Another Epic trip across Europe draws to a close and its time to recap and relive some of those memories. The trip took 23 days and 3000 miles, and took in Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland.
The initial trip to the DFDS ferry in Newcastle is 290 miles and goes past without any problems, everyone is fresh and excited and time flies by. The DFDS Seaways operated ferry is OK , but the parking of bikes along the wall and then filling the place up with cars is pretty naff, People opening car doors onto bikes and pushing past them with bags etc is pretty bloody awful, get a grip DFDS.
Food is good but drink is ridiculously expensive, Magners and a Gin and Tonic are €15, and if you buy any duty free they keep it till the morning – licensed bandits.
Nice early start in Ijmuiden, sunny dry start heading to the Hotel Nord in Rheinbach Germany, it is a 200 mile motorway slog and just needs to get done. Keep speeds down to adjust to riding on the continent. Every country has its own little thing they do that can freak you out, the Dutch are really quite well behaved and no diplomatic episodes to report. We arrive at the Hotel Nord, Hotel has seen better days but the room is clean and we are tired. The restaurant is closed so we book a taxi and go down town to the Brauhaus Rheinbach. This pub brews its own beers and does good solid pub food – Highly recommended Weissbier get a hammering. Taxi back to Hotel and day 1 is over.
Breakfast was good, Germany always does a quality breakfast. Weather is OK we set off headed to the Hotel Altenberg in Baden Baden. The route is 209 miles and is mainly back roads, no spectacular scenery yet but a pleasant run with some nice roads and wee villages. We arrive at the Altenberg. late afternoon and are greeted and show to the garage for the bikes, Hotel is really nice, quite old world and they serve food and beer so a quick clean up and change and down for beer, arrange a table for two and have a cracking meal. Make the big mistake of feeling flush at the beginning of the holiday, not checking prices of beer and food….spent a bloody fortune. Breakfast was another German Epic, the variety is staggering not really recommended stuffing your face for a day in the saddle but what the hell stuffed, packed and on the road by 10 o clock.
Heading to the Hotel Stubai on the Brenner Pass and some proper scenery and some of the best back roads, avoiding all motorways and toll roads is the only way to go. Not entirely sure what happened today we set off early enough on a winding route heading south west through southern Germany, done this many times and its always been ok, but time seemed to slip away from us, we had been riding for 7 hours and getting nowhere. Decided to cut our losses and switch to the motorway as we entered Austria, pulled into the shell station and bought a couple of vignettes and some fuel ,recalc the twat nav to use motorways and take us straight there. Suzi looked done in. So at some speed on the Austrian motorway we blasted to the Hotel Stubai on the Brenner pass. We arrived in time for a shower and dinner, the surprise being the best Goulash Zuppe I have ever had, absolutely fantastic, server in the traditional bowl with bread , it was devoured and a few Franziskaner for good measure. Tomorrow will be better its the Brenner Pass
The Brenner pass is an old friend, never get tired of this road. After a good breakfast we pack the bikes and set off. Weather is OK, cooler than previous years but bright enough. The Harley loves this road, long rolling bends ,roll on roll off cruising effortless. You could ride this road at 130mph plus but what would be the point, you would miss it all. We will be in Faaker See tonight and there are plenty of Harleys on the road in packs, or holed up in roadside cafes. Not enjoying my riding today ,headache is getting worse. We stopped just after the Italian border for fuel and a coffee. Head is banging, take the shark off and it starts to lift. Examine the helmet and discover a rubber pad stuck to the front where my forehead touches the helmet, my other shark does not have this, so ripped it out. wow different helmet ha ha ha. The road through Italy is very busy and its single carriage way so progress is slow ,back into Austria and the traffic and roads improve. Lots of bikes on the road now as we head to Villach then Faak. We arrive at the Finkensteiner Hof mid afternoon and its time for Weiss Beir.