travel dates were 5.-27.7.2003.
aim of the trip was as well as normal holiday season for the
parents to familiariaze childen with a small part of the European
continent and show them what it is like to travel and be there. So
basically to give them an idea of what can be found outside their
normal living areas.
This was the first longer motorcycle trip for Laura and Jaana, and
therefore almost all the things they came across were more or less new
- partly for us parents too, despite several previous motorcycle trips.
way of travel
transfers from one place to another and then staying longer in the
same area - mainly depending on the weather and children's needs.
us on the trip
(8), who had been travelling for three summers; Laura (9) for
four summers; Irma (41) who had driven three summers herself and
travelled with me for twenty years and Kari (40) who's driven for
twenty summers prior to this trip.
- 1 night, GTS
- 1 night, Lubeck (Youth Hostel, Germany)
- 1 night, Hamburg - Munchen (train,
- 4 nights, Berchtesgaden (camping
- 4 nights, Ankaran (camping ground,
- 4 nights, Peschiera/ Lake Garda
(camping ground, Italy)
- 1 night, Sölden (Gasthaus,
- 4 nights, Lindau (camping ground,
- 1 night,
Munchen - Hamburg (train) - 1
night, GTS Finnjet (ship,
21 nights altogether
Yamaha Diversion 600 (year model 2002), driven about 10 000
kilometres and Suzuki GSF-1200/S
(year model 2003), driven about 4000 kilometers
- IXS driving suit
- HJC's ZF8-helmets
- Under helmet shellaclavas and gloves from MP-Asu
- Leather boots
- driving suits from Rukka
- Under helmet shellaclavas and gloves form MP-Asu
- Arai Signet -helmet
- Arai Omni and later Arai Quantum/f -helmet (Omni having been changed
during the trip)
- MP-Asu's or similar boots
had a PMR-tranceiver (Alan 441
in their chest pocket, a decent
helmet set (Proset
Tampere, Finland) and Push-to-talk/PTT-switch aka tangent
attached on their leg or to the handlebar with an adhesive label.
The tranceivers had GP
AAA-size NiMH-batteries + inside GP
one series of three batteries ready to be used
in order to prevent long time of no usage. In addition the drivers had
two gsm-phones in case of getting totally lost from each other.
had their own notebook for writing down their travel stories
and as the time passed a lot was drawn and written in them. An ordinary
pocket camera recorded five rolls of images (sometimes with really bad
quality) and Magellan
in Suzuki recorded last
marks every two km apart and these
A couple of postcards were also sent, a couple left for us as memory -
and a few text messages were sent off as well.
main plan was to focus on tent accommodation, so the equipment attached
to the motorcyckles was as follows:
Yamaha: three hard plastic
42-litre side bags with their inner bags on Wingrack 2 cradle;
one contained Irma's personal items, another one Kari's and the third
had cooking equipment like a big Trangia,
gas burner and a bottle,
cutlery, a decent knife, umbrellas, etc.. A small bag was also attached
top of the tail box.
Suzuki: two hard plastic
40-litre side bags with their inner bags on Wingrack 2
for Jaana and the other for Laura), magnetic tank bag (Held,
a rain cover, maps, chains, cables, locks, lubricants, FM-receiver,
slot 12-voltage NiMH-charger (AA/AAA), camera, Mini-Maglite battery
torch, etc.) and
on the tail box a 50-litre waterproof punchbag (Held,
which had the
sleeping bags, bed sheets, blow up travel pillows
and personal air
matresses). A dome tent (Halti Alta IV
equipped with a small "hall"),
four tripod chairs as well as drink bottles were attached outside the
punchbag with rubber rope with hooks at both ends (called "octopus").
They were bought online for the ship and train
the other necessary ones were bought at the location:
Several years ago the free amount of personal data storing area
at the MBNet's
server got used totally, so I had to decrease the quality of
all pictures and files attached so far inside these travel
stories. So I should scan everything again and properly adjust in
Canon Photo Professional&Photoshop
to get the better image quality back, which surely won't happen in the
- Katajanokka/Helsinki (GTS Finnjet
- Tallinn - Rostock - Lubeck,
Germany - Hamburg
Ost - Berchtesgaden - Grosslocker -
- Ljubljana, Slovenia - Ankaran - Lake Garda, Italy - Bolzano -
Timmelsjosh - Sölden, Austria -
Lindau, Germany - Munchen Ost, from where the same route back by train,
Hamburg, Rostock and a ferry via Tallinn to Imatra.
Travel route in different save up forms:
1) Rostock - Rostock (Route66
(2003), size approx. 3 kt. The real train
route between Hamburg Altona - Munchen Ost isn't completely accurately
due to technical reasons).
2) Rostock - Rostock (MS AutoRoute
size approx 15 kt. The real
train routes between Hamburg Altona - Munchen Ost and Slovenia aren't
completely accurate due to technical reasons).
3) Rostock - Rostock (68 Google Earth-programs route points can be
found as a .zip-package in here
4) The whole route on one map
(Size is almost 1 Mt).
A day trip by bus to an old castle and stalactite cavern in Postojna,
Slovenia and a catamaran cruise from Piran to Venice are included
be seen darker and wider crosses on the map
base). The complete route driven (home-home) was only about 2800km
thanks to those car-trains inside, and car ferries to and from Germany.
1. Imatra - Helsinki, ship to Baltic Sea
Imatra - Helsinki (274 km).
Transfer to Katajanokka
docks in Helsinki, boarding into GTS
accommodation in a budget class cabin somewhere near the water level.
Departure took a lot longer than expected, as a million little things
needed to be considered, remembered, planned, attached, etc. Finally
everything was ready, as well as the help from the neighbours agreed on
for the following three weeks -> there was nothing left to do
put the driving gear on and off to the highway.
The first thing I noticed as I drove my motorcycle up the drive way:
plenty of weight on the bike to start with, I wonder how the
spring suspension set to its tightest setting will handle the bumbs
with the real load and speed.."
It took a few crossroads adjusting the
balance and driving lines but the routine was found fairly quickly.
Practising definitely helped.
The audio levels of the PMR-tranceivers were a bit off, also speaking
appropriate pauses and listening to a humming device took some time to
get used to. Irma's old Arai Omni-helmet
was unfortunately so loud that
she couldn't follow conversations after the speed exceeded 80km/h, not
to mention the microphone malfunctions. The situation only improved as
we changed the helmet at Riva Del Garda, Italy.
We stopped about half way to Helsinki (service station Pukaron
to enjoy a light
snack and to rest our butts - soon returning to the highway, towards a
small storm and the ship.
As we queued up for GTS Finnjet
we saw our motorcycling friends JuhaF
motorcycles returning from their holiday from the Lake Garda, Italy -
apparently been a bit over thirdy degrees celcius for long periods of
time, so at least we wouldn't die of cold when we got there. The
announcements released sighs in other parts of the queue as well.
Driving into the ship was normal with photos and other stuff, but for
Irma it was the first time she had done it by herself. As soon as we
got in we were directed to the corner on right, next to the same oily
ropes and oil blotches as a few times before... Luckily we had our own
binding ropes (800 kg ratchet ties) with us. It took some time to tie
bikes up as there
were hardly any places where we could attach them to (tight steel wire
the floor and rubber triangle pieces to be placed behind the wheels.
There were about
twenty other motorcycles also, but somehow we managed to fit them all
drove inside really carefully as Kari warned me of the oil
spills, but it didn't turn out to be a problem. Kari also attached my
motorcyckle to the few available attachment points on a floor.
During the trip help was needed also when moving the motorcyckle in
tight spaces, it would've required plenty more time and sweat if I had
done it all by myself."
The cabin was let's say interesting (# 1350), but in the end it turned
out to be decent for sleeping and storing our belongings (the height
wasn't quite enough for knees when turning sides, but after enough of
knocks/bumbs I learned to remember the location of the top bed's
bottom). Several times we tried to get a similar cabin for the way
but with bad luck: the offered "B2"
cabin would've cost +500€,
cabins with windows plenty more than that. There was no
point getting the accounts to minus for only one night, so on the way
back we settled for Panorama deck
Then quickly into the shower, purchasing sweets etc from TaxFree-shop
and a pint of beer for the parents in the nearest bar to celebrate the
boarding. The rest of the evening was spent checking out the life on
2. Rostock - Lubeck
Rostock - Lubeck, 130 km.
