Sunday, 30 March 2008

2000 Déjà-vu - The Homeward Journey Begins

Today we managed to travel 360 miles from Canazei to Heidelberg travelling on some fantastic roads, especially the one we took to get to Bolzano. It was not safe to stop and take photos of this unfortunately as it was used by many tour coaches and there was not any safe parking places.

In Heidelberg we tried to get into the same hotel as last time but it was full, however the tourist information centre found the Anlage Hotel just outside the old town with off street parking for the Guzzi. The hotel is an old building that the Addams Family may have enjoyed living in. There were some period pieces of furniture place throughout the building and a large window with stained glass on the stairway. We were given the old servants room in the attic with an electric skylight window that closed automatically when the thunderstorm struck during the night.

The following morning we located a station for the funicular railway and travelled to the top of the cliff and walked a little way before heading part of the way back down to walk round the castle grounds. Afterwards it was time for more window shopping for Guzzisue whilst Ian and myself headed for the large record store that we visited last time. I’m not sure if it is a good thing that the Guzzi’s panniers are the wrong size to fit vinyl lps in.

When we arrived back at the hotel a flyer had been placed on the Guzzi from the International Motorcycle Touring Club. The flyer was offering membership to the club along with advice on touring abroad. We declined the offer.

On the evening news programmes throughout Europe there were items of growing unrest due to the rise in petrol prices, with England having serious problems. There is nothing we can do but carry on heading back home.

One night is spent in Béthune before heading back to Calais for the ferry home. In Calais we decide to fill right up in case there are any fuel shortages back home. Once filled up the Guzzi was being a little temperamental and refusing to start. It eventually fired up and while Ian was looking for some paper towel a car window opened and a roll was passed to Guzzisue. The lady in the car said that she had seen us down in Italy!

Back in Dover the petrol station at the port entrance was closed due to lack of fuels. The ride home was tense and slow as we crawled from station to station in search of the motion lotion, finally finding some on the A14 north of Cambridge with minimal queueing with a policeman there to keep watch and make sure there was no fights at the pumps. We made it home with the petrol that we managed to find and reported in to Ian and Guzzisue’s parents.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

2000 Déjà-vu - To The Top

The Guzzi was left in the hotel garage for a couple of days as we went riding the cable cars and hiking up the mountains. There was some fantastic views around but the signposts on the trail left a bit to be desired as we walked further than necessary.

In a souvenir shop Ian found a small sticker for the Sass Pordoi, the pass that we ventured up yesterday with the 34 hairpins.

We went on the cable car to get to La Terrazza Delle Dolomiti (The Panarama Terrace Of The Dolomites). Looking across the way it looked like there were hoards of ants heading to the summit of another mountain, but it was just a continuous line of climbers. The restaurant on the plateau had on the menu meat in a tomato sauce with pasta, which Ian decided to try having got a little tired of spaghetti bolognaise. The meal was prepared and out came a plate of spaghetti bolognaise! If only they had said that in the first place.

The whole area is a Mecca for bikes and with great roads it is easy to see why.

Next day we walked down to the next village and rode in another cable car and watched a group of hang gliders preparing their equipment and having to wait for the therms. To avoid being stuck on the mountain top until mid afternoon as the cable car stopped running at lunch time we descended at midday.

Back on ground level we got talking to fellow Guzzi riders, one from Austria and one from Slovakia.

That evening our pizzas were prepared by a Ducati rider who had parked his motorcycle outside the restaurant. It was well admired and we wanted to ride it away.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

2000 Déjà-vu - Lost Travellers?

On our last day in Jésolo we wandered round the local market where Ian got approached by an African trying to sell cheap watches. He grunted something to Ian who basically just stared at him. Seeing as there was no sale immenant the African wandered off disgruntled. Guzzisue then dragged us round the shops and we bought postcards and presents for the family. The days big discussion was on where to go next.

It has been decided that we should head towards San Martino where we stayed overnight on our last trip, well that was the plan until Ian got confused between the SS48 and the SS48A and we were going towards Austria. About turn it was and then we came across a wonderful pass with 34 hairpin bends to get to the top. There was nearly a meeting between two coaches on one bend and one car driver suggested to Ian that he ought to reverse the Guzzi down the last one, I think he understood my friend’s French! Reversing downhill and round a hairpin bend with an adverse camber indeed!

