Like any good Alpine tour, it is endlessly climbing, descending, twisting, and turning through the heart of the Alps. And it all begins with a dose of culture, thanks to overnights in Bamberg and Prague.
Choices abound from the first riding day. You might choose a route to take you closer to the impressive Alps while visiting 'Mad' King Ludwig's famous castle, Neuschwanstein. Or take an alternative ride on some of the Bavarian rider's favorite twisties on Kesselberg, or enjoy a gentle meander through the countryside. Off the bike, BMW's new museum, and a 1000 year-old market in Munich's old town give one an excellent sample of what Monocle Magazine calls 'one of earth's most livable cities.'
Regardless of your choice on the first day, the ride through the hills to the medieval city of Bamberg will leave a vivid impression. Bavaria's trellised farms, pristine countryside, and amusing roads project German orderliness and efficiency at its finest.
A glimpse into Medieval times
The tour's laundry-list of 'perfect medieval cities,' begins in Augsburg, or the well known city of Rothenburg. Wander narrow streets, enjoy a coffee and pastry in the town square, or patrol the old town wall. Imagine the hundreds of generations of people who, like you, passed through these places though the millennia. There are many ways to experience either of these picture-perfect cities.
Overnight in Bamberg, a UNESCO world heritage site. Bamberg might be best known for its part in the 17th century witch hysteria when hundreds of 'witches' were tortured, interrogated, and executed. Fortunately these dark moments are long in the past. Now visitors enjoy an old-town with magnificent buildings, street corner entertainment and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Popular with hikers, the Franconian hills east of Bamberg are also a hit with riders. Not as steep, nor high, as the Alps, these mountains offer sinuous roads through thick forests. It is because of places like this that we ride motorcycles!
It's not the same
Descending from the German hills to the plains of the Czech Republic is a trip from one culture to another. Under Communist rule as Czechoslovakia, the now democratic Czech Republic seems to be missing a few decades of 'progress.'
Our trip across the former Iron Curtain now goes without incident or inconvenience. On the eastern side of the border the farms a bit larger, the towns a bit poorer, the roads fewer. Below the surface everything is different, and intriguing because of those differences.
Then comes Prague � the stunning jewel of the Czech Republic. Even the hardcore rider will be drawn away from the bike and into the fascinating maze of streets and unique medieval buildings. The view of the Castle from the Charles Bridge, or of the river from the castle ramparts will be one of the defining memories of the entire trip.
With memories of Prague tucked away riders turn south to Austria, and the Alps. Steyr, our overnight on the way to the mountains, gave its name to important factories. From here come Steyr trucks, firearms, and tractors. Our accommodations are in the heart of the old city, allowing inviting evening walks along the impressive Enns and Steyr rivers.
To the Alps!
The terrain begins to climb, and we along with it, on the way to Villach. The Austrian Alps are magnificent, and a variety of lightly trafficked roads offer the rider a taste of what the next week will bring. The previous riding has been great. Now it becomes excellent!
A double-overnight in Villach means more choices. Head south to Slovenia and explore the Julier Alps? Visit the picturesque town of Bled? Play here and there on great Austrian roads? Sit on top of a mountain and enjoy an Alpine picnic? The difficult part is that each option is a perfect way to spend the day!
As the tour turns westward the focus turns to Italy and the Dolomites. This section of the Alpine chain is world-famous for its dozens of challenging pass roads. Breathtaking vertical faces, unique colors, and unforgettable views are around every corner.
Tucked into the middle of the Dolomites, the only way into or out of Arabba is over a mountain pass. Another free day here encourages exploration. It is possible to conquer 4, or 10 or even 18 mountain passes. It will be a day with more climbs, descents, and curves than some riders experience in a year of riding.
The Dolomite range continues to the west, as does the tour. Between Arabba and Trento, the next stop, are another dozen passes to keep everyone quite occupied with scenery and roads that you can't even describe to the folks back home!
Not to be outdone by the Dolomites, the majesty of the Swiss Alps is the topic for the next two days. The route takes us over the Berninapass, a road that must have been designed by a motorcyclist, through Saint Moritz to Zuoz.
Stelvio, the pass many consider to be the Alps most impressive, and Italy's Timmelsjoch, one of Europe's most scenic, are both on one of the routes heading into Austria. Even the tour's last day focuses on great riding, with two or three more Alpine passes to add to the 'been there, done that' list. The 2013 Alpine Adventure East mixes culture, comfort, challenge and camaraderie like no other tour!
|September 15-28, 2014||US $6,870||US $5,280|
|Single Room Upgrade||US $550||US $550|
|Sports Car Driver||US $5,600||US $5,280|