Munich to Merano
This morning, I caught the train to the BMW rental agency, where I picked up a rented BMW F800ST.
The F800 is a good bike for this trip. Its nimble agility is a good match for the roads I was on today. There was medium traffic for a much of the trip today. There is a fair amount of tourism in the region.
I went back to my hotel, had breakfast, and set out for my first experience riding in Europe.
I left from the north end of Munich. My route was south into the Sud Tirol, which is the German name for the the part of Italy known to Italians as Alto Adige. The Tirol region is divided into four sections. North Tirol is the western arm of Austria. South Tirol is in and adjacent to northern Italy. East Tirol is a small section north and east of Venice. Trentino is a more southern region west of Venice. The region is mountainous and splendid. It is a confluence of Ladin, German, and Italian languages and cultures.
The construction and dress are what most people in the US would describe as ‘Bavarian-looking.’ The primary language here is German, but many people speak English as a third language.
I circumnavigated Munich on a super-slab, and exited well south of the city. After getting onto secondary roads I was in mild traffic for an hour or so before reaching the uncontrolled Austrian border. I didn’t mind the traffic though, as I was busy taking in the beautiful farming country at the foot of the mountains. The region is picturesque, and everywhere I turned, I felt like I was looking at postcard photographs. It’s very clean and orderly, and the air is fresh.
I started following a river highway, gaining altitude and increasing pace as the traffic thinned.
I stopped for a bottle of water at a small restaurant and tourist trap. I saw a family of four on a motorcycle ride. It was an old Honda with a side car. I have no idea what kind of bike it was.
It had some sort of a springer front suspension.
I didn’t have any time to talk to them, as they were suiting up and leaving when I pulled up. There were two kids in the side car, with mom and dad on the bike.
The roads are very well maintained, the people are courteous drivers, and I only saw one law-enforcement type. He was waving oncoming vehicles into an inspection station.
I went through several mountain passes. One very memorable pass is Timmelsjoch. It is 2,500 meters in elevation, and well above the tree-line.
I had fun riding over it, although I don’t think I was particularly fast. I’m riding alone in an unfamiliar region, and don’t speak the prevailing German language, so I slowed and enjoyed the sights. There were plenty of other riders exploiting the twisty mountain roads. The road is perched on cliffs that appear to be a thousand or more feet above the valley floor.
The views were spectacular.
I’m not sure at which point I entered Italy. I think it was at the end of one of the tunnels, but there was no sign. There were many sections of tunnels in my route today.
I didn’t stop for pictures very often. Curiously, there were so many interesting things to photograph, I realized I couldn’t stop for everything. As a result, I didn’t get as many photos as I should have. That’s a problem I’ll remedy for the rest of my rides on this trip.
I arrived at my hotel in Merano, showered, walked down the street for pizza, came back to the hotel, and went to bed exhausted.
Here are my GPS tracks for Monday’s ride. Click the map to go to the player page.