Featured European Trip 2023

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Bikerman, Aug 28, 2023.

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  1. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

    Oct 29, 2014
    Well I've been back now almost two weeks, but as a result of an extension that we've been having, I've had a lot of decorating to do, and still have.
    I thought it was about time that I made time to post what happened on my recent trip to Europe.
    Well the trip down to Folkstone was in torrential rain, and I was glad to eventually make it to the Channel Tunnel, and at least I'd be dry for half an hour.
    Well as I arrived early and checked in, the nice computer screen said, " Oh you're early, would you like an earlier train?" Well it'd be rude not to wouldn't it, especially as there was no extra charge. So off on the train I go, and after the normal safety instructions, off we trundle under the English Channel towards France. Well about 30 + mins later I'm in France.
    Well exiting the train it was great to see that the torrential rain that I'd left behind in England, decided to beat the train, and greet me with much the same as I'd left. Oh well I'm on holiday so what the heck. Well it wasn't too long before I was brought down to earth and the realisation that car drivers are just as brain dead in France, as they are across most of the world. There I was having a nice ride in torrential rain, when Monsieur ``I'm exempt from all traffic laws "came flying out of a side road, with a solid white line and a big STOP sign, and progressed to make his way towards me. Well I slammed the anchors on, and managed not to become a bonnet mascot. I must have got my braking just right, as the ABS never even cut in. Now as I always take money with me and a card or two, as back up, I wanted to buy the petrol with cash. It soon became clear that in France, and Belgium they had other ideas. For the life of me I could not find a petrol station that would accept cash, so reluctantly I had to use the cards until I reached Germany. All this excitement, and I'd forgotten about the weather. Still chucking it down. Now I had planned to go and see Hitlers bunker in Belgium, but the weather was getting worse, and I didn't fancy walking around in torrential rain. So I made my way to my first B&B in Belgium. Well I got there OK, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I must have got an upgrade, I'd booked a room, and it turned out that I'd got an apartment, result or what. I thought that after the day I'd had, I'll take that. So after making myself some grub, and then a shower, ( Like I needed more water on me ) it was off to bed.
    Day Two.
    Well after getting woken up by a massive thunder and lightning storm, I had some breakfast, and started to pack the bike up, in Torrential rain. Oh deep joy, more rain. Well during the day, the rain left off, and the sun broke through, and made everything look stunning. It remained nice for the rest of the day, till my B&B in France.
    Day Three.
    Well today it's off to Switzerland, it was still raining, but as the day before, it started to ease off, and the sun came out. It was starting to get very warm. At last warm sun. Isn't warm weather with a motorbike and brilliant roads just the tonic for any problems you may have.

    Well as Switzerland has rather good roads and lots of bends, it wasn't long before I reached my Hotel, I was here for the next 3 nights, which gave me lots of time to do the mountain passes. Well after a slap up dinner, off out for a walk around the town. I was based just outside Interlaken at a place called Wilderswil, in the Alpenrose Hotel and Gardens. The room was a bit small, but it had a kettle, so tea was on the menu.
    Day Four.
    Well today started out OK, but soon went downhill, I'd forgotten my documentation, for me, and my bike back at the hotel, then the Garmin decided to lose all my routes that I'd planed back home, then not to be out done the phone decided to join in on the fun, and pack up altogether, and as I'd left all my documentation back at the hotel, I couldn't remember the address. Fortunately I'd been given a card which entitled me to free public transport, and that had the address of the hotel on it. So after threatening the Garmin with ejection at high speed, it decided to take me to the hotel, so I could get all my documentation, and continue to enjoy what was left of the day. The weather was really nice today too, but I landed up doing 85 miles and went nowhere. Oh well there's always tomorrow.
    Day Five.
    Well today's the day I'll do the Furka and the Grimsel Pass, the last time I did these passes was back in the 80's on a Suzuki GS750. The weather wasn't that bad today, but it was very misty at the top of the Grimsel Pass, and as a result, you couldn't see that much. I did stop and take a photo of a couple who've been on their bikes for some time at the top of the pass. DSC09233.JPG

    Off next to see where the film Goldfinger was filmed way back in 1964, they erected a plaque to Sir Sean Connery ( for me the best Bond ever ) you could stand and look over the very roads that the cars went flying around.


    By this time the weather had greatly improved, so I decided to go back over the Grimsel pass to get some decent shots other than mist. It's hard to believe that I'd been out most of the day, before the evening comes around, and before you know it you're tucking into some grub. Well after dinner I thought another walk around was on the cards, before packing up the gear and moving to Austria in the morning.

