Archive for italy

Country roads………..

Posted in european trip, italy, motorcycles, Pisa, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by Bev

The next part of our journey took us thru’ the Umbria region towards Perugia.  It was slow going tho’, alot of slow country roads and at times we seemed as tho’ we were doubling back on ourselves.  The countryside was wonderful tho.  The roads were very busy 🙂

Villages seemed to be built into the mountains

There were hardly any people about and we couldn’t  find a shop, cafe, or bar.  When a supermarket loomed into view I went to get supplies.  I bought, what I thought was melon……

It wasn’t!  Don’t know what it was – he said it tasted like turnip, wasn’t very nice whatever it was!  Found some wildlife tho’

Wonder if he would have liked the turnip/melon……….

More busy roads

After riding for what seemd like days we came across a lake with an open campsite (and a nearby supermarket!) so decided to stay here.

We wondered why all the other “campers” had pitched away from the lake and couldn’t understand why, so we pitched right on the lake side

and went off to get supplies.  We came back with a feast 🙂

and set about eating it all as the sun went down

We soon realised why the other campers had set up further back – we were swarmed by millions of insects and had to take refuge in the (very hot!) tent.   That night i’m sure every bird living on the lake came to investigate our tent – there were all sorts of strange noises going on outside – Ian was snoring his head off and I wasn’t going out there to see what was going on.  I’ll bet these were some of the culprits

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The next day was pretty much the same – tho’ Tuscany this time, on our way to Florence.  Whenever i’ve seen pictures of the Tuscan coutryside it’s always full of sunflowers – not this time of year tho’

We arrived in Florence to a downpour.

Now, lets just say we “parted ways” – one of us went further and this is as far as the “camera” went before returning to the bike!

One of us had a real “moody head on” – and it was touch and go where we were headed next – Pisa or home………..The next hour was spent on the motorway (hmm – not mychoice!)  in silence!  I was glad when the motorway split – left for Pisa, right for Milan – we went left 🙂

Pisa is a lovely town – very compact, alot smaller than I expected.

Very very busy

and of course, it also has this…. I know, cheesy shot!

We went to an outdoor cafe which was attached to a hotel, for something to eat.  Ian went to enquire how much it was for a nights stay – 150 euros!!! Needless to say we didn’t stay here!

We rode up the coast to a town called Viareggio. It was a typical seaside town – lots of posh shops and big hotels along the promenade.  We found a “cheapish” hotel and went for a walk about. NO, we didn’t stay here –  we’re not millionaires!!

We had what was probably the worst meal of our entire trip here (even worse than the lamb bones in Albania!!) – I ordered a chicken parmesan and got what looked (and tasted) like one of those horrible frozen “fake” chicken things that you buy in cheap supermarkets – couldn’t eat it – the waitress was suprised and said it was one of their most popular dishes! Yuck!

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Rome……………

Posted in european trip, italy, motorcycles, Rome, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by Bev

It would have been nice to spend a little longer in Gaetta but we were eager to get to Rome so set off again.  We rode along the coast for a short while then headed inland thru’ the countryside.

We had planned to find a campsite just outside Rome, figuring that any hotel within 60 miles would probably be the price  of a small house, but, after  most being  closed weren’t sure if it would be the same here.  So, when we rode past a lakeside campsite with a big OPEN sign outside, about 20 miles south of Rome we decided to stay here.  As it was now “out of season” we managed to get a little wooden chalet for  2 nights for the cost of a tent pitch.  It was also Ians chance of doing a little sunbathing and getting some laundry done! Oh, and Tiger got  a bath too. 🙂

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It was fun riding into Rome the next day – we had expected it to be alot busier

I should know the names of these buildings – but I don’t!  🙂

aarrggghhh – Look Out!!!! 😉

We soon “found” where all the cars were

We were heading towards the Colosseum and the traffic seemed to thin out again – we weren’t sure whether we would be able to park up near the Colosseum and envisaged a long walk.

Now this one I do know the name of…..

Luckily we managed to find a parking place about 10 minutes walk past the Colosseum – Italy is great for bike parking, and there seemed to be a whole area along the main road dedicated to bikes. We took over 200 photos of Rome and am hard pressed to find just a few to put on here. Less writing, more pictures!!

