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Ride around Europe:

Destination - Grossglockner!

6th to 28th September 2010

Not a particularly auspicious start though. Checking the bike over on the day before (Sunday 5th), I found that the rear tyre was virtually flat! Not a lot I could do about it, as all garages were obviously closed. And my Eurotunnel shuttle was leaving at 0720 the following morning, and I had a planned route to Germany consisting of more than 300 miles...!

 

 

Monday 6th September - Maidstone to Cochem (West Germany)

 

I was forced to call in to my garage (Chambers of Maidstone) first thing on Monday morning, and hope that they would be able to mend the puncture so that I could get underway as soon as possible. Fortunately they were able to look at the tyre immediately, and after careful examination found no puncture or any other damage at all. Pumping the tyre up to 90psi was a good test, but no leaks were apparent. The puzzled mechanic decided to take the tyre off and clean the inside of the rim and also replace the valve. Once completed, it was on the bike and into Maidstone for the M20. And hope it would last the trip!

 

So I was away! A good run down to Junction 11A of the M20 for Eurotunnel, and on to the shuttle just the three hours late, having been able to change my train time at no extra charge (thanks - Eurotunnel!!).

 

It was a beautiful day for zooming along the French, Belgian and German motorways, and my sat nav set me a route for my first stop at the pretty west German town of Cochem, on the shores of the Mosel River, and about 70 miles to the west of Frankfurt.

 

I found my hotel easily and checked in a lot later than initially planned, but I had arrived for a two night stop, and after a small snack from

the bar settled in for the night!

 

Miles today - 386                    

Total Miles - 386

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 7th September - at Cochem

 

I spent the day exploring the pretty town despite some inclement weather. When I woke, it was p-p-p-p- raining gently, but it did clear up later in the day. I walked around the town centre, admiring shops and buildings built in that typical Germanic / Austrian style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A trip under cover of the rain on a boat seemed a “good idea”, and so I took to the Mosel for the short trip to Beilstein, an even smaller town a mile or so away. Up a fascinating lock gate and along past fields smothered in the local grape which make the famous wine, and on to Beilstein.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The town boasted a castle overlooking the valley, and so I climbed up to explore the structure, including climbing to the top of the tower - and what an impressive view from the top!

 

Eventually I returned to the boat (they seemed to run every hour), and made the return journey to Cochem. This town has a castle too, and as the weather had improved significantly, I decided to take a hike up through the streets to see the castle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During my conducted tour, views of the valley from the high vantage point were again impressive, and once the tour was over, I made my way back to the hotel for a sauna and early night - as I had an early start in the morning!

 

Miles today - 0    

Total Miles - 386

 

 

Wednesday 8th September - Cochem to Augsburg

 

More motorway driving to get south and nearer to Austria and Switzerland today; unfortunately the weather was still not the best, as it rained for most of the day. I travelled down to the southern German town of Augsburg (about 20 miles east of Munich) via Koblenz and adjacent to the river Rhine, and my evening at a hotel in Dasing nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checked out the station at Augsburg on my way through to Dasing, and took photographs of many of the trains likely to be seen through Eurotunnel in the near future, including the ICE train (Inter-City Express). Another relaxed evening thanks to the sauna and an early night.

 

Miles today - 346

Total miles - 732

 

 

Thursday 9th September - Augsburg to Abtenau

 

A slightly easier day today, as I travelled down through the rest of Germany and on to Austria, bypassing Munich on the A8. Fortunately no rain today, but still fairly cloudy for most of the day. However, on arriving for a look around Salzburg, the sun came out and it became quite warm. Very pleasant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managed to park the Wing in the centre part of town, and then walked around admiring the buildings and views. A group of musicians were entertaining the tourists in the square beneath the castle, and having listened to a bit of Mozart (Salzburg being the birth place of the composer), I took the funicular railway up to the castle or Hohensalzburg Fortress for the views over the city and surrounding countryside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction of the fortress started in 1077 and finished between the 12th and 13th centuries, after which numerous improvements and additions were made over the years. Once back at ground level again, I continued on my way towards the small town of Abtenau, where I was to stay the night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hotel proprietors in Abtenau obviously were in jovial mood when they changed the name of their hotel and didn't tell anyone, and it was only after driving up and down the main street for a while and then a visit to the local tourist information office that I was let in on the secret! Other than that, it was another good choice of resting places, and I had a pleasant meal before retiring for the night - via the sauna of course...