Breakfast on the ship, a couple of hours spending time and eventually
going ashore Rostock. Adding a bit on the highway and staying the night
in Youth Hostel in Lubeck (53
52.687 North, 10 41.636 East,
level height 8 m).
The breakfast was enjoyed in the buffet á 8,5 € /
adult, the children
half price. At the same occasion we faced the pre-known and sometimes
troublesome problem with Laura's picky eating: she ate about ten little
carelian pastries (rice porrige on thin rye dough) + two boiled eggs.
But nothing else. The rest of the offerings were "too spicy or too
weird" (though on the way
back she did ask spices or sauce for the
spaghetti boiled in plain salty water...).
During the day there was plenty of things to do, everything from a
circus school to movies, so the rest of the time was fairly nicely
spent. What irritated them a bit was missing out on the possibility for
a free morning swim, which we didn't hear about in time.
The departure from the ship had a close call as Laura's thumb was
momentarily pressed between the compressed air operated door and the
Basically the door started to close as soon as the opening button was
released, so her momentarily shift of attention backfired quickly. The
luck in the misfortune was that for example her wrist didn't get in the
middle as the outcome would've definitely been worse. Local nurse said
the finger had not broken and there wasn't much they could've done
about small fractures anyway: the area under the nail suffered from
bleeding, a bruise and later unattachement of the nail. The pain was
bad though, as well as the swelling, so getting into the driving gear
was left to be done after disembarking. Luckily a bigger glove was
After the passport check (we were on the "non-EU"
line due to its
shorter line) and putting more clothes on at the parking lot we
transferred to the petrol station of the harbour, from where it was
only a short drive to the highway (A19) and continuing to town Lubeck
The speed was around 120-140 kilometres per hour, not much more as the
darkness was setting all the time. Only on the way back did the girls
get into the "+200km/h -club
At home I set up three route points into the memory of the
Magellan 320-gps (aka Youth
Hostel of Lubeck and the end
stops of DB-Autozug
so we trusted its guidance on the last few kilometres to
the accommodation in Lubeck just to test it out. It worked well: Youth
Hostel Vor Der Burgator (which the price was 70,30/day, a
little bit cheaper
than normal) was seen within a ten or so metres from where the gps
claimed it was based on its MS
It was located in
the area right outside the northern gates leading into the old city.
The gear was carried in after checking in (the payment was done online
beforehand). We were given a six people room for us even though we had
not booked a family room. Thanks for that belonged to the nice front
house staff and available rooms. Normally we would've got three
in the female room and one in the male one => so we wouldn't
known who else would've stayed in the same room. The system would be
the same if we were to book person seats for the car train, instead of
Hostelling International hostelling-card
was required from everyone and it was kept in the
reception until the day of departure. The bed linen were paid for,
given and returned to the reception. The use of alcohol or smoking
inside was forbitten.
Time for a quick shower, Laura was given some pain killers and then off
to bed. At night we were woken up a couple of times by the singing of
the nightingales - not bad at all, though the timing of it was a bit
3. Hamburg - Munchen, train
Lubeck - Hamburg Altona, 213 km.
The breakfast was included and it was good, the first of its kind in an
environment like this. The other people around were quite international
and the way of action differed from what we were used to back home;
nevertheless we got used to them quickly (especially detailed sorting
out of rubbish was new) and the day started again. The people at the
Youth Hostel didn't end up seeming too young ;-)
Rubbish was taken to the sorting bins located at the end of the
corridors (three bins for different types of rubbish). The room and bed
linen were given away at 09.30 o'clock, the driving gear was left to
the bag storage in cellar and the valuables into a safe. After that we
were ready to walk to the old town situated nearby.
A few hours passed by quickly as we walked around, went shopping
(bought sandals, an umbrella and hair accessories), browsed digital
cameras and sat in cafes
after which it was time to head off to
It was fairly hot and congested in Hamburg, so reading the map in
traffic was difficult. Therefore I let the gps to guide us (just a
compass course and distance to railway station), which it
did nicely. We did do some kind of an extra loop as we drove through
the town though, but it didn't seem to be many kilometres according to
The right interpretation of the gps screen (the compass screen with its
signs) demanded some closer look at the map even before leaving, to be
able to choose the main routes through the city. The gps/pda/equiv.
including the map should be big and in clear sight (not for example
partly covered by the tank bag like mine) - and easily readable so
that it would be more useful when finding the right route in the
traffic. Actually driving the pre-made route is obviously different in
older piece of equipment as well. Nowadays there are bluetooths
, etc. available..
The bandit started playing tricks so that around two thousand revs,
right at the start of acceleration the bike sort of sneezed and turned
off. That happened several times, but it didn't really matter when
being able to prepare for it - it just caused some fiddling around with
the revs and clutch, so that the passenger's neck wouldn't twitch too
much when starting off. We faces the same issue in the mountain areas,
especially on almost 15% mountain ascent Timmeljosh
near Sölden, where
feature entertained a driver
a whole lot less
. Well, on the maintanence by sports shop Urheiluliike Kisa
in Vuoksenniska, Imatra it improved a bit (by rising the carburettor
pins/needles for one step upwards => air - gasoline mixture become a
bit more dense).
Altona and its train station were in the familiar location, so there
was nothing more to do but to park the motorbikes. There were quite a
few people there already.
guess who walked towards us at the
train station? A traveller I had
met on the previous year, called Greg,
who was returning visiting his
friends in Oulu, Finland and heading home to Swizerland => there
few moments spent, casually chatting and eating snacks as we waited for
our trains. Last year's alcohol debt was partly sorted too: in return
of vodka with coke we offered him pocket warm Salmari
(something like Salmiac
flavoured Vodka) to strenghten the thinned blood of his
on the way home ;-)
The toilets were fairly far away, downstairs in the tunnel, so we went
there with the kids. Jaana had some trouble the first time thinking the
20 sent coin was to be put into some part of the door instead of a
plate next to the door when leaving. That was purely my fault though as
I hadn't explained the system clearly enough.
On the bottom level the head room was limited. The helmet ought to be
kept on as there weren't that many centimetres left between the floor
of the second level and my head. Some unfortunate learned that the hard
way having refused to wear his helmet. After that everyone was to wear
one if they were about to drive their motorcyckle into the train
The electricity in the chords above us were naturally turned off during
entry and exit, which is why the rotating lights are on the roof of
the platform. The boarding area might also be completely outside
area with electricity.
Irma seemed quite thoughtfull as she saw the shoal room she was to
drive into, with a real snail pace as well. Well, the worst edge of the
nerves was taken off as the train man had his personal show
(the guy sent the bikes in pairs like a real ZZ-Top
men) as well as
observing the boarding of the previous train.
In order to make the boarding easier we took the side bags off and Irma
dropped the back suspension to gain additional room for her legs. With
decent trolleys even the kids found it easy to move the seperate items
around the train platform.
We drove the bikes after each other from the back to the front of the
bottom floor, towards the way the train was to move. Worst parts for
driving were around both ends of each rail car. Unlike previous years,
this time the
bikes were left on side stand.
Yamaha Diversion is
parked (still untied as you can see from those long white binding
belts) and the luggage is in the trolley
Greg said we were allowed to take shorter and clean "middle belts" with
those longer ones) - what a great addition to our travel
equipment if having to rely on oily rugs in some other places again (to
avoid getting the bike too dirty the middle lines could be placed in
between). When returning from town Munchen there weren't that many of
being used, the storage of clean lines must've run out that far?
ja Laura infront of the well tied-down Suzuki Bandit:
The toothed tie-down belts (were lower and the shorter "middle belts
were tied around the
telescope pipes, as shown at that upper
photo) and triangle support
blocks leaning on the wheels are already in their place.
The local train men finished off the attaching job. The attachment
lines owned by the train company were attached to our bikes from a
four different directions with those special "middle belts". After
placing steel triangles both to the front and back
of both of the wheels and being attached to the floor, each of the
bikes were extremely well attached to the car transport carriage.
The side bags were re-attached before moving into our cabin so the
inner bag was definitely useful (particularly in Munchen, where the
trolleys weren't much use because of the staircase and tunnel) in
transporting seperate items and clothes.