We went to see about getting tickets to go inside the Colosseum – unfortunately this was the queue

They said about 2 hours.  2 hours queueing in 40 degree heat didn’t really appeal to us………so we didn’t go in! We wandered up past the Forum to that fabulous building that should have a name which we can remember, but never can!  (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II in the Piazza Venezia)

We set off back towards the  bike, where we had noticed loads of cafes in the side streets on the way up, to get some lunch.

The Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Titus

We found a little restaurant quite near to the bike and sat at a table with a young English couple.  They told us that the previous day they had visisted the Trevi Fountain and he had got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend in front of the crowd.  The Italians loved it and were clapping and “cooing” over them.  She said yes.  We were surprised at the prices of the food as had expected it to be expensive – was very reasonable tho’ for the location.  We got back to the bike and set off for the Trevi Fountain.

We found a parking spot somewhere near here

Trevi  Fountain

Unfortunately there were other people here as well 🙂

We realised the Pantheon was only a short walk from here so set off to find it.

The Obelisk of Montecitorio (Solare obelisk)

If you’re ever wandering around this part of Rome and are in need of a drink – McDonalds does a fab Frappe for 1 euro,  free toilets and  air conditioned – nice to cool down there!!

Macuteo Obelisk

We set off back for the bike and to the Vatican

Yay…..found it………..

I couldn’t believe it – it was SHUT!  Was not pleased 😦

There is so much to see in Rome – couldn’t possibly do it all in a day – my biggest regret of this trip is that we didn’t go back the next day – I really wanted to see the Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica in the Vatican and we also “missed” the Castel Saint’Angelo – oh well, there’s always another time………. 🙂



Buongiorno Italia………….

Posted in european trip, italy, motorcycles, Napoli, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , , on January 14, 2010 by Bev

From Bari we headed cross country (the “ankle” part of the boot)  to the west coast, miles and miles of farmland and little villages set in the hills. During “growing” season the countryside would be filled with colour but at this time of year it was pretty barren.

We came acros these strange houses in one village, there wasn’t a soul about so we couldn’t find out what they were used for or go in.  We had forgotten that Italians take a “siesta” from midday until…………whenever they feel like it really!  Nothing is open, except cafes/restaurants, and the towns are like ghost towns.

We found a small restaurant in the mountains and had a fab lunch of traditional Italian home cooking.  I can’t remember what the dishes were but when we had them again at other places they just weren’t the same.

We decided to find a campsite early as we were tired from the ferry and found an area with lots of them.  For some reason they were all closed – it seemed strange that the camping season ended at the end of August.  I wasn’t too bothered tho’!

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The next day we headed up the coast towards Napoli (Naples) and then took a detour to Pompeii.  The roads were fairly quiet until we got to Pompeii…

Hmmm………..is there nowhere that this company isn’t ………..

The ruins of Pompeii with Mt Vesuvius in the background

Yum….food!!

So after filling our pouches it was back to the coast road and Napoli. The roads weren’t so good and we weren’t sure which part we were supposed to be on – best to stay away from the tram lines tho’

Castel Nuovo, (New Castle even tho’  building started in 1266) Napoli.

Riding thru’ Napoli  – from the lack of people and vehicles I reckon it must have been siesta time!

View leaving Napoli

It was a lovely ride along this coastline but the road often went off inland

We came to a lovely town called Gaeta and decided to find somewhere to stay here.

This town was really busy and it took us a really long walk to find a restaurant that wasn’t full.  When we sat down I noticed most of the other diners were having  burgers – so I ordered a burger – Ian didn’t – it was the best burger I have ever tasted! And NO I didn’t give him any!!

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End of week 5 – total mileage: 5155

And so to the Ferry………………..

Posted in european trip, Greece, italy, motorcycles, travel, triumph tiger, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by Bev

I can’t remember a great deal about our journey from Athens to Patra from where we were getting the ferry to Italy.  Did we even stop………can’t seem to find any photos either.  If we didn’t stop I’ll bet I was hungry and thirsty!  (and I also would think I wouldn’t be very happy with Ian for not stopping!) I do remember this fabulous bridge tho’

I wanted to go over it but it didn’t go the way we were.

