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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just back from a jaunt around the continent, so thought I'd bung a few photos up here to give you guys a flavour of the trip. The two of us went on a new-to-us Varadero, which proved to be superb for this of tour. Lovely comfy seat for her, and no earache for me. The essential extras were a pair of Givi panniers, a Honda top box, a small tank bag and a Zumo to get us lost. We had no real itinery, so made it up as we went along. Two weeks and 2500 miles later I'm pleased to report that we had one day of rain, and a few other surprises, of which more later. We mostly hopped from city to city, trying out the local food and beer, and checking out the architecture.

Waiting for the tunnel (before it caught fire!)

Main square in Brugge

Gold coated buildings in Brugge

Watching the tourist boats on the canals in Brugge

Flood insurance essential!

We stayed at the Groenedijk Motorcycle Loft hotel in Oudenburg, about a 15 minute ride from Brugge city centre. Pricey and basic, but a fantastic base for a group of riders to spend a weekend exploring Belgium and their beers.

Park your bike outside your room

The loft is located down a side street in an old factory building

Main square in Brussels

Brilliant gargoyles

On our way out of Belgium we passed by Spa, but as it was the weekend before the F1 we weren't allowed on the roads that make up the track. Inspired we nipped across the border to Germany and the Nurburgring. I dumped the luggage and paid my €20 for a lap, my first ever. Two things: it's scary as hell, and there's thousands of spectators ready to point and laugh as the Englishman wobbles around. Unfortunately there are no photos to commemorate this landmark occasion, so I'll have to go back in the future.

Luxemburg city has more to it that you might think

We based ourselves in Freiburg for a couple of days to explore the Black Forest. Freiburg is a really nice place, and the university students give it a great nightlife. For a small fee you can ascend the bell tower of the munster and take a gander at the various bells. If you're there on the hour you'll also get deafened when they chime!

Each bell has it's own name and tone

Someone appreciates primary colours

The Rathaus

The waterfalls at Triberg are Germany's tallest

Triberg squirrels are fearless!

The watermills at Hexenloch

Freiburg from above

Bruhl, a typical Black Forest village

St. Blaisien

Titisee (no sniggering at the back!)

From the Black Forest we headed for Fussen, via Lake Constance. Not the best weather for this bit of the trip, but no soaking.

Our guesthouse, with built-in brewery

Looking out from Lindau harbour

Another funky rathaus

The reason for going to Fussen was to visit Schloss Neuschwanstein. King Ludwig II had this designed not by an architect, but by a theatrical set designer! Brilliant idea, as it turned out.

Schloss Hohenschwangau, seen from Schloss Neuschwanstein

Schloss Neuschwanstein, complete with scaffolding

The water in the Alpsee is unbelievably clear

Next up was Austria. Not wanting to buy a motorway vignette we took the back roads around the Zugspitz and wound our way to the Oetztal valley. We spent a couple of days there doing some white water rafting and visiting the glaciers.

Zugspitz in the background

Up over 3000m looking at the Rettenbach glacier

There's an observation walkway suspended over the glacier

The views are really rather good

The Oetztal valley is somewhere in the distance

By comparison the Tiefenbach glacier isn't quite so jaw dropping

We decided to go to Switzerland, as it would give me a chance to go to Liechtenstein. Tiny is an accurate description, but quite rural so pleasant on the eye. Unfortunately this was the one day when it poured down all day. Without another vignette we wobbled over cloud filled passes with visibility down to a few tens of metres. Eventually we made it to Lucern, which turned out to be so comparatively expensive that we soon shelved our plan to stay a few days.

The clouds clear for a split second

Lucern waterfront

Lucern harbour

The old town of Bern

Clocks as entertainment

As we were going to celebrate a birthday we decamped to a chateaux just outside Besancon. Incredibly the full-on luxury treatment at a 3-star chateaux was cheaper than a poxy hotel room in Lucern. After a couple of days lounging around we pressed on across France. For the next couple of days we'd get up, ride for an hour, drop our stuff into a hotel room, then spend the rest of the day exploring on foot.

The chateaux experience

Another main square, in Dijon this time

More churches than you can shake a stick at

Acres of intricate carvings

Doesn't the 'Toutes Directions' sign make the others redundant?

Semur en Auxois

Semur en Auxois

The Hotel de Ville in Tours

After a weekend in the Loire valley doing a bit of wine tasting at the vinyards (they literally will not let you buy without tasting first!) we took the fast ferry back to Portsmouth from Cherbourg. By this time the fire in the tunnel had been put out, but there wasn't any traffic through it.

Leaving for home

Okay, the surprise - France is expensive! Fuel was €1.40 a litre, and €1.50 on the autoroutes. If you bought beer at a restaurant, then get ready to pay €3 for a 25cl glass! €5.70 would get you a 50cl. In Germany, Belgium and Austria you'd be paying €1.20 for fuel and €3 for a 50cl beer. We found the cost of restaurant food pretty even, around €8 to €10 for a main course in all countries except Switzerland.

Right, now where next? :thumbup:

12,768 Posts
Very nice, it looks like you had a lovely time. Nice photos too.

1,814 Posts

Hey! I took exactly the same photo last year...Spooky!

great pics, looks like you got a good balance between the riding & visiting.

Semur is only an hour from me (Dijon's only 1.5h), next time, drop me a line & I'll let you buy me a beer...:grin:

Shorter member :-)
1,944 Posts
Great pictures and report :thumbleft::thumbleft:

1,792 Posts
Excellent pics and write up.

I really MUST get on a ferry in '09!!!!!!!

4,811 Posts
Good report and great photos. Thanks for sharing!

whys the rum always gone?
17,680 Posts
as always a cracking ride report with superb photos:thumbup:

chicken chaser
1,554 Posts
great pics and report
been through belgium and luxemburg but never had the chance to have a proper look round :(
liked the bike hotel :cool:
what sort of costs were involved to stay there


1,887 Posts
Brilliant, thats just what I am trying to convince my wife for our holiday next year, any info on the route etc would be greatfully recieved.

Very jealous:thumbup::thumbup:
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