Italy with the motorbike, part 6

Den deutschen Text findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 7)


18 May 2012
We were determined to see San Gimignano, so we started out, via Pontedera with its remarkable (irony) roundabout works of art, and Ponsacco to San Gimignano.

In the distance you can see the towers.


As you can see from the photos, we didn’t have a blue welcome-to-sunny-Italy-sky. It was actually more or less overcast all day, but warm.


Many say that this city is very touristy. Of course it is. In May, however, it wasn’t that bad, and despite the large number of people, the atmosphere was good. I found the small balconies and miniature terraces very remarkable, as well as the small alleys in which local products were sold, especially food, alcohol and handicrafts. And a boar’s head for 300 euros.


I would have loved to take the big vases with me, but that wasn’t possible on the motorcycle. Later a friend asked me why I hadn’t had them sent to me. The idea never occurred to me. Stupid!

Here is another work of art of a very special kind (see also first photo):

The „cornets“ were formed from wafer-thin slices of melon. So totally healthy with all that fruit!

We came across a Roma with a dog and a guitar. He lived in a small bus that was parked a little further away. We liked his music, flowing, easy … and we bought a CD. Often the music on a CD is something completely different then. That was also the case here. It was more in the direction of Django Reinhardt, which we, however, also liked.

And here comes a city tour of San Gimignano:


In the tiniest places people created gardens.


From the impressive city wall, one had a marvellous view over the Tuscan landscape.

This looks very much like a monastery.
!!!!!!!!!




I loved that wild growth on top of the city wall.

From San Gimignano we drove to Volterra, about 15 km away, a town with an impressive castle. But about that next time.

Italy with the motorbike, part 5

Den deutschen Text (zusammen mit Teil 4) findet ihr HIER.

May 16, 2012 continued

The Hotel Santo Steffano was run by a Swiss lady and her Italian friend. The associated restaurant, however, was driven by a different tenant. We ate there in the evening and thought it was very good. That night there was disco dancing at the restaurant until 2 a.m. Forget about sleep … We were actually most concerned about our motorcycle that was parked outside. We didn’t know what kind of people they were. Since we couldn’t sleep anyway because of the loud music, I snuck up to the first floor at the end of the disco evening. There was a window facing the parking lot, from where I could see if anyone was walking over to our motorcycle. But nothing happened, nobody even went near it, and after the last car door had slammed we could finally sleep. There is always disco on Wednesdays, so you are warned! Otherwise we can recommend the hotel. The lady of the house serves a very nice breakfast, even with an egg if you wish.


She told us how difficult it was to have a business in Italy; the taxes would eat you up. After paying her with cash, we saw her get into a car and drive off. We suspected she was out to pay someone to whom she owed money. They didn’t just live off the leased hotel; her boyfriend had another job. She was not very confident that they would be able to stay at the hotel under the circumstances that prevailed in Italy at the moment. It’s a shame, it looks like things are going downhill everywhere.


17.5.2012

On Thursday we continued south. Friends had recommended the city of Lucca to us. We looked at the location on the map and found that there would be good day trip possibilities from there. So we decided to definitely stay there for three nights.

The way to Lucca led us via Carpi, Modena, Sassuolo, Frassinoro, Passo delle Radici, a beautiful pass road, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Gallicano, Bagni di Lucca.

In this section, too, I didn’t take as many photos as usual, I was so busy looking. So I will cheat and put in a few photos of the Passo delle Radici that I took on the way back.




In Lucca we only had to drive around for a short while to find an appealing hotel, Hotel San Marco. Since Saint Mark had already given us good accommodation in Auer, we decided to try it there. Also highly recommended, by the way, with underground parking. We have been lucky with our hotels. http://www.hotelsanmarcolucca.it/de/ The hotel really looks like on the pictures, at least in 2012. The website is in four languages ​​and the young man at the reception spoke all four of them, English, French, German and Italian (he was Italian). The old town was only a five minutes walk from the hotel.

Here are just a few photos of Lucca, more will come later, because Lucca will get a separate post.




(To be continued)

Italy with the motorbike, part 4

May 16, 2012

We drove on towards Lago di Garda, but not on the motorway any longer, which we had already left in Bozen / Bolzano, via Trento, Arco, Nago, Torbole.

Let’s be honest, Lake Garda is over-praised in my eyes. I would prefer Lake Como at any time (I haven’t been to Lake Maggiore yet). But I think we were on the less interesting side of the lake.

This place would have appealed to me …

O.k., I admit, it wasn’t that uninteresting at all! But much nicer on the other bank … Maybe “our” side was too touristy for me.
[Why on earth was I so negative? It looks beautiful!]

Still there were nice little places: Malcesine, Porto, Campo, Castelletto, we ate in a rather kitschy restaurant on the beach, where they served really good food. We took our first break in Castelletto. The restaurant came later.

You can see from the flags that the wind came from the north / north-east. Therefore, it was not very warm in spite of the sun.

View from Castelletto to the other side of the lake.

I’m trying to crawl down into my jacket.


Here are two pictures of the restaurant. Everything was coloured in gold, even the decorations on the tiles and the curtains in the toilet.

One had a nice view.

Our way continued via Lazise (here we left Lake Garda), Valeggio sul Mincio, Marengo, Goito, Gazoldo degli Ippoliti, Marcaria.

