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Thread: The Great Italian Roadtrip : The Complete Blogs

  1. #21
    Super Moderator Noor's Avatar
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    Beautiful is the word, loved every bit of it.
    Happiness is finding you have another Gear left....

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  2. #22
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    Good going guys! Nice to read the write up and photos are amazing

  3. #23
    Rusted happybiking's Avatar
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    What a presentation!!! Superb text there and needless to mention killer pics...

    Thanks for sharing these guys

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    Default Day 4 - The Great Italian Roadtrip - Cortina to Stelvio Pass (314 KM)

    Day 4 - The Great Italian Roadtrip - Cortina to Stelvio Pass (314 KM)

    <em>Text: Anurag Ashok * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Pictures: Sunny</em>

    <em><span style="font-style: normal;"><img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/1.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" /></span></em>

    We got up early and after a lousy breakfast, were out of the hotel at 10:24 AM after a brief photo shoot in the garage of the hotel! We rode for about 20 Kilometers and reached Cortina di Ampezzo. The ride was a descent for a few kilometers and then again an ascent at an incline of about 10%. On way, we passed a few tunnels

    <img src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/2.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/3.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    &lt;&lt;The shots above were taken shot from the 5D Mark II at 130+ in a tunnel in low conditions&gt;&gt;

    Alps seem to be a haven for bikers and there were bikers in zipping around in both directions and all are tourers since locals of the area seemed to be riding scooters and could be clearly differentiated by the luggage. This is a perfect riding territory and the scenery is exquisite - It is as if someone has made a painting! (I cant help repeating this but it is simply bloody astounding to see this and my job is to convey the true feeling with simple bits of text unlike Sunny who had monopolized both the camera's and who can do it much more beautifully with the pictures)

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/4.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    I think now I know where all the Italian master painters got their inspiration from. These are the kind of roads full of scenic beauty and riding pleasure we yearn for back home in India and what draws riders from so many nationalities all over Europe to this heaven. We noticed a lot of Germans (Identified because at least one bike in a group would be flying the German flag and also because all number plates display a symbol identifying the country it is from (I - Italia, D - Deutschland, F - France etc.. )) along the way. All along the Alps, we also found that most hotels, Cafe's, Restaurants displaying a sign outside welcoming bikers. Roads with signs asking bikers specifically to see if their velocitada is OK.

    Cortina was a small town and had something to do with Winter Olympics. There was a huge wooden construction as we entered the town with the five olympic rings and this beautiful scene was duly captured in pictures for your viewing pleasure.

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/24.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    We continued to ride and by now I realized that the bike was responding quite well and I was riding it quite smoothly on the twists and turns. At one place though, I became overconfident and the bike taught me a lesson I will not forget! If there were any other bike, I think it would have been a sure crash!. What happened was that I got distracted by oncoming bikes and in my enthusiasm of waving them GodSpeed, didn't slow down enough on a curve and realized that I was going off the road into the side, my heart pounding and a surge of adrenalin pumping through my veins,* I braked hard. The bike remained straight and even in the soft mud stopped in a straight line without going off balance. Just to point out that I was fortunate that we were in a Valley right now and there was not treacherous fall on the side and thanks heavens for that. The ABS and Traction Control in the bike had kicked in and we were erect and stationary (and me relieved). Hats off to you Ducati - this is a lovely bike and I am by now deeply in love with it. (psst - Sunny was ahead of me and is still not aware of this!!!!!).

    I shrugged off this minor mishap and caught up with him in a jiffy. We came across a forest and a lake called Sextner Dolimiten (and stopped at both the places to catch them in our Camera's. with the mind numbing beauty captured* we ended up spending a good 30-40 minutes in each place.

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/10.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/13.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/11.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/12.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    Moving further, we passed one village after another, each one beautiful - the kind an kindergarten child would happily draw out for his / her parent - they were exactly as we used to imagine a village to look like when we were children, you see, villages in Europe are unlike what we have back home. While ours are completely neglected and mostly left to their own device, these are clean, very well developed and offer a very high quality of life. We had covered approx. 150 kilometers when we came across our first small roadside castle. It was a combination of a kind of church and castle - Remember that Italy is die-hard catholic and religion is an important mix of all things Italian. We veered off the road and took pictures.