 

Miles today - 198

Total Miles - 930

 

 

Friday 10th September - Abtenau to Tux

 

Today was the day!! The day to drive up the highest mountain in Austria - the Grossglockner!! At 3798m, the “holy mountain” is among the highest peaks in the eastern Alps. The high alpine road, built between 1930 and 1935 extends to 2502m, and is well known as a bikers road due to the 36 hairpin bends. The whole area is endowed with spectacular views of this and other mountain ranges. Round every corner was another view worthy of a photograph, but en-route to the mountain, I realised that I wouldn’t get anywhere if I kept stopping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the base of the mountain it was sunny and about 25C. On the way up - quite misty and getting colder.....Through the toll and away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And at the top, snowing and 4C!!!!!! Many bikes of various makes parked up, and more coming up every minute! Interestingly, there was locker space specifically for bikers to leave helmets etc at the car park!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having had lunch at the restaurant overlooking the Pasterze glacier and looked around the very interesting museum, I continued on my way. Through the town of Lienz and then north towards the Tauerntal valley, my next stop was the sleepy meadow-fringed resort of Matrei and a trip up the Goldriedbahn gondola to the top of the mountain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onward towards Kitzbuhel and through the arrow straight 10Km long Felbertauerntunnel, then onto some minor roads with incredible views, hairpin bends, and the Krimmler Waterfall. What a sight! Had to go and see it - even though it cost 2 euros to get close...!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving the waterfall behind, I continued on past the pretty town of Mayrhofen and finally reached the small village of Tux, where I was booked into a hotel for two nights - to rest my bones, and give the Wing a break! Nice spa here - sauna, steam room, jacuzzi.......

 

Miles today - 213

Total Miles - 1143

 

 

 

Having the Goldwing in the garage, I decided at fairly short notice to “do” Europe. My initial thoughts were: where did I want to go? What did I want to see? And in just a few weeks, I had planned my route, set all locations and stopping points in the Wing sat nav,  booked hotels & ferries; and on Monday 6th September, I set off!

Salzburg from the Castle

 

Cochem sitting prettily on the

River Mosel

Note:

 

Click on any picture to enlarge. This will open a new window. Click “back” to return to this page

En-route to Abtenau via another long road tunnel under the mountains

Wing parked at the side of the road ready for the assault on the summit!

View from Goldriedbahn gondola showing mountain ranges including Grossglockner

Train from Tasch to Zermatt

Typical taxi service at Zermatt!

Colourful Zermatt restaurant

View from train on leaving Zermatt

(Above) View of Martigny from the cafe.

 

 

 

(Left) Wing parked outside got many admiring comments from a  German couple and also a Scandinavian group. Boy - was I proud! Then I mounted up with all watching and dropped the Wing!

Embarrassed? Yes.

L to R: Station; the start of the climb; half way up

Going down the cable car to the glacier

Montenvers Station

As the glacier is constantly moving (1cm per hour) the bridge to the caves is always being moved

Exit from the glacier

The climb back up to the cable car

Attractive river scene at San Esteban

View of San Esteban from the castle overlooking the town

Some of the troglodytes dwellings near the castle

This view of the incredible Matterhorn (4478m) was taken from the streets of Zermatt

Entrance to the glacier cave

Yet another spectacular view of the Mer de Glace and Mont Blanc taken from the cafe gift shop at Montenvers funicular railway

Val D’Isere

Mountain pass having left Val D’Isere

Col De L’Iseran summit 2770m

Dangerous roads leading to the next valley

The Blue Lagoon cafe on the Col du Mount Cenis approaching the Italian border

Page 1

Page 2 - Saturday 11th to Tuesday 14th

 

Page 3 - Wednesday 15th to Tuesday 28th