I am currently starting Day 5 of a 14-day Czech-Hungary tour with Adriatic Moto Tours. This company, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, offers several tours that mostly cover Eastern Europe, the part that most Americans leave for later after first exploring the Alps and western countries. The company sent each of the 14 participants an excellent guidebook several weeks before the start of the tour listing the route, hotels, phone numbers and what to see, so that everything was comfortably understood ahead of time, and so far it has been a very well organized and well-run tour.
Our group of 14 riders flew into Ljubljana and, after a rest day, began riding. Most of the participants are riding BMWs, and I’ve chosen the 1200 GS for its torque and good suspension over what I anticipate to be questionable roads as we enter Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. Our first hotel, the Kmecki Hram, is quite comfortable and just a 10-minute cab ride from Ljubljana, where members of our group joined up to explore the Old Town and the castle. It is a very Italianate city with curving, narrow streets of old-style buildings against a backdrop of the hills and castle. Our first evening there, dinner was at a restaurant with a front-row seat of a dance event at the castle.
Recently, an ancient wooden wheel and axle were discovered near here, which were carbon dated to be 5,200 years old. Now on display at a local museum, the Kolo Wheel is a fitting sendoff for our trip, illustrating that transportation has been a major concern and preoccupation in this area since the beginning. It was certainly worth the visit.
On our rest day, we picked up the bikes and took a brief familiarization ride, then on our first travel day, we rode north to Graz, Austria, for a sensual experience on the excellent backroads. For all those familiar with Alpen travel, here once again were the flat fields backed by jagged blue mountains, snow caught in their teeth, little streams beside the road, huge rolls of hay in the fields like big cinnamon buns, an onion-domed church on a distant hill, and everywhere those chalet-style homes in pastel colors scattered on the hills, their balconies a riot of color from the flower boxes.
But now it is 4:00 in the morning and I will try to get back to sleep. More to come!
This is the first post in a four-part series.