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  2. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

    Oct 29, 2014
    #2 Bikerman, Aug 28, 2023
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2023
    Day Six.
    Well I made my way to Austria, fortunately the monsoon was in full swing with torrential rain. I was making my way up the Susten Pass, and the visibility was no more than 60 yards at best. It was horrendous, but the only saving grace was that I had a Belgian car driver behind me who must have been a motorcyclist, at no stage did he get up my arse, and was giving me lots of room to negotiate the bends in a safe manner. I wish I could have thanked him, but at the bottom of the pass, he went off on his way. Well Liechtenstein soon came, and went, ( it's not very big ). Then into Austria, well I was trying to find somewhere at the border to buy the Austrian road tax ( €10.00 ) but everywhere was closed. Well no option but to get on the motorway, and get off at the next exit and find a petrol station, and to buy the tax disk there. Well I got one eventually, and made my way to the hotel. Well all was going well until the Arlberg Tunnel was closed, and up the mountain side I went, which added more time to a rather unpleasant day on the bike, plus the rain was coming down yet again, plus my backside was telling me to get off the bike too. I eventually got to the hotel and thought thank Christ for that. The phone that had not been working since Switzerland, still wasn't working in Austria, so I managed to get hold of Lebara, and with the help of technology, they managed to send a reset signal to the phone, which cured the problem. Yippy I've a phone again that works. Anyway after all the excitement of the day, my stomach decided to remind me of the fact that I'd been neglecting it all day. So off down to the restaurant I go. Now I must admit I have a liking of Schnitzel and pomme fritz, so I ordered one, and very weak lager shandy, 20% beer, 80% lemonade ( well it looks like a man's drink ) Well I don't drink, so that's the closest I come to having a beer. Well this Schnitzel turned up and my first thoughts were, " Where the hell I'm I going to put all this lot ", it was massive, and there were two of them too, and don't forget the chips underneath them as well. Well I just took my time and worked my way through the lot of it, it tasted glorious too, only the fact that I was in a public place stopped me from licking the plate. Sadly there was no room for a banana split. Maybe tomorrow.
    Day Seven
    @Markus ( did you do the simulator ride ) Off to the Top Mountain Motorcycle Museum, Top Mountain Crosspoint well it's a great ride up there, and the weather wasn't too bad either, at last a dry ride, on perfect roads ( just what the doctor ordered ) Well after a very enjoyable ride I parked up and went inside. €15 to get in, and there are lockers there so you can store some of your gear ( they're free too ) This place is really nice, and well worth a visit if you're in the area, I must have been in there for 2 maybe 3 hours, I didn't make a not of the time, so I can't honestly say. One thing that you must go on is the simulator that takes you round the mountain pass at high speed, it's brilliant, you just choose a bike and sit on it, and let the simulator do the rest, it's great fun.
    Well outside and sit in the sun and take in the glorious views, and have a banana split. So it was time to make my way back to the hotel, and the clouds were starting to build up again, so I thought I'd play it safe and put the wetsuit on, and I'm bloody glad I did, as it came down again in biblical proportions. Well back at the hotel again, and after a quick shower down for a slap up meal, and a drink. And a chin wag with my poor German, and before you know it, bedtime was calling.
    Day Eight
    Well today was an enforced rest day, the weather was absolutely belting down, the plan was to go up to the Arlberg Pass, but when I checked what the weather was like, snow and -6 came back. Now I'll ride in most weathers but, snow and -6 wasn't on my to do list. It didn't stop all day, and as a result most of the time was spent on the balcony with my feet up, listening to my music. It did let up in the afternoon, so I grabbed a quick walk to the next village. Not the most exciting day I'll grant you that. Still in the evening it was down to the restaurant, for another slap up meal.
    Day Nine
    Well the weather was a vast improvement on yesterday's offering, so it was off to Italy to do the famous Stelvio Pass, I've heard so much about this pass that I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Well I can tell you, it's not only spectacular, but in places pretty hairy, especially going up the Italian side, the roads are OK but in places aren't that great. The biggest problem is that to do a right hand turn, you should go as far left as possible to get the angle right, so you land up on the correct side of the road. The only problem with that, is that some parts of the pass have a bloody great brick wall in the way, and you can't see what's coming down, so you just have to hope that nothing too big is coming down to meet you in the middle of the road. The curves aren't a normal radius, they are a sharp U turn. I don't think I'd want to take a fully loaded bike and a passenger up there, it would be interesting to say the least. The route to the top is well worth the heart stopping moments that you'll encounter on the way up, it's spectacular, make no mistake about that. When you do get to the top, it's packed with motorbikes all over the place, so lots of videos were taken and pictures to boot.

