Day 4 - Belluno to Riva del Garda, Italy
When I went to get the scooter in the hotel car park, there was a nice Jag XE parked next to it. I do love a Jaaaaaaag and did the last road trip to Norway in a Jaaaaaaaag XF, but you know what, for the mountains I'd take the scooter any day.
Today was a fairly short day of only around 190 miles but again the route was such that it would still take around six hours of riding to do. I did have a route pre-planned before setting off from home (the magic of TomTom MyDrive - select a route and upload it to the SatNav beforehand) but decided to just let the TomTom decide which way to go. The Ride 410 SatNav has an option for 'choose winding roads' so I set it to that and just followed wherever it pointed me. And it was superb in its choices.
From Belluno it headed up into the mountains and into a series of high passes. As you climb the landscape quickly changes from typically Italian back towards a more Alpine style again. The route is clearly popular with bikers as there were groups of them, largely consisting of more leather clad Germans, (given the fact it was about 28 degrees, often in an odd combination of leather trousers and braces over t-shirts), up in the mountain passes.
The roads are really quiet and pretty much all like the small mountain lanes in these pics, with occasional villages and a handful of small towns on the route, just enough of them to assuage any anxiety about a mid-way refuelling stop. In the largest of the towns I passed through the route I wanted was blocked for some event or other meaning taking the fall-back navigation option of 'drive about randomly until the SatNav finally finds an alternative route', Finally, after I passed the same cafe of people for the third time I decided to just press the 'avoid road block' button and that fixed it - should have thought of that sooner, silly boy.
From there it was up into the mountains again and a lunch stop at a cafe at the top of a pass. One of these bikes is an impostor among the big boys. Some proper bikers may look down on scooters but it was amusing seeing how the bikers were hauling themselves off their bikes like they had been abused by a ship-load of randy sailors arriving in port after a long voyage after sitting in the same forced position for ages at least whereas with the Burgman I did arrive there in a modicum of comfort still.
From there was a long slow drive back to lower levels again via series of gorgeous twisting hairpin-strewn roads, back to civilisation and larger towns, eventually picking up an A road for the final drive towards Riva at the very head of Lake Garda. And back among loads of my scooter brethren again. I have to say I am impressed with the Burgman - it's gone everywhere the big bikes can go, from autobahn to high alpine roads, without ever feeling out of puff or as though it is struggling.
Riva del Garda is exactly how I remember it from a visit as a child, a largish town sitting at the top of Lake Garda with the mountains just dropping straight down into the lake. The hotel was on a pedestrianised bit of the town but it seems that in Italy 'pedestrianised' doesn't always apply to scooters so I could drive up to the hotel and park in their small garage, perfect.
Tomorrow is an easy day, with a lap of the lake and surrounding mountains so around only 150 miles or so and probably about six hours, back to Riva again before starting the journey north again to Switzerland.