2014.06.26 – 2014.07.8 / 6605 km

Italy 🇮🇹, Switzerland🇨🇭, France 🇫🇷, Deutschland 🇩🇪, Nederland 🇳🇱, Denmark 🇩🇰, Sweden 🇸🇪, Estonia 🇪🇪, Latvia 🇱🇻, Lithuania 🇱🇹, Poland 🇵🇱, Slovakia 🇸🇮, Austria 🇦🇹, Italy 🇮🇹.

26 June 2014 – 537 km, first day
La Spezia – Mulhouse

The first long journey with the BMW R1200 GS! He left on Thursday so as not to miss the MotoGP Assen Grand Prix which, as is known, takes place on Saturday. I passed along the magnificent historic Tremola road which goes up from Airolo to the San Gottardo pass and from there I went down towards Andermatt to leave the super-expensive Switzerland and spend the first night in France, in Mulhouse, in my usual ibis budget hotel (Mulhouse Dornach , 1 Rue Marc Seguin, 68200 Mulhouse, France – +33 892 683194) dinner in a nearby steakhouse with fillet, French fries and a glass of good rosé wine.


27 June 2014 – 683 km, second day
Mulhouse – Jipsinghuizen

Departure early in the morning, I have to travel about 650 kilometres, and I decided to do almost all of them on state roads. I relied completely on the TomTom that I have on my smartphone and I must say that it was truly an excellent choice, I found myself on semi-deserted streets in villages lost in the countryside where I stopped to eat camembert and baguette in the shade of a tree in the middle to fields of golden wheat. Later in Germany I took the motorway and after about fifty kilometers I saw a Ducati with a German license plate stopped in the emergency lane, without petrol!!! Thanks to my rubber hose and an empty milk jug that I had as a spare, I manage to take a liter of petrol from my tank and pour it into his and then we continue together to the petrol station, we walked for a while together and then we we are greeted. Having arrived at the border with the Netherlands, in the evening, it was almost time for Jipsinghuizen where I booked for the night (Hotel de Waalehof – Weenderstraat 4, 9551 TK Jipsinghuizen, Netherlands).


28 June 2014 – 464 km, third day
Jipsinghuizen – Assen – Wismar

The next morning with about fifty km I was on the historic Assen circuit and I was lucky enough to purchase a ticket for the grandstand at a very favorable price so I saw the Grand Prix sitting comfortably right in front of Valentino Rossi’s garage. Once the race was over, in order not to waste time, I immediately left towards the east, destination Wismar (Pension Am Haffeld – Poeler Straße 138, 23970 Wismar, Germany). Once I put my bags in the room I went into the village to look for a place to eat something, then off to bed!

29 June 2014 – 462 km, fourth day
Wismar – Ystad

Departure towards the north, the idea is to pass through Ystad, the mythical city of Commissioner Kurt Wallander, the main interpreter of Henning Mankell’s novels, one of my favorite authors to whom the last memories of a great friend of mine are also linked.

After crossing the imposing Øresund bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö (15.9 km) which begins with an underwater tunnel up to an artificial island and continues with the actual bridge, I finally entered Sweden. The entrance to Ystad was exciting, after a short visit to the city I went to Køpingebro where I had booked at the Violen B&B (Sockerbruksvägen 4, Köpingebro, 27172, Sweden), kind, well organized and inexpensive.
Later I went to eat in a nice little place by the sea, near Ystad, then a nice shower and bed.

30 June 2014 – 354 km, fifth day
Ystad – Mönsterås

The journey north begins, beautiful roads and beautiful countryside on the sides, as I travel I recognize the places and relive the Scandinavian atmospheres described in detail by Mankell. I’m taking it easy, today isn’t a very long stage, so I make frequent stops and stay for a long time. In the evening I arrive in Hammarglo at a beautiful B&B, a typical large Swedish villa from the first half of the twentieth century, purchased and managed by an American couple (Nygårds Herrgård Bed & Breakfast – Nygård 106, 383 91 Mönsterås, Sweden).
A nice hot shower and then dinner on the ground floor.

