S: European Motorrad 2007
FC: The Ultimate European Motorrad | 2007 | FRANCE BELGIUM NETHERLANDS GERMANY AUSTRIA ITALY SAN MARINO SWITZERLAND SPAIN ANDORRA LICHTENSTEIN
1: july 7 Left London at 5 am & headed for Dover. Caught the ferry from Dover to Calais, France. | We traveled along the coastline to our first stop in Rouen, France known as Joan of Arcs place of execution in 1431 | Rouen is the historic capital city of Normandy, in northern France on the River Seine
2: First night camping in Conteville, France | wine and cheese became a routine part of our camping dinners
3: July 8 D-Day Beaches in Normandy, France! | During the Battle of Normandy in World War II, Normandy became the landing site for the invasion and liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany. This is recognised as the start of the war for Western Europe.
4: July 9 Amien, France | Amiens Cathedral (a World Heritage Site) is the tallest of the large 'classic' Gothic churches of the 13th century and is the largest in France of its kind
5: The Battle of The Somme @ Le Hamel Australian Memoriam | The Battle of Hamel (4 July 1918) was a successful attack launched by the Australian Corps of the Australian Imperial Force and several American units against German positions in and around the town of Hamel in northern France during World War I.
6: July 10 The Battlefields of the Somme 1916 Museum & Albert, France...Home of the Lochnaga Crater | Albert is a commune in the Somme in Picardie in northern France, and is remembered today as the site of the Battle of the Somme in World War I.
7: We finally found Mametz Wood Welsh Memorial after traveling along a muddy dirt road.. Afterwards we headed to Thiepval to the British Memorial, an imposing monument of brick and stone that stands 45 m high. The 16 pillars are engraved with the name of 73,367 British and Commonwealth soldiers that fell during the First Battle of the Somme between July and November 1916 and who have no known grave. | The wood still stands today, surrounded by farmland. Overgrown shell craters and trenches can still be made out. There is a memorial to the 38th Division nearby on a rough single lane road at approximately Lat: 50:00:36N (50.0099) Lon: 2:45:02E (2.7504). This can be reached from the village of Mametz on the D64 road. The memorial takes the form of a red Welsh Dragon tearing at barbed wire on top of a 3 metre plinth.
8: on top of | The Road to Fromelle, France Another Australian War Memorial, then a stop at V.C. Corners to visit Geoff's Great Great Uncle, Fred Sainty, who fought in WWI. | This is where his name is engraved on the wall.
9: Welcome to Belgium! July 11 - Brugges Walked around the beautiful square, visited the Heilig-Bloedbasilick, & hit up happy hour! Brugges is the largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. | way too much tequila!
10: July 12 Ypres, Belgium During World War I, Ypres was the centre of intense and sustained battles between the German and the Allied forces. During the war, Tommies nicknamed the city "Wipers." | At the Grote Market mapped off by police for the Queen of England & Gueen of Belgium's visit. | Tribute from Royalty @ the Menin Gate for those soldiers of The Great War
11: JULY 13, NETHERLANDS BY DAY ANTWERP BY NIGHT
12: July 14 Antwerp By Day Had a visit to the Main Central Train Station that was built in 1905. Visited the Diamond District and had a walk around The Meir, the main shopping street. | According to folklore, and as celebrated by the statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend involving a mythical giant called Antigoon who lived near the river Scheldt. He exacted a toll from those crossing the river, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river Scheldt. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen—akin to Old English hand and wearpan (= to throw), that has changed to today's warp.
13: July 15 Chillin at our campsite in The Netherlands
14: July 16 Bremen, Germany | After a long hot day of riding we were looking forward to heading down to the lake...little did we know it was a nudist camp. | The Roland Statue(1404),the city's protector, with his view against the Cathedral and bearing Durendart, the "sword of justice" and a shield decorated with an imperial eagle. and Bremen City Centre were visited on July 18. | The group of guys to left are the friends we made at the campsite.
