Three days in the Alps

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mhpr262, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. peckerwood

    peckerwood Hard-headed

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    Oh boy! I have been on steep, switch-back roads all over the American West, and I am getting sick just looking at this picture. :puke1

    Great pictures and a great report!! :clap
    #21
  2. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    Meran has been a health and holiday resort for the rich for a very long time, thanks to its mild climate and balmy air. You can tell by looking at the streets, shops and buildings that there is some serious money here. Nowadays, however, tourism is more profitable than health. Consumption has, after all,pretty much died out in western Europe.


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    Ooooooh, those Italians......:lol3 If you like swimming in cold water, this swimsuit is guaranteed to show off your nipples to their best advantage

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    Old buildings coexist quite peacefully with new ones...


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    They also had some pretty cool sculptures on the promenade.
    The wire frame is filled entirely with chunks of green glass.

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    In the evening it was time for dinner.

    These little dough wraps were filled with spinach and spiced curd, baked under a crust of Parmesan cheese. "Schlutzkrapfen" - very good!

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    #22
  3. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    I slept quite well, taking into consideration that for Italians "evening" sets in at about 10.oo pm and "night" begins at about 2.oo am and they use the time in between for cruising around on their two stroke motorscooters.

    I stuffed myself shamelessly at the all-you-can-eat buffet in the morning, then set off nort again to ride the Jaufenpass road. It begins exactly where the Timmelsjoch road ends, so Meran was actually a detour (but very worth it!)


    In this picture I am standing on the Jaufenpass road, just a few hairpins up from the valley floor, looking back south in the direction of Meran.


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    unfortunately i didn´t take any pictures of the road up the Jaufenpass. There is a simple reason for it: I just couldn´t bring myself to stop and dismount to take a photo. Pretty much all of the alpine roads are interesting in one way or the other, but that one was a BLAST !!!

    The Timmelsjoch was difficult and challenging, the Großglockner is pretty much in a league of its own as far as scenery is concerned, but the Jaufenpass was without doubt the road that provided the most riding fun!

    This is hands down the craziest and funnest road I have ever ridden or driven in all my life, and just those few kilometers were worth the trip. Should you ever have the opportunity to ride it, do it, whatever it takes, do it.

    How to describe it? Maybe imagine the Tail of the Dragon, with the road half as wide and twice as many curves to the mile, bumpy asphalt and going up and down in the bargain, with spectacular scenery thrown in, that comes about close, I think.

    Towards the end, I found myself cackling with glee inside my helmet and had to stop at the mountain crest to cool down and to take this picture of the far side.

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    The ride down was pretty uneventful and not as exciting. I passed through Sterzing, then rode north to Innsbruck over the old Brennerpass road ( also a lot of fun if you go very early, otherwise there is horrible traffic) and then followed the Autobahn to Salzburg until I came to the Zillertal. i passed through some pretty villages...


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    ....where I bought something to eat and called home from a telephone booth to tell my folks I was O.K. ( I hate cellphones and don´t own one)



    The Zillertal is one of the most famous (and expensive) tourist places in Austria. i wouldn´t mind staying in that hotel for a few weeks....


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    ....nor in that one right next to it:


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    At the end of the Zillertal I rode up the Gerlospass, which is basically quite a fine road, but is spoiled by too much traffic...and by some genius engineer who put two foot wide, slick metal manhole covers right in the middle of both lanes, one every 50 meters or so. And they always, always are right on your line when you´re riding a bike.:puke1
    #23
  4. dirtrider

    dirtrider Dusty Adventurer

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    Great pictures! My wife and I spent some time in Salzberg and Mattighofen in 2000 riding motorcycles. We hope to go back in 2009.

    You live in a beautiful part of the world.
    #24
  5. idea man

    idea man Remote Plate Spinner Supporter

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    I miss Switzerland. It is so amazing there.
    #25
  6. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    2009 isn´t too far off anymore (only with winter between :cry) If you manage to come over here, just send me a pm, perhaps we can go on a ride together. If I remember correctly Montana isn´t too ill equipped either, as far as mountains and pass roads are concerned.
    #26
  7. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    You know that I didn´t come anywhere near Switzerland on my route?
    #27
  8. Extreme Velcro

    Extreme Velcro Vegan Junk Food Addict

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    Danke and more pictures please - I'm really enjoying this.

    Could never ride it myself - have a heights phobia !!!!
    #28
  9. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    From the Gerlospass the road leads directly to my next destination, Zell am See. There is some nice scenery along the road.


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    And when I say directly, I do not necessarily mean "straight" :evil

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    WARNING! TEN KILOMETERS OF EXTREMELY CURVY MOUNTAIN ROAD AHEAD!

    They consider that a "warning" ?!? You can tell that the sign was put up by a cager!

    This little piece of road apparently was replaced by a much more modern, albeit longer road. It is stilf open to traffic, but in rather bad repair; twistier, bumpier and more rollercoaster-like than any other road I have ever ridden. Absolutely great fun, but almost too bumpy to be ridden full out with a street bike. This road would be supermotard heaven! I found no time to take pictures, the ywouldn´t have done the street any justice anyway because it´s so narrow andd twisty you could never see more than two curves at the same time.



    I continued on to Zell am See, resting my poor wrists and butt. I took some pictures of the mountains lining the valley:

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    I still had the food I had bought in my tankbag and I was getting hungry, so I decided to have dinner. But not in an ordinary place, i wanted to eat it somewhere up there:

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    So I did.

    A pic of my dinner enjoying the scenic view, just minutes before it went the way of all food.

