European Joyride on a Caponord - IT, A, D, CZ, SK, H, SRB, FYROM, GR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tserts, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    The 2009 ITT (International Transalp Meeting) took place in the middle of the Bavarian forest, from the 21st to the 24th of May. 258 participants from 11 countries answered this year's call and an astonishing number of 58 travelers from Greece jumped at the opportunity to happily burn hundreds of liters of gas and ride through varying routes all the way to Germany and back.

    My group was consisted by two Caponords '03, one TA600 '97 (two-up), and one TA650 '07..
    [​IMG]

    On the way back only the two Italian Capos enjoyed an extra week of touring as the rest had to head home to return to work..
    [​IMG]

    The detailed route:

    Day 1: Arrive in Venice by ferry and reach Moena in the Dolomites by night
    [​IMG]
    Day 2: Explore the Dolomites without luggage and experience their unique beauty
    [​IMG]
    Day 3: Head for Insbruck, Austria via passo di Resia (missing the Stelvio as it was to stay closed for another 7 days)
    [​IMG]
    Day 4: Reach Salzbourg making a dream detour through Grossglockner pass
    [​IMG]
    Day 5: Reach Bischosmais in Bavaria via small, scenic minor roads
    [​IMG]
    Day 6: Conquer the notorious autobahn and visit Regensbourg, doing a little motorbike gear shopping along the way
    [​IMG]
    Day 7: Join an official ITT09 route, entering the Czeck Republic briefly and back to Bishosmais
    [​IMG]
    Day 8: Check out the Brno racetrack and the city, and spend the night there
    [​IMG]
    Day 9: Discover how amazing Bratislava is
    [​IMG]
    Day 10: Re-discover how amazing Bratislava is and head to Budapest
    [​IMG]
    Day 11: Budapest sightseeing and run for Beograd
    [​IMG]
    Day 12: Relax in the White City and charge up for our longest ride
    [​IMG]
    Day 13: Marathon stage. Beograd to Thessaloniki. The mystical art of radar-avoidance
    [​IMG]
    Day 14: Break every possible speed limit on home soil, and safely reach the end of this journey back in Athens
    [​IMG]

    I will slowly add daily reports with photos and comments about this -once in a lifetime- experience, prepare drool - wiping equipment to save your keyboards from short-circuiting from your saliva... :huh

    Enjoy! :clap
    #1
  2. Two

    Two Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Dortmund, Germany
    :lurk

    Looks great, I'm in :D
    #2
  3. dart1202

    dart1202 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    bandoeng, IDN
    great adventuree :thumb:thumb
    waiting new postt:lurk
    #3
  4. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,231
    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    Add lot's of details, and we'll add you to the ERRI!

    [TaSK]
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,031
    :thumb
    :lurk
    #5
  6. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    Thank you for your eagerness, let us begin! :wink:

    The actual Journey started on Friday the 15th of May, when we were scheduled to reach Patras by 23.00h to catch our ferry for Venice (~200km). The route well-known and notoriously dangerous (Corinth - Patras), by far the most fatal national road in Greece, nevertheless much safer on a bike, since one can overpass much more quickly and stay within the single lane of each direction.

    [​IMG]

    If only it was like this all the way (Athens - Corinth part)
    [​IMG]

    The ride is over pretty soon, and we anxiously await the rest of our trip under far better road conditions..

    The ferry trip is very long, ~33 hours, but it is one full day plus two overnights so one reaches Venice at 8.00h with fully charged batteries and an early start, as opposed to Ancona where one is disembarked at noon, some 400km south..

    The trip is slightly boring but intense planning and reading (plus the Eurovision final :lol3) make it enjoyable and swift..

