The Big Reveal

3 May

I can’t remember if I ever revealed the destination we’ve settled on for our 2012 vacation. If I did, I know I didn’t say much about it. Because there’s not much to be said, yet, as far as details go.

The important stuff has been taken care of. We have purchased two airplane tickets and have made deposits to secure our rental motorcycles.

This next image is a hint. We’ll be in that country, but will not be traveling in a group. How’s that for adventure?

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Some of you probably remember our 2010 trip to Europe. We did a week-long motorcycle tour in the Alps (with Austria as a base). We spent a few days in Switzerland with the Swiss Family Mac (who are now back living in the US). And we visited with Annelies and Yves in Belgium.

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It was a great trip. It was actually during or shortly after that trip when we agreed to a routine with those Belgian friends of ours where we’ll alternate continents each year to do a joint vacation.

They started it by visiting us for a few days in 2009 while touring the Northeastern US. We reciprocated in 2010 by visiting them for a few days during our trip to Europe. In 2011, they came to the US and we explored a bunch of national parks out west. Now it’s our turn to go to Europe.

Annelies and Yves aren’t into the motorcycle touring thing. So the trick was to plan a destination where Hubby and I could ride for a few days and then meet up with Annelies and Yves for the rest of our time there.

IMG_3950Now, if you are not a motorcyclist, you might not “get” the allure of riding in Europe. Not only are the roads amazing, and the scenery spectacular, Europeans actually embrace motorcyclists.

No, that doesn’t mean they all hug you at every stop.  Wouldn’t that freak my bashful Hubby out?

They respect motorbikes and happily share the road. That is totally not the case in the US. The US is the land of “I can’t let a motorcycle pass me, I have to be in front.”  People will actually go to great lengths so you can’t pass them here. They’ll even try to run you off the road when you do finally get an opportunity to go around them. Really. I am not exaggerating.

Anyway, we can’t go to Europe and not squeeze some riding in. After a little bit of back and forth between Annelies and I, who are each the vacation planners for our respective units, we decided on Italy. Northern Italy to be exact.

Hubby and I will fly into Milan, where we’ll pick up our motorcycles, and then explore Northern Italy’s Dolomites. Maybe even a little bit of the Swiss Alps. Our rental period is only five days. Meanwhile Annelies and Yves will drive down from Belgium. We’ll meet up with them for sure at the end of our rental period. We may even hook up during those first few days for overnights as they might rent an apartment or something near Lake Como.


View Amazing Passes in a larger map

If you look at that handy-dandy map I have embedded for you, the pink pin in the center is Milan, Italy. Directly above Milan are some lakes, the two largest being Como (above and to the right of Milan) and Maggiore (above and to the left of Milan). Maggiore is actually in Switzerland. That gray squiggly line is the border.

You may have to zoom in on the map to see that detail. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll call that the Lake Region. They may rent accommodations in that general area. So if we plan right, we may be able to meet up mid-week.

Back to the map… all the green motorcycles indicate passes we may want to traverse. The blue “P” symbols are towns we may want to overnight in. And that yellow suitcase to the left is Tammi’s town.

Hah, I forgot to mention one of the coolest aspects of this trip. Annelies and I met while working together. That was a couple employers ago for me. Tammi worked for that company, too. So we all got to know each other. They are both lovely people. Tammi, who used to live in North Carolina, just recently (April 23) moved to Switzerland. So we are all going to visit Tammi and her husband, too!

Whenever Tammi talked about moving to Switzerland “one day,” I always said I’d come and visit.  How cool is it that the timing worked out just right? Especially since Annelies knows her, too?

We’re all very excited.

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We still have lots of planning to do. I can’t decide if I want to make hotel reservations for the bike-rental part of the trip or just wing it. Winging it is attractive as the bike segment is all about the ride, not the destination. If we reserve rooms, we’ll have a stricter schedule. I think it would be cool to ride until we are either too exhausted to go another kilometer or find a town we just have to see more of. The only problem with that is the language thing.

In smaller towns, not as many people speak English. They don’t need to. And neither of us speak a lick of German or Italian. German is actually the official language of the region in Italy where we’ll be spending most of our riding time. More on that later. (Maybe.)

I have plenty of time to figure it all out. We’re not actually going until September. We’re hoping to miss the tourist crowds. And beat the snow in the passes.

Let the planning continue…

5 thoughts on “The Big Reveal

  1. I’m so excited for you! And jealous! :-p

    I wouldn’t worry about the language thing. I think if you show up at a hotel, the staff will pretty much figure out that you’re looking for a room. 😉 And if not, start practicing your brief German and Italian phrases now – and maybe brush up on your charades game while you’re at it haha!

  2. Remind me to ask you to demonstrate the appropriate charades for stuff like: “Where is the bathroom?” and “Where is the bathroom, I need it quick!” Also perhaps, “What is a good place to eat?” We’ll have to practice language and charades for sure!

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