Camping for three days on the Iron Mountain in the rain and cold gave way to a much needed real bed on our last day in Austria, we spent a night at a 14th Century guest house and also caught up on doing some much needed laundry thanks to a very helpful owner. Soon Seth and I were heading towards Switzerland where riding east took us on a glorious ride up and down the Gerlos Alpine Road and right passed the beautiful Krimmi Waterfalls, Europe's highest. Next it was the Stelvio Pass, Mugello GP, Venice, Bologna and Tuscany.
Our randomly found campsite near a peaceful lake in Switzerland was also to be where my good friend from London would join the two of us. Alex had ridden with me to Mugello last year, was motorbike mad and fun to ride with. He'd also ridden through constant rain to meet us so he was just thankful for being somewhere dry. Soon after he met us, all three of us were heading further south towards Italy as we rode over beautiful passes and towards the Stelvio Pass, voted by Top Gear to be the 'Best driving road in the world'.
About 3/4 of the way up this incredible road you leave Switzerland and ride into Italy, the view from the top is astonishing and what followed was a steep 49-hairpin descent, then more glorious roads before we finally got around to tasting the local mouth-watering cuisine. The weather was perfect and as we soaked up the surrounding history of Asolo, Venice and then Bologna, we rode into Tuscany and towards my favorite MotoGP circuit.
The final road to Mugello is the Futa Pass. No question, it’s made for motorcycles, it’s one of the best roads I've ever ridden. Last year, on the way to Mugello, Alex and I rode it in the dark and in the rain, this time it was a beautiful and warm summer evening and there was little traffic.
Our timing was perfect and the helmets off re-group at the summit brought lots of joy, riding to Mugello was glorious and then eating pizza, chatting about the roads we'd ridden over a drink or two with good friends later that evening was the perfect ending to a great day. As ever the Italian GP was lots of fun, the passionate Italian fans didn't disappoint as they brought the hillsides of Mugello to life once again and wore the three of us out all day and all night. As much fun as this was, it was also tiring and made the almost non-stop ride back to the UK a tough one.
This trip might have started out as a solo adventure but it had ended with friends and I'd done it on the wonderful Yamaha Super Tenere. Wow, this brilliant machine had taken me on a faultless two-wheeled galavant around Europe, we'd ridden to three different world-class motorcycle events over three weekends, via 10 countries and I'd hardly stepped out of my awesome Alpinestars Durban Jacket and Pants — in fact I even slept in them a few times!
Both bike and gear had been super solid, my only issues on the trip were, as ever, self-inflicted, and the whole motorcycling adventure had been a constant stream of riding brilliant roads, seeing incredible sights and forming new memories that will last a lifetime.