Due to Covid 19, my original plans for traveling through the Balkans had to be put on hold due to the rise in Coronavirus cases in Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro.
Lucky, Italy and Sardinia are still accessable from Switzerland, so my plan is to spend some time traveling across the Italian Alps to the North and slowly work my way down to Naples where I will get the Ferry to Sardinia. My goal is to travel the Italian Trans European Trial route which transverses some of the most amazing motorcycle adventure roads in the World.
My gear consists of:
Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports.
Givi luggage rack with Givi soft bags 35L.
SW Motech Drybag top bag.
Honda tank bag
Full tool set with tube spares
Parrot Anafi drone for some aerial shots
Usually camping gear and recreational clothing
Started late due to the heavy rain in Switzerland. Once the rain cleared, the bike was packed and the long road through Valais and over the Simplon pass began.
The weather was cold but dry at the summit and a break was needed for some lunch and to take in the magnificent view of the clouds rolling off the mountains.
Due to the late start I didn't get as much of the TET I wanted to today but more highway millage to my destination at Menaggio, lake Como. I settled into the Europa camp site just north of the town. Beautiful area with the Lake 10m from my tent.
A total of 460km today crossing from Switzerland into Italy, back into Lugano Switzerland and finally returning to Italy and following as much of the TET road section as possible. A cold beer was well needed.
A few speckled showers of rain in the morning as I packed up the bike to head for the Ferry terminal in Menaggio. I took the Ferry which traverses Lake Como from Menaggio to Veranna, approximately 15mins voyage to start the TET on the far side. The weather broke and allowed me to capture some images with the drone. The beautiful morning sunrise just breaking through the clouds was magnificent🏞️
My goal was to follow as much of the TET as possible to reach my campsite reservation at Lake Garda. The route would consist of mostly meandering asphalt with two off-road sections including two small river crossings and one high pass over Passo del Palio 1363m.
The off-road sections consisted of some dual track gravel with some tricky hairpin turns. It was a little nerve racking to tackle this on my own but I was reassured when I met another adventure rider on a KTM 1190 adventure tackling the same track in the opposite direction. Unfortunately the view from the top was spoiled by the low cloud, not allowing me to fly the drone but it was well worth the up adventure.
Approximately 320km today of some of the best adventure riding I have done. Challenging but rewarding. A fresh dip in Lake Garda was the finishing touch to cool down after an awesome day.
Beautiful start to the morning at Lake Garda while making some coffee outside the tent. I stayed at the Sivinos camping boutique which was really comfortable with fresh croissants freshly baked in the morning! http://www.sivinos.it/
From there I would adventure down to the small town of Fontanellato for some lunch and enjoy the view of the walled city and fortress! I took a break from the unusual asphalt to detour on the gravel roads, traversing the large agricultural lands of Parma, right true to the heart of the Lombardi region. Stunning.
Leaving Fontanellato, I decided to take the Passo Delle Radici which crossed over the mountains from the Emilia Romagna region into Tuscany. The weather slowly deteriorated as I climbed into the densely forested mountains, however, the road remained mostly dry and totally empty. It was difficult in the wet weather but totally worth it with magnificent views at the summit.
Descending in civilization once again I was faced with the usual Italian rush hour traffic. I am slowly learning to battle my way through the frenzy of weaving cars and diesel fumes to the music of car horns ... a total contrast from what I am used to in Switzerland but in my view has its charm and character! I large sense of satisfaction was had when arriving at the base of the Tower of Pisa for a photograph before the sunset. Tonight I stay at a small hotel with secure parking, just adjacent to the ancient walls of Pisa. A total of 430km today, more than I opted for but worth every kilometer.
Day 4 started very wet but a visit to the top of the Tower of Pisa was in store, rain or not it was still a very impressive experience. It was a disorientating experience as the spiraling stair case shifts from forward to back, left to right as one ascends through the massive marble walls of the tower. It was almost 40 years to when my father arrived to Pisa also on a Honda, so I was glad to carry on the new family tradition. Also managed to do so maintenance on the bike before leaving.
The goal the next few days is to work my way down to Naples. Today I stopped at the small port town of Piombino for a spot of lunch and a coffee. The scenery was beautiful and the weather final broke for a light while so the Island of Elba was visible.
Tonight I stay at the Tarquinia campsite which has access to the beach and Mediterranean sea. I had planned to camp and cook however the weather was deteriorating fast and the kind lady at the reception offered me a mini Châtel to myself for the night, of which I gladly took.
A total of 310km today all on road with mixed sunshine and showers. Fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow.
Once again day 5 started wet with very heavy showers and thunderstorms over the night. The rain hitting the roof of the Chalet was so loud it woke me up during the night. The morning broke with just enough time to allow me to pack the bike and leave in the dry. However, soon to follow was approximately 220km with heavy rain, followed by some dry spells. Dipping inn and out of the Gas stations gave some relief of the rain but it was tough going.