15: July 17 Hamburg, Germany Top Left: Rathous Bottom Left: St.Nikolai-Kirche Bottom Right: Views of Hamburg from the Hauptkirche St. Michaeliskirche. | The port of Hamburg is the third-largest port in Europe (third to Port of Antwerp and Rotterdam), and the eighth largest in the world.
16: Had a fantastic picnic here and enjoyed an acapello group perform. Burg Eltz is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River. It is still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there in the 12th century; the Rübenach and Rodendorf families'. | Continued along the Rhine River to St. Goarhausen after a stop in Cochem | July 20 Moselle Valley & Burg Eltz
17: July 21 Rhine River & Moselle Valley Continued Our campsite was right on the river and just below a castle. Took a river cruise to Bacharat while enjoying the best pastries!
18: JULY 22 Frankfurt, Germany In order from Top to Right: Campsite, Group on Stag nite in Sachsenhausen, Main Square, 15th Century Gothic Tower, Rhine River:Situated on the Main River, Frankfurt is the financial and transportation centre of Germany and the largest financial centre in continental Europe.
19: July 23 Headed to Munich via The Romantic Road, the term for a theme route coined by travel agents in the 1950s to describe the stretch of highway in southern Germany (in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg), between Würzburg and Füssen. & Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber..
20: July 24 - Munich, Germany | We began our own walking tour at Marien Platz. | We were able to view the Glockenspiel and continue our walk to to the Richard Strauss Fountain and the Medieval Karlstor. We finished at the Rococco Church and a fantastic market!
21: DACHAU | JULY 25 | the 1st Nazi concent-ration camp opened in Germany March 22, 1933 | Arbeit macht frei
22: JULY 25 NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE This is where Ludwig lived as a child. It was like a fairy tale world. We rode through the Bavarian Alps and took the horses & cart to the top for our tour.
23: July 26 Berchtesgaden - Hitler's Eagle Nest Via Lake Konigsee, noted for its clear water and is advertised as the cleanest lake in Germany
24: July 27 Vienna, Austria Some of the most beautiful architecture ever seen
25: July 28 Gras, Austria & Bad Aussie, Austria Always a night to remember...or not.
26: July 31 Grossglachner, Austrian Alps...3,798 m above sea level, Austria's highest mountain and the highest mountain in the Alps east of the Brenner Pass. Nikki, Geoff, Tim, Hooper 10 Km long Pasterze Glacier 2500 meters
27: Grossnitz Waterfall We enjoyed a hike in to the 80m natural waterfall, stopped off for picnics and enjoyed the scenery before retiring to a lovely campsite where we were able to enjoy a camp fire.
28: August 1 Cavallino, Italy and August 2 Venice & Muranno Italy | Our Campsite in Callino on the beach! | The city stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. Visited Unesco World Heritage sites: St Mark's Basilica, the Grand Canal, and the Piazza San Marco just to name a few. Then we headed to Murano famous for blown glass makers.
30: August 3 The Republic of San Marino; Its size is just over 61 km2 (24 sq mi) with an estimated population of over 30,000. | San Marino is the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, This is where we purchased our Samurai swords!
31: August 4 - 5 Cortona, Italy & Lake Tresamino | The prevailing character of Cortona’s architecture is medieval with steep narrow streets situated on a hillside. Cortona is where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. | We camped on Lake Tresamino for a couple of days
32: August 7 The Vatican City St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museum
33: August 8-9 Rome, Italy Colloseum Spanish Steps Mousallini's Fascist Regime Trevi Fountain Parthenon
34: August 10 FLORENCE, ITALY STATUE OF DAVID, GOLDEN DOORS, and The BRIDGE | Florence was home to the Medici, one of history's most important noble families, who revolutionized high culture and the arts. | Florence is known as the "cradle of the Renaissance" (la culla del Rinascimento) for its monuments, churches and buildings.
35: August 11 PISA, ITALY We only stopped here to get a photo with the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
36: August 13 Vernazza, Italy Cinque Terre The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera | "The Five Lands" is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
37: August 14 LAKE COMO, ITALY Where the famous come for holiday.