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    The farmers working these meadows have special equipment with which they can drive on slopes I would think twice before walking on. The farmer and a helper were just mowing the grass while I was sitting there, and the farmers wife helped them rake the grass together - clad in nothing but a tight beach bikini! wow! I was too cowardly to ask for pictures, sorry. I think I may need some tips from the striking viking.
    #29
  10. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    So, I finally arrived in Zell am See. It is an old and famous, and also rather pricey, European holiday resort, much like Meran in that aspect. Zell am See is smaller and seems a little stuffier, though.On the other hand, it has the lake.

    The first thing I did on arrival was to find the campingground I had stayed on once before. They wanted almost 15 € for one person, one tent and a motorcycle for one night. Not really cheap.

    After my pleasant experience with the youth hostel in Meran I decided to try and find some other means of accomodation first. Many hostels in the area make a conscious effort to attract bikers as guests and for that reason display "motorcycle sculptures" (made from junk welded together) in their frontyards, indicating that bikers are explicitly welcome here (which has not always been the case, bikers having had an image as cheap, noisy ruffians here, much like KLR riders in the US I imagine :ksteve . That is no longer true. I´d guess three fifths of motorcyclists in Germany are over fifty and usually have money to burn)

    i had noticed one such hotel with a sculpture whe I entered the town and enquired for the price of a room - 36€. I wasn´t eager on roughing it on the camping ground, but 21€ extra just for my comfort was too much. No hotel for me. The hotel did have something really cute standing in the parking lot:


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    I have absolutely no idea what this is or what it is used for, but it sure looks like it can put up a good racket when irritated or crowded!


    I looked around for a bit and found a bed and breakfast for just 20€ a night - perfect! Very nice, clean room with a double bed and an ample breakfast in the morning. I can really recommend that place. Should you have to stay in the area and be looking for a place to spend the night, sent me a pm, I´ll give you the address.

    I rode only about 300 -350 km a day, so I was never in a hurry and had lots of time left in the afternoon and evenings which I used to explore the town a bit.


    The old "Grand Hotel"

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    The southern part of the lake:

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    Lots of Arabs were all over the place. The guys in the (electric) boat were an Arab family. They used the boat to chase the swans, but the swans were faster:rofl

    The northern part of the lake:

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    Two pics of the Zell am See "downtown":

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    Tomorrow I´ll post the best part of my three day trip - the ride over the Großglockner Hochalpen (high Alpine) road.




    Just a little teaser - The way south from Zell am See to the Großglockner. This is what is lying in wait for me:

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    There will be almost 30 pics of one of the greatest roads in the Alps, so hang on.
    #30
  11. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    :evil :evil :evil



    <object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/gqkX6qZi7wM"> </param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/gqkX6qZi7wM" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"> </embed> </object>
    #31
  12. idea man

    idea man Remote Plate Spinner Supporter

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    :lol3 You're right of course.
    I live 6000 miles from there. You were relatively pretty close. I haven't been there since '87 (Switzerland, Austria or Deutchland.) The pictures reminded me of a little place in Swiss Alps called Wolfenshiessen. Once I saw some of the photos my reading comprehension went out the window. A tribute to your pictures.
    Thanks again.
    #32
  13. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    Alright, I thought so. The mountains and the architecture are actually pretty similar all over the Alps, no matter what country you travel in.

    Thanks for the compliments on the photos. I have just realized the ones I uploaded and hotlinked look much better than the 3 megapixel originals, which always seemd a little blurry in some areas, probably due to an inferior quality lens. The "shrinking" seems to have done them good, they look much crisper and sharper now.
    #33
  14. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    I stayed at this zimmer frei on the north end of Zell am See, was 25 euro in mid May.

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    They let me park the bike inside.
    Jim
    #34
  15. CETME

    CETME Been here awhile

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    You're right about that little bike, it really does have some character. My brother had the same thing and rode it around town mercilessly.

    The scenery is gorgeous. I can't believe how pretty it is when you're not on the autobahn, I sort of wish I would have stayed in Germany longer this past summer....

    One criticism.... where are the pictures of you?
    #35
  16. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    I dind´t take any pictures of myself. After all, I could never hope to compete with the handsomeness of some people in this forum!:1drink
    #36
  17. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    So on Friday morning I´m off, on my way to the Großglockner, one of the most famous and - allegedly - most scenic passes in the Alps. I had heard a lot about that road, but had never ridden it before, so this was a first for me.

    I was on the road very early, a good decision as it turned out later.

    The hazy air made for some interesting light effects.

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    Even the road leading up to the toll station is a hoot. I paid 18€ for a day ticket, that is about a tankful and 350km on my bike, quite a stiff price. I had decided on riding the pass, however, so there was no turning back. People who want to do the pass road after 6 pm have to pay only 12€.


    Here I´m about halfway up the road, a little lower than the place I shot the video from.

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    Vroooooom, vroooooooooooooommmm, vrooooooooooommmm........:evil

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    Eye to eye with the great cottonballs.

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    The road keeps going higher and higher...

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    #37
  18. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Long timer

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    Here I´m at the top of the first pass (the Großglockner road is actually a series of passes), looking back to where I came from.

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    I wonder what´s around the corner...

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    But first I do a little detour from this spot, up a series of steep hairpins paved with cobblestones, to reach the peak of the "Edelweißspitze", a mountaintop just a few hundred meters from the pass road. The eerie lighting in the next two pictures is caused by a thick cloud that is literally hanging just a few meters above my head, covering the mountaintop like a blanket.

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    Just a few hairpins down, the light returns to normal again.

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    This is probably my most favourite photograph of the whole trip. The chasm is even wider than the photo makes it appear.

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    #38
  19. Andres A

    Andres A FINDING NEMO

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    Thanks for share, nice sign and awesome pic's and places, lovely EUROPE.

    Best regards from MEXICO

    Andres A.:beer
    #39
  20. Saeed

    Saeed Life-long learner

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    Very beautiful place, thx for report!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #40