Heidelberg to Como via the Alps in 9 days

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Ridercam, May 17, 2018.

  1. Ridercam

    Ridercam Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    The Island of Alameda, across from San Francisco
    Ok here is my general plan. Next week I want to take a cheap flight to Frankfurt from San Francisco. I am taking off a week of work which includes the long Memorial Day holiday. Stefan is holding my long loved BMW r100cs in Heidelberg. My beautiful smart and sexy wife will be already there for business and is going to meet me in Como, Italy mid ride for 2 or 3 nights before I start heading back (She has a luxury hotels being comped to us :)) . I have $1200 saved and planing on staying in inexpensive hotels and hostels on the down swing and going up. I can't carry my tent, sleeping bag and camping gear cause I am limited by my single bag and the 2 helmets for flight over.

    Below is a route I was thinking about. I want to ride on average 2-300km a day. This is my first motorcycle trip abroad and my bike is well, old but in good condition and will need a bit of tweaking since being shipped over. I am considerting this my warm up/sea trials ride for my return for the month of September.

    Am I being overly ambitious with this plan?

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,770
    Location:
    below the sea
    No.

    This time of year it is unlikely that accommodation is difficult - unless you turn up somewhere having a fete or exhibition. I was in Frankfurt a couple of weeks ago and fortunately my stay was the null between two big happenings at the Messe, which would have taken most if not all rooms in town.

    If you have a set agenda, like visit Venice, or laze on the beach at Riva del Garda then that may determine the rest, but if you just want to have some great randomish riding, then just do that. Turn off dull roads. Stop at interesting looking places. Soak up the sights and atmosphere. Sit on a terrace and people watch, enjoy the coffee/beer/wine. Visit markets, try the free offerings - olives/charcuiterie/cheeses.

    I use freely available maps to get a feel of where the twisties are, very often the views are there too, with small towns and tiny villages along the way. A $10 map like the Michelin 1:200,000 is pretty good considering, they have roads down to tiny marked - certainly to commune maintained level.
    Certainly it is easy enough to avoid any motorways and mainroads - these are the routes for the fresh southern produce to make its way to the industrial north, and trucks will likely be the biggest users this time of year. Although the retired (like me) in their campers (unlike me) will likely be around. There are so many alternatives, with everything you will be wanting.

    The big danger is that you will realise how much more there is to see. (you will never get to see it all).
    I suspect MichaelJ will be along to guide you though Austria better, maybe GlitchOz too. Me, I'm more a Francophile.

    Have a great time.
    #2
  3. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,766
    Location:
    AUS
    So....this is 9 days for a one-way trip Heidelberg -> Como..
    ...or a return trip back to Heidelberg?
    Or 9 days total incl. time/ days in Como for the meet up...AND a return to Heidelberg?

    That pretty much determines where you can go within the timespan at hand.
    #3
  4. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    You beat me to it, Glitch.

    300 km/day is close to the comfortable upper daily limit if you're on roads other than Autobahns.

    That being said, I'd always hit the Autobahn to and from Stefan's until I got either into Austria or Switzerland. Did the overland route down a couple of times, but opted for the fast route to the fun stuff.
    #4
  5. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,770
    Location:
    below the sea
    In case the OP has not plugged his start/destination into googlemaps, Heidelburg > Riva del Gardo is around 8 hours via motorway, but little of interest unless there is a desire for the autoerotica of the car makers temples ie Benz and Porsche in Stuttgart, Audi in Ingolstadt and BMW in Munich. There are lots of places in Germany worth the visit - but it would be of a different kind of trip.

    The first pass (and not a great one) at the end of the A7, which looks to be the best choice on paper, is the Fernpass into Austria. Up until then the countryside pretty dull. There are alternatives, but only vaguely interesting from the Autobahn.
    #5
  6. Ridercam

    Ridercam Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    The Island of Alameda, across from San Francisco
    The loop on the map is obviously the rough plan. I have 2.5 days to get near Verona from Heidelberg. Then I have 3 or 4 nights in northern Italy/Switzerland then a ride back to Heidelberg. I am not a road burner and want to avoid the main highways. I'll be by my self on the road and like to start my riding days after 9 and be done by 3 with a nice lunch in between. I am a photo bug and take lots of pictures. I am budgeting of 125 euros a day once there (that includes gas, lodging, food and entertainment) the additional 300 euros for green card insurance and related expenses.