    A little stomach-upsetting toe action we could do without...
    [​IMG]

    Sunday morning eventually comes and it's time for the real fun to begin....
    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. samuraider

    samuraider eurasia-riders

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    86
    Looks great adventure :)
    #7
  8. DRglidarn

    DRglidarn Panzer pilot

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    φανταστικός αρχή!!! I will keep an eye on your ridereport:1drink
    #8
  9. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    Fresh Out of the ship under the morning sun
    [​IMG]
    They say that for Venezia you will either love it or hate it, no in-between options. Be that as it may, I can't really understand how you could hate it.. Sure, it's packed with tourists all year long, the moisture will make sure you remember all your past injuries, the stench is, at some points, too heavy even for Dr. Zoidberg, the cappuccino costs 8 euros, you have to fight to get a slice of pizza, you need to set camp to enter the palace, orientation can be a bitch, but, despite all that, I was ready to rent a gondola and start hitting on my buddies (as my wife missed the trip with the pathetic excuse of being pregnant)...

    You may find all that cliché romantic stuff too corny but the moment you start crossing those bridges you've been had. The place is almost magical, so rich in historic echoes, glorious remains of an era when that place was once the center of a powerful empire..

    The size of the preserved part of the town is still a mystery to me, from the moment our ship entered the port to the crossing of the main bridge to the mainland, it felt like we were time traveling. As far as the eye could see, thousands of medieval mansions and humble 15th century homes make sure you forget it's 2009, and that you actually have a motorbike parked some distance away... I thought I'd find a horse instead of my Ornela at the garage.. :lol3

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We parked at Piazzale Roma for 5 euros per bike (we were asked for as much as 24 at some other garages) which is really the closest place to park before you enter the “wet” part…
    [​IMG]

    We thought we could get at San Marco square before the masses of tourists get in our way, we had no hope.. By 9am it was already packed and we abandoned any plans of actually entering the palace.

    We were left with the lesser option of wandering around the city, which proved to be equally rewarding, as the little roads away from the buzz are truly captivating..

    At around 5, our eyes (and our feet) had had enough so we headed for the bikes, ready to test the Italian tarmac…
    We took the A27 until Belluno (6 euros toll), when we exited the highway, heading northwest.. and UP!!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    We changed from our meshed jackets to our warmer ones (yeah, we had taken both summer and winter gear thankfully) some kms up the road, and soon the Dolomiti begun to show their richness.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    OK we were in a good mood, the weather was fine, we could be easily impressed, but, as the altitude started to climb, we were completely mesmerized by the natural beauty and the perfect bond it formed with the road under our tires. Beautiful tight turns, carving their way through the forest, reaching desert-like summits beyond 1800m, partly covered in snow, and then back lower through the perfect green carpet of grass which covers every inch of the land…
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Soon we reach Moena, and find our hotel, unpack an insane amount of luggage and head downtown to look for fuel, this time for us… The end of May is a transitional period between the busy skiing season and the summer season, it is considered low season so many restaurants are closed but we manage to find a perfect little Italian restaurant, and we eat till we burst mocharella, prosciutto, pizzas and lots of BEER… Back to our rooms, we still discuss how lovely the scenery is and prepare for the main course of the Dolomiti, which is scheduled for the next day..
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A perfect start for a perfect trip, in two hours' drive we went from 30 degrees to 12, climbed to 1900m (the hotel and Moena are at 1400m), and experienced the tarmac with the trimmed glass (it sparkles in the sun) which would be the norm for many thousands of km in the days to come. Gripping and handling were phenomenal, irrelevant of tire condition, and it tempted you to push the bike to its limits.. Another great thing is that the speed limit outside residential areas is 90, which means, with the tight design of the road, you can go really fast all along being legal and carefree, beware when entering villages though, the limit drops to 50 and the pedestrians expect you to give way…

    Closing this daily review I must tell you of the first electrical problem I had. The moment we disembarked at the port of Venice, I turned off the kill switch to kill the engine until we set up our gps devices and do some short term planning. The moment I did that, the bike started giving ignition with the kill switch off, I took out the key and, guess what, the bike kept igniting. I put the key in, turned the switch and reved up a bit until the bike started again, tried to kill it and it did the same! On the third try it finally turned off correctly, leaving me sweated and panicked. I tried it another couple of times, and it seemed to work OK for now so we went on our way, but I was very nervous every time I had to turn off the engine. This was the first time I had this problem, and I had changed the starter relay only a week before departure, I also had a new battery but the relay was my first suspect, so I decided to re-insulate it the next morning so as to prevent it from possibly short-circuiting again under high moisture (the only scenario that made sense)…
    [​IMG]

