Camaiore (Toscana) – Freiburg (Germany / Black Forest)
von Olaf H. Just
Day 1: Camaiore - Lodi (259km)
The Vespa was ready packed: a backpack with all documents and adac maps, 2 bags (around 30kg - around 10kg my 2 chain joints, oil, tools) and my 3l petrol can and 2l water for my personal tank with me.
9.30h - start of my adventure with such an old Vespa 125 (VNB1 / 1960) in Camaiore.
Around 800km are laying before my final destination in Freiburg.
It was really hot and to get a little extra power I stopped at Pasticceria Smeraldo (Camaiore LU) - the best Pasticceria in this area - to have a last coffee, cornetto and a rum cake - a really delicious cake, you have to try it..
Now, the tour really started and I drove to the North (direction La Spezia) along the nice green hills of Alpi Apuane - passing Pietrasanta, Massa, Carrara.
During the first kilometers my ears realize every noise of the engine and every click of the gears - crossing the fingers, my old blue lady is strong enough to bring me safe & without any problems over the 259km and to my first stage target Piazenca.
Behind Sarzana (after 39km) - I drove to the East and took the SR62 - direction Aulla - the climb started alone the Fiume Magra - crossing the Appennino Tosco Emiliano. It was much colder and the panorama was really beautiful - around 40km to Portemoli
The road winded alone the river in the Taro Valley at the Appenin mountains. Behind the historical town Pontremoli, I topk the autostrada and not the well-know Passo della Cisa because of saving the strength of my Vespa a bit on the first day with the longest planed distance.
Passo dela Cisa is a part of an old european trading route from London to Roma.
Around 30km on the autostrada (my highest point of the day: 757m) - a big adventure - my slow speed (it run upwards), a slower car with a caravan, a lot of tunnels, crazy italian drivers - high speed & special cornering...
I was happy to leave the highway at Borgotaro and took a country road (SP19) downwards along the Fiume Taro. It was really nice area - especially the growing riverbed was impressive.
On the SS308 - I passed Stazione Valmozzola, Fornovo Di Taro. In Ramola I took the SS357 to Medesano and Noceto. It became hotter and hotter - it was lunchtime.
Behind Noceto I drove to the North on the SS9 - Fidenza. The really hottest and most boring Parts of the tour started. Downs and cornflields as far as you can see. The big advantage of this lunchtime and this area: I was able to drive fast and relaxed.
In Fiorenzuola d'Arda the first petrol stop and for me a water stop to refill my water tank in the italian heat.
At this time I descided to drive a few Kilometer longer - to Lodi - 45km more than planed. I booked on booking.com a room at an Agriturismo.
3:30pm after 259km and 6:14h drive, I arrived at my planned destination Lodi.
It was a great frist day with beautiful impressions of different landscapes and a big experience: heat is not a problem for a Vespa.
I was really happy - my old and brave blue lady brought me safe to Agriturismo Cavrigo in Lodi. A really nice farm with nice rooms, a nice, friendly owner and tasty breakfast.
I was looking forward for a cold shower and a cold beer!
Facts of the day:
Travel duration: 6:13 h/m
Highest speed: 73km/h
Average speed: 41km/h
Highest travel point: 757m
Night 1: Agriturismo Cavrigo / Lodi (next to Milano)
A really nice farm with nice rooms, a nice owner and tasty breakfast. Very fair prices!
I can recommend this hotel
Tour Day 2: Lodi – Monza – Bellinzona (182km)
In the morning it was already really hot (ca. 25C at 7.00am).
After a tasty breakfast I started the 2nd tour day - Alps I’m coming and hopefully with cooler temperatures.
I started at 8:15am on the way to Monza to the North and passed Adda River, Riolo, Dovera on the SS472 – cornfields whereever you can see. but this view changed after 20km.
The closer I got to Monza and Milano – more and more industrial parks and the traffic got heavier – and especially many trucks made the driving difficult and a bit dangerous.
