A Travellerspoint blog


From 4 degrees to 24.5 degrees and back down again !!

Leaving Hotel Silene in Bormio was a lot like farewelling family, Nonna was in the corner chatting with her friends pausing to give me a fold farewell in Italian - no idea what she said but it sounded lovely. Alba opened the underground Garage and then came out to say goodbye/safe journey etc. Very touching.
We could have taken the easy way out - but why would we do that when we can go over the Passo di Gavia (2621m), we have done this one before in sunshine. Today was very different, quite challenging but stlll amazing.

It is an incredible experience to ride through such rugged countryside, high up in the Alps, very few people or even animals around.

We arrived at Cles and decided to stop for a coffee which turned into lunch, and map studying time.
Surprisingly sunny we were very happy to sit around for a while and enjoy the sun..

Leaving Cles the GPS took us on a circuit up the side of the mountain, through the lovely lush green orchards, and back onto the main road. Thank you GPS we would have missed that - no photos as the roads were almost vertical.

Back on the right road the scenery changed dramatically, now we are seeing bright green lush vineyards layered up the cliff edges.

Now we are a bit lost. The GPS co-ordinates seem to be sending us on a merry dance - yet again. Luckily I can read a map and have decided to follow the map and road signs. I knew we had to go over the Passo di Lavaze to Rauth, and was not happy until we did this. I was correct - of course. Once we came down the other side we found our Hotel.
Later we discovered the Hotel co-ordinates are incorrect on their web-site : hmmm worked that out !!!

We were unable to stay at Hotel Mondschein, but were able to stay at their other Hotel : "Biker Hotel"
Rather concerned about this as it was very cheap we were not sure what we were getting.
Brilliant surprise - it is fantastic, very clean etc etc. And we will be transported to Hotel Mondschein for dinner - perfect.
Another great day on the road.

Posted by MKaye 12:24 Archived in Italy Comments (0)


Amateur Photographer on the loose in Bormio

Today was a BFD (Bike Free Day) badly in need of a break we took the day off and just wandered around the beautiful historic village of Bormio.
If you don't want to see tourist photos - look away now !!

We went inside the Collegiate Church of SS Gervasio e Protasio, founded in the 9th century, completely rebuilt after it was burned down in 1621, when Spanish soldiers ravaged the town. a rather plain looking building on the outside- totally amazing inside.

wandering around the old winding streets we found lots to admire -

drawn by the sound of cow bells we wandered up behind the Old Town to try and find the cows - giving up after what seemed like an eternity of climbing - we could see them way up in the hills overlooking Bormio -


Harold & Jo, Peter & Dale have moved on today, we will catch up with them in a few days time.
Tomorrow we are leaving Bormio (sadly) and going South, hoping to avoid the rain and find some amazing passes (with no hair-pin bends)

Posted by MKaye 12:01 Archived in Italy Comments (1)


The last ride looking at my own backside !

Up into the mountains again today, more twisty hair-pin bends, 18 of them, winding back almost on top of each other.
"Riding looking at our own backside sometimes" to quote our Canadian friend from yesterday.
No wonder this road is on the "Dangerous Roads" list for Italy.

It is only a short ride but very spectacular. Once at the top we came to Torri de Fraele at 1941m, built in 1391.
Fraele Towers were used as a point of communication and a Strategic point to defend the County of Bormio during the war.
Messages were sent by use of smoke during day and light at night.

2 short tunnels at the top were carved into the edge of the mountain - that would have been a very difficult task back in 1391.

and now the horizon is looking rather ominous - back down the mountain to Bormio we went.

Lunch in the square and a wander around town, making the most of the brief period of sunshine down here.

discussing how to tie a shoe - as you would on Sunday afternoon in Bormio


gorgeous Jo in the square


Bormio - something to see everywhere you look

Now if doors could talk they would have some stories to tell - centuries of comings and goings


Always wondered where the Bimbo centre was - perhaps this idea could catch on in Australia


and the bikes keep coming -

and the skies are looking black again, rumbling over the alps, time to head for cover.

And that is it - I have had enough of looking at my backside as I ride hair-pin switchbacks - THAT'S IT - NO MORE.
From now on we are looking for nice long sweeping bends.

Posted by MKaye 09:13 Archived in Italy Comments (2)


Basket case !

I have not done a blog for a few days as I was a "basket case" . I have recovered now and we are back on our journey.

We left Landeck yesterday morning in sunshine, our first stop was Lago di Resia, an artificial lake with a striking landmark 14th Century Church Steeple towering from the centre. The town of Curon was flooded when three lakes were dammed to form one large lake for the production of electricity. The steeple is the only remnant left. During winter when the lake freezes you can walk out to it - amazing !