    Will start looking at places to stay which keep my budget.
    #6
  7. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    I'd almost rather do Autobahn than the Fern.

    So - 2.5 days to get from Stefan's to northern Italy - let me check the last half dozen times I made that exact trek.

    Question 1 - Is your destination Como or Verona? Somewhat different paths to take for efficiency.

    Question 2 - Are you basing in Como/Verona for those 3-4 nights or hitting the road and doing each night in a different spot?

    Question 3 - I'm assuming that your wife will be flying back to the States by herself and not schlepping back to Stefan's with you - where is she flying out of (i.e., where do you have to be at the end of that period). If she's heading north with you, disregard this question.

    I'm more of a 9-4 guy with lunch being a locally sourced picnic beside the road somewhere - but yeah. I normally run through 20 liters/day on secondary roads. More if I'm burning KMs on the slab.

    €125/day is easily doable (outside of Switzerland) for a single rider. A couple will be somewhat higher as Euro hotels charge by the head, not the room as in the US. That being said, a double is not twice as expensive as a single - more like 60-75% more. Disclaimer - I like to sleep comfortably.
    #7
  8. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,770
    Location:
    below the sea
    Nothing spectacular about the Fernpass. And the A7 down from the North is very dull. Its chief asset is that there are not any mayor conubations on the southern bit, so it is less heavily trafficked. At least when I have used it.
    A note - in Germany*, and for certain classes I think in France too, HGV vehicles are not allowed on the road at week-ends, and the major north/south routes in the west of Germany can be be very heavily loaded. If you can arrange these liaison stages at weekends, then it can make a pleasant difference.
    *I think there are a few exceptions, like livestock and certain fresh perishable produce.

    In France and everywhere in Germany I have used a hotel, the price quoted has always been per room. There may be single rooms available at lower charge, but the headline price is always per room, not per person - I thought that was always a Brit thing, especially irksome in a B&B.
    Could this be Booking.com in US mode? Or just a discount for singletons?

    I am a start early, finish early type. Comes from camping a lot in my formative years and a dad who was always on the go by 4am. The earlier the start, the less traffic (usually). The calmness of an early start can be very soothing. Then lunch at a decent place (always one of my concerns, and usually a waypoint) at continental time. Then a shorter afternoon ride, and finishing early. Check into your digs, shit, shave and shower and get out and walk around to take in the views as a human. Check out the bars and cafes, and choosing one to sit in the sun - or the shade - sipping your favourite bitter brew, watching the world in its strange foreign microcosm unfold.
    Keeping an eye out for eating places if you only had a picnic snack or light lunch.

    If together, you can discuss the day. The later debrief always better IMHO than intercom things - well, we all like swopping our different perceptions of events - and surprising just how different the rider and passenger seen a ride unfold. And as a rider, you can judge how well your passenger is liking or not, the routes and choices. You know that is vital to having a really enjoyable trip - unless you want to be doing it on your own next time.

    And then plan tomorrow.
    #8
  9. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    My experience in Italy, Austria & Switzerland is that if I stay in a double room, I will pay a premium over the cost of a single room, and a couple staying in a standard double room will pay the normal price for that room - example:

    A single room is €50. If a single isn't available, I might pay €65 for a double room with single occupancy, whereas a couple staying in that double room might pay €85. I haven't spent that much time in France or Germany to really have noticed.