    As I'd taken my time to get to the Stelvio pass, time was moving on, so I went down the Swiss side, this was a much better road surface, I managed to use up the remainder of my Swiss currency, and fill up before crossing back into Italy. It was at this stage I decided to put my speedo back to MPH, to see how many miles I'd done since I'd started, well I got one hell of a shock on the MPG front, my V Strom was returning 80 MPG. I was gobsmacked, I knew she didn't drink fuel, but I wasn't expecting that amount of return to a gallon of petrol. Still I wasn't complaining. The rest of the ride was taking it easy, and visiting some places that I'd not been back to since I last went there some 45 years ago. One place in particular was where a village in Italy was flooded to make way for a reservoir.
    When I eventually got back to my hotel in Austria, it was down to the restaurant again for a Schnitzel and a shandy. Boy did that go down a treat.
    Day Ten.
    Well it's off to Germany today for a 3 nights stay in a hotel just south of Nuremberg. Well as ever it was belting down again as I was making my way north, it wasn't cold just bloody rain all the time. The whole day was spent getting to the hotel in crap weather, so not much more to say about today really.
    Day Eleven.
    Looked out of the window, holy crap, Unbroken sunshine, what a result, it took long enough to find me. The best part was it was going to be like it for the next 2 days, and in the mid 30's too. That'll do me.
    So after breakfast my first port of call was to tour to the old city of Nuremberg, and visit the many of the must see and do places such as the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg, Hauptmarkt, Sinwell Tower, Henkersteg Bridge, Kettensteg Bridge, Zeppelin Fields, and not forgetting Courthouse 600 located in The Palace of Justice.
    Well today I concentrated on walking around the Old Town of Nuremberg, and believe me you'll not be disappointed, there are lots of places to park your bike, you just have to find them. I contacted the Nuremberg tourist board , and they sent me a list of where you could park your bike, it was a great help to me in helping me plan my walking tour.



    Well after walking around town, and going into lots of different places, I thought it was time to make my way back to the hotel. Now it was a gloriously warm evening, I didn't much feel like dinner at this moment in time, so when I got back to the hotel and dropped the boxes off, and then put the Garmin to work in creating a round tour of some 80 miles. It was just brilliant, the weather was just perfect and riding around in the glorious German countryside, it was one of those days that you just don't want to end.
    Well after walking around town, and going into lots of different places, I thought it was time to make my way back to the hotel. Now it was a gloriously warm evening, I didn't much feel like dinner at this moment in time, so when I got back to the hotel and dropped the boxes off, and then put the Garmin to work in creating a round tour of some 80 miles. It was just brilliant, the weather was just perfect and riding around in the glorious German countryside, it was one of those days that you just don't want to end. I eventually got back to the hotel, and had a slap up meal, and talking to this German lady, who spoke perfect English, but was helping me with my German. A really great day today
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  3. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

    Oct 29, 2014
    Day Twelve
    Well today it was off to Zeppelin Fields, that well known place where a certain person was addressing lots and lots of troops. I've got to say when you see the original buildings it's impressive to say the least. All that's left now is the main central building. You can't help but think what it must have been like to stand where a lot of party members stood overlooking it all. After a lot of pictures from all angles, I decided to walk around the perimeter to get more pictures from different places. It was boiling hot in the mid 30's, but I wasn't complaining.



    After maybe an hour or so of walking around the fields, I made my way to the Documentation centre
    This is the place that gives you more of a background as to what went on, and a time line too. Well worth a visit if you get time. You can use your smartphone to scan a QR code, and all the information comes up on your smartphone.
    Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände
    Well it was back to the bike for a short ride across town to The Palace of Justice, and the famous Courtroom 600

