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Offline Strompie

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Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« on: August 02, 2020, 11:49:38 am »
I booked another trip for September this year, but then the world stopped. We are physically in August, but I am emotionally still working on April. So here is a ride report of my 2019 trip through Austria and the Northern parts of Italy. Maybe next year, we can do it again!

It is sometimes the impulsive moments that sends your life on different course altogether. One of my bucket list things has always been to tour Europe on a bike. Once you make the decision and add a date to your dream, you can start saving and planning.  If you don’t, it will forever be just that: a dream. Being the lazy type, I approached Edelweiss Bike Travel to help me with the tour. It does add a lot to the final price, but then you have peace of mind that everything is sorted. Bike, bookings and the all-important route. They offer a range of tours, but I am not one to ride in a group. For that, they have self-guided tours. And their range of bikes is quite extensive. I picked a tour and a bike and booked it. Now there was no turning back.

Shortly after booking, I received a big envelope with an Edelweiss logo on it. First, I was amazed that our Post Office actually delivered the thing and then I could see, on a map, exactly where I would be riding. The route is carefully laid out with coffee and lunch stops and interesting places to visit. My one son, Ian, went to Italy in 2018 with his wife and the travel bug bit him pretty hard. When I showed him on Google maps where I would be riding he pointed to a coffee shop and said to me: “Dadda, I want to sit there and just watch the people go by.” His Trafalgar tour was quite hectic and all he wanted to do was just sit and observe. Impulsively I said: “So, come with me.” He looked bemused, not knowing that that was even an option. In that moment, my solo adventure became a father and son outing.

Edelweiss is based in Mieming, a small town just west of Innsbruck in Austria. The tour starts and end here. On arrival I organized riding boots for Ian and we were handed the keys to our Ducati Multistrada 950. As Ian has never been on the back of bike for any length of time, we took the bike around Mieming for a quick shakedown, testing our communication and just getting familiar with riding on the wrong side of the road.


« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 11:59:28 am by Strompie »
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Offline Strompie

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2020, 11:52:18 am »
Day 1 – Mieming to Lake Millstatt

After breakfast we left Mieming in a slight drizzle. That was to be the story of day one. The drizzle was soon replaced by heavy rain and made progress painfully slow and treacherous. We rode in rain for the entire day, temperatures sometimes dipping to zero, so we rode from coffee shop to lunch to coffee shop seeking refuge from the relentless rain. We finally arrived at our overnight stop, absolutely drenched. The owner of the B&B took our wet clothes and dried it for us. We just ordered a pizza and went to bed early. That was, fortunately the last of the rain we saw.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 11:59:57 am by Strompie »
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2020, 11:55:54 am »
Beautiful landscape  :thumleft:
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Offline Strompie

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2020, 12:01:16 pm »
Day 2 – Lake Millstatt to Cortina d’ Ampezzo, Italy.
At the breakfast table, we had a long conversation with one of the locals. And that is why I always travel alone. If we had been in a group, we would be packing and rushing by now. As we left, we were soon basking in glorious sunshine and we promptly stopped at the first of many bakeries for coffee and something delightfully sweet in the town of Oberdrauburg. From here, we started heading into mountains and the hairpin bends. Now we could experience the roads as they should be enjoyed and the Ducati obliged. On passes with lots of hairpin bends, the bends  are numbered. So when you are at the top of a pass, and the first bend has the number 28 on it, you know this is going to be a good ride!
As we crossed the Plöcken pass we were officially in Italy. Edelweiss provides two routes for each day: a long and a short route. After our wet first day, we decided to always take the shorter route for each day. That meant that we arrived at Cortina d’ Ampezzo fairly early which afforded us time to explore the town. Ian selected our dinner spot and he promptly bought a bottle of local wine. We were so caught up in the moment that on the way back to the hotel is dawned on us that the bike was so tightly packed, that squeezing a bottle of wine in there as well might prove difficult. But, we manged. 
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Offline 4 Kays

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2020, 12:02:33 pm »
 :sip: I am with you on this trip  :thumleft:
 

Offline Strompie

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2020, 12:03:13 pm »
Day 3 – Cortina d’ Ampezzo to Bolzano
Cortina d’ Ampezzo is a ski resort town, so we barely left when the mountain passes started. We were now in the Dolomites. Ian just sat quietly and soaked in the views. We were making good time, so at Lake Fedaia, we went up the tallest mountain in the Dolomites to see snow.

Lunch was at the bustling Sella pass. We stopped frequently for photos and at one point Ian just stood and stared. I realised how lucky I was. He proved to be the perfect pillion and to share this with him will probably stay with both of us as long as we can remember our names.

Arriving in Bolzano we were again early, so we headed to the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology to see the exhibit for Ötzi, the iceman. The interactive museum showcases all the archaeological advances this one person had. Ötzi himself is also on display in a cabinet that replicates the conditions where he was found.  It is indeed an interesting story. That afternoon, Ian got his wish to just in a coffee shop and just observe!
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Offline Strompie

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2020, 12:04:55 pm »
Day 4 – Bolzano to Lienz

From Bolzano we rode some single lane country roads. If you were planning a tour on your own, you would probably not find these small backroads. And that is one more benefit of using locals to plan your tour. We stopped at rural churches and drove though vineyards. For lunch we stopped at the scenic Lago di Braies. Tourist busses and selfie sticks were everywhere. It was such a let-down over the postcard-pretty pictures I saw of this place. I wanted to leave, but first, we had to eat again.
 