    Hard to tell exactly what is what on booking.com, as you plug in the number of rooms and the number of warm bodies and it returns a number - no way to really tell how that salami was sliced.
    #9
  10. Ridercam

    Ridercam Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    The Island of Alameda, across from San Francisco
    My trip is coming to be greater than I could have ever expected. There is some wonderful evenings and lots of open road riding days in my own pace. I know I want to ride 2 great passes. I do want to ride Grosslachner on my way toward Italy and the Furka pass on the way back or in a small day loop. The only condition is now I need to make Brescia from Heidelberg in 2.5 days. Then I can putter about for 4 days then turn back towards Germany. I am going to be hitting the Moto Guzzi mecca and maybe even a ride to Bologna. I will have 3 days to ride back to Heidelberg and will make the most of it with early morning starts and early afternoon finishes.

    My wife will only have a few evenings for me...but in shear luxury - 1 night in Brescia and 2 nights in Como. Sadly for us, we only have a single only getaway - one afternoon at Como on the bike. (I am hoping to rent a helmet from a local shop rather carry one for her thousands of miles.) Since she is in the luxury travel business on a property promotions invite - as she will be at the Lefay Resort in Gargano and at the historic Grand Hotel Tremezzo. It is now clear that I am going to on my own for most of the time where ever I am going and only getting to see my wife when she has time. With those free nights now in place, I can keep in my very tight budget (hostels and bookings.com stays) and have a taste of luxury that is reserved for movie stars. I will see what Stefan recommends before I leave on Saturday morning from his place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    You have picked two of the furthest apart passes that you could - I'm assuming that you mean the Swiss Furka Pass (which is NOT a small day loop) and not the smaller one in the Dolomites. And I think that you meant "Grossglockner" (Big Bell). It's a private toll road and will hit you up for €26 for a day pass. Lovely road, though, and the view from the Edelweissspitze is killer.

    Let me know which Furka you mean.

    Ambitious. I have a friend (Brit ex-Pat, ex-cop & motorhead) that runs a B&B in Ramsau am Dachstein. You can do this in a bit over a half day from Stefan's. Even in rotten, nasty rain. It's Autobahn all the way except for the first 5km and last 30 and you'd have to get a Vignette for the Austrian Autobahn - €5 for a 10 day vignette, IIRC. Cheap compared to the Italian Autostrada.

    You'll have to get a Vignette for the Austrian Autobahn - €5 for a 10 day vignette, IIRC. Cheap compared to the Italian Autostrada - which are pay as you go (ticket in/ticket out).

    So -
    Day 1 - Heildelberg - somewhere in Austria (Bischofshofen Is a good destination) via Autobahns. It's about 600+km. Bonus - you go by Burg Hohenwerfen - the castle that was the setting for "Where Eagles Dare". The closer you get to Zell am See and the Grossglockner, the more expensive the accommodations will be.
    Day 2 - Bischofshofen over the Grossglockner and head to Arabba in the Italian Dolomites via Lienz. About a 250 km day and you will be tired and gobsmacked. (a word that I don't use often).
    Day 3 - Arabba to somewhere near Brescia (I thought you were going to Como?). Head for Bolzano and take the Autostrada (you want the time) to Brescia. If you can stretch that half day out a bit, exit the Autostrada at "Rovereto Sud/Lago di Garda" and head for Riva del Garda and go down the WEST side of the lake. It's shorter than the Autostrada, but a bit slower (about an hour 4.3 vs 3.5).

    So - when do you bid adieu to wife and how many days to you have to get back to Heidelberg and which Furka Pass? Enquiring minds and all that. Will hold off on suggestions for the ride north until I have that info.

    Bring a GPS with Euro maps - it will make life MUCH simpler. You may have to cut off the lighter plug and install a Powerlet plug. - assuming that the bike has a power outlet. But you knew that already.
    #11
    NSFW likes this.
  12. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,870
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Brescia didn't impress me much, what is drawing luxury travellers to there?

    If you have a spare afternoon a bike in Como, I highly recommend taking the road up the inside of Como's Y-leg to Bellagio. Awesome ride and a nice town at the end, if a bit touristy.
    #12
  13. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    Armi Beretta?