I worked my way down the Amalfi coast to the small outcrop of Grotta del Capre for a couple of pictures and rest as the clouds broke and sunshine awoke. I stumbled across a wonderful little Café called The GreyGoose, located in the town of San Felice Circeo which was a magical find, serving some of the best Orange marmalade Tarte ( Crostata🇮🇹) I have ever had!😋 Well earned after the day in the rain and Roma traffic.
Following the coast for 1 more hour, I found myself in the Seaside town of Gaeta with its famous Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata and Art déco architecture. I paid a visit to Port where I was approached by a lovely elderly German couple, seeing my registration plate and interested in my travels. They were also bikers on holiday and gave me some advice about the next step of my journey in Sardinia, to watch out for the wildlife all over the roads and behind every bend. I really love how genuine and friendly the biking community is all over the world no matter what machine you ride.
Approximately 290km today. Tonight I will stay just slightly down the coast of Gaeta in a hotel near Gainola. Tomorrow I catch the Ferry to Sardinia 🚢✌️
In contrast to the previous mornings, today started off in glorious sunshine with a hint of warmth. I had planned a contingency day so today would be a short ride down the coast to Naples, where I would catch the overnight ferry to Cagliari, Sardinia. I decided to take a little detour to Capo Miseno to see if I could get a picture with the lighthouse, however, unfortunately, it was closed off to Military activity.
Entering the area it Baiae I swerved to avoid a pothole on the road when suddenly felt a "push" from behind! Looking in my mirror it was totally occupied by the badge and front grill of a good's van that had hit my rear pannier!😳 But no harm done....just a big fright. I guess it was the nudge of encouragement😅. For extremely nice people the Italian drivers are incredibly poor!!🙈 5 cars side by side driving down a 2 lane road! Nuts!
The rest of the day was quite relaxed. I found myself a nice restaurant with good WiFi and chilled out until I had to go to the Port.
The Ferry docked in Cagliari at 10am after a steady voyage of 15 hours across the Mediterranean sea. I met some locals on board, of which they advised me to head South West on the first day to see the coastline and to follow the famous SP71 route which meanders it's way along the southern coastline, taking in all of its beauty. On route I stopped at the Miniera Di Rosas which are the remains of a very old Lead and Zinc mine which spanned over 100 years, now turned into an underground museum with some of its processing plant structures still in excellent condition. Unfortunately, the weather was so bad, I decided to turn back and head for the seaside town of Porto Pino to have something to eat.
The weather was very mixed today, with 30 degrees spells of sunshine to bursts of heavy rain showers, topped off with 30-40kph wind gusts.
Following the route, SP71 was just breathtaking even in the wet weather. The road follows the coastline exactly making every bend a new picture opportunity.
Varying off the coast road, I tried my best at making the road up to Torre di Capo Malfatano Castle, however, it was not to be as the sandy conditions and wet ground made it already very difficult and slippery to get even just to the base of the hill. I instead decided to make a cuppa with the Jetboil and take in the Spiaggia Bay views.
Not many kilometers today but a good introduction to Sardinia. The weather is to be extremely wet tonight, so I decided on the very quaint B&B Essenza, in the small town of Pula with some good and rest for tomorrow.
Today proved to be a big challenge. I left Pula after a loving breakfast also chatting with one of the other guests. I headed back towards Cagliari and into Sinnai, where I would start the Trans European Trial going North.
Right from the get-go, the trail proved too difficult with the heavy rain of recent eroding water gullies into the stoney road and exposing loose rock. Lucky I was able to get by a lot of the difficult start and the Africa Twin really pulls through any of the rough surfaces with ease. The very strong winds today really didn't make any of the ride easy but it was a challenge I was really enjoying. The scenery was absolutely amazing and reaching the crest of the mountain revealed endless possibilities of trails that could be ridden.
I did, however, have an incident today, where I had a very narrow gap to pass between a Farmer's jeep ( which he refused to move over) and an embankment. Unfortunately, the embankment won and the bash plate on the Africa Twin caught a protruding rock, dropping myself and the bike on its side. The only harm done was to a bent bash plate and my wrist which suffered a pull when trying to prevent the bike from falling. I was able to ride on however and take down the rest of the mountain trail with some detours on the way. The road conditions and the wind really provided a challenge today, however, I was very happy I had completed this section of the trail on the big bike.
After some lunch, I worked my way to the East coastline of Sardinia. The road (SP27)was absolutely amazing, with beautiful views and nice twisty bends but just as I was warned, the animals settling on the roads was a little nerving, with every bend that could pose danger. 4 times today I found large cattle and bulls with 20" horns resting directly in the path of traffic...... definitely not a place to bring your superbike😅
Tonight I found myself in a campsite beside the sea, near Arbatax. Friendly atmosphere and some adventure bikers camping also. I kindly asked some German bikers for a loan of a hammer to let me bang my bash plate back into shape.