Out initial plan was to take the ferry to Brindisi but when we enquired about sailing times were told there was none till the next day, so instead booked for a sailing to Bari which was in about 2 hours time.  We were shocked also at the price of the ferry, I think they double it for 3 months of the year – why??  it doesn’t cost them any extra to sail in August than it does in April……….and the cabin prices are so ridiculously high – they add another 300 euros on the price!  (we didn’t get  a cabin!!)

I love boats, I would like to have a boat and sail all over in (on?) it.  Ferries are not boats.  They are floating “family hotel complexes”.  I HATE them (more than I hate camping!) People commandeer the “couches” as soon as they set foot on the ferry – they put their feet, luggage, clothes and whatever else they have all over them so nobody else can get on them.  Even tho’ we were pretty much one of the first vehicles on the ferry, we weren’t the first people.   Foot passengers – hundreds of them, and they had pretty much taken up every available “couch”!  The ones who really annoy me, are the ones who book cabins, take their luggage to them and then come and claim their “seating area”  – STAY IN YOUR CABIN  – YOU’VE PAID FOR IT!!!!  We managed to find a table and a couple of chairs near to the TV area – big mistake!  There were kids running around shouting and a group of around 5o Italian pensioners who completely took over.  Why do people speaking in a foreign language always sound louder than those speaking your language??  Anyway, we didn’t get any sleep and arrived in Bari the next morning very tired!

We couldn’t get off the ferry.  We were blocked in by a GS, which Ian stood admiring and I felt like kicking!  We were with all the trucks, it was very hot and the diesel fumes were choking.  It was almost empty when Mr GS arrived.  Ian and he spoke – I just scowled…..

Moaning post over!  😦

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Water, water, everywhere……

Posted in european trip, italy, motorcycles, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , , , on October 25, 2009 by Bev

I woke up with a bad head today!  He said it was the wine – I said it was his constant talking was finally getting to me………….anyway, no time to be ill!

We planned to stay in Lake Garda another day, to go to the  town and then for a “short” 90 mile  ride round the lake.  We were staying in Riva del Gado which is at the northern end of the lake.

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It’s a pretty place, fairly touristy but not too crowded.  The northern end is mountainous.  We soon realised that our short 90 mile ride was going to take nearly the whole day.  The traffice was slow and the main road went thru’ every town .  The weather also began to change

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We stopped for a drink in this little town

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and when we got back to the bike the heavens opened.  It was like a tropical storm – the drains couldn’t cope with it and within 15 minutes the roads were flooded.  And then it stopped………and started…….and stopped……it went on like this pretty much all the way round – we were wet and dry so many times and also didn’t get many photos 😦

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When we arrived back at the campsite it was flooded.  Luckily our little tent was dry!

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As we were preparing to leave the next day we got chatting to the English couple who’s pitch we were sharing, Sally and Dan, they invited us to stay with them if we were passing thru’ Nice – and we exchanged phone numbers. Our next destination was Venice for another 2 day stay.

The weather had changed completely – and we rode thru’ more lovely scenery, again avoiding the motorways.

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more mountains

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and some great trees! 🙂

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This was the first day I started to get hot on the back of the bike.  Once we had left the mountains behind I got a bit bored and wondered about what would happen if I accientally fell asleep!  Hmmm…. suppose I’d better stay awake then!

We found a campsite about 10 minutes outside of Venice called Camping Jolly!  Seemed to be very popular with young backpackers and had lots of facilities including a “disco” 😦  – we found a pitch well away from this!!   As we were lying in our tent later this evening we heard a  vehicle pull up in the pitch behind us.  We got out and saw a large campervan reversing into the space – but it didn’t seem as if it was going to stop.  I yelled at the driver to stop when he got a few feet away from Tiger but he seemed to not realise we were there until Ian shouted again at him.  We could have been “crushed by camper” had we not got out!

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The site ran a bus service into Venice for 4 euros return so we decided to take the bus rather than the bike and had booked the first one at 9.00. I went to Venice over 20 years ago and loved it.  Its a beautiful city but August is probably the worst (busiest) time to go.

