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Showing posts from June, 2014

Day 56 - Just One More Pass

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Wednesday 20th August 2014 

It's been nice in Laudes. Great pizza and a very comfortable apartment for Mick and I. And Stelvio of course. Now it's time to leave the high country and head off the Alps and back to Germany. But not before one last fling.

I've tried to ride over Timmelsjoch, aka Passo Rombo, on two previous occasions. The first time with Charly driving rain and low cloud defeated us. The second time, with my son Jake, we ran into snow and took the lower Reschen Pass option.

This time nothing is stopping me and Mick. Clive has decided not to do this last high pass, preferring to ride the easier passes to the west. We will meet up again in Germany.

Timmelsjoch connects Italy's Sud Tirol with Austrian Tirol. It peaks at over 2,500 metres and the weather here can be brutal.



Today is benign compared to previous attempts. Cloud shrouds the top so we cannot see much but the small cafe is welcoming for coffee and cakes, and of course the sticker trophy. Our…

Day 57 - Winding down In Luxembourg

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Thursday 21st August 2014

This morning I am joined by a bird on the hotel balcony. It flew into the overhanging roof, batted around a bit and fell to the floor. Obviously stunned, it scrabbled up to the ledge and sat in the (avian) recovery position for a good 15 minutes, beady eyes trained on me. Didn't say much.

We set off for the long ride north. No pictures as it is mostly on the autobahnen. We get stuck in heavy traffic for a while around Karlsruhe, then the run through Rhineland Pfalz and the Saar Valley is exhilarating.

It is 354 miles to  the High Chapparal in Luxembourg, where Mick and I camped at the beginning of the trip. This time we have rented a cabin with bunk beds and basic facilities. It proves a bit too basic for Clive who decamps to a hotel in Esch-sur-Sure for the second night.

Ed our host is smiling as ever and the spare ribs for dinner are as good as it gets.
There is an interesting chop parked outside. Whitby-style minimali…

Day 58 - Just Hanging Around

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Friday 22nd August 2014

We ride into Esch for breakfast then spend a pleasant day riding around the lovely Luxembourg roads. It is a mini biking paradise here, with lots of roads winding up and down the valleys, good surfaces and good curves and very light traffic. After an hour or two Clive heads off back to his hotel for a sleep and Mick and I continue riding through the beautiful valleys of Central Luxembourg.



We stop for lunch at a small hotel, the Huberty in Kautenbach, and get chatting with the owner. Rudi is Dutch and has been running his hotel here for a long time. We get talking about beer. He is an enthusiast and he shows us a new dark beer from the Munich Paulaner brewery that he has just begun to stock. It's called Salvator and weighs in at a hefty 7.9% ABV. We say we would like to try it, but we don't mix biking and beer. He insists that we take two bottles to sample later, as a gift.




We have seen so much kindness from strangers on this tour. 

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Day 59 - Final Day on the European Mainland

Saturday 23rd August 2014

The final day in Europe is dry and windy. We get our heads down and fly down the highway to Rotterdam where we board the P&O ferry for the trip to Hull. It's a bleak and increasingly industrialised landscape, and I am not tempted to stop and take any photographs. The tour is over and we just want to get home and rest up.

We have a few beers on the boat and then sleep for England.

It is sadly ironic that after 40 or more border crossings in the EU the most time-consuming is always returning to Great Britain. We queue and slowly shuffle forward. For the first time I am asked to remove my flip-up helmet completely so my country can decide if I am me. At least this time we are not pulled for a search as we were last year. 

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Day 60 - Final Thoughts

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Sunday 24th August 2014

And so we are home again after 60 days on the road. The only concrete evidence the new stickers on the panniers, badly worn tyres and an increased milometer reading.



It's a week on now; a week of processing an overwhelming set of mental images and thoughts. Here are my final reflections.
Stats+++++++

12,622 kilometres (7,843 miles).15 countries (we reached but didn't cross the Ukraine border).
£850 spent on fuel. £2000 spent on accommodation, food, beer, souvenirs etc.
Cheapest fuel £0.92 per litre in Livorgno, Italy.
Cheapest accommodation £15 B&B in Romania.
One set of Dunlop Roadsmart 2 tyres. Lasted well, although the front was triangular at the end from so much time spent on the edge.

Thanks to++++++++

Rainbow BMW of Rotherham for bike servicing. She never missed a beat guys, big and strong from 0 to 2,700+ metres above sea level.
Andy of A18 Motorcycle Tyres.
Ros and John Gowers at Gasthof Hochalmspitze in the beautiful Malta Valley in Austria for…