38: August 14 Splugen Pass into Switzerland 2,113 meters was the climb. The pass road often just barely hangs on a cliff, often hairpins in a tunnel, often works through stone show sheds of tunnels that seemed barely helmet high and must've been built a century ago. Yet after shaking through stacks of cliff-hanging hairpins & one-way tunnels the road ends in villages in Switzerland.
39: Our first stop in Switzerland was in Altdorf, home of William Tell, a folk hero of Switzerland. We went inside a local bar here for a beer and learned all about the local sport schwingen, their wrestling. We made our way from here to Lucern
40: August 15-16 Lucern, Switzerland | We used Lucern as our pit stop for the motorcycle. Geoff was able to get new brakes, spark plugs & fuel filter here. We also got our cooker here too. The little sightseeing we did was on the Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge, 1333). It's famous for its distinctive water tower and the fire that nearly destroyed it in 1993.
41: August 17-20 Seuzach, Switzerland The Road to Swiss home | Because Switzerland isn't so big we took our time getting to Reggie & Manfred's. Our first leg there was across the Pragel-Klausen Pass. It was 2 lanes as far as the lake, Klon Taler See. The rest of the road over the pass is one paved lane and has a feel like maybe nobody's ever been there. Our first stop was at a cafe for a coffee but was actually someone's home. Random. The Klausen Pass climbs E of Altdorf, but we ran the route backwards. We passed through Glarus, 1 of many small villages. The heart of the pass was thru the Canton Uri. The road crosses a high mountain-ringed valley called Urnerboden. We often dodged cows through this area. We climed mountains, driving into the clouds to reach a height of 1,948 meters.
42: Staying with the Swiss was fantastic. Enjoying a piece of their normal culture was great. We all dinner at Reggie & Manfred's favorite pizza joint walking distance from their home. It was a regular Friday night thing. Reggie's brother, was also there who offered a ride in his old WWII plane the next day to a fly-in. Their other friends, Danny & Jean-Pierre (JP) were there too. We joined them the next evening for a traditional Swiss meal, Raclette & Icewein. | On the 19th, we took a beautiful Sunday ride with Reggie & Manfred. We rode along the countryside & lower mtn ranges toward St. Gallen and back around. It was a beautiful 4 hr drive.
43: August 20 Zurich, Switzerland What a beautiful city on the water. The weather wasn't so friendly today so while we were killing time we went to see Oceans' 13 at the Zurich cinema after a short walk-around. The next morning we were headed back to France
44: August 21-22 Grenoble to Carcassone, France Headed into Grenoble via Lake Geneva & on to Chaminx - Mont Blanc. The weather wasn't that great & it took us 2 hrs of riding around Grenoble to find the campsite. The next morning we headed for Andorra via Carcassone, the walled city.
45: August 23 Andorra 464 sq. km with a pop: 67,100 We came into Andorra to get a new tire for the bike. Andorra was a very busy place...especially at the borders. Lots of people come here to shop because it's a tax free country and everything is super cheap! It's also known as a great place for winter ski resorts.
46: August 23-26 Barcelona, Spain Las Ramblas: A strip full of everything you can imagine. From the most individual street performers to vendors selling live chickens. Went to Rialto Square & La Familia: Gaudi, a famous architect (1800's) began work on a "very different" cathedral. It will have 20 towers with 12 of them representing Apostles. It's been worked on now for 120 years & is only 1/2 complete. Relaxed on a topless beach and got massages by the ocean.
48: August 27-29 Valencia, Spain & La Tomatina Found a campsite that was putting up the Fanatics. There were about 400 Aussies there. Met Adam and Sofie, our Kiwi neighbors. Started the morning of La Tomatina off with a breakfast cooked by Geoff and 1/2 a bottle of sangria to wash it down. We were on the bus by 8:50 a.m. with 3 bottles of booze. It was immediate chaos as soon as we arrived. 1000's of people were being packed into this tiny village while firefighters were spraying water with the big truck hoses. Locals were dumping buckets of water from their balconies, clothes were being ripped off, and finally about 5 dump trucks full of rotten tomatoes come through and begin the dumping of tomatoes and the tomato wars begin. Geoff and I got separated and I had to make my own way back to the campsite without him. He showed up about 5 hours later just before dark. You'll have to ask for that story...
