Sunday, 11 October 2015

Italy, no bikes

Just returned from a week in Italy, no motorcycles but the tourist way via aeroplane & hire car. Flying into Nice last Saturday with Easyjet, an easy 2 1/2 hour flight that transports you from the frozen North to the Sunny Cote Azure. I still prefer to travel by bike but when you only have a week it's a waste of time and we have to compromise to find the Sun and fantastic Italian food and vino. Lunch on the twisting mountain road just past Monaco then across the border into Italy and into Ventimiglia for a supermarket stop for toiletries (the airlines make it almost impossible to carry them)
Then up to Rocchetta Nervina where I spent some years as a child. In the restaurant Saturday night and it was 10 minutes before the owner recognised me, its a nice feeling to feel at home in several different places and be accepted. A fantastic meal during which a heavy rainstorm started, there was nothing for it but to carry on drinking wine but after the third bottle we borrowed an umbrella and headed back to our Hotel. Sunday morning I bumped into Francesca just outside the Hotel, I've known her a few years now as she came to visit me whilst studying English for a year in Glasgow (which I always thought was funny, not sure English is what's spoken there) A day to visit the cemetery and remember all those who have passed away who formed a part of my life then back to the cafe, more vino, more superb food.
Monday the run up to Monza to meet up with Barbara and Riccardo who we met on the Belgium ferry a month ago, the run was a bit scary as our hire car (Citroen C3) handled like a Jelly on the twisty and narrow Autostrada Di Fiori. Riccardo picked us up at our hotel and we went to their place for a marvellous dinner and vino, a fantastic night and I'm sure we'll meet up again soon. The run back to the Hotel was interesting as we passed some African ladies of the night touting for business just near out hotel, now we know why Riccardo took us back to the hotel, there does seem to be a bit of an issue with prostitutes and pimps here, I'm sure its just as scary for the ladies, a sad and dangerous way to make a living on the streets.
Tuesday lunch in Lecco and once again noticeable groups of North Africans hanging around the car parks trying to sell rubbish to survive, I'd never seen that so far North before and its obviously the refugee / migrant numbers landing in Italy in huge numbers making their presence felt everywhere. Italy seems to be bearing the brunt of the problem, something needs to be done but I'm not qualified to make a decision on an issue which will very soon affect all of Europe.
On to the Guzzi factory at Mandello Del Lario, waiting for the museum to open George Ogg from Edinburgh appeared with a "hello Gino", small world indeed, the obligatory museum tour and then a visit to Agostini's to buy overpriced T shirts, lucky we were limited with hand luggage otherwise I may have left several hundred Euro's poorer groaning under the weight of Guzzi spares! 
Two nights in the fantastic Bellagio where I met fellow travellers Gene and Neda from Canada on their round the world motorcycle trip (, I recognised them from their internet posts so it was weird meeting up by chance.
A return to Rocchetta for some more visiting then a night in Nice and then a flight home, a short week, plenty sunshine, plenty vino, excellent food and great company, back to reality tomorrow! 
Lunch with this backdrop, not bad!
Strange to see a namesake's name on a memorial
I've got a photo of me taken here when I was around 4 years old, I was smaller and cuter then!
The plaza has been restored nicely
Nice interior of one of the several chapels in the village
The old home town looks the same............
Wonderful hosts Barbara and Riccardo in Monza
Pretty place
Surprise meet with George outside the famous gates to the Guzzi Factory
The first bike made commercially
Used by the Finnish police, note the ski's
3 cylinder Overhead Cam racer from 1940
For the Falcone fans!
2 floors of this, excellent
V twin long before Ducati done it
Factory wind tunnel helped develop fairings
The famous V8 500 
The first one made, the bike that started it all
Arriving in Bellagio
Pretty, and pretty steep
Beer before the Antipasta
Gene and Neda
Lago Di Como, sublime
Always steps though
So one must take rest
Lightning at night saved watching TV
Next day sunny again
Back in Rocchetta with Tina & Luigi
And a surprise meeting with a lady who went to school with me here (P1)
I eat Antipasta twice just because it is so nice.........
A visit to see Bruno
Nice, very Nice 
Naked men statues abound
Not long till the plane home


  1. funny you should run into Gene and Neda. We finally met them in Trollhattan after 3 years of near misses. Next summer you MUST meet us in Italy!!!!!!

    1. Yes I couldn't believe it when they appeared! Yes hopefully meet up in Europe somewhere next summer. Enjoy work!!