The Alps By Scooter

July started off with the first motorcycle tour of my Edelweiss season. Well not actual motorcycles, but rather Vespa scooters, just like on my tour in Tuscany that I enjoyed so much two years ago.  While the scooter tours tend to offer less excitement and thrills, things just tend to be less complex, more laidback and just generally more of “vacation” experience as a tourguide. It helped that this time again, the number of guests was low, at only 4: surprisingly not many people have opted to book on of these new Scooter tours in the Alps. Let me show you what they missed out on!

Taking off from Seefeld, close to the Edelweiss HQ, we drove through Germany towards Salzburg. The weather only improved during the day as we rolled through Alpine forests and valleys. Unlike other Scooter tours this Alpine one starts and ends most days in a different location and hotel. That means there’s a van driver as well on this tour, in this case my new colleague Johannes.

Since day one would be the longest day, and Salzburg is an interesting city, we had a rest day there on day 2. Dinner was the famed “Mozart Dinner”: a sort of fancy dinner and musical show in the birthplace and home of the world’s most famed composer. Very entertaining!

On the rest day loop it was decided to visit the famed “Eagle’s nest” at the former Nazi hideout of Obersalzberg. While busy and not exactly cheap, it was worth visiting, especially since we took our time to read about the hsitory in the documentation museum first. I was surprised how the tone here was very different from the Wewelsburg museum that I visited earlier this year: there was not such a heavy undertone of guilt and apology, rather a more objective, factual representation of things.

We finished of the day with some fun riding in and around Berchtesgaden. As we were two tourguides on scooters for the rest day, I took some time to scoot ahead at a higher pace and take  pictures of the group passing by. Something that is nearly impossible when you’re alone as a guide!

Alternating between scooter and van duty during the days, I drove the smaller-than-usual van over the famed Grossglockner pass between Salzburg and Lienz. I’d heard it mentioned often and never rode it myself, so why not try it, even by car. The toll fee is pretty steep(26 for bikes, 36 for cars), but it’s all in the name of scouting and familiarising myself for future tours!

Leaving Lienz we headed for Italy, and I felt the scenery as well as weather really picked up from then on. The Dolomite mountains are always such a sight to behold, and taking the cablecar up Lagazuoi was a real highlight.

Halfway through the tour you’ve gotten to know people and you can be fairly certain the tone is set for the rest of  the days together. All the guests turned out lovely, they rode their Vespas well and all had a great attitude about the whole trip. It was really turning out to be a nearly perfect tour.

Another rest day in Bolzano meant another relaxed day of riding a little loop after visiting the “Otzi the Iceman” museum (recommended!). I’d gotten an email from Edelweiss’ marketing how they liked my riding pictures of the guests, and if I could make an extra effort to take some of those. Apparently they were lacking and could use some for the catalog. I had fun that day  riding at a higher pace to get ahead of the group, stopping to snap a few quick ones and repeating the process. I wouldn’t mind Edelweiss sending me on a tour just to do this kind of photo-assignment!

Again on this tour my colleague turned out an excellent partner. Johannes just started this year and was on his first tour. As a local Austrian he had some good knowledge in places like Salzburg and Innsbruck, and he was a champ with guests on and off the scooter.

So six days later we scooted back into Tirol, dropping the scooters off at the garage, with some great memories of awesome riding in the sunny Alps. Considering last year I felt like I hit the bottom a bit, riding only 4 days in mostly very bad weather around the same areas, this tour really lifted my spirits and changed my perspective on the area for the better!

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