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View from Rialto Bridge:

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The first bus back was at 7pm so we have almost 10 hours to walk around Venice.  I took almost 150 photos 🙂 – obviously I can’t put them all on!  How to pick the best……

It got very hot today – first day for the suncream!  The little side streets were lovely and cool and alot quieter than St Marks Square, which was absolutely heaving

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It was also extremely expensive.  We stopped at a little cafe for a drink – 10.5 euros for a capuccino and coke!  Makes me think……if NOBODY paid these prices they would have to lower them………..wouldn’t they??

So on that, we walked down a few side streets and found a cheaper alternative!

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A few random shots

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When we got to here, we realised Ians directional antennae was faulty – we were at the total opposite end from where we had to catch the bus from!

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He did “pretend” to know which way to go, but I knew he was lost!

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So, a long walk back the right way then!

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We got to the bus with about 10 minutes to spare – when we saw the bike park, we were glad we hadn’t riden into Venice!

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Italians sure do like their bikes and scooters!

Ian got a “treat” the next day! (no, NOT that sort of treat!!) We were packing up and chatting to the Australian couple next to us, who were busy making pancakes, when an attractive young lady emerged from the tent behind them, stretched a few times, looked at us, smiled, and then realised she had not a stitch of clothing on!  She grabbed at a scrap of material from inside the tent, but it wasn’t enough to cover her, she then proceeded to “pack” away wearing just this. Every man nearby suddenly emerged from their respective “accomodation”  I don’t think Ian had helped to pack away so much previouly or did he again, and the Australian guy certainly cooked a fair few pancakes!  SORRY NO PHOTOS!!!!

It takes 4 hours on the map………..

Posted in european trip, motorcycles, travel, triumph tiger with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2009 by Bev

Ian had read about the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps so wanted to ride it.  A heavily laden, 2 up, Triumph Tiger may not be the best mode of transport to tackle the 48 hairpin bends (would sure have been much more fun on one of Ian’s old bikes  – a GSX R 1000) but after a slow start he soon got into it and I  started to  get some shots

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Snowy at the top!

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As it was a Saturday afternoon the Italian racer boys were out in force and we watched as they were going round bends with not just their knees but their hand on the ground.  Oh, to be young  with no sense of danger……….  We were also amazed at the amount of  pedal cyclists riding up – a 2760 metre high ride up a twisty road full of motorbikes and cars would not be my idea of fun!(I would probably have a heart attack before I got to the first bend!!)  And coming  back down…..

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At some point of the descent I got “told off”.  As any pillion knows, it’s hard not to slide forward when coming down a steep road if you have no grab rail to hold and are trying to take photos!  I was then told I was responsible for the rear brake pads wearing down as he had to keep braking for me!  Hmmph, I think I was expected to get off and walk!

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Haha – no I didn’t get off – this was somebody else waiting.

After this is was mountain pass after mountain pass and into Switzerland.

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This is St Moritz, and Ian decided we would get something to eat!  Now St Moritz has to be the most expensive place in the world – I thought it would be, he had never heard of it!  It was – we didn’t!  We left.

It was from here that my route map had said 4 hours to Lake Garda (I remembered this) so we thought if we cracked on we would be there before dark…………

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Once you get in these mountains, you can’t get out!  There don’t seem to be any straight thru’ roads, they all wind their way up and down the mountains, some of them are really slow.  We soon realised it was going to take a lot longer than 4 hours so looked for a camp site when we got back into Italy.

We found one with a view of a waterfall in a place called Chiavenna.

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The next day was more of the same – mountains

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and vineyards

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and little towns

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We eventually arrived at Lake Garda, alot more than 4 hours later,  and found a campsite.  The receptionist told us there was only one pitch available and to go and look at it. We found the “pitch” – a small triangle which “housed” 2 boats and a French registered car.   After debating whether or not we were in the right place, we decided we were and it was going to be too much hassle to explain to the people who had parked here that this should be our pitch we were set to leave.  A woman then came up to us and asked us, in English, what the problem was.  We explained and she told us it was her car and she would move it but  if we wanted we could put our tent up on their pitch and park the bike next to the car.  (the boat owner was still unknown) We did this and it turned out she was English and was living with her partner in Nice, France and they were on a touring holiday too.  The site had a well stocked shop so we bought ourselves some goodies and a couple of bottles of wine and went and sat with the swans on the lake!

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End of our first week – 1444 miles.