    Up at the northeastern end of Lake Como in the town of Colico just a bit north of the town's center, Is a Chinese restaurant - Ristorante Da Lin. Chinese staff, all red and gold, dragons, stone lions flanking the entrance, the whole bit. Best pizza I've had in Italy in a long time. Go figure.
    #13
    NSFW likes this.
  14. Ridercam

    Ridercam Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    The Island of Alameda, across from San Francisco
    I appreciate the posts - thank you!

    I am leaving tonight from Oakland/San Francisco. I got a new Kriega US 20 and US 5 bag which doubles as my suitcase. They should complement the old Kauser hard cases (the right side lid has a large crack and unsightly) but usable once venerable black duck tape is applied. My excitement is nearly open throttle and couldn't sleep due to it. I wrapped up remaining work today and my face hurts from smiling.it is contagious as others listen to my plans.

    I keep reading and now worry I am being to ambitious with the mileage. Frankly, I don't know. Back here in California and the great American west I have found I like riding 400 miles (600 kks) or more in a day. If I move to ride 150 - it will be more relaxed. Since I am leaving the bike for the year, I can keep some great roads for the next time. Anyway - my take away is enjoy the pace I pick and take the time to stop and look. Never miss a great place to stay and save room for dessert. I will only run the big highways and toll roads if there is heavy rain and miserable conditions.

    Did I tell you I was so excited?
    #14
  15. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    I think that you'll find that your saddle time is about the same for 150 miles in the Alps vs. 400 in the American West.

    If worst comes to worst (time wise) Stefan's is only about 1/2 day away from the Alps via Autobahn.

    FWIW, after 13 years, my list of things to see/places to go keeps getting longer, not shorter.

    Oh yeah - and this will cost you a RR and pics. :D

    Have a great ride and say "Hi" to the Missus for us.
    #15
    nickguzzi and Ridercam like this.
  16. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,770
    Location:
    below the sea
    I have just returned from a second trip to Germany in 3 weeks, all I have to show is a longer list of places to see.
    Much agreement with Michael's sentiments - Did manage to tick off one more of the multitude of German Prince/Duke/Count's palaces.

    French cheap chain hotel, Ibis Budget = €44, for the room last night, no extra charge for single or double occupancy. Ibis now seem to be charging extra for secure parking - unless only in Boulogne.
    German hotel in Frankfurt (the Maingau, through Booking.com) €77 per night for a double. Nice place, especially when we upgraded to a higher spec comfort room, with more space and a couple of bags of sweeties.

    I think this is just one of those things, different countries have different customs and traditions - all part of the travellers rich tapestry.
    #16
  17. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    Absolutely! Were everything the same, one might as well stay home and avoid the expense.
    #17
    nickguzzi likes this.
  18. Ridercam

    Ridercam Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    The Island of Alameda, across from San Francisco
    Just wrapping up my fantastic ride after dropping my bike back off wth Stefan. OMG - a true life changer. Beautiful two lane roads (for nearly 1300 of 1650 miles of riding) through green forests and mountain passes, wonderful towns, mind blowing museums, friendly people, quality reasonable accommodations with delicious breakfasts included and invatations by others who invited me back. There are many here that will want to join me in September...

    As soon as I get a reliable wifi connection - my RR with be filled with color and description. Count on getting jealous.
    For sure, if it wasn't for your kind words, wisdom and encouragement - I would have missed out on some of the best days of riding and life ever.
    #18
    nickguzzi likes this.
  19. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,114
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    Glad you had fun. :D

    And I really miss the Euro breakfast buffets. You didn't have to remind me.
    #19
  20. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,770
    Location:
    below the sea
    The are rather good! Even down at the euro60 level - thinking of the couple of Ibis Styles I have used.
    We often take our selves down to a local boulangerie and select our own pastries, then off to a cafe or bar for coffee. The local bakers round the corner from my sister's odes set German style breakfast or you can choose your own, and they will build it for you, all fresh ingredients and a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
    Round the corner is a cafe/bookshop, even better and more imaginative food, but smaller and busier, so not so easy going. But lots of alternatives beyond those, like the ice cream parlour which will give you a shot (for breakfast) or the eco/bio cafe, which is surprisingly tasty, and all within walking distance.
    #20