Today we met a serviceman stationed somewhere nearby who could not understand how we could be riding around aimlessly without worrying where we would eventually end up. It was already agreed that we would not reach San Martino. We entered Canazei mid afternoon and it seemed as good a place as any to stay for a couple of nights. Not a bad days ride as we did 260 miles to do 100.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

2000 Déjà-vu - Glass And Lace

The holiday officially starts today! We were up early and managed to get on the bus in good time to make the 9:30 ferry over to Venice. Having previously spent time in the main part of Venice we hurried across to the far end and bought 24 hour water bus tickets to take us out to the islands.

Our first port of call was Muranno. This island’s main industry is glass making and there are several small glass makers that cater for the tourist predominately making small glass animals and other assorted standard souvenirs. Right at the end of the Muranno, on the edge of the canal there is a large windowed warehouse that has 10 showrooms of quality glass sculptures. We were given the grand tour by a salesperson who tried his best to sell us a piece of work, one piece did take our fancy but with a selling price of £2,000 we decided it was well beyond our means. A sculpture on a large glass topped table on a rotating stand with bright lights shinning on it can look very inviting.

From Muranno we travelled across Venice Lagoon to Buranno, the home of Buranno Lace. On the island there is a museum dedicated to the lace style that was only open at certain times and a shop that had a display at the back with many old pieces dating back to Napoleonic times. We stopped for lunch on Buranno, not that we had much choice as we had quite a wait until the next water bus and it was also siesta time. Guzzisue went in search of some lace bobbins and finally tracked some down on our return to Venice.

As we returned to our hotel the wind picked up and a storm broke and the day finished with over an hour of thunder and rain.

2000 Déjà-vu - Italians Strike

We left Predazzo next morning and headed for Jésolo passing the place where we lost the rear lens previously. It was cold when we first set off but soon warmed up as we left the mountains behind and we also managed to take the wrong turning as well. Is it possible to take a wrong turning on a touring holiday when you have nowhere booked?

The tourist information centre in Jésolo said that they could not book a hotel for us so off we went and at the third attempt managed to get into one with parking for the Guzzi. Ian had a panic when the tv did not work but soon recovered when the picture came on after 15:00, might have been just down to the heat or atmospherics.

It was siesta time as we went for a walk up town and stopped for an ice cream laced with Arametto, the almond liqueur. MMMMMMmmmmmmm, indeed. The ice cream parlour were playing The Cure’s live album and it just set the scene perfectly.

Three hours later we arrive back at the hotel for a cooling shower and rest before going out for dinner at 21:00 as the place was waking up for the evening.

Tomorrow the holiday really starts and we head back to Venice for the day.


The bus operatives decided to call a lightning strike so there were no busses until midday! Because of this we just had a walk to Cortellazzo and then had to catch a bus back in the afternoon.

Tomorrow, strikes permitting we will manage to get to Venice.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

2000 Déjà-vu - Predazzo Strikes Again

As we headed towards the Timmelsjoch Pass once again we tried to avoid the long tunnel from the previous visit – and failed but this time it was not too bad. Having got back onto the correct road we paid our toll, went a few hundred yards and the weather turned… snow! There was only a light dusting but it was enough to make Ian a little cautious going up the path. Once over the summit we had a fantastic ride down the other side taking in the scenery.

We passed through places as we did on our previous trip and joined the A22 by Bolzano for a short while. After stopping to fill up with petrol we were confronted by a group of Brits on tour and they invited us over for a cup of tea, very British!

Once again we reached Predazzo and disaster strikes. As we turned a corner there was a loud noise coming from the back of the bike. Ian stopped and saw that one bolt holding the rear mudguard to the frame had gone and the other was just hanging in place!

Let the fun begin. Sue went to the local Fiat garage but the receptionist would not let her see the mechanic, she was however directed to a non existant garage. Ian then tried his luck and got to see the mechanic and got a bolt however it was an allen type and we did not have the correct size key!

As time was getting on we decided to book into a hotel across the road for the night. After getting sorted there we went around the town and found the local auto supply, who weren’t much help either. Ian realised that the main problem was that there was a specialist head on the bolt and that was why nowhere could help us, so we then went to the Ford garage and got two bolts with the correct thread and normal hexagonal head. Success.

