April 2016 Distance: 4'300km Vehicle: BMW R1200RT
On the 3rd of May 2016 after finishing work I got on the bike a drove straight to Genoa and then Finale Ligure. Being Ascension Day the next day, meant that the roads were overwhelmed with traffic. It took me 5 hours of driving to get there but was happy that I was on a bike. Traffic on such days is horrendous and my fellow climbers who went by car required ca. 10 hours for the same trip. This trip was combined with a few days of sports climbing in Finale before the start of the endeavor. After climbing for 3 days it was Sunday. My fellow climbers had to drive for 10 hours direction North to get back to Zurich but for me it was now direction South, to Florence. A quick espresso in Pisa and on Sunday evening I was pitching my tent in Florence. Although I had visited this city numerous times in the past, its great architecture never fails to amuse me. This time I also discovered more regarding the culinary culture of Toscana, by visiting the Mercato Centrale.
After leaving Florence I encountered two fellow bikers from Germany It's always easy to start a cenversation with fellow bikers. They asked me where I was going, "Ancona and then on the the ferry to Greece" I replied, which came back with a "forget it, the ferries are on strike!" answer. Did I mention it was the 1st of May? Yes, stirke again! This time the workers of the ferry company decided to go on strike for days. I immediately went online to see how the situation was. Yes, strike, it was true. The strike would be over in 2 days but it would take another day for the ferry to leave Patras and arrive at Ancona. The fellow bikers then said "we therefore decided to deviate and go on holiday to Sicily instead, where the ferries are running" (are you listening Mr. Striker?! You are deterring tourists and only making things worse). No ferry was not all that bad, I had to stay a few more days in Italy and enjoy the ride. Instead of sitting around I decided to continue driving South all the way to Bari and catch the ferry from there. I was very lucky to have bumped into these fellow german bikers.
A fast motorway runs along both coasts (East and West) throughout Italy. This time I had decided to make it more interesting and avoid the busy highways. Later I realised what a great decision that was. On the way I discovered that the Alps is not the only mountain range in Italy. I passed through Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso, Parco D'Abruzzo Lazio & Majella, among others. On the way I visited cities which I hadn't seen before, like Perugia, Foggia, Cerignola, Andria and Bari. I did do a stop over at l'Aquila to witness the aftermath of the 2009 earthquake and how it had impacted the city. 7 years had elapsed since the this catastrophic phenomenon, which had 308 victims, and the city was unfortunately still in ruins.
Riding South I arrived at Castle del Monte and then made my way to Bari. The strike lasted longer than anticipated so another 6 hours delay was added to the alread 4 day delay. I wan't planning on deviating to Sicily like the german bikes. I was therefore forced to wait.
[asdf more to come soon]