The cabin was one of the older day cabing (Liegewagen)
for six person
sitting down and sleeping places, attachable ladder behind one of the
back rests and a table behind the other one, unfortunately also allowed
for smokers. There was no stuck smell of smoke, so not being able to
get the non-smoker cabin on the way there didn't turn out to be a
problem. At night time smoking was forbitten on the corridors, extra
thanks for that for the train company.
It was good to have some food with us as the breakfast wouldn't be
available until the morning (unless you felt like walking to the
As it came time to sleep the kids accommodated themselves on the middle
level while parents stayed on the bottom, heads facing the corridor
(the noise from outside was reduced thanks to the thick curtains).
Sleep caught us all quickly despite the 160km/h speed occasionally
shaking the cabin. It was a bit cold until we closed the window, based
on the mist over the fields outside it wasn't that warm of a night
4. Munchen -
Munchen Ost - Bad Reichenhall - Berchtesgaden, 162km.
Breakfast was served right before arrival to Munchen, we ought to have
had the thick curtain a bit more open for the stuert to notice that we
had woken up.
After the arrival we carried all the luggage from the cabin via
underground tunnel from platform #12, a few platform left, to the
offloading area, where the rail car was waiting already
11 36.375 E, 535 m).
Behind Laura you can see the bumber of a car leaving from the side of a
red carriage. There were those on the bottom floor as well as
The trip had been successfull for the bikes as well, so apart from the
rising outdoor temperature everything was well.
Usually it is easier to leave a city than find a way back to the
starting point, thanks to the excellent signs here as well. Map reading
takes so much attention that it surely slows down the movement. After
updating gps route point we head off to the southernmost part of the
trip, via the highway #8 to Salzburg. A short distance from the train
station there goes an inner ring road called "Insbrucker Ring",
through which the trip is easy.
We turned off right from the highway already at Bad Reichenhall's, and
we therefore did not need to go to all the way to Salzburg: "There
would be plenty of time to get the ten-day highway usage charge stamp
from a regular gas station."
Back to top
Berchtesgaden we headed to the left
into the hillside, to an
info-point further up in the village, where we were told suitable
options for spending time in the next few days and given an accurate
of the area.
You couldn't go swimming anywhere else than in the pool so there was no
point driving to the beach of the protected Lake Konings
, nor was the
camping ground we had previously visited suitable for the kids due to
traffic noise - so we went out for about five kilometres towards
Salzburg, to a camp ground called Allweg
situated on the right side of
the hill (the photo taken in the evening was facing over the Allweg
camping ground and the road towards Salzburg. The name in the map
Killansberg (big clifftop) can be seen on the left. Allweg
was very good
to our needs featuring a swimming pool, quiet, plenty of room for
tent, clean, laundry facilities, cheap and having a comfortable feel to
Jaana and Laura engaging in their favourite activity:
The location of the area is along the same road above Gasthaus, where
we stayed on our year 1988 trip. A certain house was visible from the
camping ground - a bit more about that the next day (47
N, 13 02
322 E, 579 m)
Rest of the day was spent setting up the tent and relaxing, some of us
ending up by the pool. Trangia
finally got some use out of it as well
with making of a decent cup of coffee from home for the parents.
gas burner we got
as an addtional accessory turned out
being excellent. When the gas ran out the final trip to Lindau, we
calculated the bigger bottle (about 650 grams) having 25-30 times
minutes of burning time in it (for example, it being suitable for
making a meal of spaghetti with bolognese-sauce). Gas burned about a
gram per minute => one bottle should therefore be enough for a
bit over a couple of weeks in normal use, however it's worth forgetting
a pancake party or drying out the tent with it.
The Eagle's Nest
Back to top
Kehlstein/The Eagle's Nest
mountain views, a trip into a village.
The day started by driving in light driving gear (shorts) by the "top
route" 1834 meters above sea level to the parking lot and sub-station
for the buses heading to "Adolf's hut
(Kehlsteinhaus). There were some
Finnish licence plates at some bikes there as well.
We were waiting for the departure for a while, until all four buses
were ready; about half an hour and some pretty good views later we were
at the start of a tunnel at the top station. Last 124m ascension was
done by a lift located inside the tunnel. Handsome system itself. There
were loads of people on the top, and the prices of real international
standard. The views are excellent in every direction, not forgetting
the sides on the bus route. There was a chance to climb higher from
the house, which oppotunity was taken advantage of by us as well.
on the right. The cabin is a
little lower down, in the right side when arriving. All kinds of labels
started to build up on our trip.
With sufficient accuracy the children were told what kind of a guy the
owner of the house was like, to avoid any misunderstandings.
Finally, we walked from the house through a small serpentines road down
to the upper platform of the bus line. That gave us an idea of what one
would expect of a much longer walk among the slopes. On the other hand,
why not go for a walk as there was plenty to drink and the view was
changing (by the way, bottled water is quite a lot more expensive than,
for example a local beer) ;-)
In many places the prices included a family discount of some sort:
billed for two adults + 1 child + one family ticket (which was less
than the child fare). Sounded good. Bus to the top and bottom (back and
forth) cost 2 x € 13 + € 7, this time the forth
person for completely free of charge.
Going downhill to the actual village was the steepest part of our trip:
twenty-four percent decline at its best, while a certain cyclist went
past us instantly. A decent smell of
heated brake pads was floating in the air as we stopped for the traffic
lights, no doubt driven the other way around the source of odour would
have been the clutch disc heated during hill starts. There were no
caravans, nor campervans anywhere on the route. Better that way.
At the village we exceptionally ate pizzas (30.6 €), after
which the children went shopping together; Laura had a special wish of
finding a bow she had wanted for a long time.
Pedestrian area of the city centre (the same larger).
things, Info and parking lot are on the left:
The meeting point was agreed in the familiar style of the past, but as
the children took more and more time both of us parents felt the need
to roam the shopping streets also further away to find them. Eventually
they ended up at the meeting point - flock together and direction for a
change in the direction of her mother, a short distance from the recent
dining place. Yes, they were on the map all the time, but lost the
sense of time. A bow wasn't found (which
wasn't actually bad
considering the transportation
) .. I guess we should have taken
PMR-tranceivers with us into the village.
Visiting the salt mine and exercicing on the slopes, at highest
> 800 meters.
The morning was sunny so we decided to go to a salt mine a few
kilometres away. What a place it was. We took a miniature train a
kilometre into the rock via narrow railroad. We heard that the
thickness of the roof was apparently a couple of hundred meters as well.
We wore the appropriate protective gear: breeches,
jacket of the same caliber, split leather backside protective belt
attached to the hip. Admission cost 2 x 5.12 € + 6.8
€ + 4.2 €.
Everyone's eyes began to shine once inside a fairly large cave: in
front of us opened up about twenty metre long, wooden slide
whole family was able to decent to the lower level together. Bottom of
my pants started to warm up threathningly towards the end of the slide
as the leather patch intended for protection was off the required
This first cave had been mined for two hundred years, from all over so
it really fit a lot of people inside. Photography was reportedly
banned. There was a wide range of old and new to see and experience,
everything from the underground salt chapel
to movies. Some of the
pumping systems were in production use all the time outside the tourist
section. The tour culminated in the crossing of the inner lake, tasting
the water (pthyi!
small containers of salt souveniers and the
train ride back to the outside world.
I wonder wheather the "lake" had indeed been the top part of the
previously mentioned salt emptied cone: if it was then they would've
removed a huge amount of salt around the rock matter that had dropped
down to the bottom. They drilled, if necessary, about a hundred meters
hole in the rock (former sea floor from millions of years ago), and
attached on the pipe and a high pressure water pump - this achieved the
slowly widening cone above the bottom part where the water was pumped.
It would provide enough material for 30 years of mining. At the bottom
part of the tube salt liquid is received, which had dissolved from the
fozzilized sea bed after falling off the roof and walls and landing to
the bottom of the cone. That is if I understood the explanation of the
There was plenty of time and the weather was passable, so we went to
Laura's desired walk a stone's throw away from the camp.
