Transalpina alpine road motorcycle tour, Romaniaby
Transfagarasan alpine road motorcycle tour, Romaniaby
Late October. We took our motorcycle out for a ride through Bavaria last Sunday. To think that while we were still living in Cyprus we were estimating no more than two month of riding in Germany. July and August. Almost November, yet we still ride.
To realize how much I have missed those sunny days of perfect autumn.
We arrived in Tuscany after harvest and the fields of wheat, which only a few weeks ago were bending under the weight of the wind, lay in hayricks on the ground, waiting for someone to pick them up. But no one was in sight.
Luciano, our host, is affected by the view. Gazing across the fields, he talks about a vivid Val d’Orcia, the one from his youth.
‘Back in the old days it took time and it took people to work the land and gather the crops. Many voices echoed across the hills during harvest. Today, modern machinery took their place.’
And solitude, I add. The solitude, the still life landscape that captivates the western traveler in search of a past it never existed in the way he expects it.
Each hill in Val d’Orcia is topped by a stone farmhouse, and each farmhouse is reached via a dirt road guarded by cypress trees. And alike is Cretaiole, the typical Tuscan farmhouse we stayed at, just a few minutes away from Pienza. We toured on our motorcycle every day, but did not stray far from the farmhouse. There was no need to, for simply driving the roads of Tuscany is a reward in itself. We rode without precise destination or goal, just for the beauty of it.
There were the big eared foxes we saw riding back from Castelmuzio late at night, on deserted winding roads, crops and olive groves and wineries on each side. Mist raising from the soil. Mist that frightened us a bit because we were the only ones on the road, and our motorcycle lights the only interruption in the pitch darkness. But then a groundhog waited for our motorcycle to pass so he can cross the road, the fireflies appeared, and I wished we ride all night. I wished we ride until morning when, at 6:00 am a deer walks up the dirt road to the Cretaiole farmhouse before seeing us and hiding into the olive grove.
There was the tenor voice that came pouring down a window and into the narrow cobble street we were climbing in Montepulciano one evening, after dinner. A voice not always on the note, not always fluent. Rehearsing perhaps. And we realize that for a more Italian evening, we could not ask for.
There was also exhaustion and lack of sleep. The room too rustic, a touristic type of rustic. There were the unfulfilled wishes, like the hot springs we didn’t make it to.
And in the end, the 760 km ride back home, from Tuscany to Munich. Too long a trip, for the trips home lasts always the most.
Motorcycle Ride through the Fern Pass, at the Germany-Austria border on the 2014 Kawasaki Z1000SXby
By the end of the second day during our ride through Italy, The Biker declared that today was the highlight of our holiday. And although a couple of days later we traveled south of the Italian Alps and towards Tuscany, my primary destination for this summer I, too, have to admit that the highlight of our trip has been the Stelvio Pass.
When it comes to well-known motorcycle routes there is always the nagging thought will I be disappointed?, is it overrated?. It is not. Passo dello Stelvio is overwhelmingly beautiful. Just as Grossglockner is not overrated either, although the foggy special effects enhanced our drive a great deal to make the Grossglockner ride even more spectacular than we thought it would be. Nor is the less known Cypriot Pyrgos route.
But back to Stelvio Pass. Being one of the most famous alpine roads in Europe (as I write, Google returns Stelvio Pass as the first result for famous alpine roads search terms), it is also a busy one. Motorcycles, bicycles, cars and even the occasional bus make their way up and down the narrow pass. Negotiating turns when a car comes from the opposite direction can be tough, and so is the steep descent towards Bormio. We actually enjoyed the descent quite a lot, for it offers a great view of the valley. And the fact that the speed limit is 90km/h, a limit which, surprisingly, some tried to cross.
If freedom for you means riding solo, open road ahead, then freedom will elude you here. What you will find, instead, is the feeling of belonging to a group of people who, just like you, declared of the end of their ride that today has been the highlight of their trip. People who allowed their daily jobs to exist without them for a while and who, for one day, experience the privilege of riding through the spectacular Italian Alps, experience the freedom of being the way they want to be.
MotorbikeEurope.com has an interesting article on Stelvio Pass.by