S: Europe 2011
BC: Getting ready to leave 8/28/11 | Just got Home 10/25/11 | What a RIDE!
FC: WELCOME TO OUR ADVENTURE 2011 European Motorcycle Trip
1: Preparing bike for loading on the plane | On the way to the plane | Up, up to the plane! | Into the cargo hole | In Vancouver, Canada to pack the bike for the flight to Frankfurt, Germany
2: Took off and went to Koblenz Germany for some touring, and to celebrate Bob's Birthday. The autobahn and country roads were fantastic, fast, and great road surfaces. Toured the old section of Koblenz and enjoyed seeing the Rhine River boat traffic. Took country roads to get back. | Typical square in Germany | Fortress across Rhine River | Fancy McDonald's | Beef Bourguignon | Typical architectural design | Might good BBQ ribs
3: We took the train to Frankfurt. Almost went south instead of north, but the sun saved us from an extra train ride, We played tourist in Frankfurt visiting a few churches and then walking to a wine festival they were having. Even stopped at Starbucks. | This was the church after the bombing during WW2 | The same church after it was rebuilt in 1951 | Church interior | Otti's cousin and husband in Frankfurt | Where else, but Starbucks! | Our motorcycle companions, Carmen and Al
4: We headed south for Heidelberg Castle. The castle was very good, and the guided tour interesting. Got to see the worlds biggest wine barrel, it is BIG. We found a fantastic road, two lane almost all the way back to Frankfurt, and just designed for a motorcycle. | Heidelberg Castle, Germany | Early day toilet plumbing | Fantastic ceiling design | View from castle | One of the garden areas | A wine barrel, but not the biggest! | When in Rome, do as the Romans do: park on the sidewalk!
5: Left Frankfurt and headed to Brig. Had some rain along the way in Germany, but then it cleared in Switzerland. Al programmed the GPS for scenic and WOW, did it work. Headed us over a pass where the road was full of switchbacks. Lots of lakes as well as a glacier, it was fantastic. This was Grimsel Pass. | Picture opportunity | One of many lakes along the way | Grimsel Pass with glaciers
6: We had a beautiful ride to Tesh, which is where we parked the bikes so we could take the train to Zermat and the base of the Matterhorn. We walked about Zermat for a while and had a light lunch and some coffee. | Typical view of window boxes in some countries | The Matterhorn in the background | This cemetery holds many graves of mountain climbers that perished on the Matterhorn. | A hotel coach | Bob found a namesake on the way to Zermott! | Relaxing on our terrace in Brig, after our trip to Zermott.
7: Left in the morning for Chamonix, France, which is at the base of Mount Blanc. First part of the ride was nice as the scenery is beautiful, but we were on a highway for a while. But then we left the highway and got to ride over two passes, one in Switzerland, one in France. Again, these folks know how to build great motorcycle roads. Not as many switchbacks as Grimsel Pass, but lots of fun. | A view of Chamonix | Walking through the town | After leaving Chamonix, we stopped at the top of a pass to take this view of Brig, where we were staying. | Bob's lunch | BEFORE | AFTER
8: Spent the day in Interlaken, Switzerland, via Grimsel Pass. | Views from our B&B in Brig, Switzerland | This shot taken in Interlaken, Switzerland | Today was a fantastic riding day as we visited Interlaken Switzerland. We took Grimsel Pass again and had a great time trying to keep up with the sport bikes. After touring Interlaken region, we returned to Brig via new roads and passes.
9: Farewell photo before we left Brigg, on to Pisa, Italy, via the Simplon Pass, in the background. | Crossed the bridge towards Pisa. | Leaning tower of Pisa in the background. | Still leaning! | Celebrating Irene's Birthday! | Our wonderful host, Elio, at his B&B in Pisa. | Headed to Pisa, Italy. It was Irene's birthday but could not plan anything special as it was a transit day. Left Brig and took the Simplon Pass to Italy. While not as challenging a road as some of the others we had ridden, it was still excellent, will miss Switzerland for the rides. Stayed at a wonderful B&B. It is an old house that has been renovated and has a lovely garden. Our host, Elio is very friendly and has been extremely nice to us. | Arrivederci!!
