the second-highest pass of the tour
Sharon and Terry love it!
In the "Top Mountain Motorcycle Museum" at the Timmelsjoch you can admire about 500 motorcycles from 120 years.
The "Hildebrand & Wolfmüller" from 1894 was the world's first production motorcycle (replica). It was built in Munich!
A happy group says goodbye. Thanks for coming on this tour, we hope to see you in the not too distant future!
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