Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Over the Alps in October

Over the Alps in October

From Pompeii one can ride directly to Germany but it would be a very long day; that would be for Iron Butt Riders, not for me. While Carol has her Saddle Sore1000, I am no longer interested in chasing miles.  Sure I rode huge distances (Daytona to Boston) in a day, but like I said, I don’t like riding that way any longer. Nor do I like to race. I ride my 6 to 7 hours a day, then call it quits. We made it to Ponzano, North of Rome the first day, after leaving in the afternoon from Pompeii. Then from Ponzano we made it to Campogalliano

We found a hotel that was highly rated at Bookings and had an attached restaurant which was, we saw, heavily visited by many locals. You can’t always trust the ratings. The restaurant had an ‘air’ about itself that bordered on snobbish. Sorry, but I was totally not impressed. I have seen many ‘impressive’ acting restaurants in my life and some were without substance. This was one of those. The pasta soup Carol had was way too salty and the breakfast we received the next morning even had rancid butter; the bread was as hard as Survival Tack. I could not wait to leave this place. I do not like snobs. 

We rode another day until we got to Innsbruck and stayed outside Innsbruck (Zirl) because I did not want to ride the Brenner Pass late in the afternoon, just in case there is some frost on the road and maybe even snow. It rained all the way to boot, and rain could turn to snow at night. It sure was getting colder. At Innsbruck we had 43 F, so we sure had left the warmer southern lands. Finding a hotel in Innsbruck is easy if you have unlimited funds. I chose to stay in the small town of Zirl, just west of the large city and it turned out to be almost a private home we slept in. The hotel was very clean, very organized, with a great breakfast. We are now in Austria.

I like that the currency in Europe is in Euros. No longer do we have to change all kinds of money to travel across Europe. The Euro is great, it sure makes traveling easier. We rode through Austria instead of Switzerland because it is cheaper going this way. Switzerland would ask us to buy a Vignette for the whole year even though we were just passing through. Switzerland charges per person in a room, not for the room itself. Switzerland has their own currency and we would have to exchange funds. Switzerland is just too expensive and too cumbersome to travel in.

After we woke up at Haus Bergland (our Hotel) we finally set off to ride the Brenner Pass and across the Dolomites, part of the Alps. The day is very misty. Not sure if the clouds are this low or if it is fog. The Brenner Pass is an old, very old, very big and very much traveled Pass through the Alps. Not even so high, only 1370 Meters (about 4000 feet) but yes, we had snow. We had slush in the local streets when we left Zirl and snow left and right of the highway that winds itself over the mountains, but snow it is. One can slide in snow even if it is only minimal, it is sleek stuff. Riding across bridges, while travelling the local roads I slowed down and kept the bike perfectly level. Ice forms here quicker than anyplace else. The road was wet, so it was hard if not impossible to see ‘black ice’. I chose the Brenner Pass because it was the lowest pass, because it is heavily traveled, because it is well maintained and all the cars and trucks would have left a groove in the snow for us to ride in.

Yup! Snow And It Is Cold 
All my (over)planning worked out OK for us. We arrived and made it to Munich without a crisis. Not that Munich was so warm and it rained in Munich, too but we are over the hump. From now on it is just getting back to Heidelberg to store our bikes. 

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