In front of the place of origin (Almbachklamm / Hammerstiel) there was
a big marble rotating in its stand on top of a water mattress - a local
Gasthaus keeper told that it was made in Austria (I think around the
Ylämaa, Finland area similar balls are made of granite). The route
was a bit over four kilometres in length, included a charge to start
with and of course the ticket vendor said the route fits all ..
We stopped at the bottom of Grossglockner (2407 meters) to have a drink
break; as we were chatting a Finnish couple drove past and announced
their excistence on the radios so we greeted them briefly and asked how
they were. A few others were heard on the same frequency as well but
their dialect differed so much from ours that we chose not to start any
major conversations with them.
of the area where we had a
break before driving higher up and
the same photo a size larger
(some bikers can still be seen in the
front, they passed us a bit earlier):
and the view from the right in the same place (the same larger
Irma was expecting more snow-covered Alpine peaks she had seen long
time ago, but there were hardly any of them around this time. Last time
around the tunnel on the top there was at
least a three meter
bank of snow on both sides of the road, which had stuck in Irma's mind
as well. Now it was completely free of snow. It did not affect the
of the driven route.
Moment of a break in the 2407-meter platform in a cool motorbike park:
and chocolate bars were eaten, the last glimpse of the scenery, uphill
for a bit and then it was time go downhill again after crossing the
road leading to the peak of
Grossclogner, the photo was taken at
the start of the route going downhill again (the same larger
Back to top
There were plenty of motorbikes and bicycles, as well as passenger
cars which you could smell from further downhill, quite a convoy
bikes also came from the road off the highest peak, a bit over ten
kilometers away from the recent.
After following a river on a bottom of a valley it was time for a quick
snack and decicion whether to go directly to the slow speed Alpine road
to Italy (in the evening staying at some accommodation facility of a
small village and out on the road early in the morning again) or
turning off to the highway. Then the direction would be Villach, behind
it Slovenia, Ljubljana and if there was enought time even reaching
Ankaran and the camping ground called Adria.
So off to Slovenia.
Sometime before reaching the outer border of EU we stopped to fuel up
at a large petrol station. Jaana went in to get ice cream from a small
stall, despite not really speaking English or any of the local
languages… The seller didn’t quite get it but it is great
Jaana tried though. With little help she got what she wanted, what
wouldn’t one do for ice cream.
There were no maps of Slovenia being sold at the petrol station, they
had sold out or something. We were told the next petrol station would
be about 18km away and they would have better maps, but we did end up
getting a cheap info map from the border crossing – good enough
to guide us to the southern side of Ljubljana. Irma was making jokes
about me being a map-freak but I pretended not to listen –
it’s so much easier to travel around with at least the main roads
listed right in front of you, rather than relying on the GPS.
At the border of Slovenia the customs officer was somehow rude, but
once he had a glance at our passports the check-up went smoothly and he
didn’t even pay attention to the missing FIN-country stickers. If
you did play by the book the EU-sign on the licence plates
wouldn’t be sufficient, but hey I guess the rules can be
stretched a little bit every now and then. Anyway, off to the currency
exchange. Euro was still widely accepted, for example the tunnel tolls
could be paid with euros (8km tunnel was about 8€, roads elsewhere
about 230 SIT + 870 SIT for both motorcycles. 1000 SIT was roughly 5
The local highway system was really good, and it was aggressively being
expanded all the time – maybe it was a part of Slovenia wanting
to become a new member of the EU? Which
it did some years later.
We drove past the Postojna intersection as we knew we would return
there within the next couple of days. The campsite was now only 40km
away – had I know the traffic was about to turn horrible and with
the temperature rising, the nearest campground with a pool or Zimmer
Frei (local equivalent) would’ve surely got new customers.
Especially in the southern parts next to Koper/Ankara the large highway
bridges were still under construction, so as the sun began to set huge
amounts of cars packed there – as the other traffic was on a
standstill, we were luckily able to drive between the lanes. There were
a few people who had decided to use the isolated right lane to pass the
traffic jam (the lane was always kept free as it was reserved for
emergency vehicles etc.) – a great idea until they came across
two police cars. I do not know how much the fun ended up costing, but
judging by their faces it wasn’t cheap. In
England one fellow motorist tried same method and a bit later highway
police told him that he will be warned only once, next time they will
impound his motorbike permanently..
As we finally reached the campground, we were given a map
and shown a few available spots to choose from
if we wanted to stay. I also had a quick stop at the hotel to ask for
available cabins etc. (air con) but finding a decent area to put up the
tent turned out being a better option. (45 34.550 N, 13 44.110
E, 5 m)
The area was filled with people enjoying the weekend. We drove around
in the dark for at least fifteen minutes before finding the first
decent and smooth enough area to put up our tent. The others stayed
there to reserve it for us while I head back to the reception, luckily
on the way I found a new spot that was even better, on a gently sloping
hill under an oak tree branches. Time to unpack and set up the tent,
and move the motorcycles next to it – it might’ve been a
bit noisy moving the bikes over the gutter but the youngsters in the
nearby tents were probably at some party anyway.
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The camping ground was large and filled with people, it was hot and the
Mediterrannean was now only a hundred meters away – it’s
great how much the scenery can change in a matter of 500km. We came
into the area at 10.30pm and went to bed at 1am, but falling asleep
wasn’t that easy because of the heat.
Day 8. Ankaran
Back to top
A day spent at the camping ground in Ankaran.
As the sun rose it was time to meet our new neighbours. The noise we
had caused at night hadn’t caused any trouble and I had a quick
chat with the guy camping nearby, in different languages though. After
some sign language and nodding both seemed more or less happy… a
greeting that became a routine for the following days.
“Shall we get some coffee and
check out the beach?
” Sure, there was already one place
open. We ordered two cappuccinos and a sodas, but forgot this one
“formality” of paying for it... After having walked towards
the pool and looking at the gps, the waitress came to politely ask me
to cover the bill. Woops. Well, I think in the end she was happy with
the compensation – and having learned from that for the rest of
our trip we tried to pay as soon as possible to save time as well.
It was free entry to the aforementioned pool
, as long as everyone had a white card to open
the gates. You got it after leaving some money as a pawn at the
reception – the sum sounded quite large at first: ”thousand dollars each, we accept also
”. It took me a while to realize she meant the
”tollars” (SIT) which was about 5€. Even my
MasterCard wouldn’t have been enough for the US dollars amount..
Anyway, the gate cards worked nicely, even after a minor salt bath.
The day was spent sunbathing (parents in the shade, the youngsters by
the super salty seawater pool or in an enclosed swimming area in the
sea itself), reading a book, at the local pizzeria or bar, or simply
just relaxing and planning the next trips ahead – a perfect
resting day with no special plans.
The toilets in the area were mainly the type of a hole in the ground,
and a few ”normal” ones were also found in the area but the
lines tend to be quite long. The cleanliness wasn’t that perfect
– another good reason to always carry different product
sanitary towels, especially in Italy there was hardly ever toilet paper
available. The shower cost 85cents, which gave you six minutes of warm
water – a normal procedure from previous trips so the girls
didn’t make a fuss.
After leaving Austria we didn’t drink tap water anywhere. Despite
having taken the A-hepatite vaccines, we stopped having ice in our
drinks as well, and started using bottled water for brushing our teeth
We asked the lady at the reception on what would be the key places to
visit (mainly how to get to the dripstone caves of Postojna and
Venice). She gave us a pile of brochures and we chose a guided bus tour
and a boat trip. We got an extra discount as we booked both trips at
the same time, but needed cash for any credit cards etc. weren’t
accepted. We also gave out our passports for the paperwork to be
completed. Was that enough? Not quite. We walked back to the tent and
Laura told us the info lady
had come back to ask for more money for there had been an unforeseen
issue. Yeah right. Well I walked back with Laura to find out what
was up, as we had already paid 198€ for the day in Postojna and
210€ for the cruise to Venice. We waited at the office for twenty
or so minutes while the lady was on phone, she only stopped when I
politely told her that we would leave in a minute and return later that
evening. The reason for the additional cost: “Some summer assistant working for the
cruises had made a mistake, as the 34€ discount was only meant for
the Slovenian citizens
.” Allright, we paid the extra money
and looked through some details to do with the taxi etc. The lady gave
us her personal phone number also because according to her the local
agreements weren’t always that hmm
reliable and something almost always went wrong with these types of
arrangements. In the end though, it all worked out nicely.