Approximately 180km today with very challenging roads and wind conditions. Tonight's menu is Risotto by the tent and overlooking the sea.
Today was wet wet wet☔. A late start to the day as it rained for a solid 2 hours this morning, just after I had made myself some coffee by the tent.
I eventually hit the road by 11:30am and on route to cross the Island to the city of Sassari, second biggest in Sardinia, with some pitstops and a detour on the way. First pitstop was of course for a coffee and cream 🍩🤤
My goal today was reach Micky's Jump, one of the famous Rally car jumps on the Sardinia rally championship, however the road proved to be too wet and slippery to make it up, so I decided on some detours around Lago Lerno. The road was a mix of broken asphalt, gravel and sand. Really nice ride through the wet and wild countryside with lots of puddles to splash through.
I decided on a B&B again tonight as I was soaking wet from the few hours of riding. Approximately 165km today. Not bad being the only biker on the road. Tomorrow I will explore the north of the Island and fingers crossed for some dry weather🤞.
A wet start to the day but it would promise to dry up towards late afternoon. I left late again due to the weather after a really comfortable stay at the Jolie Julie B&B in Sassari. I managed to park Africa out of the rain for the night, in secure parking beside the hospital. Expensive, but worth the peace of mind as the city didn't feel very safe at night.
Today I rode the SP90 route which traverses the north of the Island, following the coastline with some beautiful views as the rain stopped and the sun finally shun. I stopped off at Castelardo for a picture with the famous Castello del Doria, a medieval fortified castle. Absolutely stunning, especially with the rough sea and mysterious backdrop.
I carried on to the most northerly point of Sardinia at Capo Testa for some photos and to watch the brave surfers in the strong swell. I would have loved to be out surfing with them. Unfortunately due to the Covid situation in Corsica, I was unable to travel this island, however, at least I still got a photo with its magnificent cliff face coastline near Bonifacio. Next year maybe🤞
Tonight I spend the night at the Geovillage, just north of Olbia. Tomorrow I will take the day off and rest a little before taking the boat back to mainland Europe from Olbia.
Today was a rest day. I decided to explore the streets of Olbia while I awaited my Ferry in the afternoon, back to mainland Europe.
Olbia is a beautiful city with a very prominent mixture of both old and new architecture. The rhythm of life is much slower here compared to Italy and people go about their daily life at their desired pace. It is very refreshing I must say.
Due to the Covid situation in Olbia, some businesses have not reopened, so the city itself was very quiet. However, it still makes for a very pleasant time to walk about and take in what it has to offer firsthand.
Later today, I returned to the hotel and prepared the bike for the return leg of the journey on the Superwoman Tirrenia Ferry to Oliba.
On arrival at the ferry terminal, I was greeted by a very friendly Father and Son bikers from Germany. Unfortunately, the son Kyell suffered an incident when the front tire of his Africa Twin 750 caved in under braking in very wet weather. Luckily he was unscathed, apart from some bruising on the shoulder and ribs but the Africa Twin suffered a lot of damage to its front faring, lights, and dash. They managed to patch up the bike and make it back to the Ferry terminal for the ride home.
That night on the Ferry we exchanged in conversation over a few beers with a lot of laughs.
Due to the approaching weather forecasted for the coming days, I decided to hit the road in return to Switzerland instead of spending another night in Italy and riding in the rain the next day. The weather today was absolutely perfect for riding, dry, sunshine, no wind, and an ambient temperature of 18 - 20 degrees.
I said goodbye to my new German friends and exchanged tel. numbers too keep in touch for future travels. Genova traffic was absolute madness as I worked my way through the morning rush hour. I have really learned that one needs to go with the flow of the traffic and not to get caught short as speed limits are more recommendations than the law😅
I started off the day with a little cross country to visit the twisty roads of Parco Naturale delle Capanne di Marcarolo which resides just outside the city limits of Genova. From there I jumped on the autostrada north passing Ivera and onto Aosta, where I joined the route to the top of Grand St Bernard pass. The road ascending was absolutely amazing, dry, and in perfect conditions. The sprinkle of snow on the summit really set off the gorgeous view and added to the atmosphere of the location.
On the descent from the Grand St Bernard pass I took a detour to see the Barrage des Toules, which consists of a beautiful gravel road passing the base of the dam.
The return leg was 420km in total making the entire journey of 12 days around 3250km from doorstep to doorstep.
À la prochaine heure pile (2h, heure de Paris), MyAtlas sera coupé pour une durée de 15 minutes pour une maintenance.
Toute l'équipe vous remercie pour votre patience.