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/25.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    By now, the good weather had given way to heat and humidity and we were again sweating albeit not as bad as during the first two days. It was time to enter the Autostrada again and so we did. A fast ride on the expressway saw us adding another 150 odd km's to the odo in a jiffy. A few Italians are crazy drivers can sometime rival the mad Indians prowling our roads in India (However the vast majority are sane). if the sign says speed is 110, you will find an Italian driving at 170! At one time, I was riding at about 140 K's and was in the main lane having just overtaken a vehicle in the middle lane, when suddenly a Jeep like vehicle overtook me very closely and disappeared into the horizon! That driver could have hit me if I had veered even slightly to the left and was probably driving at about 250 Km/h!!! Sunny was behind me and his handlebar mounted cam was recording so this moment is well captured!* (And I am still alive to give you the rest of the daily feed)

    We exited the Autostrada and started towards Stelvio Pass (Passo del Stelvio). It was still a 100 Kilometers away and the high speed ride continued for a while till we started hitting the regular mountain roads. The plains started giving way to the hills but even at that time it was difficult to realize what we were in for since the mountain was still not visible. This mount is at the border of Switzerland and Italy with both countries sharing a side. It was now 5 PM and we were hungry but did not want to stop till we came to a nice place and a nice place we did come to! There was a beautiful hotel right in the middle of the road with a huge mountain as the backdrop. We were stopped dead in our tracks and parked our bikes, went in and sat in the back of the property with the most magnificent view yet of the trip. A Snow covered peak dead center about a kilometer away! We ate spaghetti at leisure* while sunny emptied the memory cards (we realize that we are desperately short of memory in our memory cards which is a total of about 20 Gigs). Then we took pictures to capture the moment and of course for you. The lady in the hotel told us that we were still 1 hour away from the peak and it was already 6:25 PM. A Steep ascent followed to the peak and the roadside had big chunks of snow. It started to drizzle and we were many twists away. We went on one hairpin (180 degrees bend, a steep 30 degree or so climb and and another endless bend - a total of 41 turns) after another till we reached the 40th turn - 1 before the last. Here we stopped and had a photo session in the rain.

    <img src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/7.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/26.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    We had planned to ride another 70 odd kilometers to Bormeo where we wanted to call it a day but as soon as we reached the highest point besides the glacier, we saw a hotel which tempted us to stay put. It was about 7:30 PM and we wanted to use the remaining light to photograph our steeds and the beautiful snow clad peaks. We were lucky to find rooms and checked in. Hotel Stelvio Stilfserjoch located at 2760 meters is probably the worlds best located hotels (natural location) and while has old badly maintained rooms, it has has wonderful and warm hearted owners. We hurried for dinner which the italians eat early (8-9PM the restaurants are closed). The peak reminded us of a street in Laddakh with small shops selling wares and even a hotel called Tibet* just besides.

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/16.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/14.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/15.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    After dinner we rushed to the bikes to embark on a photo tour but found that it was raining and light was fast fading. We eagerly waited and as soon as the rain became a drizzle, we set out towards the head of the glacier just near the ski lift. The ski lift takes skiing fraternity to 3450 meter high for a wonderful skiing session (The hotel is also close by just 100 meter away from the Ski Lift). The temperature was at 6 degrees but the wind and rain made it feel like below zero. In this clime, we shot to our hearts content and returned after dark to complete this blog, process pictures and finally sleep around mid-night.

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/5.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/6.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/8.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/9.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/17.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/18.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/19.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/20.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/21.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/22.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/23.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />

    Until tomorrow..
    Life is like riding a bike. It is impossible to maintain your balance while standing still.

  5. #25
    Rusted pulsater's Avatar
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    I can't decide if its the country, the ducatis or sunny's photography that's making this Italian roadtrip, the best roadtrip of xbhp ever, even better than New Zealand's. I am awed.
    www.motorcykle.in - The lighter side of motorcycling

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulsater View Post
    I can't decide if its the country, the ducatis or sunny's photography that's making this Italian roadtrip, the best roadtrip of xbhp ever, even better than New Zealand's. I am awed.
    + 1.
    Glued to this thread. All the best for the rest of the trip.
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  7. #27
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    <img src="http://www.xbhp.com/gitr/travelogue/images/day4_cortina_stelvio/13.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="600" />
    I loved the reflection photograph, what amazing view. Thanks for sharing this with us Anurag sir and Sunny.

    Time to go through the text now!
    ...in search of that perfect world - My Travel Blog :)

  8. #28
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    Superb text and equally well-descriptive text.... this place seems like biking paradise...

    TOUROGRAPHY : Read my other blogs here


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  9. #29
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    wow... great pics... im spellbound by the lake reflection pic... keep it up guys.. good going, ride safe.
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  10. #30
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    I love Europe!

    I do agree that religiously speaking it is a "strictly" Catholic country. However I do not feel that there are too many "religious" people left in these countries!

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this part. I was quite surprised to see a corbelled arch in a country that gave the world the "true" arch!

    Some of the photographs gave the feeling of dj vu. I have seen at least one of them earlier in another thread of this section probably.

    Hotel Stelvio Stilfserjoch located at 2760 meters: This hotel has started pulling at my heart strings.
    The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


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