The horizon is not looking good so we put on wet-weather gear yet again !!

Steve had a chat to a Canadian Motorcyclist who has been riding 2up with his wife around Europe for 4 months - he shipped his bike from Canada.
One of the funniest comments he made was "those corners are so tight you end up riding up your own backside" so true !!

And so The Stelvio riding day has finally arrived - full of hair pins and switchbacks it is quite a challenging ride. Our first view on the Northern side -
(for those who don't know this one - those little wiggly lines up right hand side of the photo are actually the road twisting upwards)

and the corners are tight - very tight


We were up the top of the pass by late morning - in time for Blinky and Nougat to have a chat and look at the view from the safety of the Café


And of course today there had to be a Charity Cyclist ride so the road is closed until 2pm.
So of course we had to have a Kransky for lunch - very delicious


With plenty of time to wander around we found some great spots to take photos, this is looking back North where we just came up.


And of course there are lots of Souvenir shops to fill in time.

and pose for photos (thanks to another new friend who took this one for us)


Peter and Dale wandered up - so more photos


It is so stunning up here - we were literally in the clouds - and no it's not cold at all.


On the Podium Nougat and I felt like stars - if only for a moment - and yes that's a real bottle of bubbly and the gold cup we found just sitting by the Podium


Nearly time to go - Nougat and Blinky had a little play together - with Jo and Aitch.


On the way down the Southern side the road is equally as twisty but not as difficult to ride.


And then we arrived in the lovely little village of Bormio - one of our favourite places from our trip in 2013.

Found a few stray Aussies wandering around -

Typical Italian scene - a very expressive emotional discussion was taking place in the town square


Very entertaining just wandering around "people watching"


and just simply wandering around

and now back in the town square I think it's 2 to 1, and the girls are winning the "discussion"


We all met up for dinner at a lovely Italian Restaurant (what else) in the town square and were very well entertained by Debora, gorgeous looking Italian girl who did not speak one word of English but managed to have us in stitches most of the night.

Posted by MKaye 07:30 Archived in Italy Comments (2)


The Art of packing & Motorcycle and riding the Alpine Passes

Monday morning saw us arriving at Moto-Centre Thun to watch Harold & Jo, Peter & Dale pack their hire bikes ready for our big adventure together.

Heads down, bums up - and the great squeeze commenced.

Deep concentration required -

Getting rather bored with this process I took a look around the Moto-Centre, very tempting range of gear and bikes - and an Aussie wandering around looking rather lost -

So many nice bikes - how do we choose just one ?


and so back to check how the packing is going - hmmm slow process


and so the "expert Aussie handy man" stepped in


back inside to check out the rather unique coffee shop - coffee machine is the best !!

wandering back out to the bike-park I found this rather snazzy outfit complete with edelweiss decorations

and then the day got considerably better - my No. 1 DEAM MACHINE arrived.
So impressed with this R1200RS I could have taken it right then and there - and that's without a Test Ride - yet !!!


Eventually we were all packed an on the road. First stop was a lookout over Lake Thunesee - stunning lake with the Alps in the background


Then up into the Alps we went - first pass was the Grimsel

Peter & Dale
Harold & Jo
Getting rather chilly now -

check out the twisty roads - that's where we are going

and of course I have to put an Aussie sticker on the Pass sign - always do that !
Arriving at Sedrun late afternoon I was very glad to see our lovely bedroom
The 6 of us enjoyed a delicious dinner at our Hotel and an early night ready for tomorrow.

This morning (Tuesday) we were greeted with rather dull skies - no sun - not going to be so good today.
Our Hotel - La Cruna - was particularly nice, definitely recommend this one to anybody staying in the area.

Riding through the rather gloomy conditions (no photos) we found the lovely two-tailed mermaid fountain - Switzerland's oldest wooden fountain,
unknown why she has two tails but it makes her rather unique.

Moving on we stopped for a break - and found a Motorcycle person lurking in the bushes

The weather has cleared now so we have sunny skies - still rather chilly though.
Next stop was the lookout over the Rheinschluct canyon which is 300metres deep and 14 kilometres long - Switzerland's Grand Canyon

Spot the square section on this little house beside our coffee stop this morning

Again we stopped just before the Fluelapass for a look and see -


I thought I would have a rest waiting for Harold & Jo to catchup -


here they are -

duelling cameras -

We had a quick lunch stop at the Fluelapass and kept on going into Landeck - in pouring rain.
Not good but we made it safe and sound.

Posted by MKaye 12:59 Archived in Austria Comments (1)

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