TAR2019 took us on an adventure to Mt Etna in Sicily. And what an incredible adventure it was too! Full of highs and lows, Coffee hits and and aching wrists.
London to Dijon
Our journey starts at Jack Lilley’s Triumph Dealership, in Ashford, and heads strait for Folkstone. An hour and a half later and we will already have our lids off for the Eurotunnel crossing to Calais.
From Calais we head south to Arras, Cambrai, and past Reims but not before picking some champagne, of course, finishing our first stage in Dijon.
Dijon to Aosta
This is where we cross the alps. From Dijon, riding through Haut-Jura national park, we will climb the mountains and skirt around Switzerland before driving through Chamonix and Mont Blanc itself.
Once on the other side, we will be in Italy and on to Aosta where we will film around the twisty mountain roads.
Aosta to Verona
Northern Italy promises lots of beautiful sights. Coming out of the mountains, we continue east to Milan, Monza, skirt the bottom of Lake Garda and on to Verona. Museo di Castelvecchio is our next stop to see the painting ‘A Boy with a Puppet. The painting has significance to the Angelman community because it helped Dr Harry Angelman to identify the condition. Originally, based on the title of the painting, Angelman Syndrome was originally called ‘Happy Puppet Syndrome’ but, shortly after changed to ‘Angelman Syndrome’.
Verona to Rome
From Verona, we will head south to Bologna, Florence and eventually to Rome itself. Ducati is baasd in Bologna so is likely we will all want to buy something red! Our artistic pilgrimage continues in Florence; The Galleria dell'Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation. Nothing to do with AS or motorcycles but it seems wrong to miss the opportunity to see such incredible works of art.
Rome to Cosenza
Rome needs no introduction and represents an important way point to us as, from this point on, we will be riding coastal roads to Naples before traveling through the beautiful Parco Nazionale del Pollino on our way to Cosenza.
Cosenza to Randazzo
This leg is exciting as we will see two different coast lines: The Ionian Sea to the south and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north. At Villa San Giovanni, we take the ferry to Messina, Sicily, and set up ‘basecamp’ on the north side of Etna itself.
We cannot wait to climb up the volcano and see the view!
Here are five fun facts about Mount Etna hat you might not know:
Mount Etna is known as the highest and most active volcano in Europe.
It is almost 11,000 ft high, making it the tallest mountain in the southern Alps.
Mount Etna is a product of time. It is a stratovolcano with two structures. The ancient base and the dried lava layers formed the Montibello or Mongibello, which means ‘beautiful mountain’.
Its atmospheric and geological conditions are similar to Mars attracting scientists to conduct experiments on space robots. In addition, the site was also used in the third installment of the Star Wars saga depicting the Mustafar planet!
Varieties of fauna and flora exist across different altitudes. Today, it serves as a tourist destination for skiing since Etna is topped with snow caps almost all year round.
Randazzo to Genoa
The return trip is finally upon us but its no reason to be sad - We have so much yet to see! This time we will ride the entire west coast of Italy until we reach France. This time, when we ride past Naples we will see Pompeii, the famous Roman city destroyed by Mount Vesuvius.
The last famous point to stop before Genoa is Pisa; to see the famous leaning tower and take silly photos of us trying to prop it back up, no doubt!
Genoa to Nimes
At last, the French Riviera. Moaco, Nice, Antibes, Cannes; we will ride through it all. Will my inner monalogue be voiced by Murry Walker the whole time I’m riding through Monte Carlo? I’ll let you know..
Nimes is a very old city. It dates back to Roman times and is referred to as the most Italian city outside of Italy. It even has its own Roman arena! Nimes is also twined with Verona, a city we visited earlier in the trip, and Preston; which is less cool. Preston is the destination we chose for our practice run - Its all connected, somehow.
Nimes to Rodez
First Major way point on this leg is Montpellier. This city has a huge student population but we are not there to party; just passing through.
Then, on to the world famous Millau Viaduct, a huge bridge which crosses the Tarn valley. I believe its still the tallest bridge in the world! Im looking forward to this bit but Dan’s done it all before, having crossed the bridge on earlier travels.
Finally, Rodez will welcome us for the night. A really pretty town with nice cafe/bars.
Rodez to Orleans
Via Brive, Limoges, Chateauroux; We will crunch the motorway miles north back to the coast. The finish line is getting close now and I suspect I will be missing Henri and Corinne very much, knowing I will be seeing them again soon.
Orleans, just south of Paris, is our destination. From Orleans, we will stop in Paris and see my aunts, uncles and grandmother. Im sure they will love us descending on their quiet little corner of the world, like the Son’s of Anarchy!
Orleans to London
The finish line is in sight! Paris, Arras, Calais: More motorway miles but now it will feel like we are so close to all our families. We will get of the tunnel and ride strait to the Homecoming Fundraiser at Burview Hall. The event will mark the finish line of the rally and I know we will all be ready for a big welcome and a cold beer!
I hope to see you at Burview Hall for a slice of pizza and a bit of raffle! See you there!