50: August 31, 2007 Built between 1171 & 1185 the bridge was finally put out of use by a catastrophic flood in 1668, which swept away much of the structure. It was subsequently abandoned and no more attempts were made to repair it. Since then, its surviving arches have successively collapsed or been demolished, and only four of the initial 22 arches remain intact today. | In the square of the Palace of the Popes | Looking at the Palace of the Popes | Nikki & Pont d'Avignon aka: The Avignon Bridge
51: August 31 Narbonne & Avignon France | The vineyards overlookded by the palace. | Playground in the park. | Geoff feeding the ducks with lettuce he got off an old French man.
52: September 1-6 | La Provence
54: Sept. 2, 2007: Riding Day in the Alps Traveled from St. Alban to Brianconnet via Col de Trebuchet (1141m). Cut across La Moulin du Pali & up to Puget Theniers through the Gorge del Cians. Continued on to the Col de la Couillole (1678m). From here we traveled along to Col de Resteford toward La Bonette(2802m) which is the highest pass in Europe.
58: September 1 - 6: La Provence: French Alps | St. Alban, Our home base for the week in between day rides.
59: September 3: Nice French Riviera Traffic was rough coming in and once we found a parking spot we took a stroll along the coast. Afterwards we headed in to the city centre. The only museum we wanted to visit, Muse de Modern Art, was closed...go figure! We then headed into Veux Nice for a walk around in which we found a cozy little pub for happy hour and people watching. By the time we got on the road to head back to camp, it was already getting dark. I've never been on the bike at night before and it was one of the scariest rides ever! We even had to stop for sheep to cross the road.
60: September 4 Gorges du Verdon It is about 25 km long & up to 700m deep. It was formed by the Verdon River, which is named after its startling turquoise-green colour, one of the canyon's most distinguishing characteristics. Play day, Yay! Slept in this morning b/c it was so cold. So cold in fact there was ice on the bike. We reheated our leftover dinner & put it on a baquette for breakfast. The Verdon flows mostly from NE to SW. We paddled up river for an hour and took our time returning for the latter 2. Geoff attempted fishing with a can of sardines. When fishing was a bust we decided to go for a swim & sunbathe instead.
62: September 5 Monaco This monument to the sea, overlooks the Rock of Monaco and the Mediterranean. | Musée Océanogr-aphique de Monaco | The Aquarium houses 3000 fish from seas all over the world (including extraordinary colour schemes of tropical fauna). The coral reefs in the Red Sea are unique. In the museum rooms enjoy the stuffed marine animals and skeletons. | Headed for Monte-Carlo, one of the most elaborate casinos & hotels in the world. We didn't get to enter as we didn't have our i.d. on us nor did we want to pay 10 Euro just to enter
63: Headed down to the yacht club, picked one out to call our own, had a beer on the water and called it a day.
64: Lyon, France September 7-11 One of my favorite cities in Europe, especially in the old town. Sightseeing: Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvire, Resistance Museum, Roman Theatre
65: Lyon, France Lots of pub time in Lyon We also scored tickets to the Rugby World Cup 2007 match New Zealand vs Japan. Watching the Haka live was really cool.
66: The pause in this masterpiece, the famous natural arch of the Pont d'Arc, 66 meters high, triumphal entrance to the gorges classed Natural Reserve since 1980.
67: September 10 Gorge de la Ardeche Our campsite & mini golf fun
68: September 12 Montpellier, France USA vs. TONGA Rugby World Cup 2007 Met Frank & Steve, American rugby players from Washington, at the game and had a wicked time.