We stayed at the spectacular Sporthotel Hochlienz, just outside of Lienz. This wonderful hotel sits high in the mountains and still serves afternoon coffee and cake. Dinner was served in a restaurant that overlooks Lienz way down in the valley. As far as highlights go, this one was right up there.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 12:16:41 pm by Strompie »
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Offline Strompie

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2020, 12:06:54 pm »
Day 5 Lienz to Mieming.

Today was all about the Grossglockner pass. The pass itself is a masterpiece of engineering and is Austria’s highest mountain pass. We really lingered here and took our time visiting both of the stops on the pass: Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe and Edelweissspitze. From here, we took the main road back to Mieming. We handed the bike back and treated ourselves to some traditional Austrian food and reminisced over a wonderful five day journey.

With our Rand going the way it is, doing a tour like this becomes more and more expensive. But if I have the opportunity, I would do it again tomorrow!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 12:07:55 pm by Strompie »
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Offline Roulof

Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2020, 06:06:53 pm »
Day 5 Lienz to Mieming.

Today was all about the Grossglockner pass. The pass itself is a masterpiece of engineering and is Austria’s highest mountain pass. We really lingered here and took our time visiting both of the stops on the pass: Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe and Edelweissspitze. From here, we took the main road back to Mieming. We handed the bike back and treated ourselves to some traditional Austrian food and reminisced over a wonderful five day journey.

With our Rand going the way it is, doing a tour like this becomes more and more expensive. But if I have the opportunity, I would do it again tomorrow!

This last photo is stunning.

Looks like a great adventure.
 

Offline Offshore

Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2020, 06:21:45 pm »
Nice Trip :sip:
 

Offline JIMMI

Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2020, 08:18:49 pm »
Day 2 – Lake Millstatt to Cortina d’ Ampezzo, Italy.
At the breakfast table, we had a long conversation with one of the locals. And that is why I always travel alone. If we had been in a group, we would be packing and rushing by now. As we left, we were soon basking in glorious sunshine and we promptly stopped at the first of many bakeries for coffee and something delightfully sweet in the town of Oberdrauburg. From here, we started heading into mountains and the hairpin bends. Now we could experience the roads as they should be enjoyed and the Ducati obliged. On passes with lots of hairpin bends, the bends  are numbered. So when you are at the top of a pass, and the first bend has the number 28 on it, you know this is going to be a good ride!
As we crossed the Plöcken pass we were officially in Italy. Edelweiss provides two routes for each day: a long and a short route. After our wet first day, we decided to always take the shorter route for each day. That meant that we arrived at Cortina d’ Ampezzo fairly early which afforded us time to explore the town. Ian selected our dinner spot and he promptly bought a bottle of local wine. We were so caught up in the moment

that on the way back to the hotel is dawned on us that the bike was so tightly packed, that squeezing a bottle of wine in there as well might prove difficult. But, we manged.
I spent a few days in Cortina last year July.  I was so impressed with the friendliness of the locals and the beauty of the Dolomite region and the North of Italy.  Coming from South Africa i thought the exchange rate will be a killer but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was quite affordable.  Even day to day living and groceries was sometimes cheaper than SA.  Cant wait to visit the region again once lock down is eased.
Italy is probably one of the best kept secrets in my opinion (humble).
May the best of today be the worst of tomorrow.
 

Offline merlin

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2020, 09:35:31 pm »
Nice one mate... :thumleft:
The Alps is my weekend playground. I'm in Vienna and often take the scenic route to upper Austria. My only problem is with all the speeding fines. The traffic departments are just as paraat as SARS...
 

Offline EssBee

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2020, 09:40:29 am »
Ah yes, the Grossglockner! Stunning stunning mountain pass. Drove over there on the day it re-opened after the winter closure in 1995 and although the weather was still quite miserable I couldn't believe the amount of cyclists and bikes on the pass. Hulle vat nie k@k nie.
 

Offline chicco

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 10:02:08 am »
Thanks for sharing, what did you pay for the bike rental and insurance? was it a package deal or did you have to pay and book the accommodation separately?
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Offline Strompie

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Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 10:33:16 am »
Thanks for sharing, what did you pay for the bike rental and insurance? was it a package deal or did you have to pay and book the accommodation separately?

If you go to the https://www.edelweissbike.com/ site, you can tailor a tour for yourself. It is expensive, but well worth the effort. I chose the self-guided tour because I don't like riding in a group. Then I went for a Ducati, which is also more expensive, but I figured what the hell. In for a penny, in for a pound.

You can even rent a bike only,and ride on your own, but I chose for them to do the whole deal, accommodation, the lot. All the places we stayed had breakfast included and we had to sort out the rest. 

As I said. It is bloody expensive ( in Rand terms ), but the routes we were on, you will only find with local knowledge. Edelweiss have got a vast range of bikes to choose from so if you ride a GS here, you can book one there too.

Full, comprehensive, no excess insurance was 99 Euro.
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Offline reubenvn

Re: Precious Dolomites tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2020, 10:56:15 am »
Nice write up. Hope to join you some day