I named this journey “there and back again” referring to the – what I thought – well known phrase from Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit”. My plan was simple, I was going to ride to Austria, attend the WIMA rally and then ride back again.
Visa Forza Åsa Tour 2012 på en större karta
It proved not to be that simple, mainly because of the delivery of my new bike, that just didn’t happen and left the plans very late and preparations very stressful, but it turned out very nice in the end.
This journey was broken up into four parts with possibility to rest in between. I try to learn from experience and did not want to totally wear myself out.
I spent two days riding up to Barcelona, almost totally avoiding motorways and getting nicely lost in the beautiful mountain region east of Cuenca.
In Barcelona on my way to the ferry I got lost again and ended up following a bike with an Italian plate thinking there’s one heading for the ferry too. This led to me getting to know Federico, an Italian Versys owner who now serves as my expert when I need to know something about the bike.
I didn’t spend enough time in Italy, it is a country to come back to and even ride a Ducati in if I’m fortunate. But I did manage to eat pizza and espresso, pasta pomodoro and red wine. Apart from that I also swam in Lake Garda and rode several mountain passes, all during one and a half days. So I have to say I made the most of it. I only regret I didn’t manage to have a gelato.
I entered Austria in the mountains and I continued riding mountain passes for the next two days.
I had planned my route across Grossglockner Hoch Alpen Stasse, to see the tallest mountain of Austria.
Well, after that I felt that I had had enough of mountain riding for some time and abandoned my plans and went to find a B&B by a little lake. For me, there is a limit to how many twists I can handle and sometimes I rather go for a swim.
I arrived at the rally site in the north of Austria close to the Czech Republic, this was in the lowlands, the Neider Austrich. The village, Reingers, was the capital of hemp and it was available in all forms except for smoking. Apparently, hemp is healthy and used in soaps, chocolate, beer, and to make clothing etc.
Now followed 5 days of riding, partying and endless opportunities for socialising. I met old friends and made new friends. I was fortunate to meet Tipi and Chae who had travelled from Korea on their scooters, amazing women with an extraordinary story to tell.
The parade is one of my favourite activities during a rally, that and the quiz ride.
I always feel a mix of sadness and excitement leaving a rally. I still have a large part of my journey left but it is sad to be alone again after having such a good time with friends. But with a promise to meet again next year I headed west. I touched Germany briefly, then returning to Austria and by accident into Liechtenstein.
When entering Liechtenstein I got lost almost imidiately. Just like Luxembourg the year before, I wondered how it is possible to get so lost in such a little country. I managed to get on the right track again sooner this time by giving in and heading for a highway.
Entering Switzerland I was heading for the mountains again. It was very cold and very rainy. My clothes soon started to leak and when stopping for lunch I thought that there was a water leak in the resturant before realising that it was my jacket that was soaking the floor. On top of being totally soaked I realised that the heated grips didn’t work.
I headed for Interlaken which is supposed to be very beautiful. I arrived chilled to the bones and refused to leave the hostel. Instead, I had noodles and tried my best to dry my gear with a hairdryer. Next day was sunny and I left happy and almost dry, bought a Swiss Army knife and headed towards France.
The sun dried the last dampness out of my jacket and continued to shine to such extent that at the end of the day I was instead soaked in sweat. I stayed one night in Annecy which is lovely and then continued to Cressange for two nights at La Grande Chaume for two nights. This is considered as my home in France and these people are fantastic. I had a good rest, good food and had a generally good time with friends of Annice and John.
With new strength I continued for the last stage of my journey.
Leaving the plains and heading for the mountains again. New country coming up, Andorra. Beautiful riding and as an extra bonus I found the helmet I wanted to get, and saved 200 euros on the purchase compared to Spain.
Riding from Andorra and home to Madrid was planned for two days. I spent until lunch riding mountain roads. Then I stopped and ate a can of beans and a peach. After that I felt homesick and decided to head for home directly. The Lazy Cat got to prove she could eat kilometres on the highway too.There is nothing like coming home, and then plan for new adventures!