After a celebrational pizza it was time for an early night. One day we will learn the Italian for ‘I need a bolt to keep my mudguard in place’.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

2000 Déjà-vu - The Beginning

1999 saw Ian, Guzzisue and myself doing our own things. My friends went travelling around Scotland while I stayed at home. It was business as usual in 2000 when we embarked on our next journey overseas.

The eve of any holiday Guzzisue always has problems sleeping, personally speaking I think she’s just a big kid, so we were up and on the road for 6:30 and arriving at Dover for 11:30 and managing to get on an earlier ferry. There were several bikes already waiting to board when we arrived that were heading for Assen and the race meeting.

We had an excellent quiet drive on the payage getting our nostrils full of different smells, once a strong smell of onion and another of sugar beet that Ian claimed smelt like marmite.

Just before Reims we were slowed down a little as there had been an minor accident between two British cars, one with a caravan. This was on a long tight right hand bend where the road filtered on to another. No one was injured but I think it may have put an end to their holidays.

Once again we stopped at the Prunella Hotel in Verdun for the evening and departed at 9:00 the following morning. Near Saarbrucken we passed an American circus that was camped up in a field and this was one of two memorable things that happened today, the other being overtaken by a Lotus on the autobahn, we were doing 85-90mph and this roared past us at about 150mph! We managed to dodge the rain showers all day until Kempton, which is just north of Fussen, so we stopped there again.

Guzzisue bought this chocolate bar in Fussen and it is one of those occasions when a word can mean something different in another language.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Round Britain Rally

Round Britain Rally Fever has hit our household!
Ian had the list of this years landmarks come through the other day, so we have been busy putting them into order so that he can plan rides out from any rallies that the three of us may do, or just a days ride out if Guzzisue is busy with one of her projects.
There is going to be an official start on Good Friday at 11:00 at landmark No 1 on the list. I will not be able to show any pictures of this years event until after the rally finishes in October for fear of getting Ian disqualified. From time to time I may mention how we are doing with a bigger report to follow later in the year.
With a total of 100 landmarks throughout mainland Britain there is plenty for us to tackle. This is our fourth year of entry and every year Ian has surpassed his previous years total so here's hoping the trend continues.
I can feel my song coming on already...

Monday, 10 March 2008

Biker Ted's Award

A very belated thank you to Becky at for honouring me with this award in Feburary. I was most surprised with this as my blog had only been up and running since early January. Here’s hoping I can keep on posting things of interest and maybe help some people to go and investigate different places and events.

In the time honoured fashion I will forward this award to the following sites I have been visiting.

WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier This site is being run by the grandson of William Lamin who was a soldier in WWI and his letters are being posted as they would have been received ninty years ago. It gives an incredible insite as to how things were in that period. This is even more poignant as he lived in Ilkeston, a small town about fifteen miles away from us and he also worked in a lace factory, as once did Ian for nearly fifteen years. We cannot read Norwegian but Gawo posts some very good scenic shots from around his country. It reminds us of the time that we have spent over there and occasionally we can say “We’ve been there!”. One day we will return but we have two big birthdays coming up in 2009 and 2010 so I’m not sure wat is being planned at the moment. This site deals with all things connected to life on two wheels, be it from the past or artwork or musical instruments!

Sorry gussisue I think that I would be biased if I put forward for this award.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Wind In My Fur

I don’t think that I’m alone in saying that when I am out either by myself or with Ian and Guzzisue I tend to start making my own songs up. Here is one I did the other day. All apologies to Mars Bonfire and Steppenwolf for this but the tune to Born To Be Wild just got stuck in my head and this was the outcome!

I called it Wind In My Fur.