In Arzago D’Adda I changed the road and drove to the East on SP185, in Rivolta D’Adda on SP14 and crossed the large Adda River again…nearby Liscate – to North Melzo, Gorgonzola on SP13 – from Caponago all lines only cars – it was rush hour – and so I used the big advantage of a Vespa and muddled through these cars.
It was crazy – but there were many very nice situations, because many drivers beckon me and showed me thumb-up symbol.
After Agrate Brianza I finally reached Monza. What do you associate with Monza? Fomula 1 of course!
I drove through the huge royal park – Parco Regionale della Valle del Lambro – it was fantastic and comparable with the Central Park in NY. Many old trees, meadows, sport fields and a lot Italians practicing sports. It was much cooler than on the road in the industrial parks.
After a few kilometers and some forks – I arrived at the autodromo Monza – in the middle of the park. One of the most important and historical race tracks of the world.
I used the time walking around – had a view on the track and drink a lot of water – gave my brave blue lady a breather.
With many historical impressions, I started into my last 100km on the 2. tour day
It was very difficult to find my way - the next round about 30-40km - concering of small roads, less signs and many closed roads because of road work. Finally I drove zigzag and used google maps on my iphone additional to my prepared ADAC maps.
I passed an area with many small towns interruped by small meadows and cornfields – Lissone, Desio, Meda, Lentate Sul Seveso, Lazzate. In Bregnano I took my second petrol stop on the tour and did a short check. And I try to find where I am!?
Good news – I was not far away from my planned route. In Lomazzo I was back on track – followed the SP23 – drove through Appiano Gentile, Beregazzo and Olgiate Comasco… and in the distance I saw the first mountains of the Alps – the last kilometers in Bella Italia.
After 120km – and 379km in Italy – I crossed the boarder to Switzerland at Bizzarone.
Ciao Bella Italia and Grüezi Schwitzerland!
Interesting: many things are more expensive in Switzerland than Italy/Germany - petrol is much cheaper!
On the road 2 I drove through Mendrisio and reached after a few kilometers the Lago di Lugano.
One of the most beautiful sections of my tour – driving along the lac.
I stopped at Bissone and enjoyed the fantastic panorama – eat the rest of my italian 'salami e pane'...
After this nice break, I continued my drive along the lac - enjoyed the nice views on the lac and mountains - and arrived after 9km Lugano. Up the hill on the road 2, I approached more and more Bellinzona. But before I had to climb the Monte Ceneri and followed the road 2 next to the highway.
Wow: Once at the pass, it opened a great view of the valley of Locarno and Bellinzona.
Fast downwards the serpentines, I reached Bellinzona after 182km and 6:45h travel time. It was 15:00h and extremly hot again – one thermometer showed 42°C!
During my petrol stop and tecnical check - short look in booking.com. I found a „small“ hotel (Hotel Gamper) with a own parking flat in Bellinzone downtown, next to the train station. When I saw the prices – I realized I’m in Switzerland.
My brave blue Lady did another great job and I gave her a place in the shaddow to relaxed for the coming tour day climbing to the Gotthardpass.
After unpacking the Vespa and taking a cold shower I explored the beautiful Bellinzona with an historic town centre – surrounded by 3 castles.
Facts of the day:
Travel duration: 6:45 h/m
Highest speed: 73km/h
Average speed: 26km/h
Highest travel point: 543m
Tour Day 3: Bellinzona - Gotthardpass - Küssnacht/Merlischachen
The pinnacle stage of my Tour (175km)
After a very warm night in the hotel - unfortunately no air-condition - I start early with a coffee in the morning.
It was a bit cooler as the last days - the sun hid behind the mountains & the valley laid in the shaddow.
I was a bit nervous - will my 55years old Blue Lady - with 30kg baggage & a 84kg Vespaio - really reach the top point of my tour - the Gotthardpass in 2.106m!
The streets were really empty as I started from Bellinzona into the Leventina Valley on the country road 2 at 7:45am.
It's a really beautiful and historic Valley - since centuries the traders came over the Gotthardpass going to Italy - it's also a part of an old european trading route from London to Roma - like Passo Della Cisa (day 1).