The temperature stayed at above 30’C the whole time – not
so pleasant when sleeping in a tent even though it was in the shade.
One couldn’t move too much in the evenings without starting to
sweat.. Laura moved outside at some stage during the night to sleep on
top of the driving gear – must’ve been a little cooler
I was happy to notice there were no mosquitos and other bloodsuckers:
either we didn’t see them or there just wasn’t any because
of the wind. In that sense it was nicer than nearby the Lake Garda.
There were more than enough bats and insects though – we quickly
got used to throwing crickets and spiders outside from the tent as the
door had to be kept open because of the high temperatures. During the
worst invasions I was however glad to have taken a small bottle of Raid
(insect repellent) with me.
Day 9. A trip to
Ankaran - Predjama Castle – Postojna dripstone caves, by bus.
In the morning we walked to the nearby bus stop. A fifty something year
old guide checked out our tickets and let us into the air-conditioned
bus – felt so good to get away from the heat. We fell asleep
quite quickly while the guide introduced the sights almost non-stop in
Italian, German and in English.
The guide was brilliant, a true expert in his field. He quickly
recognized the Helsinki dialect/accent and replied to us in Finnish
– he had apparently worked as a guide since -99 and before that
worked on cruise ships for twenty or so years. His English was so good
Laura was also able to understand the main points. Such a great
performance that I had to send an extra email to the travel agency to
thank him once again, something I had never done before.
Predjama Castle was built into a 123m high mountain wall, one so
difficult to conquer that it had survived without having to surrender
for long periods of time. It was built on several layers, with an
extensive cave network inside the mountain as well. There was also a
small tilt field, as shown in the picture
and balcony with a view of the not so pleasant looking torture chamber.
It must’ve been insanely cold there during winter, apparently
temperatures down to minus 20 degrees Celcius were common because of
the altitude and climate. I also noticed that insulation in the new
buildings was the same as what we have gotten used to back home. Oh and
by the way, there were no info leaflets in Finnish yet but in several
other European languages (45 48.945 N, 14 07.641 E, 508 m).
Back to top
Day 10. A day cruise
Ankaran - Izola - Piran - the Mediterranean - Venetsia. By taxi, bus
It is 4.45am, time to get up. Some fruit for breakfast and then it was
to meet the taxi by the reception.
Boat: Prince of Venice
- klo 05.15 taxy to Izola
- klo 06.10 air-conditioned bus to Piran
- klo 07.15 boat departure
- klo 10.30 arrival to Venice
- klo 17.00 boat departure
- klo 20.15 arrival to Piran
- klo 21.30 arrival to Izola
- klo 22.xx back to the campground
The taxi driver had his taxi sign on
the floor – he showed it after seeing me warily looking at his
car. I bet there are a lot of illegal cars around used as taxis…
The driver spoke only Slovenian and Russian so we didn’t really
communicate much. We got to our destination nicely though, but I do
think it was good the lady at the reception had given us a note
show the driver just to prevent any problems.
Back to top
We waited for the bus for almost an hour, but then again it was quite
pleasant looking at the idyllic little town awaking. Not many people
that early. (45 31.627 N, 13 34.015
The bus arrived and it was the same as the one yesterday, but the
drive that got on from Piran wasn’t. We picked up more passengers
along the way and then got onto the “Prince of Venice
–catamaran. First it sailed to a Croatian coastal city called
Umag, to pick up some more passengers.
The trip was ideal for us because of its a) straightforwardness and
easiness b) thanks to the beautiful sea views c) suitable schedule. It
cost 160€ for the cruise, 37€ for the bus + taxes etc. and
35€ for taxi – kind of painful to pay that much but it was
an amazing one off experience. Had we done the same by driving it
would’ve been 400km from Ankaran to Venice and back on a hot
highway + having to pay road tolls and for parking – not to
forget that it would’ve taken around 5 hours. No thanks.
This option for better for our nerves. Also, the passport checks were a
piece of cake on both ends (from Venice Laura and Jaana walked into the
catamaran by themselves, no one asked a question or for their
passports. I did stand in line about 20m behind them but I doubt they
knew we were together – not the most watertight surveillance
The weather was great so we could see the coast of Venice and the route
to the city really well (45 25.867 N, 12 19.214 E, 0 m)
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I had a ”slight prejudice” towards Venice (dirty with a lot
of rubbish, smelly sewers, overpriced, filled with pick-pocketers and
tourist traps). It wasn’t quite as what I had expected though
– sure the prices were high and there were tourists everywhere
(12 million visitors a year, mainly during summer months as the guide
told us), but other than that it was quite nice actually. There’s
no reason one must always drink coffee worth tens of euros near the
worst tourist trap when there’s so many other places worth a
By the way, it was quite nice to sit down with a large pint of beer and
see the uninterrupted flow of people go past. Didn’t feel one bit
jealous of the occasional motorcyclists we saw carrying their gear:
must’ve been bloody nuisance to carry the belongings around it
The guide told us there are hardly any gardens in Venice – the
ones that exist are owned by the rich. And if you are really wealthy
you also have trees in your garden, that’s the way hierarchy
works around there I was told. A couple of hours was barely enough to
scratch the surface of Venice – I could easily spend several
weeks in that wonderful area. However, the price of a hotel night
wasn’t too appealing with its 400€/nigh fare. Also we
skipped the gondola rides for it would’ve been 80€ for four,
for a short trip in the narrow canal amidst several others.
Laura bought herself a copy of a gondola for two euros (she still has
it now, over ten years later when she’s translating these
texts..). She and Jaana also got a lesson on not believing
everything they see – conned by the seller basically. They saw
these 2,50€ “dance
with no support
” paper Mickey Mouse dolls and bought them
after seeing them stand on their own live. They wouldn’t believe
it wouldn’t be possible for paper dolls to move by themselves as
they had seen it with their own eyes. Well at least the packages came
with instructions on how to operate them with see-through strings
– neither of them really minded in the end and hey, what a great
and cheap lesson it was.
On the way back we experienced some really strong waves -> Laura
turned white but survived without the use of the ”vomit bag
” unlike some other
passengers. She did spend the rest of the cruise sitting on the back
deck staring at the horizon though. When we returned to Piran we took a
bus back to Izola, and waited for an hour for a taxi back to the
camping ground. There was some young guy doing a wheelie back and forth
in the evening traffic, so at least we were entertained during the wait.
Oh and the taxi driver was quite a character and we discussed the still
ongoing bridge constructions of the area. Apparently: ”those europas longest, most famous
etc near Ankaran were more popular than ones anywhere else in Europe.."
– even though they were still under construction and not that big
he tried to tell us. Well, that was his way to enhance the atmosphere
inside his car.
Day 11. Ankaran -
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Trieste – Peschiera/Lake Garda, 392 km.
We paid for the accommodation with the remaining local currency and the
rest with a credit card. Taxes and insurance was 100, adult 2000 and a
child 800 SIT/ night, the pool was included in the price. The ladies
at the reception called us a funny looking bunch and some local man
said we were particularly brave – it was quite new in those areas
to have two children with us when travelling by motorcycles I guess. Or
did we just do something they thought was more peculiar? Who knows.
We took the scenic seaside road for a few kilometers to reach Italy,
then up via Trieste to the highway and after 392km we reached
Peschiera, located on the southern bank of the Lake Garda. When paying
for the road toll, we came across some difficulties as the card slot
for the toll machine was at suitable height for truck drivers –
oh well I reached it when standing on tip toes. All the writing
was in Italian, so I hope in the end I paid the required 10,10€
and not something else. Oh by the way, the cost of petrol was about the
same as the road toll per 100km.
A fellow motorcyclist instructed us to follow the speed limit –
great, as it turned out the radar was hidden behind a pole. We found
out later that some people had got some really nasty fines, up to a
third of our whole trip budget.. Oh well, we had to keep the jackets
partly open because of the hot temperatures so speed had to be adjusted
The camping ground "Gasparina
was only a few hundred meters from Gardaland amusement park so next
day’s plan was easy to execute. (45 27.273 N, 10 42.134
E, 64 m)
We put up the tent next to a playground
#602) and released the kids = they went for a swim. Everyone was
required to wear a swimming cap to cover their hair, á 1.5
€. Me and Irma relaxed for a bit and had a look at the area. There
was a bird pen nearby, large corn fields and kiwi fruit growing near
the parking area.
