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30.06.2017 – Race start day minus 2 – Buehl, Germany to Pavia, Italy. Distance travelled approx. 350 miles.
We had a lovely late start today (I blame the beergarden)…
We left the hotel at around 10 to pick up the road to Basel.
After yesterday’s VW’s, today with Harley day. We were quite impressed to even see some Harley’s from Russia.
Overall lovely weather, beautiful landscape and a quick picnic just before Basel enjoying the sunshine.
After hitting a traffic jam before the Gottard tunnel, which turns into one lane only and is very, very, very long, hot and murky, we came out the other end in pouring rain and thunder to go straight into the next traffic jam at the Italian border which  according to the satnav encountered an 84 minute delay, which was pretty much spot-on.
Italy would not be Italy when driving 2 vans next to each other on the motorway with the windows open discussing options, absolutely nobody bats an eyelid or even would think this strange.
Late arrival at the hotel met a perfect welcome by a very understanding hotel manager who let us park the vans in the garage, go up to the room to change and only then register for the hotel rooms.
Jan-Willem knew a pizzeria at a 15 minute walk from the hotel which gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs.
The first beers evaporated quickly (recurrent theme) and were highly enjoyed on the terrace, overlooking the traffic hubbub. The pizzas were unanimously voted the best we have ever tasted (sorry Appia). These went down beautifully with local red wine, followed by Limoncello and Grappa.
We had a wonderful relaxed evening full of true (?) stories. We did feel however we accidentally stumbled upon Don Corleone and ‘the family’, complete with hoarse voice, keeping a friendly, though thorough, eye on us from the next table.
We will stay in Pavia for 2 nights, so we can relax tomorrow having fuelled up all 4 bikes. After which we can start working towards prolonging the day for the night ride starting at 24:00 (midnight) on Sunday ending at Pisa just before Midday.
Cyrille Labeij