    Admission | Memorium Nuremberg Trials
    Now this place is like a church, for some reason everyone was really quiet, it's surreal to think that a lot of that lot were sentenced to death for what they did, and rightfully so too. When you look at the original pictures, the courtroom hasn't changed a lot from what it was like all them years ago, just the furniture. If you get to Nuremberg, this is a must see for your to see list. I couldn't find any parking places near the Palace of Justice, so I just parked on the road out front, and hoped for the best with regards to a parking ticket. Well upon returning to the bike there wasn't a souvenir on the bike for me to take home.
    Day Thirteen.
    Well off to Germany now, and as like days before, the weather wasn't looking too bad, I stopped at a roadside café, and you could feel the heat building up, how it never chucked it down, I'll never know. Riding north to the Harz mountains, I was going via the back roads, and trying to keep off the motorways as much as possible. Eventually you have to give in as the time is slipping by, and you're still some miles from where you want to be. I eventually got to my destination at about 18.00 at the Hotel & Pension Gelpke's mill https://www.hotel-pension-bad-sachsa.de/ As I pulled up at the front of the hotel, the lady came out, and said Hello, get your bike round the back, next to ours. I just love it on the continent, you always seem to get this. I had the best room in the hotel, I could see my bike out of the window, what could be better than that. I unloaded my bike, and then walked into the village, then the heavens opened up again, and it just fell out of the sky. It stopped after a while, just enough for me to make a run for it.
    Day Fourteen
    Well today I started off heading towards the Titan Bridge
    Die Brücke - Titan RT I'd seen this on a video on YouTube, and thought I'll go there. Well it only cost €6.00 to scare yourself shitless, I'm not that good with things that swing, especially a few hundred feet up, between you and mother earth below, my mouth was like sandpaper, halfway across and there were people doing bungee jumping off a platform, what a shame that I'd brought my tank bag with me, I'd have done that for sure. ( yea right ) Then you had people on zip wires going down at a high rate of knots, to the ground over the lake below. Again what a shame I'd brought my tank bag with me, maybe next time. When I got to the other side thought thank Christ I'd brought some drink with me. It went down a treat when I touched solid ground again. I could have turned around and gone back the same way, but the coward in me, and the fact that I could get some good pictures walking over the dam, swayed me towards the dam.

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  4. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

    Oct 29, 2014
    The parking at this place is free for motorcycles, and there was a lot there too.
    Well after the disappointment of not being able to do the bungee jump, or the zip wire, it was back on the bike. It felt great to be back in control again.

    I was on my planned route that I wanted to do, but the German road network had other ideas. Time and time again, I came up against road closures, and in one such case I was following the diversion signs only to come to a T junction, with no sign of where to go, left or right. As it was a nice day I just pointed the bike in one direction after another, I didn't have a planned route anymore, I just took things really easy and just enjoyed the fantastic Harz mountains. I must admit, the trees looked worse for wear.
    Day Fifteen
    Today was just like yesterday really, the route that I had planned soon went tits up, with all the road closures and accidents along the way. It was still an enjoyable day's ride though.

    The last two days were spent traveling to Holland then on into Belgium, and then France for the train home. All told the Suzuki did 3242 miles, and an average of 80 MPG.
    Here is a link to a few more pics I took on the trip. Hope you can open it OK.
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  5. Markus

    Markus Crème de la Crème

    Oct 28, 2020
    You made a great trip!!! Thanks for sharing your impressions and your great photos with us. It's a pity that the weather was so bad in parts.
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  6. FellZebra

    FellZebra Elite Member

    Mar 9, 2020
    Cheshire, UK
    Thanks for sharing @Bikerman. Sounds like you were really unlucky with the weather though.
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  7. andypandy

    andypandy Crème de la Crème

    Jan 10, 2016
    What a great trip that was, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post.
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  8. MoreT

    MoreT Noble Member

    Jun 12, 2022
    Nice photos and description. Thanks
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  9. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!

    Dec 3, 2018
    Tucson Arizona
    OMG, @Bikerman! I truly enjoyed reading about all of your adventures (and some misadventures) and seeing your photos! :) At times I laughed my arse off and at others I cringed when you described the crummy weather---again and again and yet again. All the rain you got makes the rain we got on our Sturgis trip seem like (literally) a drop in the bucket. I am glad that you got at least some sunny, warm weather. Thanks for sharing! :heart:
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  10. Jet City

    Jet City Noble Member

    Sep 24, 2018
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Great ride report! Thanks for sharing this, Bikerman. I’m an awfully long way from Europe and I appreciate the look-in!
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  11. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

    Oct 29, 2014
    That's the beauty of the internet, we all get to see places that we might not be able to get to ourselves. Glad you enjoyed it.
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  12. Col_C

    Col_C I can't re...Member

    Aug 5, 2015
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