70: September 16-19 Paris,France | Fat Tire Bike Tour of Paris: 4 hours & 6.5 km | Louvre Museum Originally built as a fort by King Philippe-Auguste in 1190, now one of the grandest museums in the world. The most famous works include the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace. | Napoléon's Tomb Originally built by King Louis XIV in 1676 as an exclusive place or worship for the Royal family. Ceased functioning as a church during the Revolution and is now the resting place of the most famous Frenchman in history.
71: Musée D'Orsay Designed for the 1900 Universal Exhibition and originally a train station. It reopened in 1986 as the museum hosting a world-class collection of Impressionist paintings. | Tuileries Gardens Former Royal Gardens in the middle of the city where we settled down for lunch at a café nestled in the chestnut trees | Eiffel Tower The symbol of Paris, built by Gustave Eiffel as the entrance for the World Exposition of 1889 and stood as the tallest building in the world until New York City's Chrysler building in 1930. | The Catacombs The ossuary holds the remains of about 6 million people & fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of Paris' stone mines.
72: Around Paris & Paris by night: The Thinker, a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, whose first cast, of 1902, is now in the Musée Rodin garden and The Gates of Hell from "The Inferno."
73: Versailles & Chartres The Chateau de Versailles is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682.The Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Grand Apartments&the Museum of the History of France were some of the best parts. Chartres Cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style. Many come to venerate its famous relic, the Sancta Camisa, said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth
74: September 20-21st Bern, Switzerland Stayed at a rockin' campsite on the river; Went for a walk to the city centre via the river, passed a strange ogre statue eating a kid; Visited Einsteins' Apartment in which he lived from 1903 -1905, the year in which the Annus Mirabilis Papers were published. The Brengraben, or Bear Pit, is a well-known tourist attraction, The bear is the city symbol.
76: September 22-23 Interlokin, Switzerland Went paragliding early that a.m. Then went for a big hike/climb that took us 5 hrs roundtrip. Didn't think we were ever going to make it!
78: September 24, 2007: LICHTENSTEIN
79: On our journey to end in Munich we passed along the Devil's Bridge on the Gotthard Pass, 2106 m, a high mountain pass in Switzerland. The legend of this particular bridge states that the Reuss was so difficult to ford, that a Swiss herdsman wished the devil would make a bridge. The Devil appeared, but required that the soul of the first to cross would be given to him. The mountaineer agreed, but drove a goat across ahead of him, fooling his adversary. Angered by this sham, the devil fetched a rock with the intention of smashing the bridge, but an old woman drew a cross on the rock so the devil couldn't lift it anymore. The rock is still there. | September 24, 2007
80: Road to Munich September 24 Traveled East on the Grimsel Pass (2165m), It connects the valley of the Rhone River in the canton of Valais and the Haslital (upper valley of the Aar river) in the canton of Bern. It is located near the source of the Rhone at the Rhone Glacier. Also in the area is the Grimsel Test Site, used for research into underground radioactive waste disposal.
81: Inside the Rhone glacier
84: September 25, 2007 Welcome to Munich's OKTOBERFEST, known as the Largest Volksfest (People's Fair) in the World. It was raining the entire time we were there. Geoff, Me & Hooper shared a tent at our campsite called The Tent.
85: Over the next few days we journeyed on Hall Crawls between the following beer tents: From L 2 R: 1. Hofbru Festhalle - World famous 2. Brurosl - True Wiesn tradition 3. Lwenbru - A lion marks the spot 4. Armbrustschützen - Bull's Eye! 5. Ochsenbraterei - All kinds of oxen 6. Hacker - Bavarian Heaven **The Hofbru was the chosen tent
88: You'll have to ask about The Pig Pen... Geoff went on a walkabout, Hooper and I went for food, a ride, and managed to finagle our way past security with a stein. | September 27, 2007
89: Nice chops Geoffrey
92: September 28, 2007
93: “Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” | “Half the fun of the travel is the aesthetic of lostness.” – Ray Bradbury | “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” – Herman Melville | “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” – Robert Louis Stevenson