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Monday, September 18, 2017

Thoughts on my first trip out of the USA

In October, 2016 I announced I would be traveling outside of the USA for the first time ever.  I would be heading to Europe for a three part trip.  I would be attending a MotoGP race in historic Mugello, enjoying 10 days of WW2 and castle sites with some friends and end with 7 days of riding in the Alps, both in Switzerland and Italy, on a rented BMW.
Breakfast with my son before heading to DFW airport
I left on June 2, 2017 and landed back in Dallas on June 26, 2017 with some amazing stories, photos, videos and memories.  In one word the trip was AWESOME.  There were a few moments of stress, but it all turned out good.
Beautiful lake in the Swiss Alps
The moments of stress included: trying to find transportation to and from the MotoGP races, having an older (with no service) phone pick-pocketed while on the train in Paris (I was using it as a camera primarily), getting to my Airbnb lodging one day and the host did not respond to messages or show up and finally loosing my passport (yes, that is right - I lost my passport).  Each situation worked out in fine fashion.
Italian love their motorcycles and scooters - Florence, Italy
The six mile walk to find a train station after the race provided me the opportunities to burn calories (I then could eat more gellato!), see the Italian countryside and meet a very polite and helpful young man from the USA who was in Europe for six weeks by himself after graduating from college.
The MotoGP fans were awesome - great energy at the races
No valuable info was on the phone/camera (although I took precautions and changed passwords...) and I learned to keep my valuables in a secure pocket and stay alert.  Airbnb customer service was helpful and quickly resolved the issue.
Enjoyed a river tour around Paris
The US Consulate General office personal are very friendly, helpful and prompt.  It was on a Monday I discovered I had lost my passport (most likely as I removed my phone from riding jacket to take pictures in the Alps somewhere between Lucerne, Switzeerland and Bormio, Italy).  I emailed the US Consulate General to ask about getting a replacement and I received a reply in about 30 minutes.  I highly recommend having a couple of photocopies of your passport and drivers license stored safely in your luggage - that sure helped me.
The Lion of Lucerne was a very moving memorial in Switerzland
I have been asked "what was your favorite part of the trip?"  There is no way to answer the question because it was like I took three trips: MotoGP, WW2 and riding the Alps.  Each part had special meaning and moments for me.
The gates at Dachau concentration camp were haunting, humbling and saddening
I experienced the intense energy and excitement at a European MotoGP, the humbling atmosphere on the Normandy beaches , the thrill of riding Stelvio Pass, the beauty of the Swiss Alps on Grimsel Pass, the genius and talent in da Vinci's "Last Supper" painting and so much more.

I will share more reviews and comments about the trip in future posts as there is too much for one post.  The trip was great and I hope to visit and ride in Europe again in not too distant future.

The road between Furka Pass and Grimsel Pass, Switzerland
West side of Stelvio Pass, Italy
Pizza!
BMW R1200RS and the Alps, Italy
Formation in the Dolomites, Italy
Pistachio gelato!
Duomo di Milano
Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper

5 comments:

  1. Good summary! Looking forward to more detailed postings of each trip phase...Europe, especially the area near and in the Alps, is great for riding.

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    1. Yes, the Alps were amazing. Thanks for reading.

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  2. Awesome, well except for the pick pocketing and losing your passport. It sounds like an amazing adventure and I am looking forward to seeing all the pictures and reading the details.

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  3. WOW.. You should be a ‘writer’.. Thank you my friend.. T.Nash

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