10: On a hot and muggy day we went to Castel Gandolfo, the summer home of the Pope. Swiss guards were stationed at the entrance to the summer palace. We stopped and had some cool drinks and took some pictures, just enjoying the shade of the awning. | This market was close to where we stayed outside of Rome. Yes, they sell "carne di cavallo", horse meat!!! | Summer palace of the Pope.
11: We were off to the Amalfi Coast in Italy and our little B&B in Masa Lubrense. Our hosts Micheal and Teresa were wonderful and made our stay a treat. In addition, their meals were fantastic. | A great view of the town of Sorrento, along the Amalfi Coast. | Their gardens were filled with HUGE tomatoes, pumpkins, some apple trees, fig trees, and, covering the trellis of their ceiling in the patio of their restaurant, were kiwi fruit! | Teresa was our "Mom" away from home! She made sure we cleaned up our plates.
12: After breakfast we headed for the Amalfi Coast with some breathtaking views and scenery. | Teresa wanted to be a "Biker Babe" in another life! | Stopping for some light refreshments to cool off and admire the view.
13: The FOOD of Italy | Yummy desserts! | Al's lobster & pasta | LARGE Calzone | Irene's pork medallions | Bob's prosciutto & cheese appetizer | Typical breakfast at Michael & Teresa's B&B | Dinner appetizers | Insalata Pomodoro | Insalata Caprese | Calamari | Sausage
14: The Sights and Scenes of.... | St. Mark's Cathedral | Laundry boat! | One shop of masks and costumes for Carnival! | Nightly music in St. Mark's Square. | Street where our hotel was located. | Traveling to visit other islands around Venice.
15: Venice, Italy | One of many good meals! | The Island of Burano, known for their lace work. | Typical architecture found on the Island of Lido, where cars are allowed. | A form of delivery truck? | A modern sculpture found in Lido. | This walking bridge on the Island of Torcello.
16: We took the 8:20 boat to the airport to get the bikes. We left the airport about 10 am, and met up with Fusae and Leroy at a service area on the autostrata. Not much of a ride in Italy, lots of industry but not very scenic till we reached the Italian Alps. Then it really got nice once we crossed into Austria as the hills and mountains were wonderful. We even had some snow along side the road. What a difference, so scenic and especially so clean compared to Italy. | European Pringles! | Insalata Caprese in Salsburg | Bob's roast suckling pig | Stayed here in 2001 when we were married! Back again. | Delicious dessert!
17: After a very good breakfast with meats, cheese, cereals, pastries, as well as eggs cooked to order, we took the city bus to Salzburg. Went to the information center to learn about tours and such, then went to the Bon Hoff, (train station), to check on the train tomorrow for Munich and Octoberfest. We then found the others and had a beer in the beer tent before walking around town. | The Abbey Church of St. Peter, Salzburg | Pretzels, anyone? | Maribel Gardens, Salzburg, where VonTrapp children & Maria ran & sang in movie. | Mini version of Octoberfest in Salzburg. | Salzach River along city of Salzburg. | Typical street view
18: Took the train to Munich, Germany and then walked to Octoberfest. The beer tents were as busy as I recall they were many years ago. Lots of men and women in traditional clothes, was nice to see. Irene and I headed to Munich Marianplatz to explore the old town. Visited a number of churches and looked about the area. | Just two of 24 Large beer halls at the Munich Octoberfest. | Bob found his Dampfnudel, which is a dumpling covered with rich vanilla sauce. | Sights of Marianplatz | Gorgeous horses pulling the beer kegs.