Got my motor runnin’

Riding on the pavement

Lookin’ out for dog shit

And for holes in the cement

Yeah I’m gonna make it happen

Gonna ride right outta this place

I’ve got my tank full of gas now

Quitting the old rat race

I like screaming two strokes

Four strokes roaring thunder

Racin’ with the wind

Keeps fillin’ my head with wonder

Yeah I’m gonna make it happen

Gonna ride right outta this place

I’ve got my tank full of gas now

Quitting the old rat race

Like a true nature’s child

I was born to be wild

I can climb so high

I never wanna die

Wind in my fur

Wind in my fur

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Sand Racing Time

This Sunday sees the last sandracing at Mablethorpe for the season and weather permitting Ian, Guzzisue and myself will be there again. It will be our last trip over to the East Coast until October when the 2008-9 season kicks in, unless there is a landmark for this years Round Britain Rally, which we will find out about very soon as this will start on Easter Sunday.
Until then here are a few pictures from the meeting that we attended on January 27th this year.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

1998 Guzzi Goes Home - The Last Few Days

Have I mentioned the rain at all this holiday? Well today on the way up to Heidelberg it rained so hard that Ian had to pull over onto the hard shoulder of the autobahn. He had been going at 90 miles per hour and couild not see anything, even at this speed he was being overtaken!

We eventually arrived at our destination and found the tourist information centre just before their closing time and booked a hotel near to the main pedestrian area.

There was a small courtyard to park the Guzzi in and as we pulled up the owner was telling her husband to move his car so that we could ride in. The hotel looked like it could have been a factory in the past with rooms up and down several floors.

In a past life Guzzisue had been to Heidelberg several times raving about its virtues, however she was a little dismayed to see that several of the trams had graffiti on them.

For the passing tourist there is a funicular railway that climbs out of the old town to the castle and TV tower and lookout, a textile museum and zoo to name a few places of interest.

We decided to have a wind down day and did very little except window shop. Ian was in his element as there is a very large record shop and he spent a couple of hours there wishing he had a way to get half the shop’s stock home!

Having spent two nights in Heidelberg we were back on the road and reached Béthune, France, about 60 miles from Calais where we stayed for the evening before getting the 10 o’clock ferry next morning for home.

After arriving back in England we headed straight up to Italia Moto in Lincoln and explained how we lost the rear lens. Phil the owner proceeded to take one off from a bike in the showroom and to this day we still have not paid for this. One day Phil, one day.

Things we decided from this holiday include:

  • Thanks to Altberg who make the best waterproof motorcycle boots we’ve found.
  • We decided never to take the tent on a foreign trip again
  • Venice cannot be seen in a day!
  • Always be flexable as events can change anytime.
  • Carry spare gloves in an easily accessable place.
  • When staying at a chain hotel pick up their booklet as you never know when it will be useful.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

1998 Guzzi Goes Home - Innsbruck

First the bad news. We had got to the point in our holiday when the thoughts of heading home hit us. The good news is that we can still stop off in two more places.

Innsbruck in Austria was our first stop. I cannot remember much about which way we started off but we did use the Brenner Pass to reach Innsbruck itself.

Just outside the city we had stopped to decide on our plan of attack when a Greek came over to us to enquire about the mountain passes and were they open. We had seen a few snowflakes but nothing to worry about. He seemed happy with this and went on his way.

One thing Ian and Guzzisue do when they decide to stop somewhere for a couple of days is to go to the nearest tourist information centre and book a hotel. By doing this they can find one in their price range and make sure there is somewhere to park the Guzzi.

The Hotel Royal was thus booked and was situated near to the old town above a cinema. Ian had to go round part of the city twice as he rode straight past it. It was difficult to see the main door I must admit.

Once out of the riding gear it was time for a quick look round before the rain caught up with us again and led to an early night.

Next day it was a dash between showers as we tried to play at tourists as we went up the StadtturmTower which was built in 1440. This gave us a view of Innsbruck’s rooftops and mountains. We would also have had a bird’s eye view of the building with a golden roof if it was not having some work done to it, however was a tarpaulin covering it that had been painted to look like the building itself.

Back on ground level we went into the Dom zu St. Jakob. Although none of us are religious it does not stop us from being interested in the arcititure of churches. Inside was very ornate and bright. If churches back home in England were like this I wonder if Christianity in any form would be stronger today.

A walk away from the town centre took us all the way to the Bergisel Stadion which was built for the Winter Olympics in 1964 and used again in 1976. There is a great view over the city from up here and in summer the bottom acts as a concert venue with 40,000 seats!

As usual on the way back to the hotel my friends were being nosey and spotted two bikes lurking in back gardens.

Tomorrow onwards to Germany.