    Coming up: The best ride of the trip, the majestic Dolomiti, a motorbike heaven!!
    #9
  10. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    This is the 1st day's route (176km)

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    I had done my homework, studied, started a dedicated thread on this forum to gather information and read all about the Dolomiti region and I had high expectations&#8230; Even after all this, I was still surprised to find out that this particular region is even better. Words fail to describe the feeling you get when riding those high passes, the openness of your horizon, and the awe those vertical rocky giants create in you. The photos are only good for those who have been there before, because the rest will not be able to grasp the majesty of the place.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    This is motorbike land, nearly 80% of the traffic is two wheeled, of any kind, in small or larger groups, waving happily at all oncoming bikers, and you can get that zen aura transferred when the opposite direction bikes pass you by: &#8220;it feels good to be here&#8221;&#8230; <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The road is as if it was meant to be used by motorbikes, very tight and twisty, with the usual perfect grip, in great condition (even though snow extracting heavy machinery operate on these roads for the majority of the year), I bet the caged passengers will get their stomachs turned after a couple of minutes, but the bike gets a pace of its own, dropping from side to side like floating through the mountains, increasing speed and pace at parts, then slowing down to let you take in the surroundings, the rider is just experiencing this in passive mode, your bike is the boss here..<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I am at work now so I will upload photos and the daily report later, but I have a teaser for now, it&#8217;s a small video I put on you tube with material shot at that single day&#8217;s ride less than 200km. Video is the best way to get a slight idea of the essence of the Dolomiti, but still, the only way to go is to take your bike around the end of May, early June and visit that blessed region, for what will surely be one of the best rides of your life&#8230;<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Enjoy!


    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/xUSY5C_oBoE&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/xUSY5C_oBoE&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
    #11
  12. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    This is the 2nd day's route, 162km of pleasure:

    Moena
    Mazzin
    Passo di Sella
    Passo di Gardena
    Corvara
    Armentarola
    Passo di Falzarego
    Cortina d' Ampezzo (return)
    Livinallongo
    Passo Pordoi
    Canazei
    Moena

    [​IMG]

    Lots of passes still unexplored, a lot more reasons to return there...
    #12
  13. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    I got to my bike after breakfast, and re-insulated the starter relay connectors, which were my prime suspects for the previous day&#8217;s ignition problem. I turned the bike on and off a couple of times, and everything seemed to work fine, so a little while later we were all leaving the hotel for our daily ride.

    [​IMG]

    We started to ride towards passo di Sella, and soon we were in the typical Dolomiti scenery which had temporarily put a silly smile on all our faces&#8230; The peak of passo di Sella is at 2240m, with a breathtaking view of the surroundings, we stopped for a quick break to take photos and exchange incomprehensible sounds of excitement, and got back on the road towards Corvara..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    In Corvara we had a coffe and then again we climbed above 2000m in passo di Falzarego. The weather was showing signs of rain, but for the moment it was just teasing us.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We reached Cortina as it just started to rain lightly, the town was largely empty and to be honest I was expecting a bit more from Cortina, it seemed deserted (that was normal) but nothing special, I feel the smaller vilages in the area are more attractive and worth a visit. We managed to find something to eat (no small task since everything was closed and the locals had us walking up and down the main road towards closed and even non-existent restaurants..), and got back on the bikes to head back to Moena...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Passo Pordoi was our last ascend past 2000m (2240m), and again the scenery was breathtaking... I know I'm starting to bore you, but that place is incredible!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We went straight to the reastaurant we had dinned the previous day, ate an insane amount of food, and went back to the hotel for our last night on Italian soil... This day was to become, in retrospect, our most enjoyable day for the whole trip, and practickly ruined all the other places which paled in comparisson to the perfection of the Dolomites...



    Next episode: Stelvio says "no" and Austria welcomes us...
    #13
  14. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    On the third day we headed for Innsbruck. We took a detour in order to enter the Stelvio, but it was still closed, so we crossed into Austria via Passo di Resia. 268km in total:

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. quicktoys2

    quicktoys2 ADVrider junkie :)

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    632
    Location:
    Patras, Greece
    Great pictures thanks for sharing ......