The airflow was a bit cold this morning - the sun hid behind the mountains. A coat (the only time I had to wear a coat!) and the fantastic alpine scenery warm my arms and heart.
Normally you Drive with the car on the highway and you are not able to aware the landmarks of the Valley!
In Brisca I saw the entrance of the new Gotthard Train Tunnel - the world longest train tunnel with 57km, North portal in Erstfeld nearby the Vierwaldstättersee/Lake Lucerne) - what a impressive construction! (https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotthard-Basistunnel).
At the beginning it went up easily - the closer I came to Airolo, the gradient of the road steepened.
From Giornico, in the distance you see the mountains - partly snowy. The Gotthardpass came closer and closer...the tension mounted!
In Airolo after 58km - the 12km climbing section of the historic Gotthardpass began…
Serpentine by serpentine and curve by curve my blue lady climbed up the Gotthardpass in the warm sun - with a speed of ca. 30-40km/h.
What a fantastic view I had - to the Leventina Valley, the Mountains Fibbia (2.738m), Il Madone (2.756m), Pizzo Rotondo (3.192m) and some other partly snowy Mountains.
After 22min fight with the Mountain - my Blue Lady & I did it! We reached happy, proud, relieved the top of the Gotthardpass in 2.106m!
And what a surprise! Many Young Swiss drivers of 'Mofa' also did the adventure to drive the Gotthardpass - next to the many 'sportsmen' on their bikecycle. I met the 'Swiss Mofa Boys' and Renato, who started with his Mofa at 4:30h from Zug.
After chatting with these guys I continued my drive 18km downwards to Göschenen and additional 67km to my planned Day-Target: the area of Schwyz.
I passed Andermatt and Schöllenenschlucht, drove over the Teufelsbrücke and reached Göschenen in the Valley.
Now I started one of the most surprised sections of my tour.
I am knowing the Reuss Valley from Altdorf to Göschenen by driving on the highway - fast and focused on the traffic! I was surprised by the beauty of The Valley and the impressive massiv of the Mountains.
I enjoyed very much driving through the Reuss valleys meandering road, passing Wassen and crossing the Reuss River back and force....
Very rarely a car was on my road - it seemed that everbody used the parallel running Highway.
In Erstfeld I passed the other entrance of the spectacular Gotthard train tunnel. The Road crossed the train tracks.
Kilometer by kilometer the valley opened up more and more and reached in Fluelen the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne).
I took the country road 2, drove on a road next to the beautiful lake and arrived at Ingenbohl and Schwyz after ca. 150km at lunchtime.
It was a really nice & warm day. At the petrol stop, I decided to find a hotel next to the lake. Mmh I forgot, I'm in Switzerland and for a German, everything is expensive!
But I was a lucky man and found in intrent a special offer for the Hotel 'Swiss Chalet Merlischachen'
I took this offer and enjoyed the beautiful lake & Hotel.
After unpacking the Vespa and taking a cold shower I jumped into the Lake - relaxed on the beach and enjoyed the sundown and a warm evening with a cold beer!
Facts of the day:
Travel duration: 6:03 h/m
Highest speed: 67km/h
Average speed: 28km/h
Highest travel point: 2.106m
Tour Day 4: Küssnacht/Merlischachen - Freiburg (188,7km)
What a beautiful Morning at the Vierwaldstättersee/Lake Lucerne. Warm, but not to hot - the sun went up behind the mountain - over the Lake!
At 7:45am I started to my final tour day -188km back home to Freiburg.
It was a strange feeling - nervous (does my brave Blue Lady persevere?!), happy and proud I did this adventure - and still desire/longing for another tour day or a new tour!
So I drove on a small country road to Risch and had a last view to the Lake Zug, passing Hünenberg and Risch - next to the Reuss River (do you remember Yesterday's Tour section from Gotthardpass?!) - I enjoyed driving on an empty Road in a very beautiful hilly landscape & in this nice Morning atmosphaere the coming around 40km to Brugg.
Often I toughed my blue lady on the front light and thanked her for the great performance!