19: Irene and I took the bike and headed to the Lake Region of Salzburg. Our first stop was Mundsee, Austria. This is where the church is located that was in the movie for the wedding. From Mundsee we headed to Wolfgangsee, along a fantastic little two lane road that followed the lake shore. We then followed the lake road for about 15 km to just marvel at the scenery | Took the bikes and rode up to the bus that took us to Hitlers Eagles Nest Retreat. The bus ride was something, on a very narrow, very twisty switchback road up to the top. We then walked through the tunnel and took the brass elevator up to the retreat, which is now a restaurant. Views are spectacular regardless of the direction you looked. Had a soda up there and took many pictures, before the descent on the bus. | One of 3 wedding parties that we saw that day. | Beautiful and tranquil country side | Hitler's Eagles Nest
20: We headed to Plesio, Italy on Lake Como and had one of the most difficult routes ever. We took Stelvio Pass over the Italian alps from Austria to Italy. We encountered 48 hairpin turns going up the mountain, and then 38 more heading down the other side of the pass. Would have loved to try this on a sport bike. The scenery and views along the route of the Italian Alps were something to remember. | Stopped at a fancy McDonald's in Austria, before heading to Stelvio Pass. Gas fireplace and terrific view of the Alps! | Going up Stelvio...... | The view going down!
21: After having a wonderful breakfast on the back terrace of our B&B overlooking Lake Como, we headed off to ride around Lake Como. We first headed for the city of Como, where we had some coffee and went to the information center to get a map. We then headed up the east shore of Lake Como and stopped in Verenna for a light lunch at a hotel on the water. We then took off to complete our tour around the lake, only stopping to buy groceries. | Breakfast overlooking Lake Como | Could George Clooney be here? | Relaxing with food & wine after sightseeing around the Lake. | Is that George Clooney?
22: We decided to take a ride over to Lake Lugano, which is in Italy and Switzerland. The ride over to the city of Lugano was a good ride. Headed west from our B&B and arrived at Lake Lugano on some nice scenic roads. The roads in Italy were very narrow as is often the case. After some coffee and sodas in Lugano, we headed back to the B&B by heading south, then east to Como and back to our place. We were planning to have a home meal, so Irene had gotten an extra pizza last evening when we had dinner, and I had salami and cheese, of course we also had some wine left. | Views of inside our B&B | Nice scenery on ride around the lake. | Different street scenes.
23: After our final breakfast at Lake Como, we said good bye to Piero and Fiammetta our wonderful hosts. We then were on our way to the French Riviera and the town of Villeneuve-Loubet. First part of the ride was not very scenic, heading to Milan, but then we reached the Mediterranean and stopped for lunch. Carmen and Al had lunch in a cute restaurant along the beach road, while Irene and I ate the remainder of our leftovers from our dinner on our patio from the night before. | Great hosts! | Our hotel in the background | Again, parked bikes on the sidewalk! | This is the French version of Bocce Ball, called Petanque. They use metal balls.
24: On this lovely day we headed to the French Riviera and the city of Antibes. We parked and had some coffee and sodas on the beach of the Riviera. The owner/manager had a few Harleys and we talked bikes. Then it was on to Cannes before getting on the highway to head toward Nimes. We took some great back roads to get to the Roman Aqueduct of Pont Nimes. This was an amazing aqueduct that traversed the river and was part of a 50 km aqueduct bringing water to Nimes. This was built from about 50BC to 50AD and is still standing. | On the way to the French Riviera | In the background, those little specks are in fact large yachts! | Roman aqueduct | Another view of aqueduct, where people are swimming below. | A fountain in the square where we ate dinner. Notice the alligator statue? | A Roman Coliseum in Nimes,
25: After what was probably one of the best breakfasts on the trip at our hotel, we headed to the train station to go to Barcelona, about 30minutes by train. We ended up taking two bus tours to get an idea about the city, which is very big, very crowded and very lovely. The city is full of really nice buildings, both old and new. Our open topped bus tours at gave us a glimpse of what the city looks like. | Different facades of buildings in Barcelona | Entry to the 1992 site of the Summer Olympics | Statue of Christopher Columbus in a major square in Barcelona | Common site of very pricey hams hanging with hooves still attached! | BARCELONA | More
26: More of Barcelona, Spain | The old, new & slightly ugly of Barcelona. | English taught here! | This bullfighting arena will no longer host bullfights, due to a ban established in 2011.