    Looking forward to reading the rest.

    Bravo padia

    S
    #15
  16. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    Thank you fellow Caponordisti!

    I've updated the photos of day 2, 3 posts above. You can get a better idea now... :clap
    #16
  17. falcojake

    falcojake Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    24
    wow excellent to see 2 fellow capoheads in one place!

    i have ridden the dolomites on my falco and also travelled accross them in the car.

    keep up the good work

    also your written english is absolutely faultless.

    :clap :freaky :clap
    #17
  18. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    The capo feels right at home on these passes, too bad so many bikers are intimidated by aprilia's reputation and have chosen 1000cc tourers without trying it out.. It would have been a different market today if they had... :wink:

    Thank you for your kind words, I'm fluent in English, and I'm glad I'm able to share this experience with the entire world, instead of "just" my fellow Greeks, who, in vast majority, are able to follow this narration just as well...

    Day 3 is coming up shortly.. :clap
    #18
  19. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,750
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    We had our breakfast and then started to carry our luggage back to the bikes, and just before loading them back on the bikes, we realized once more that 4 bikes can carry A LOT..


    [​IMG]


    We payed for the room (35 euros per person per night) and enjoyed our last km in the Dolomiti region.


    [​IMG]



    We passed Bolzano, which appeared to be a relatively big city, and got back on the smaller and quieter roads towards the north entrance of the Stelvio.



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    The weather was once again phenomenal and as the first road signs pointing towards Stelvio started to appear, I was filled with anticipation, as I thought that we would reach the top of the famous Alpine pass.


    [​IMG]


    At the next gas station we were informed that the pass was still closed, which was a bit disappointing (ok a lot), and I was surprised to see that in this region the locals speak Austrian (well, German) among them and Italian is not widely (and correctly) spoken. Our official Italian fixer and co-traveler (Mr Sweet feet, who had studied in Italy) was no longer able to understand very well parts of the conversation.. I&#8217;d like to add another piece of information, we had seen signs in the Dolomites stating that the Bolzano region is an autonomous region (Sud-Tyrol is the name, it is the 4th photo above), and all the road signs have both German and Italian names (which are sometimes completely different). I don&#8217;t know the story behind that and I&#8217;m still wondering so someone from Italy or Austria can tell us what&#8217;s the deal with that matter&#8230;
    Anyway we started to ride Passo di Resia and stopped for coffee near the border on the Italian side, at a wonderful village near a lake, called Curon Venosta.



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Shortly after that we entered Austria and stopped again at the first gas station to buy the Austrian vignette (4,40 euros for 10 days).



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The road was perfect again, sparkling and letting you know that it wouldn&#8217;t fail you, the scenery nice, and not before long, we reached our hotel which had been booked by another friend who was heading for ITT with his group only one day ahead.. The hotel was in Mutters, it was lovely, 15 minutes outside Innsbruck and cost the usual 35 euros per person..


    [​IMG]


    We unloaded (again) our side cases, had a quick shower, and went out to check out the city. We took the hotel&#8217;s owner advice and went by tram, which proved to be a good choice. The tram travels downhill towards the centre, offering a spectacular tour at the passengers, and it&#8217;s really scenic and relaxing&#8230;


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We had a first walk around the city, took some photos and sat at a restaurant, where we were joined by the other group of friends.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    After that, we all went to a very nice bar called 360 which is at the top of a new mall and has spectacular view of the city, we would have never found it as it is well hidden for a tourist, but, as this friend frequently travels through the region, he had discovered it and was definitely worth it&#8230;


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We grabbed a beer and took the tram back to Mutters, half asleep and exhausted by another fantastic day on this trip..


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Next up: The mythical Grossglockner and arrival in Salzbourg&#8230; :clap
    #19
  20. quicktoys2

    quicktoys2 ADVrider junkie :)

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    632
    Location:
    Patras, Greece
    :lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk

    Great ... more please
    #20