After the pool closed we went for a swim in the lake, the base was
muddy so we kept the sandals on and ensured we didn’t accidently
drink the water. It wasn’t particularly clean but refreshing
nevertheless, luckily there were showers nearby. Cold as the local
custom, but in those temperatures that was just a plus. Also the
sanitary areas of the camping area were fine.
The plan was to hang out at the tent and go to bed early. Not quite.
There were some evening activities like a disco for the youngsters
– Italian hmm
songs and the kinds of YMCA were played with proper volumes and heard
perfectly at the tent as well. The speakers were only 50m away,
regretfully… The kids enjoyed it and there were also a lot of
people at the playground - the silence started at around 10 or 11pm so
there was enough time for sleep anyway.
Our kids had a look at how children are raised in a conflict situation
in Italy: based on their expressions our own style suits them a lot
better for they would never end up with a red cheek caused by a
slap… Looked quite harsh, but I guess it was the local way. I
can imagine how a “patronizing
person with puritan moral sense
” of some neighbouring
country might’ve reacted to that sight and probably stepped in to
criticize the hundred kg Italian lady keeping the naughty boys in line
with yelling and slapping – it would not be a good idea to
intervene I’d imagine.
Day 12. Gardaland
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A day spent at Gardaland.
At 4.30am I vaguely remember hearing the sound of the church bells,
followed by two roosters crowing particularly out of tone nearby the
tent. Then the geese started as well and oh the next three hours felt
like ages – in the end I could stand it no longer and took a book
with me and head out to the bar. After the third early-morning wake-up
an old jungle saying came to mind: ”A kingdom for a an air rifle or a hungry
!” Unfortunately (or shall I say luckily) there
was neither one around.
Anyway, the day was spent at Gardaland
entrance fee for adults was 22 € and 18,50 € for kids. It
included unlimited rides in the amusement park but you needed to be a
certain height for a few rollercoasters for example. 12 hours later we
were quite sick of the amusement park – the girls completely
disagreed though. (45 27.298 N, 10 42.914 E, 87 m)
Some pictures taken from there: 1
The evening was the same as on the previous night – it was quite
entertaining to see a young girl, way under 5, copying the dance moves
of YMCA for example. His father was laughing out loud as well and
shaking his head. However, overall the music chosen for the evening
discos wasn’t that appropriate in my opinion – it
would’ve been perfectly fine for teenagers but maybe not for the
Day 13. Lake Garda
Driving around the Lake Garda,160 km.
In the morning we decided to drive around the Lake and head west. The
temperatures were soaring again and no one really wanted to wear the
proper driving gear so being aware of the risks I opted for a t-shirt
and shorts and just drove really slowly and carefully. We had to stop
after a few dozen kilometres due to emerging sunburn, luckily I had
some SPF 20 sunscreen left. I got “lovely” sandal lines on
my feet heh, I’m happy at least the others had track pants and
jackets for cover.
On the western areas there were multiple tunnels after each other and
the air inside some of them was surprisingly cool. We stopped at Riva
Del Garda, at a motorcycle shop
familiar from the previous year (LGP
SAS - Angelini L.&C., Viale S.Francesco 37, Riva Del Garda), which
had naturally closed down only half an hour prior due to the siesta..
Oh well, we spent some time in the center until the doors opened at 4pm
again. The aim was to find Irma a better helmet to replace the ancient
and worn out Arai Omn – in no time we had found a suitable one
with the help of the seller. Irma chose the Arai Quantum-F
which is really similar to my Arai Signet. We took off the headphone
set, threw away the old helmet and continued the day trip. No more
humming, what a practical and great purchase it turned out being.
After driving past the northernmost point we went for a swim
near Malcesine. I went on a swim with my clothes on so that it’d
feel nice and cool once driving again. We could barely see the western
shoreline and the scenic road on the other side of the lake from that
In the evening I installed the headset to Irma’s new helmet, it
took an hour and a few beers at the bar. The tools I needed were a big
knife, the helmet, Kenny Roberts-tape and few other things so doing it
by the tent without having a table would’ve been tricky –
it was good there was a bar with a motorcycle enthusiast owner nearby
and he let me do it there. ;)
Back to top
Day 14. Lake Garda
Back to top
A day spent swimming at Peschiera, Gasparina campsite.
“NOT good morning, roosters”.
Today was spent purely on hanging out in the area and by the pool.
Laura’s neck had got sunburnt before and it burnt again so every
time Irma added a drop of 1% hydrocortisone lotion Laura would bite her
teeth and go for a quick walk around. The lotion needed to be added a
couple of times, and it was lucky the skin didn’t get infected or
turned worse. Laura needs to be really careful; she burns really
quickly despite having plenty of sunscreen where as Jaana gets a tan
easily – she was actually the only one whose skin didn’t
peel during this trip.
Me and Irma went to a petrol station to wash the motorcycles.
“Peschiera Esso” was really disappointing as I bought a new
bottle of wax but we weren’t allowed to use a bucket even though
there were too spare ones laying around – their competitor not
too far away on the other hand was great. They didn’t even want
to charge for the water we used. I ended up giving the cashier 5 €
anyway – the guy at Esso would’ve charged 7 € per bike
if one of their guys had washed the motorcycle using pressure water
washer. We did the cleaning ourselves though, I’d never let
anyone use some old rugs, not to mention a pressure cleaner on my
motorcycle unless I am completely sure they won’t scratch it or
aim the pressurised water at the bearings and chains – something
that is a bit difficult to confirm from an Italian speaking old man.
The disco was full on with their
PumPum-songs all evening again, and
the temperatures rose to new records. Irma packed our bags ready for
departure next morning, she’s way better at organizing everything
compared to us three..
Day 15. Lake Garda -
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Peschiera - Bolzano – Merano – Timmelsjosh –
Sölden, 262 km.
The bill for accommodation was 128 €, considering the area the
price was bearable.
Then off to Peschiera and the plan was to get the two highway toll
tickets and drive off. Well, not quite what happened. Irma
couldn’t get a ticket from the automated machine, nevertheless,
we kept driving east for a while until reaching the road going north. I
optimistically thought it’d be fine not having the ticket, we
could just explain what happened and pay again.
On the two-lane road towards Brenner there was so much traffic that the
road capacity wasn’t enough – the traffic got jammed
constantly for no apparent reason. We stopped to get coffee at some
petrol station, but with huge lines there we just opted for sodas and
chocolate (it’s been a while since I had to pay over 20 €
for four 0,5l bottles of soda and chocolate bars.. One of those "not too cheap
" -places..). Back
the highway and towards Bolzano, and the next plan was to move to a
highway to Merano.
Well I had been too optimistic first. The young guy working at the
highway toll collection site flipped off after noticing we only had one
ticket. He kept yelling and asking for passport and
wouldn’t listen why we didn’t have two tickets. I
started to get angry after a while as well and Irma wasn’t
smiling after being given an additional fee of 49,50 € for failing
to present a valid ticket from Pecshiera. So basically she would had to
pay for return highway tolls plus additional tolls caused by driving to
the fee office 80km towards Trento where the fine needed to be paid
I stopped at a petrol station in Merano and asked a local motorcyclist
about the fine. He told me he had got a similar one a few years back,
he complained and the fine was withdrawn/cancelled – he said we
should do the same. (“They
can’t do anything anyway, you’ll be back to Finland by then
NOTE: this doesn’t apply anymore as the EU adopted a common fine
system in 2007.