27: We are in Badajoz, Spain and after catching our second wind we were ready to tackle the world. After a late breakfast we headed into Badajoz for some sightseeing. The town is quite nice, pretty clean, and seems to run at a nice slow pace. We spent a few hours walking around taking in the major sights and stopping for a snack or two. Did a little souvenir shopping and met some nice folks in the shop and chatted. | Ancient Roman road | Colorful square where we had tapas at a cafe. | Narrow streets towards shopping area. | Very ornate government building. | Very nice building for a convent. | Beautiful tile work on walls and on buildings.
28: Today we headed off to the little town of Merida, about 45 miles away. It has some of the best Roman Ruins in all of Spain. We visited the Theater, Amphitheater, the Citadel, Basilica, as well as the Temple of Diana, museum, bridge, and a few other locations. The town was very nice and the old section small enough to make walking about easy. The Theater was amazing as it is about 2000 years old and they still have plays and music there. And the Roman Bridge is also still standing and is a foot bridge now. Till the 1990's there was still car traffic on the bridge. | Individual tiles to make floor art or on the walls | Theater still used in the summer. | Temple of Diana | Seats in the Theater | Roman bridge had car traffic, but now is used as a foot bridge. | Catacombs under the museum. | Amphitheater was built after the Theater
29: We took a nice ride to the little village of Saint-Emilion, one of the top wine regions in France. Some of the top award wining wineries are located here, and some of the prices reflect that. One wine tasting bar we stopped at had a 1800 and something bottle of wine in their cellar they showed us, and it was only $28,000.00 for one .75L bottle. We started with a little train tour of the area, where we stopped at one winery, Chateau Rochebelle. We then walked about the village for a bit and then took a guided tour. We visited the largest monolithic church in Europe, as well as the catacombs and the home of Saint Emilion. The church was amazing, having been carved out of a limestone base. | Alley ways , built with cobblestones, were a little steep at times. | View of St.-Emilion from the trolley | One of the wineries that are in Chateaus.
30: We headed to the Normandy Beach region of France and our little village of Merville-Franceville. We toured some of the war sights and especially Omaha Beach. No matter how many times I have seen these beaches in movies and documentaries, seeing them in person is amazing. In one case, at Pont du Huc, the Rangers had to climb almost vertical cliffs to reach their destination of German Artillery bunkers. And then to walk through the American cemetery and see over 9000 marble tombstones, perfectly aligned was a sight to never forget. Today was a wonderful day and one Irene and I will not forget. | This house was in the village we stayed close to the beach. | The cemetery grounds were given to us after the war, but the French take care of them, and they do a wonderful job! | No, these people are not swimming, but clam digging! | This is a view of the ceiling in one of the Memorials on the cemetery grounds near Omaha Beach.
31: One of the Memorials at the cemetery at Omaha Beach. | Who's looking up from that hole in the bunker? | The remnants of the shelling on the beach. | Pont du Hoc, where the soldiers had to climb the vertical side to destroy the big guns. | Bunker at the German camp in the town of Merville-Franceville | Remains of airplane engine at the German camp. | Inside a bunker, showing how it would look during the war, with sound affects and even smoke & fire from the guns. | The Merville-Franceville Museum has left everything there, in its place, from after the war. Even sandbags lining the entrance to bunkers.
32: We are staying in Etampes, France and took the train to Paris for a day of sightseeing. | The Arc de Triomphe de Carousel, west of the Louvre. | The Louvre | Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine was placed during the Revolution.
