Day 1 – Ferry Hull to Zeebrugge
Met up and set off from the Blue Bell Acklam to Hull, it was absolutely lashing it down, full wets were the order of the day. Because of the road conditions and to get some practice for group riding on motorways, it was decided to head down the A19, A168 & A1(M) to Ferrybridge for a comfort break. By this time it had stopped raining and we had a dry run along the M62 & A63 to Hull. Boarded the ferry, and had a calm crossing to Zeebrugge.
Day 2 – Zeebrugge to Pirmasens (near Saarbrucken)
Headed to Bastogne in Belgium where we visited the American War Memorial. The hotel in Pirmasens was “retro” to say the least. Paying the bill using the old style, handwritten, paper credit card swiping machine took us back some years.
Day 3 – Pirmasens to Landeck (Austria)
Mainly a motorway day, making good progress until we reached the Fern Pass in Austria. It was a Sunday and the locals were out in force snarling up the roads. Arrived at the Enzian in Landeck, our base for the next 6 nights, for a welcome beer.
Day 4 – Silveretta Pass
An easy short day after the long journey to Landeck. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t brilliant, the roads were wet and the views were mainly hidden by low clouds. A ride well worth doing on a better day.
Day 5 – Kaunertaler Glacier
A ride to the Glacier which is very close to the border with Italy. If you take the cable car to the top, you can stand with one foot in Austria and the other in Italy.
Day 6 – Stelvio Pass
Keeping an eye on the weather, today was the day to do the Stelvio, “a must do” for most folks when in the area. A 180 mile round trip took us from Austria, into Italy, then Switzerland and back to Austria. Lake Di Resia is just into Italy, it is a man made reservoir which flooded several villages, the church tower is the only building still remaining. After completing the Stelvio, went to Livigno, through a tunnel and into Switzerland, some of the best roads ridden were in Switzerland.
Day 7 & 8 – Rain stopped play (overnight snow on high ground)
We explored the local town of Landeck on foot.
Day 9 – Landeck to Malta
Started off doing a non-motorway route, but after covering 40 miles in 2.5 hours, getting as far as Innsbruck, decided to head up the A12 towards Salzburg. Was expecting to do the rest of the day on the A8 & A10 motorways to Malta. Lost Satellite reception in one of the many tunnels and the route was re-calculated. Shortly came off the motorway at J17 towards Kitzbuhel, through the Thorn Pass & Felbertauern Tunnel, South towards Lienz & Spittal then Malta. This was a great ride through Austria with 40 miles of sweeping bends after the tunnel. Arrived at Malta, our base for the next 5 nights.
Day 10 – Nockberge National Park
Our English hosts, John & Ros were very helpful, they checked the weather forecast each day and helped us to decide where to ride that day, even providing Sat Nav routes. Today’s ride was through part of the National Park. We were given passes at the hotel which entitled us to some free tolls & discounts within the National Park.
Day 11 – Grossglockner Pass
Again, the weather was favourable to do another big ride, 215 miles. The Grossglockner Pass was the “one” to do when in Malta, some stunning roads and scenery. It is the highest mountain in Austria and at one point, we were above and looking down on a rainbow.
Day 12 – Slovenia
Slovenia is only about 1.5 hours riding time from Malta, we decided to “bag” another country and went to Lake Bled for a picnic. Blue sky and sunshine with snow on the peaks made for stunning views.
Day 13 – Malta
With some big mileages ahead of us on the way home, we had an easy day. Visited the highest dam in Austria which was just 15 miles up the valley from the hotel. The previous day, the road was closed to motorbikes due to snow.
Day 14 – Malta to Neu-Ulm (Germany)
This was the longest day, covering 280 miles.
Day 15 – Neu-Ulm to Klotten
Another long motorway day except for the last few miles riding alongside the Rhine & Mosel Rivers near Koblenz. We managed to catch up with Klaus at the Hotel Zur Post in Klotten. He had been our host on a previous visit in 2007.
Day 16 – Klotten to Zeebrugge
Yet more motorways until we were diverted off the motorway which was closed ahead. Unfortunately this cost us a lot of time and we were unable to visit Brugge as planned. Another calm crossing on the ferry to Hull.
Day 17 Hull to Home
Probably the best weather of the holiday for the ride home in the UK.
Covered a total of 2,750 miles, only needing to change a headlight bulb and add 250ml of oil.
It was a long ride to and from Austria, (Malta is over 700 miles form Zeebrugge), but some of the roads and scenery made it worthwhile.
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