There started to be more and more motorcycles as we approached
Timmelsjosh. We let everyone pass, with full gear on we weren’t
in any rush. The terrain changed quite a bit and some of the 180 degree
turns of the serpentine Alpine roads at 2300m altitude were somewhat
tricky, particularly when having to turn right. Irma had to redo some
of the turns, and luckily
she didn’t fall over
. The profile of
the road was quite interesting
and some views from Italian side: 1, 2
Back to top
There were a lot of cars, push bikes and motorcycles, even a camper
van. Luckily most drivers were considerate of others –
particularly when a cyclist suffered from a broken tire whilst going
through (?) a steep corner downhill. The view was even better than at
Grosslockner. We had to pay a lot of attention on the road and traffic
but at least the kids got to enjoy the scenery (there was a half a
meter high stone wall only a meter from the side of the road separating
us from a few hundred meter fall down to the gorge.. No wonder we
didn’t really pay attention to anything but the road.) (46
N, 11 05.837 E, 2478 m)
At the top of the mountain we stopped to take photos (Jaana
, Jaana ja Laura
) too bad the
previous serpentine roads weren’t visible from there. The next
road toll area was in Austria (the Alpine crossing was only open from
7am to 8pm and the tunnel higher up was closed for the night), and then
it was mainly downhill from there. Similar serpentine roads, but much
easier to drive downhill.
We reached Sölden in the afternoon around 2pm. We didn’t get
any speeding tickets even though the cops had set up some radars on the
main roads (I guess too many people used it for unnecessary
acceleration). W head straight to Gasthaus Anneliese we had visited the
previous summer, it was full but the next door neighbour Gästehaus
Marin Brugger had a two bedroom flat available. 90 € per night for
an apartment with a balcony, satellite tv and breakfast and secure
premises to store the motorcycles – awesome! Especially the kids
were happy to see some tv-shows after having a three week break from
it. (46 57.691 N, 11 00.523 E, 1393 m)
We had a quick rest on the bed (almost fell asleep), then off to have a
shower and lunch at a restaurant Die
. Four Wiener Schnitsel
an additional salad portion and drinks at 47,10 € were definitely
appreciated. The rest of the evening was spent writing postcards,
sightseeing and we bought a large poster of the Alpine scenery (approx.
60 x 110cm, Kompass ”Alps
number 349) with a hard
protective case for 6.50 €.) We went to bed early, it felt great
having a decent bed and lovely cool air so we managed smooth out our
Day 16. Sölden -
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Sölden – Lindau, 183 km.
The breakfast at the Gasthaus was excellent, even the kids liked the
thick hot chocolate served. We sent a post card to our neighbour
keeping an eye on house back home and then kept following the road
downhill – Irma said it was the most enjoyable road so far. Maybe
the built-up stress and shock of the uphill drive was finally released.
The lower we got, the hotter the temperatures and the shorter tunnels
weren’t enough to cool us down from the heat of the motorway
anymore. At times we had to stop for a bit, almost felt like going for
a swim at the mountain creeks. Well Laura and Jaana had a try, and said
it was way too cold..
A 18km tunnel cost 8,50 € per bike. The air quality wasn’t
too good, we all started sneezing after driving through two or three
tunnels. Laura loved to observe birds and there was plenty to look at
with an abundance of hawks and eagles flying around.
We found the camping ground of Lindau without any difficulties. The
area seemed to be really popular and there was also another camping
ground just a few km from the beach (47 32.232 N, 09 43.896 E,
Irma and Jaana chose a good tent
for us and came to get me and
Laura who waited outside the gates. The tent was set up on a lawn at a
slightly sloping area near trees and a fence, and then we signed in at
the reception. All worked nicely.
The beach didn’t seem nice because the water looked dirty, there
were plenty of water plants and the beach was filled with rocks and
stones. Oh well, that didn’t slow the kids down and once the wind
cooled down and the water cleared the based turned out being allright
Day 17. Lindau
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We walked to the city center via the coastal path, about two kilometres
one way. A lovely route, especially around a mansion built for Napoleon
(according to a sign) – there must’ve been a beautiful
garden earlier on but nowadays the area near the beachfront was a mess.
We walked around in the old town for a few hours. There was great
service in a pizzeria, Laura and Jaana got their pizzas sliced at the
table by the Italian waiter – a spectacle that seemed to amuse
them a great deal. :) There were also a lot of street artists and other
performers. Jaana 1
as a model.
Laura started looking around for a ”Euro folder
” to collect
coins from different countries, but we couldn’t find one and
decided to look from back home to get the information in Finnish as
well. There were a lot of stunning churches in the old areas of Lindau
and we visited one of them to take photos. It wasn’t as nearly
well finished and detailed as the one we found during our walk in
Berchtesgarden or as lovely as the church four times bigger in Lypeck,
but still not bad.
We made dinner at the camping ground, as there were good cooking
facilities with gas stoves nearby the main gate – we ate there as
well, something that some other campers didn’t seem to think was
appropriate. Oh well, there was plenty of space for everyone and we
left the area cleaner than it was when we arrived.
Day 18. Lindau
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The wind picked up and the waves crashed around with their white foamy
tops. Laura loved swimming in the lake and Jaana, well, not so much.
The wind attracted several locals to the beach as well, they
might’ve been waiting for a lovely cool weather like that after a
heat spell. It also rained briefly, making the air nice and refreshing.
A stone’s throw away from our tent there were two older gentlemen
travelling on a large campervan. Nothing special about that, but they
did have a trailer with two big motorcycles (Fireblade) for cruising
around. They did spend hell of a lot time cleaning the vehicles after
the drive, but the chrome rims did shine nicely afterwards for everyone
Some earlybird managed to back into the automated aluminium station
meant for getting rid of the waste waters from the campervans –
the so called grey water system functioned (for shower water) but the
sanitary (disinfectant) didn’t. I was surprised at how many men
told the female to get out and guide the way when they reversed the car
– but the ladies seemed to wave their hands just to get warm for
the driver never really seemed to care...
There were several fenced off small gardens right outside the camping
ground, some of them really stunning. There were also some cottages in
the campground, great alternative to owning a cabin of your own I guess.
Day 19. Lindau
A day spent relaxing.
A lovely relaxing day. The kids dived
off the paddle boat (9€/h)
and also got to paddle at times when the parents got to enjoy the sun
on the ”back deck”, and then there was time to do some
shopping in the center together.
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We had lunch at a restaurant based on the weight of the portion –
a new experience. A fair procedure for the customer as long as the
weight of the plate was taken into consideration (and as we were in
Germany, I’d say that was the case).
We walked around trying to find gas bottles to fit the trangia cooking
equipment, but it was difficult to find the exact fit rather than those
commonly sold disposable cans.
The girls came up with a new game to entertain themselves, they walked
in circles and measured the time it took and tried to copy the exact
speed of the previous lap – the one who got the closer one won. I
wonder just how many times they walked around there – several,
judging by our neighbours’ facial expressions ;)
At night there was a fierce thunder and a small-scale flood. We were
lucky as the paddles that formed higher up the hill drained far enough
from our tent that not all the driving gear got soaked. Had we put up
the tent two meters further (so about 20cm lower from the nearby road)
the hmm amount of delight from all occupants of the tent would’ve
been high. I personally don’t mind the water for I’m used
to it from previous trips like Irma, but I don’t think the girls
would’ve been too happy (luckily a kuitupussi stays reasonably
warm even when wet).
The base of our tent, Halti Alta IV,
survived without problems while
small creeks of water run below. The top tent held nicely as well, but
it would’ve been completely soaked in a couple of hours more as
the seams would’ve given in. We could’ve dried it off with
a Trangia – providing
there would’ve been enough gas for
that.. ;) Anyway, a great performance from the Alta, our previous Halti
Tramp -tent wouldn’t have been this great.
Judging from the sounds coming from other areas of the camping ground,
not everyone else had been as lucky as us.
Day 20. Lindau -
Munchen - by train
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Lindau – Munchen, 189 km – Hampurg, by train.
At morning it was time to pack up, get some breakfast (2x 8€ big
portions + some fresh juice, plenty for four people). Irma noticed that
a little girl in the nearby tent had turned eight years so the girls
went to buy a bag of lollies for her as a present. She had a lovely
smile, and I think the parents appreciated the gesture as well.
From now on the focus of the trip was on getting home, so one really
paid much attention to the scenery. Plenty of corn fields around, but
we didn’t even get to cook one cob of corn during the whole
trip.. It surely would’ve tasted good toasted in the flame of
Trangia, and covered with
We stopped at a motorcycle shop in the center of Muchen to ask
what’s the price for a Scottoiler,
but we didn’t end up
buying one as the only one available would’ve had to been picked
up from 70km outside the city. We got lunch from a nearby cafeteria,
great value for money (43,50€) even though we had to suffer from
the rather overpowering smell of dog pee – we couldn’t move
inside as we needed to keep an eye on the motorcycles and our driving
The shopkeeper helped us navigate to the main railway station and we
also stopped to ask for further directions from the railway station
police officers – soon we were back on the loading platform but
this time unfortunately on the other side as previously, heading home.
