Day 1 - Let’s Begin With France

Wednesday 27th June 2018
It's that time of the year again, EuroBimble2018 is all set to go.

This time Mick and I are heading south to visit some old haunts and some new. We will ride down through the Alps before taking a ferry to northern Greece from Venice. Then back the long way round, looping through Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Hungary and back into the eastern Alps in Slovenia.

So it'a mixture of old and new routes. I am riding my trusty old BMW K1200rs and Mick is on his BMW R1150GS. Both bikes are now 16 years old from a time when BMW still made quality machines. 

It’s a lovely morning, a little bit misty at first but as we head down the A1 the sun burns off the last of the cloud and the day starts to really heat up.
We are going via the Eurotunnel so the ride down from Yorkshire to Folkestone is the usual boring drag. But at least there are no holdups so we are in good time for the crossing and are allowed to select a train one hour earlier than our pre-booked departure t…

Day 2 - Guines to Heiderscheidergrund

Thursday 28th June 2018

We are up with the sun and leave the campsite at Guines at 08:30. It has been a warm night and the day looks promising. By the time we reach the Belgian border an hour later it is getting decidedly warm.

But first we have a lovely ride through rural France, the villages just waking up and traffic starting to build. We ride through St Omer and bypass Lille before joining the E42 motorway for the long drag across Belgium. And drag it is as first one set of roadworks and then another reduce the traffic to long crawling snakes on the superheated tarmac. We are sweating heavily as we filter slowly through the jams. Most drivers move over a little to let us through once they finally glance in the mirror and see bike, then engage brain and move over to let us pass.
At one set of narrowed lanes through the roadworks we come up behind an escorted wide load. Some sort of prefabricated building on a flatbed truck. It straddles both lanes and there would be room enough for a …

Day 3 - Heiderscheidergrund to Neckarsulm

Friday 29th June 2018 

We leave the High Chapparal at 9am and our first stop is at the nearby shopping centre for cheap coffee and tobacco as a gift for Charly. We fuel up at €1.30 a litre for 98 octane. That’s 30 cents cheaper than in neighbouring Belgium and 50 cents less than on the German autobahn.

I’s a lovely run through the Luxembourg countryside. Even the farm tracks are perfectly paved here. Our next stop is just 10 miles away at the Hotel Huberty to say hello to hosts Rudi and Birdy. We have stayed here a number of times over the years and always had a very warm welcome from the genial hosts. They are just seeing off a big group of Dutch bikers as we arrive. 

Next we follow the River Our which forms the border between Luxembourg and Germany, riding in and out of each country as our route hops over the river and back.
Rudi’s thermometer was reading 25C in the shade at 10am. By the time we are on the autobahn heading east from Trier it must be over 30c and we are boiling.
There ar…

Day 4 - Schurrenhof to Imst

Saturday 30th June 2018

Charly arrives at 9:15 on his Yamaha FJR. We are all packed and ready to go. Our first port of call is to the Bikertreffpunkt at Löwenstein where already there are several dozen bikers gathered, new machines arriving all the time as we drink coffee and breakfast on Bockwurst with mustard and bread. 

Next Charly leads us on a winding route through the glorious hills of Baden Württemberg.
Finally around 4pm we part company near Schwäbisch Gmünd, Charly turning right for Heilbronn while we turn left and go to find Camping Schurrenhof. I am a veteran of two stays here, Mick just the once, last year on our way home from Montenegro.

The camp site is rammed but they find us a spot between the camper vans and more permanent looking caravans. These have so many add on awnings and random wooden sheds it is sometimes hard to spot the van hidden beneath. 
Dinner is a simple affair in the camp bar, the ubiquitous Wiener schnitzel and chips all washed down with excellent Hefeweiz…

Day 5 Schurrenhof to Imst

Sunday 1st July 2018

Fortunately we remembered to put in an order for bread rolls and croissants yesterday so for once we have a decent breakfast before setting off from Schurrenhof.

It’s another beautiful day so again we have a sweaty ride as the sun beats down. Since we are heading for Greece we had better start acclimatising soon so it’s good training for things to come.

We stick to main roads this time, we’ve had enough of autobahn traffic jams. The miles roll by as we head into Bavaria. As it is Sunday there are no shops open here in the catholic heartland of Germany.
The distant Alps appear on the horizon and soon we are approaching Austria and a lovely pass road called Hahntenjoch. We rode over here last year in the other direction. It is a wild and little travelled high pass though the Sunday bikers are out in force. As we climb the temperature drops rapidly and by the time we reach the summit it is decidedly chilly with a cold wind blowing at the summit where we stop for coffee a…

Day 6 Imst to Kötschach-Mauten

Monday 2nd July 2018

We are up at 6am before the rising sun appears over the surrounding peaks. It is quite cool as we make a brew. 
The nearby supermarket opens at 7:15 so we score breakfast stocks there before packing up the camp. My self-inflating sleep mat has sprung a leak which is resistant to my rather amateur efforts to fix so our first port of call is Hervis sports and camping store on nearby industrial estate for a replacement.

Then we set off east and the long drag through Innsbruck. In hindsight we probably should have stumped up for an autobahn vignette. It would have saved us maybe an hour but seems poor value for less than 50km of travel. A 10 day pass would be expired by the time we return to Austria.
A small pass takes us over to the next valley south, then through Mittersill and the climb up to the summit of the Gerloss Pass. At the top there is a small cafe overlooking a reservoir.

 Here we get talking to a fellow biker. This is Knut Meyn from Norway. We are soon comparin…

Day 7 - Mauten to Venice

Tuesday 3rd July 2018

Today promises to be, well, interesting is probably the best word. After a few hours wriggling through the southern Italian Alps we will drop down off the mountains and ride as quickly as we can to Fusina the ferry port of Venice.
We have no advance booking but we hope to find passage on the Minoan Lines ferry that will take us south down the length of the Adriatic Sea to Igoumenitsa on the northernmost tip of mainland Greece.
I have a remarkably clear head after all the beer sampling of last night. So we enjoy our first Austro-Germanic breakfast of the tour so far in the pleasant surroundings of the Loncium dining room. There are glazed pits in the floor where old beer barrels can be viewed, beery sarcophagi to remind us of the Hotel’s provenance.
I've banged on about the the qualities and variance of breakfasts throughout Europe in previous blogs so I’ll not repeat myself here, except to say that the Bierhotel Loncium is quite excellent and it takes a full hour…