Day 1: Väse to Göteborg

Sverige Monday  Dateicon  23.8.2021
Tigericon  318km Total: 318km Handlebaricon  4h 24m Total: 4h 24m  Ferryicon  441km Total: 441km Weathericon

This years trip is meant to go to Italy and Malta.
To avoid too much dull motorway riding when I'm going this far south I've chosen as many shortcuts on trains and ferries on the way down as I possibly can.
Unfortunately I got the message that the train I'd booked from Hamburg to Innsbruck had been cancelled due to a strike just the day before departure so that really threw a spanner in the works as far as routing was concerned.
Instead of travelling in the "comfort" of a bunk through almost all of Germany I will now have to ride the almost 1000kms (620mi) on the autobahn.
I've already booked hotels and ferries so I'll just have to bite the bullet and try and get through most of Germany tomorrow.
But today's stint is and easy one as I'm not going further than Göteborg and the ferry to Kiel.

As per usual I've not managed to switch over from my usual nighttime circadian rhythm so I really haven't slept much and I leave early.
I use the relatively lengthy margin to the ferry's departure for pretty frequent stops, the first one as near as the Göta Kanal lock in Sjötorp.

The timing of my arrival in Göteborg couldn't have been any worse, the traffic was either just crawling or at a complete gridlock.
I had an enormous margin to begin with but I was left with just 45 minutes when I checked in to the ferry to Kiel.

But I'm finally aboard the ferry and It's definitely going to be an early evening as the entertainment value on tomorrows riding won't be very high.

There are no dramatic changes to the set-up from last year.


Reststop Viggen in Grästorp

Onboard the ferry

Day 2: Kiel to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Tyskland Tuesday  Dateicon  24.8.2021
Tigericon  667km Total: 985km Handlebaricon  6h 53m Total: 11h 17m  Weathericon

I thought I'd be sleeping like a clubbed seal considering how little sleep I got the previous night but alas no.
A few hours at best but at least I got to sleep in a bit as Stena who usually wakes people hours before arrival (I don't know how elaborate morning routines they think people have) doesn't start blabbering in the speakers until about 1.5 hour before we're about to dock.
I wolf down so much food at the breakfast buffet that it should last me long into the afternoon.

I haven't booked any accommodation for today yet as per the original plan I was to sleep on the train so I'll just ride on an see how far I'll get.
It would be a more relaxed ride tomorrow if I managed a monster-leg today but if start to get tired I'll re-evaluate.
Autobahn really isn't the place to be if you can't keep focused.

I lasted until Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a picturesque little village I went through while riding the so called Romantic Route 2019.
At the very reasonable rate of €65 I get a room inside the old city walls.
Checked in at the hotel there isn't much daylight left to be had but then again this was never meant as a tourist stop.

RodT is one of just three German citites that still have have intact city walls.
The oldest fortifications here date as far back as 1170.
In the year 1274 Rothenburg where granted town privileges as one of the twenty largest cities in the Holy Roman Empire.

During the thirty year war a catholic field marshal wanted to quarter his 40 000 troops in the city but instead of allowing it the city fortified their positions and prepared for a siege.
Their hopes depended on getting reinforcements from Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus.
Help never came and the city soon feel with only 300 soldiers killed.
Legend has it that the penalty for the resistance was that the councilmen where to be executed and the city burned to the ground but if anyone accepted the challenge to drink 3¼ liters of wine in one drink the city would be spared.
The mayor accepted the challenge, downed the whole thing and thus saved the city from certain destruction.
The legend has been immortalised on the clock at Ratstrinkstaube and is celebrated annualy with a binge-drinking fest called Der Meistertrunk.

I managed to explore parts of the old town and get a nice walk up on the city walls before getting supper at a Chinese restaurant.
I who usually lie staring at the ceiling an hour before getting to sleep is out like a light.



Rotheburg is an amazingly picturesque place.

Day 3: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany to Tirano, Italy

Tyskland Wednesday  Dateicon  25.8.2021 Österrike Italien
Tigericon  488km Total: 1473km Handlebaricon  7h 6m Total: 18h 23m  Weathericon

Even if I got through most of what should have been a train ride yesterday I still need to ride around 500kms (311mi) today.
Riding on the Autobahn is mindnumbingly dull but at least it chews up the miles.
Both the views and the entertainment value gets considerably better when I cross the border into Austria and set course for Lombardy and the legendary Stelvio pass.

I had a few different options to choose from going over the alps avoiding Brenner and I though it was time for a rematch on Stelvio.
Me and the Bear rode there in 2013 in the height of vacation traffic where I had a lowside behind a camper van that didn't manage a corner.
That I don't have very fond memories of Stelvio might not have that much to do with the actual riding.

When I get to the first hairpins on Stelvio a couple of things become abundantly clear:
300kms (186mi) highway riding wasn't an optimal warm-up for this and in combination with the fact that I've hardly ridden my bike this season previously means I'm stiff as a post through the corners.
The only thing saving my sub-par cornering with a cramped grip on the handlebars is the fact that there's almost no traffic.

I stop halfway up at a café and enjoy the views over a cup of tea.
While I'm seated there a small Piaggio work vehicle for putting up wire rolls up.
The gentlemen exiting the vehicle sit down and starts downing beers like it's an Olympic sport.
This wasn't a hotel so that was definitely something to bear in mind regarding traffic the rest of the way.

Heading of across the pass things have loosened considerably. It's still lacking in talent but at least I'm not a menace to other vehicles.
I do a quick stop on top of the pass to snap a few pictures but quickly ride on as I need to get down from the pass while there's still some daylight left.

What was supposed to have been a short and comfortable ride from the Innsbruck train yard has become 490kms (305mi) when I ride into Tirano and the hotel I'd booked along with the train ticket at hotel Corona (the irony was irresistible).
I have amazing luck with the weather as it got pretty cloudy up in the mountains but all the rain I had was just a handful of droplets on the visor a few miles before I get to Tirano.

This accommodation was really only really planned strategically distance wise but I at least got a nice evening walk out of it where I found a mystical old tower and a beautiful church.

The Northern Germans are so fond of their cheese that they have a cheese vending machine at the petrol station.

Lunch by the side of the road in Fließ, Austria

Having traversed the Reschen pass from Austrian to Italian Tyrol I stopped by the Resia lake.
A man made lake part of a 677 hectare are a that was evacuated and flooded in the 50s for hydro power.
All buildings in the old village of Alt-Graun where demolished except the clock tower.

Foot of the Stelvio


Torre Torelli in Tirano.
The tower has never been part of a city wall or had any other strategic importance.
It was built solely for bragging rights by Luigi Torelli in the early 1800s as a show of might.

The cathedral. Santuario della Madonna di Tirano built 1505-1528.