We quickly went to change into something lighter and let the driving
gear dry off inside out in the sun. Six hours to kill: we played some
card games and Yatzy, hanged out at the waiting room admiring the
thunder storm and chatting up other motorists. The Norwegians were full
of energy, especially after a few of the Harley Davidson drivers found
their boots filled with water in the pouring rain..
Eventually it was time to check the documents, wait for cars to be
loaded and then time to drive into the carriage. I followed Irma who
was first in line, this time the motorcycles were left side by side. We
were told not to lock our bikes, maybe to avoid the alarms from going
off during transport. Then back to the waiting area with the girls,
there was still an hour and a half before departure.
In the end we couldn’t sit around any longer so we head towards
the tunnel. Laura carried the pile of driving gear towards the same
direction Jaana and Irma had left previously to buy some food. After
Jaana returned we were able to carry all the rest of the belongings and
go after Laura. We missed the platform by one number (12 would’ve
been correct, there was another night train at platform number 13 but
that one didn’t have the vehicle carriages) so we had to walk
around quite a bit. It was fine though, we found some vending machines
and were rewarded with some lollies and soda.
The train cabin was the never sort with five beds and six chairs.
The back of the chairs folded down into a table and one normal chair
remained after putting up the beds – a great improvement from the
The train departed, the evening arrived, and so did sleep. We woke up a
few times during the night, and eventually woke up in Hamburg.
Day 21. Hamburg
Altona - Rostock, by ship
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Hamburg – Rostock, 233 km – Finnjet - Helsinki.
We woke up at around 6am. The rain had stopped, great. The breakfast
consisted of multigrain biscuits combined with honey again, we skipped
those but the rest of the offering was nice and we also had some
leftover sandwiches from the previous evening. There were long lines
for the toilet as the arrival time came close, but there was still
plenty of time as after the train stopped there was still about ten
minutes wait before the vehicle carriages arrived to the nearby
platform. The girls pushed the driving gear with some luggage trolleys
and me and Irma untied the motorcycles and drove them onto the platform.
We got dressed up in the driving gear and didn’t mind the people
staring at us, and soon we were driving towards Kiel because there was
spare time before the ship was going to depart, that we decided to
a bit extra. Then to Lybeck via Bad Segeberg and then the coastal
roads #104 and #105 to Rostock.
We stopped for lunch at Wismar harbour (Bockwurst mit kartoffel salad
turns out being different from normally understood ..mit kartoffelsalad
so not just a
different way of spelling..). The old town of Wismar seemed quite big
and interesting, but we shall explore that on some other trip.
It was easy to find the harbour and a souvenir shop near the last
petrol station of the mainland. Irma said she saw several people
carrying around huge piles of alcohol and other stuff – no wonder
after seeing the prices in the taxfree shop onboard the ship. Buy
souvenirs from the mainland if possible.
I bet we could’ve fit eight cases of beer on the back of
Irma’s Diversion motorcycle like we thought in the
“preliminary plan” ;)
There were quite a few motorcyclists waiting so we joined them. We met
a couple we’d seen in Lindau previously, but other than that no
one looked familiar. Having girls with us stirred some conversations
and we gave tips on their gear and entertainment. Hopefully their kids
also get a change to travel with the parents.
Then into the ship and we got guided quite far apart to the back of the
ship. That was fine, though next morning I had trouble getting back to
untie the motorcycles as the vehicles get packed tightly and
there’s not much space to move – it’s for example
good to have mirrors that can be folded to make more room for people
We had panorama seats right under the control cabin areas. A great
view, but other than that not the nicest area. It’s good they had
a code lock in the inner door to stop everyone from entering, and I
guess the carpet was soft(ish) enough to sleep on. The seats had been
drawn and we end up with two seats on the left side and two on right
– as you may guess we all went left together and were ready to
negotiate with other passengers but that wasn’t necessary for
there was plenty of space.
Time for a shower and then dinner, the meatballs were tasty and great
accompanied by large glasses of milk for 30,60€ but beer and cider
were pretty expensive.
In the evening we enjoyed the live music, Irma
and the girls went to bed quite early but I enjoyed the show until 1am.
The performer said he didn’t
want to get intoxicated as quickly
as the audience, so all drink offers were more appreciated as tips
audience started jamming along as the night grew, the noise levels
becoming quite considerable..
At night I woke up as someone yelled: ”Shaisse
”. Heh, I
think a lady sleeping on the floor somewhere near got sick of me
snoring. Irma said it had been pretty loud but nothing compared to the
group of youngsters sitting outside the panorama area near the
ventilation area. Oh and the panorama “cabin” was also
terribly hot until the doors leading to the deck were opened. Several
people slept on the floor, the chairs weren’t that comfortable.
Day 22. Helsinki -
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Helsinki – Imatra, 274 km.
Jaana almost missed breakfast as she and Laura went for a morning swim
and had agreed to be back by 9am. Only Laura showed up, she and Irma
went to get breakfast and I stayed there waiting for Jaana. She still
hasn’t arrived by 9.30am so I went for a walk around to try find
her, still no luck so I went to get some breakfast quickly and Irma
went to check the sauna and pool. Jaana was still swimming there, half
an hour after the official swimming hours had ended. Apparently she
didn’t know what time it was for on the “board” on
the wall it said 930 ("there was
nothing after nine so it cannot have been a clock"). Yeah right, good excuse..
By the way, the day spent on-board was boring and all in all just
terrible. Luckily there was a circus school and other activities for
the kids but for us the time was spent napping and reading several
books bought from the tax free shop.
Irma had some trouble as we arrived in the harbour. Her motorcycle
needed to be moved away to give way to a campervan – some other
biker was nice to help her out as I was on the other side of the ship
untying my own bike. The next time we met was at the passport and
registration book check-up and the girls got stamps in their passports
after we asked nicely.
I had forgotten in how terrible condition the Porvoo highway was, there
were several potholes and the surface was uneven. One of the worst
highways we encountered in our trip. We stopped at a café
as Laura and especially Jaana kept falling asleep; she slept for like
a quarter of the way home.
It took like two days to wash all our clothes and a week later most
things have found their right place at home.
The overall price was around 4000 – 4500€, depending on what
is counted as being included in the trip. A trip done 15 years prior in
similar areas for two people cost 10 – 12 000 FIM, so the price
levels had remained quite similar.
Collected straight after arriving home.
The best thing:
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- Gardaland, the other places were nice too
- can’t specify a single thing, liked everything
- peaceful family trip
- gained driving experience, which shows as a more relaxed driving back
- relaxed atmosphere and not many arguments
- the girls behaved excellently especially in the soaring temperatures
and being stuck in traffic etc. A lot better that I had expected.
- the girls learned to drink enough water to avoid dehydration and
The worst thing:
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- nothing was particularly bad
- too many rules at times (us parents
didn’t realize that the additional excitement came out as
tickling and pushing, etc.)
- An accident with the thumb and eight blisters
- hot temperatures
- rubbish sleeping mattress (airbags) that caused trouble every
- sleep deprivation caught us during the last two days, and maybe the
cooler climate also made us more tired
What to improve next
- the trip was good like that
- don’t drive long distance without stopping
- bring less clothes
- leave space for souvenirs
- half a week less would’ve been enough (two weeks would be
enough to tour Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily for example if the trips to
half way to Italy were done by train, additional ship and train trips
would increase the overall travel time by a mere 4-5 days.)
- updated gear, better air mattresses for example
- remind the kids well in advance that everyone needs to help out when
staying at camping grounds, washing dishes etc. It took an hour to get
the dishes clean in Gasparina after the plates flew around for a bit
before Laura actually washed them
- the location or size of the side bags needs to be adjusted, or have
to wait for the girls’ legs to grow so that they’ll have
more leg room ( the sweating of calves would reduce if the legs
didn’t lean on bags at all times)
- need to buy a better camera, the one bought in -87 from Munchen
(Canon MC) is not good anymore
Imatra 2.9.2003. Jaana, Laura, Irma ja Kari
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