1 July 2014 – 553 km, sixth day
Mönsterås – Norrtälje

After breakfast we set off towards the north/east with the yellow beast for an intense day, the destination is Kapellskar, the ferry port for Estonia and Finland. The weather is not bad and the roads have little traffic, the travel is very good, once I reach Valdemarsviks I go down towards the sea and make a stop to admire a typical village along a fjord on the Baltic Sea with a relaxing atmosphere, then once I reach Vångsten I turn around and I return to the main road. Once past Norrköping, I stop in a layby to eat my things and then head north. After the morning with sun and few clouds, when I arrived on the outskirts of Stockholm a storm started which worried me a bit given the terrible condition of the tyres, among other things the road is very busy because there is a concert in the city Rolling Stones. I promised myself I’d get to Tallinn and change them at the BMW dealership, now with this rain I’m a little sorry I didn’t do it in Holland. However, all was well, fortunately the weather cleared up and I arrived in Kapellskar around 5pm just to catch my breath and catch the booked ferry to Estonia.
But no, a thousand excuses but they tell me that the ship will only leave the next morning, so I have to reinvent myself for a night in a hotel. I go back and find accommodation in Norrtälje, not nice and also expensive (100 euros – Pensionat Granparken Hotel – Gjuterivägen 10, 761 40 Norrtälje, Sweden) but it is the only one available. Little by little I put my soul at peace and the anger at having lost a day of vacation due to the missed departure goes away, dinner and bed early to recover energy.

2 July 2014 – 359 km, seventh day
Norrtälje – Kapellskar – Tallinn

Wake up early in the morning and head back to the Kapellskar maritime station. The ferry leaves on time, of course I’m the only motorcyclist, on the ship there are all trucks and truck drivers, the food isn’t bad either and everyone is kind. We arrive in Tallinn in the evening around 7pm, just in time to look for a hotel and wait for the morning (Tähetorni Hotel – Tähetorni 16, Nomme, 11625 Tallinn, Estonia). Tomorrow morning I will go to the BMW Motorrad dealership to change the tires.

3 July 2014 – 421 km, eighth day
Tallinn – Panevėzis

Substantial breakfast and off to discover Estonia. When I arrived at BMW they asked me 430 euros to change the tyres, whereupon I left with my flat tires and the intention of trying in Riga, along the return route. Shortly after entering Latvia I stopped by the sea to eat and rest. When I arrived at the dealership in Riga the price dropped to 350 euros but it still didn’t make sense to me, I felt cheated like an octopus tourist! Also away from Riga, in the evening I found a place to sleep in Panevėzis, a simple, clean hotel with a nice fenced space to put the motorbike (Verslo Klasė – Smėlynės g.104, LT-35113 Panevėžys, Lithuania). Ate at the hotel, a little food and then off to bed.
Before falling asleep I thought of contacting Renato Passoni, a friend I met on FB in the BMW GS EUROPE group, an Italian who has lived in Poland for many years and who had told me to get in touch if I was in his area. I send him a message asking if he can recommend a tire dealer in Warsaw who can change my tires the next day (Metzeler Tourance Next) at a reasonable price.
I send the message, cross my fingers and then sleep.

4 July 2014 – 508 km, ninth day
Panevėzis – Varsavia

Today’s stage is about 500 km, it’s sunny and travels quite well, the roads are a bit monotonous, always straight, through forests and cultivated fields, plain, only a few low hills, but the road surface is Good. At a service station I receive the message from Renato, ok for the tires the next morning at 250 euros, perfect, we agree to meet in the evening in Warsaw, he will pick me up at the hotel around 8pm. I arrive in Warsaw around 7pm, a nice shower, relaxation and at 8pm Renato arrives with a huge BMW 735, he takes me on a panoramic tour of the city and then we go to dinner in the historic centre, in a typical Polish restaurant, we eat shanks and drink beer. Before taking me to the hotel he takes me to his house, a nice apartment in a large avenue, to see his green BMW R1200 GS ADV LC and we talk for a while, we make arrangements to go to the tire dealer the next day and then I accompanies you to the hotel (Hotel Wilanów Warszawa – ul. Jakuba Kubickiego 3, Wilanów, 02-954 Warsaw, Poland).

