My friend Suzan describes days like the past two as “Chamber of Commerce days”. Those days where photographers take full advantage of the stunning weather to photograph locales at there best. Couple the Chamber of Commerce days with magical roads and you have shear perfection. This is why I came to Europe: to ride a motorbike on magical roads through amazing landscapes. This is my sixth tour with Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures (www.bmca.com). If you ride a motorbike and have even the slightest inkling of riding in Europe, take one of their tours. For those of you more inclined to vehicles with four wheels versus two, Beach’s can also provide you with a sports car. Bob Beach ran his first tour in 1972. Eldest son, Rob, has been leading tours since the early 1980s. Given his 30(ish) years of running tours, Rob knows the little out of the way roads, hotels, restaurants and points of interest that most tourists never find. Provided with a GPS, you can follow “suggested” routes, explore on your own, get lost and still be at the evening’s hotel without problems or worries.
We left Villach, Austria yesterday morning for Arabba, Italy under sunny skies and on great roads. A slight detour from one of the main routes to visit Mangart, Slovenia was suggested and was well worth the trip. Mangart was an outlook post atop the Slovenian Alps used by the Austrians during World War II. From the former post, you can see Austria, Italy and Slovenia. Those who control the top of the mountain, control the valleys below.
Leaving Mangart we climbed our way over 4 passes on our way to Arabba, the highest being Passo Falzarego at 2,117 meters in the Dolomites (Italian Alps).
Today, a free day, we covered an additional 5 passes in the Dolomites: Passo Pordoi at 2,240 meters, Passo Sella at 2,240 meters, Passo Gardena at 2,137 meters, Passo Valparola at 2,168 meters and Passo Giau at 2,236 meters. Once back at the hotel, we changed into hiking gear, headed back to Passo Pordoi and took the tram to the top of Rifugio Maria at 2,950 meters. Atop the mountain, we felt like we were on the top of the world being able to see from above the passes and valleys below that we had just ridden earlier in the day. Paragliders were out in force, soaring on the thermals above us. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll let the following photos do the writing for me.