Our GPS led us from Cesole to Dosolo on the dike along the Po, from where we had a breathtaking view. I was so blown away that I forgot to take photos. At first we weren’t sure if we were allowed to drive there, but then we met a few cars up there, so it seemed to be legal. In Dosolo we crossed the Po again. We actually wanted to find a hotel, but that turned out to be difficult.

In front of the town on the other side of the river, Guastalla, there was a luxury hotel complex on the right hand side with the problem that it was closed and abandoned. There was another hotel right across the street, but it looked very shabby. We drove further into town but couldn’t make out a single hotel. The population appeared to be mostly Indian or Pakistani. Not that I have anything against them, it just surprised me.

We saw ourselves forced to drive on, via Novellara to a small place called Ponte Vettigano, where we found the Hotel Santo Steffano.


(To be continued)

Italy with the motorbike, part 3 Auer/Oro

In diesem Beitrag findet ihr einige Fotos von der wunderschönen Altstadt Auers/Oros. Wir waren dort fast die einzigen Spaziergänger an dem Tag.

… In this post you will find some photos of the beautiful old town of Auer/Oro. We were almost the only people walking there that day.

Ich hätte absolut nichts dagegen, dort noch einmal hinzufahren! Am nächsten Sonnabend geht es weiter in Richtung Süden … 😉 🙂

… I would not be sorry at all to visit that place again! Next Saturday we will move on southward … 😉 🙂

Italy with the motorbike, part 2


The next day it was beautiful summer weather and we set off for the mountains.

First of all, we looked at the surrounding area, but after the first pass, the pass fever seized us.

We drove over a total of three passes: Passo di Rolle, Passo di Brocon and Passo Manghen. With the last one I was a bit queasy, because the street was very narrow, yes I would call it single-lane, and there was no wall or similar protective measures on the side of the precipice. I’m afraid of heights, but I still can’t stay away from mountains because they are so beautiful. Finding an open restaurant on the way was not so easy, as many establishments were still closed.


I’ll just take you on a motorcycle tour (for nerds 😉 ):

At the little Virgin Mary chapel we had reached the „real“ Dolomites:

It was kind of between two seasons, no more winter sports and not yet summer vacation. Here are some names of the places we came through: Trudno corni, Montagna, Cavalese, Bellamonte, San Martino di Castrozza, Fiera di Primiero, Imer, Canal San Bovo, Castello Tesino, Strigno, Telve (sounds like music).

From the Manghen Pass I have a few pictures from above of the parking lot and a view of the road we were supposed to drive down. There was a ridiculous little fence on the left, and that was it for the rest of the way! Hardly any people drove down there either.

On the way back we could see a dark wall of clouds behind us that seemed to be getting closer and we hurried as best we could. It was still nice in Auer, so we could take a long walk through the town. I’ll show the pictures of it, really many, next time.

(To be continued)

Italy with the motorbike, part 1

Die deutsche Version findet ihr HIER.


The film „Tea with Mussolini“ gave us the idea to travel to Tuscany, more precisely to visit San Gimignano. However, several years passed between the idea and the action. We are that kind of people, who for example plan to travel to Amsterdam from time to time and then end up in Berlin, Oslo or Paris. We saw Amsterdam when we planned to go somewhere else.

But now to Italy, especially Tuscany. It was in 2012, we took a vacation in May because we are not big fans of summer heat (haha). Back then we had a GoldWing 1200 Aspencade, with which we set out.

At the Gedser ferry to Rostock.

May 13, 2012

First we went from Rødvig (via the Gedser-Rostock ferry, Lauenburg and Lüneburg Heath) to Bad Münder at Deister to visit friends. Then we took the car train from Hildesheim to Munich. The train leaves Hamburg-Altona in the late afternoon and arrives in Munich around 7 a.m. Cars are added to the train in Hildesheim. For the loading, which was an adventure in itself, we had to appear early and then had a few hours to enjoy ourselves in Hildesheim. Without a means of transport, it didn’t really work out like that, and the sidewalks around the train station were folded up (meaning that we were in the middle of nowhere). There were only drinks from the machine, and on top of everything it was cold. I was happy about my thick jacket. And not only the jacket was thick at the time … [and now for that matter].


We had a sleeping cabin just for ourselves, even with a small bathroom. That turned out to be a mistake because the beds were awful and you slid back and forth or up and down in the curves as you want to look at it. You slept across the cabin, not lengthways, so when sliding in curves, it was either the feet or the head that bumped into the wall.

May 14, 2012

When we arrived in Munich in the morning, it was 4 degrees Celsius MINUS. We had apparently chosen the year with the coldest May in a long time. But the temperature rose rapidly and became more comfortable. Into Austria, our way led us on the Brenner motorway, which is very nicely laid out for a motorway, at least when you are on it.

Rest area impressions:

We saw some beautiful little places along the way including one with a small single-family castle (Colma), and decided to take the country road on the way back to take a closer look at the small towns.

Colma:

Chiusa


The following photos I took from the motorcycle while driving.

Our first place to spend the night was Auer or Ora. We were in Tyrol, where everything is signposted in two languages, German and Italian. We stayed at Hotel Markushof. We can recommend it! Nice people, nice rooms, good food, what more can one wish for, and not expensive. Actually, the hotel also had a camping site, and the bike could be parked in an underground garage, perfect. (This is unpaid advertising. I would stay there again anytime!)


We liked the place and the surroundings so much that we decided to stay an extra day. After all, we didn’t have a fixed schedule.

(To be continued)