5 July 2014 – 255 km, tenth day
Varsavia – Cracovia

Breakfast, I load the luggage on the motorbike and off to look for the tire dealer in the streets of Warsaw. I find it in an industrial area inside the city, (Jagiellońska 67 A building 1 – Warsaw +48 512 098 889) a small shed with garden, very kind and very professional, they speak English and while they ask me to wait they offer me a tea at a cool table under a tree, after a while Renato joins me so I set off again very satisfied with new tyres, we stop to eat a pizza and then say goodbye with the promise of meeting somewhere in the world. I continue my journey and since I want to visit Auschwitz I stop to sleep in Krakow in an excellent hotel with an internal garage, not at all expensive, (Conrad Hotel – ul. Josepha Conrada 29, Pradnik Bialy, 31-357 Krakow, Poland).

6 July 2014 – 447 km, eleventh day
Cracovia – Trnava

Auschwitz is about seventy kilometers away, after breakfast I leave calmly, when we arrive near the concentration camp the emotions cannot help but emerge, the spectacle that presents itself is sidereal, the atmosphere, despite it being a sunny day, is gloomy, I walk around and then get back on the road. After a short distance I enter Slovakia, Renato, an expert on the places, showed me the most beautiful roads to go down to Italy. Along the way at a certain point I met, in the opposite direction, three Ciao Piaggios that I had met on the first day of the trip to Switzerland, I was going up the Tremola and they were going down it. Incredible!!! I stopped to sleep in Trnava, a quiet town not far from Bratislava, dinner in a Chinese restaurant near the B&B (Pension Lux – Nitrianska 16, 917 01 Trnava, Slovakia +421 33/551 36 75) and then to Bed.

7 July 2014 – 396 km, twelfth day
Trnava – Schladming

In the morning we set off calmly, towards Großglockner, since I’m in these parts you can’t help but go along it. I pass south of Vienna, slowly the traffic of western cities begins, I was no longer used to it, finally the plains and straight roads end. I decided to stay overnight in the cool mountains, in Schladming, I identified the hotel with, but I didn’t book, upon arrival, near the hotel (Hotel Lärchenhof – Ramsau 174 8972, Ramsau Am Dachs – Schladming) I found free horses on the street, a spectacle. I have dinner in the hotel restaurant and then go to bed.

8 July 2014 – 305 km, thirteenth day
Schladming – Corvara

A short but “quality” stage awaits me, Austria by motorbike is a marvel, and today I enjoy it up and down the various passes, it’s a shame that the Großglockner has to be paid for (25 euros) but if the day is nice it becomes a spectacle to climb the Edelweisspitze at 2571 m.s.m. with a series of hairpin bends with a perfect radius. You go down the other side of the mountain and enter  Italy at Prato alla Drava, near San Candido where I spent my first months of military service in September 1972. Up the mountains it started to rain and after a quick dressing passing from Valdaora I arrived in Corvara in Badia in the rain (Jägerhof Hotel – Via Val 28, 39033 Colfosco, Italy). Dinner in hotel.

9 July 2014 – 464 km, fourteenth day
Corvara – La Spezia

The last stage of the long journey, another hundred kilometers on mountain roads and then the descent begins to Trento, I continue on the state road and in Rovereto I stop in a typical trattoria to eat (Trattoria La Genovesa). I pass through Peschiera del Garda, from Casalmaggiore and in Fornovo I take the familiar Cisa Pass, I’m at home.