Page 5 of Orson Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy » Sardinia May 20th 2007

Today, I set off exploring in a southerly direction. My immediate impression of Sardinia was that it was a little more arid than Corsica. In some places it resembled the Texas Hill Country or New Mexico and in other places it reminded me of Arizona or Southern California. I couldn’t get over how little traffic there was! It was if someone had set off a neutron bomb. I might encounter 1 car every 15 minutes. Quite a change from the chaotic traffic on the Italian mainland! Roads didn’t seem to last for very long before they merged into other roads. It seemed like I had to stop every 5 km to check the map. Lots of head scratching. The roads on Sardinia were generally in good to excellent condition. I had been expecting Corsica to have ... read more
Arid Terrain
Northern Sardinia
Blue Seas

Europe » France » Corsica May 19th 2007

Since I had been to Corsica a couple years ago, I decided not to fight the French crowds and make tracks for Sardinia. The next morning, I made my way south along the twisty, coastal road to the port of Bonaficio for the 1 hour ferry to Sardinia. I arrived in Bonaficio and found I had a 3 hour wait for the ferry. That gave time to have lunch and have a look around the harbor. We disembarked at Santa Teresa on the northern tip of Sardinia just after 4 P.M. so, I made my way down the eastern coast of the island in search of a hotel room. After yesterday’s foibles in Corsica, I was relieved to find a vacancy at the first hotel I stopped at near Olbia. ... read more

Europe » France » Corsica May 18th 2007

The sea was calm and the crossing to Corsica was uneventful, arriving in Bastia at around lunchtime. I headed west along the northern coast along the Gulf de St. Florent. Corsica is nothing but a huge mountain range jutting out of the Mediterranean. As you can imagine, this means there are some excellent, twisty two-lanes for two-wheeled entertainment. Northern European riders flood into Corsica in droves to enjoy the great twisties. Mostly Germans & Austrians with a smattering of Swiss & Dutch riders. In all my years of touring, I’ve never felt like a sheeple but that changed on Corsica. Where normally I might see 1 or 2 other touring riders in a day, on Corsica I saw maybe 30 to 40 riders a day! There were armadas of touring riders travelling in packs of up ... read more
Gulf de St. Florent
Corsican Mountains

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Livorno May 16th 2007

As I had never been to southern Italy, I decided to remedy that situation by sending team orson on an all-encompassing trip of Italy. Originally, I had planned on heading south through the boot of Italy then across to Sicily and up through Sardinia. However, I began to think that I might get caught out by convoluted ferry schedules so I decided to take the islands first. I arrived in Parma, collected my trusty steed and loaded up the luggage. Heading out, I made my way south along the autostrada to Modena before turning southwest across the Appenines. Reaching Livorno on the coast, I purchased a ticket for the next mornings ferry to Corsica then found myself a hotel room. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany April 19th 2007

Today would be my last and I would have to make my way back to Parma. But I still had time to enjoy the Tuscan roads until heading north at midday. I made my way through the hilly terrain to the beautiful town of Stia. Stia has a wonderful medeival town square. I finally ran out of time and began heading north. Unfortunately, I had to use the Autostrada to make time but, you have to take the good with the bad. I left the bike with the Guareschi boys, bade my farewells and made my way back to Milan. Total distance- 1450 kilometers / 900 miles in 4 days Pucker moments- 0 Cop sightings- 1. I saw two policeman standing on the side of the road with their lollypops ready but they seemed involved in ... read more
Stia Square

Europe » Italy » Tuscany April 18th 2007

Before I left Parma, Vitto Guareschi had invited me to a track day at Mugello. Not being no fool, I quickly took him up on his offer. It might be the closest I ever get to a Grand Prix! Determined not to use the Autostrada, I forced myself into downtown Florence, determined to make my way north. I’m a Luddite who refuses to use such aids as GPS so I plowed ahead. Unfortunately, I ended up getting lost big time. Each time I decided to retreat to the relative safety of the Autostrada, I’d spy another sign that would only lure me deeper into its clutches. I finally gave up after about an hour and made my way north along the Autostrada to Mugello…. When they aren’t working at Papa Guareschi’s Guzzi shop, Vitto Guareschi is ... read more
Tuscan Countryside
More Tuscan Vistas

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca April 17th 2007

The Apuan Alps are impressive indeed. While they don’t reach the same heigths as their more famous namesake, they seem impressive enough just the same and the roads are no less a challenge. The northern part of Tuscany is more rugged and mountainous than the south. Where’s that confounded bridge? The last time I was in Tuscany, I spent a few hours trying to find the Ponte di Maddalena. It was right here the whole time! The beautiful Ponte di Maddalena is near the town of Lucca. It was built over 700 years ago. It was one of the few bridges not blown up by the Germans during World War II because they didn’t think the Allies could get Sherman tanks across it. By then it was late afternoon. I had spent a long day negotiating ... read more
Apuan Alps
Il Ponte

Europe » Italy » Liguria » Cinque Terre April 17th 2007

The Cinque Terre region is named after five villages precariously perched on the rocky shores of eastern Liguria. I head north from Portvenere following the narrow coastal road, stopping to take in the views whenever they presented themselves. The coast reminds me of the California coast in a way. The five towns have toll booths set up to control the amount of traffic. I can’t say that I blame them or otherwise they’d be swamped by tourist traffic in the summertime. It was midday by the time I reached the northernmost village of Monterosso so, I turned around and headed back south towards Tuscany and the Apuan Alps.... read more
Coastal Road
More Scenic Coastline

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma April 16th 2007

I had the time for a quick trip, so I flew into Milan and grabbed a cab for the Estacione Centrale to catch a train to Parma. Arriving in Parma after about 2 hours, I grab another quick cab ride to Moto Guareschi. Home base for my Moto Guzzi where they lovingly fondle it and whisper sweet nuthins into its ears to get it to purr contentedly. After paying my bill and renewing my insurance, I’m ready to hit the road. I didn’t really have a route planned other than to try to loop south through Tuscany. I hadn’t made it 5 kilometers before I realized I forgot to put my ear plugs in. While stopped, a guy comes running up to me gushing about the Guzzi and wanting to take a picture with his cell ... read more
Estacione Centrale
Castle Ruins

Europe » United Kingdom » England » North Yorkshire » North York Moors September 29th 2006

Day 4 was to be my last day and fortunately, the previous day’s showers had blown out into the North Sea and the day started with bright, blue skies. I began to head south towards Nottingham again. I still had a little time to explore the North York Moors though. These moors are a little more harsh and desolate than the Yorkshire Dales but the stark terrain has its own beauty. The North of England seems a world away from the busy south. With the tiny villages seemingly unchanged for decades, it’s all too easy to imagine that I’m a young officer in the service in the 1940s much like my father was, trundling across the countryside on a trusty Triumph (albeit without Lucas electrics). Reluctantly, I make my way south towards Nottingham. I stick to ... read more
Stark moors
Farm House

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