After crossing the Aare River in Brugg, I drove on the Road 3 to the East (direction Basel). Now the hills were a bit higher - I passed Effingen, Hornussen and in Stein, I saw the Rhein River and on the other side Germany! I was so excited that I took a short stop ... The last around 80/90km of 800km were laying before me.
And in Rheinfelden I crossed the border to Germany - byebye beautiful Switzerland - Willkommen Deutschland - Schön zurück zu sein!
Then I drove through Lörrach to Weil am Rhein, where I did a Last stop at Robbi's Fahrschule to say hello (I did there the motorcycle licence in ONE week! Thank you again for all the Support there.....
I started to my last 60km and my last 1 hour of the 4-days-tour, drove through the Beautiful hilly area of Markgräflerland with the hills of wine ... Passing on the Road L137 & B3 Istein, Efringen-Kirchen and Schliengen, Auggen, Müllheim, Heitersheim, Bad Krozingen...
and nearby Ebringen my Vespa did suddenly tucktuck!! Ohhh
Immediately I realized - petrol seems to be empty - I switched to Reserve, drove a few Kilometers and put in the 3l of my reserve tank - happy that this tank is now also being used and there was No other problem.
After 4:15pm I reached Freiburg (St. Georgen) - my girlfriend waited there with her Vespa - and the Last Kilometer to Freiburg Münster we drove together.
At 12:15pm I reached The Freiburger Münster & Alte Wache! - after driving ...
805km in Italy, Switzerland & Germany, 23:24 (h:min) travel time,
7.992m overall ascension,
2.105m / St. Gotthardpass highest travel point and my Vespa 125 VNB1 needed 21,54l petrol!
Happy and proud we did some fotos and than we drunk a tasty glas of Badisch White Wine in the sun of Alte Wache!
It was a really great experience & adventure - I collected so many impressions, views, encounters, new friends...which made me hungry for new tours!
Facts of the day 4:
Travel duration: 4:33 h/m
Highest speed: 77km/h
Average speed: 41km/h
Highest travel point: 562m
Day 1 Camaiore - Lodi
Max Höhe 757m / Aufstieg 1304m
Highlight: Strecke von Massa nach Potremoli & Valmozola nach Fornova
Noceto nach Piacenza ganz flaches Ackerland: Hitze & Langweilig
Day 2 Lodi -) Monza -) Bellinzona
Fahrtdauer 6:35 (Rush-hour um Monza, Besichtigung Monza Rennstrecke (20min))
Max Höhe 543m / Aufstieg 1322m
Highlight: vorab: extremer Verkehr um Monza von Lodi kommend
Durchfahrt durch Park von Monza - Monza Autodromo
Seenlandschaft von Mendrisio bis Lugano
Day 3 Bellinzona -) Gotthard Pass -) Küssnacht/Merlischachen
Fahrtdauer 6:03 (längere Pause auf Gotthard Passhöhe Ca. 45min)
Max Höhe 2105m / Aufstieg 4157m
Highlight: Tal von Biasca nach Airolo
Gotthardpass hoch & runter
Tal von Göschenen bis Altdorf
Fahrt Vierwaldstätter See & Zuger See
Day 4 Merlischachen -) Lörrach -) Freiburg
Max Höhe 562m / Aufstieg 1209m
Highlight: Fahrt von Zuger See nach Brugg (Fahrt auf Höhenkamm entlang der Aargau?)
Eiken nach Rheinfelden teilweise am Rhein
B3 von Eilmedingen nach Schallstadt
Zahlen der Tour / numbers & facts of the tour
Gesamtkilomter / overall kilometers: 805,7km
Gesamtfahrtdauer / overall travel time: 23:24 h:min
Gesamtaufstieg / overall ascension: 7992m
Höchster Streckenpunkt / highest travel point: 2.105m / St. Gotthardpass (Switzerland)
Höchstgeschwindigkeit / speed maximum: 77km/h
Gepäckgewicht / Luggage weight: ca. 30-32kg
Gesamtverbrauch / overall fuel consumption: 21,54l
Type of Vespa: Vespa 125 (VNB1) / 1960