33: We took the bikes and headed off to Versailles via some back roads. The Palace or Chateau at Versailles is one of the most fancy and largest to be found. This was built somewhere in the mid 1600's by Luis the 14th. Later Luis the 16th and Marie Antoinette occupied it before losing their heads. We had been here before, so this time toured just the grounds and the Petit Trianon, Marie- Antoinette's retreat. | The front of the Palace of Versailles | Part of the exquisite gardens. | One of many marble statues. | Marie-Antoinette's private chapel. | A foyer made with two types of marble, Italian being the most expensive. | Italian pink marble used once more! | Her boudoir! | Opulence galore!
34: We headed to the Champagne region of France, Reims and Epernay. This was about a 300 mile round trip ride for us, including some great riding among the vineyards. We only stopped in Reims for a short visit to Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims. This church was used for the coronations of many of the Kings of France starting in the early 1200's. We then rode some of the smaller roads following the Champagne Trail to Epernay, the real center of Champagne in France. We stopped for a very good Italian lunch, with an excellent bottle of Champagne in Epernay
35: First off we headed out to do our last load of laundry for the trip. As is always the case, doing laundry when the instructions are not in English is interesting. Then stopped at a cute sidewalk cafe for some coffee and drinks. We then wanted to see more of Etampes and the adjacent town so off we went. First stop was Eglise Notre-Dame du Fort in Etampes, OLD and MASSIVE like they all are. Then it was off walking to the neighbor town to see Eglise St.-Giles. This one got interesting as the church was locked. But as we were walking away from the door we heard Madame, Madame. Well a man and a very old lady were calling us. He spoke a little English and explained she is the keeper of the church. She must have been in her 80's, but off she goes to her house and fetches the key to the church. Well, she spoke not one word of English, but was so proud of her church she just kept telling us and telling us all about the church. We did not want to hurt her feelings so were reluctant to leave. | Eglise Notre-Dame du Fort in Etampes. | Eglise St.-Giles | ?
36: We were off to Merry England via the "CHUNNEL" The next morning Al and I took the bikes to the airport. Irene and I then headed off to Brighton Beach via a train. We played tourists in Brighton and had a nice lunch there. | Heading to England on the train that travels in the tunnel under the English Channel. | One of the store-fronts that displayed old sewing machines. Also saw this done in London. Quite Clever! | Town of Brighton | Brighton Beach, a vacation spot. | The Pavilion, King George IV, fun castle. Inside was decorated with Oriental themes.
37: We took the train to London for some looking about. Stopped for a cup of coffee at Starbucks before heading to the Eye, the Ferris Wheel. The eye was great, it takes about 30 minutes to make one revolution on the wheel and the views were fantastic. We then visited Harrods, but did not buy a thing. After dinner at Victoria Station we went to the Apollo Theater and saw the play Wicket. Just a very nice day all around. | Westminster Abbey | London Eye | Big Ben in the background | Christmas at Harrods in London | At the Apollo Theater to see "Wicked" | Big Ben | Views from the Eye
38: Touring London on a double decker bus. | St. Paul's Church in the background with the protesters' tents in front. | Marble Arch in West London | Admiralty Arch | Crowds waiting to get into the Westminster Abbey | London Bridge in the background
39: Took the train to London where we picked up our bus for a tour of Windsor Castle followed by Hampton Court Palace. Windsor is where the queen spends most of her weekends and her summers. It was great to see the mementos collected for centuries by the kings and queens. The main halls and dining areas are amazing and are used to this day to entertain guests and dignitaries. After seeing Windsor we headed for Hampton Court Palace. All six of his wives lived here and after seeing so many movies, you can almost imagine what went on here. It is not a fancy or lavish place, but has over 1000 rooms and lots of things to see. | Windsor Castle above & below | The rest of these views are of Hampton Court | Ceiling view | Wall tapestry | One of many kitchens!
40: Olympic Champs | Etampes